Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Recapped

Christmas this year was full good food, quality time with family and friends, great gifts and of course belly rubs!

Christmas Eve was spent with the Frizell’s of Metuchen. We got off to a late start, but everyone really enjoyed being together and eating a wonderful Italian meal. St. John made a scrumptious Manhattan clam chowder, Mike and Chrisi made home made crab cakes and my mom made an amazing standing pork roast! It almost looked to pretty to eat, but fear not, we devoured it!

We used to have these long Italian meals with several courses, but I think we’re evolving into a simpler dinner and more time for the kids to open gifts. It’s a challenge to keep a four year old and two year old at the table for many courses and then still have enough time before they have to be shipped off to their respective parent’s houses. Wait until we add a 9, 8 and 7 month old to the mix – things are sure to change even more!

All the moms- to-be posed for a photo to commemorate this unusual occurrence – all of us pregnant at Christmas. I’m due March 26, Chrisi’s due April 7 and Linden is due in early May.

Something that won’t change is that the family dog will ALWAYS lay in the middle of the floor during the present opening madness and eventually get covered in all the paper and bows. Here’s Haggis looking a little confused about what’s going on…

Christmas Day was spent with the Mazzarella family. We had a great time eating and catching up. Reese, who’s two, wasn’t really into opening presents, but managed to get through a few before running off to find something else to do. Here’s a pic of Frank enjoying the new massage chair at his aunt Genn’s house. He was pretty excited how his belly moved side to side… it was actually quite funny.

On Saturday, I headed to National Park, NJ for the BIG Frizell Pollyanna party. My step-dad’s side of the family is so large; we have outgrown having our annual Christmas celebration in a house! So off to the VFW. I think we must have had 60+ people and that’s just aunts, uncles, cousins with spouses and their children. I’d have to say it wasn’t as “homey” but it still was nice to see everyone and I got to meet the newest addition, Gavin. At just six weeks old, he handled the Frizell Family chaos with ease.

We all exchange gifts – grab bag style, we call it Pollyanna. There’s some sort of computer program that was created to choose the names, very high tech. Children running around with wild abandon, while the younger cousins (who I swear were just sixteen last year!) were sitting around playing beer pong with their new spouses or fianc├ęs, the cousins my age were comparing pregnancy/labor war stories and the aunts and uncles started breaking out in song. It truly is a memory I look forward to every year.

Throughout our entire celebrations I couldn’t help but think how different next year’s celebration is going to be. I lavished every relaxing minute - sleeping in until 10 on Christmas day and taking an extra long shower – all things I know I won’t be able to do next year, or many years to come. The new baby will bring many changes that will cherish.

Eighty-seven days and counting!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Twenty Seven Weeks

This week, your baby weighs almost 2 pounds (like a head of cauliflower) and is about 14 1/2 inches long with her legs extended. She's sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing her eyes, and perhaps even sucking her fingers. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now. While her lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with a lot of medical help — if she were to be born now. Chalk up any tiny rhythmic movements you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and they don't bother her, so just relax and enjoy the tickle.See what your baby looks like this week.
We’ve had an eventful week! We have been both running around getting ready for the holiday and celebrating with friends and family.

Christmas Eve is spent with my mom and the Frizell family. I’m looking forward to seeing my brothers and sister. It’ll be nice to all get together and enjoy the holiday. My mom has planned an outrageous holiday meal as usual. Not sure what I can eat, but we’ll figure it out. I’m sure I’ll find something.

It’ll be nice to see Linden and Chrisi, my two sister-in-laws who are also pregnant. Chrisi is about 24/25 weeks and Linden is probably about 20 weeks.

Frank is working Christmas Even so he’ll miss the festivities with my family, but luckily he’s off for Christmas day when his family gets together. The Mazzarella’s celebrate at their aunt’s house. Frank’s cousin Jen is also pregnant, she’s about 29/30 weeks.

Frank's parents - the ones who were adamant we decorate this year for the holidays are the proud winners of their town's holiday decorating contest! Frank's mom was so excited! She won first place for the "Traditional" category and has a sign on her lawn that says "winner!" Congratulations! You definitely deserve the special recognition for always making sure your house and family celebrate each holiday with festive, yet tasteful decor!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and Merry Christmas! Enjoy your time with your family. I’ll post photos and happenings some time next week.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pregnancy, With a Side of Gallstones

I had a special holiday lunch on Monday for work and we went to one of my all time favorite Italian restaurants, La Grillia in Kenilworth. Before we ordered, the topic turned to gallbladders, I know – not typical lunch conversation, but the table was full of nurses. I briefly mentioned my previous bouts with “gas attacks” and they all agreed it was probably my gallbladder. Not even thinking that I should probably avoid rich, fatty foods – I ordered a very creamy pasta dish with pancetta and mushrooms. You think with a table full of outspoken nurses, one would have spoken up that maybe I shouldn’t order the pasta… well…

About an hour later, before we even got in the car, I felt another attack coming. It was getting hot, very nauseous and the pain started. I didn’t make it twenty minutes before I was in agony and vomiting in the office bathroom, non-stop.

I finally came to my senses and called the doc – they said, “how soon can you get here?” I told them I’d be there in 20 minutes.

Dr. Purdue took one look at me and sent me to the hospital’s PET unit. It’s a special pregnancy ER department. I called Frank to let him know what’s going on and that if I’m admitted, then he should try to leave work. As I’m getting checked in, I’m resisting the urge to vomit all over the nice lady’s desk. You think they would have a quicker admitting process and not ask me the same questions over and over again!

I finally get into a room, and my nurse tries desperately to do a blood draw and put in a hep-lock – a port for an IV. I have very “deep” veins. I think it’s a nice way of saying that since I’m so curvy, it’s hard to find my veins. They finally got me hooked up to the fetal monitors, which was pretty cool! That’s another thing that doesn’t fit perfectly on this curvy belly, the monitors kept falling off, but when they’re on, you can hear the baby’s heartbeat and hear him move – it’s really neat. I wasn’t having any contractions, and the baby’s heart rate was good. My blood pressure as a little high, but with all the pain I was in, the docs said it was okay.

The resident came in to talk to me and said we’d be running blood work and getting an ultrasound of my gallbladder. She was very nice – probably younger than me, which makes me feel old.

Frank arrived around 6:30 or so. At first I thought I could go it alone, but it was nice to get some moral support and much needed comic relief. Frank’s really good at both. He tried several times to hook up my monitors himself, or take a peak in all the cabinets labeled “vag” something or other.

At 7 p.m. we got a new nurse, Kim, who was great! She was so nice; she listed to all my concerns and apologized profusely for having to draw more blood because the lab needed another sample. She tried once, but then brought in the big guns – another nurse who struck gold on the first try. I still feel kind of like a pin cushion and have the black and blue marks to prove it.

This time the pain from the attack was lasting way longer than the first ones. It was going on 7 p.m. and I was still in pain. And they couldn’t give me anything for it. So frustrating! I’m a huge believer in pain management, but when you’re pregnant – that kind of goes out the window.

We waited several hours for the ultrasound. The transport staff wears blue scrubs, so I named them the “Blue Men.” The Blue Man took us down to radiology. Frank came right from work, so he was in uniform and people really seem to act differently when he’s Sergeant Frank – rather than daddy Mazzarella. I think people probably thought I was under arrest or something with this special “escort” but the radiologist said that maybe people think I’m a VIP with hired security.

The radiologist was so nice. She was so funny and sweet, just what I needed after being in so much pain and discomfort. She said, “Can you keep a secret?”

Of course we said “YES!”

“You have gallstones – see them down here. You have several small ones.”

Then she proceeded to tell us what she thought we should do, and what the doctor would tell us. We took her advice with a grain of salt, but were glad that she told us immediately rather than waiting to hear back from the doc.

The resident consulted with Dr. Crain, who’s in my OB’s practice. They didn’t see any immediate need to remove the gallbladder that night, or to keep me over night. They discharged me with instructions to follow up with a gastroenterologist. I have an appointment with the GI specialist for January 8. But for now, I've been advised to eat a low fat diet - just what I want to hear around the holidays.
From the research I've done: women are more prone to gallbladder stones, more so if they're over weight and even more so if they're pregnant. Three strikes against me! A lot of women expereince gallstones postpardum, but the lucky few like myself, get to expereince them durring pregnancy when we really can't do anything about them until the baby's born.

Rest assured that we will do something about it after the baby's born. We'll see what the GI specialist says, but I do not want to go through with another attack if I can help it.

We got home around 11 p.m. Frank headed back to work to finish his shift, and I headed straight to bed. Great news is that the baby's doing fine. While we were hooked up to the monitors, we heard him have the hic ups. It was the sweetest thing I have heard in a long time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Twenty Six Weeks

The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. He's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he's born and takes that first gulp of air. And he's continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel. If you're having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum — a trip that will take about two to three days. See what your baby looks like this week.
One more week of the second trimester and I’m feeling better this week. The carpel tunnel is still there, but I’m learning to wear my splints every night. I still get some numbness during the day, but it’s manageable. My heart burn has subsided a bit, but I’ve had several what I call “gas attacks” which could possibly be gall bladder attacks. Very painful, and the last one I had lasted about an hour. Frank wasn’t home, so I called my good friend Leeanne to come over. She dropped everything and came over – patted my back, force fed me Tums and held my hair when I puked. It was awful, but I’m so lucky to have such a great friend – so close!

Frank now has me stocked with all sorts of doctor approved gas relief, but my gut feeling (pun intended) says it’s my gall bladder. My mom, aunt and cousin have all had issues with their gall bladders. My Aunt Jayne, who’s had four daughters, says hers hurt more than labor! There was one point when I was trying to get through this last one, pacing around the living room, and admittedly swearing a little, thinking to myself, if I can’t handle this, how am I going to handle labor?! I always thought I had a high pain tolerance and I’m glad my Aunt Jayne said that these attacks can be even more painful then labor. Makes me feel a little better.

I’ve been feeling the little guy move more and more. He’s getting bigger and his kicks and punches are getting much more forceful. Not painful, but definitely noticeable. One night, I looked down at my tummy and noticed it quivered with each kick! That’s just weird! I couldn’t believe it, so I tried holding my breath and yep, there was another quiver! I quickly took a deep breath – don’t want to deprive this guy!

If you know me at all, you know I’m very clumsy. I’ve fallen on countless occasions and sometimes resulting in broken ankles, feet or wrists. Well, we all knew it would just be a matter of time before I fell during this pregnancy. I just didn’t think it would be this morning! I was walking out to my car on my way to work and all of the sudden my feet were out from under me and I landed squarely on my side. There was a patch of invisible black ice on our drive way. I’m happy to report there are no twisted ankles or sprained wrists; just a scraped knee, sore arm and a bit of a bruised ego. I admit I was shaken up thinking about what could have happened. I called the doctor and she said just keep an eye out for contractions and make sure the little guy keeps moving. So far, he hasn’t stopped! I’m so thankful that I landed the way I did and that I have so much… um, extra cushion! Lesson learned, TAKE YOUR TIME and watch every step.

Monday, December 15, 2008

No Lights and Kitty Dilemma

Had a great weekend. Well… great in the fact that I didn’t get sick! Yay! But then when the alarm woke me up for work today at 6 a.m., I promptly ran for the bathroom. I hope I’m paying my dues now and this little boy will be a saint when he comes home.

We got our tree up and it looks great. I even got a little teary looking at all our old ornaments and thinking about memories. Totally not like me.

When word got out that we weren’t decorating the outside of our house this year, Frank’s parents immediately offered to come over and “throw some lights up” or “decorate the window.” Very sweet, but really – we’re taking things low key this year. They were very willing to help – I think we turned them down several times! I think we broke some Italian cardinal rule about not decorating, but we really do have more important things to focus on this year. We have to get the nursery ready by January. I think once we get past the holidays, we can really focus more on getting things done.

On a completely different subject - We're having cat dilemmas - Not sure if Charlie’s sensing the changes coming, or he’s pissed off about something, but he refuses to use the litter box. We're going to "retrain" him and send him to kitty purgatory- aka locked in the office - with his very own litter box. We'll see how he does in there. If he does ok for a few days - we'll let him out. One “accident,” he's back in lockdown. I’m sure Hastings and Ozzie will torment him through the door. I feel so bad he has to be locked up, but we have to get this taken care of.
Know of any good enzyme treatments to get the smell out of hardwood floors? I'm at a loss and I know if I don't clean everything well - he'll be really tempted to go there again.

We love Charlie, he’s a great cat. He makes me laugh almost every day and he’s certainly an important member of our family. Look at that face! He has a mustache! We named him after Charlie Chaplin, becuase of his crazy antics - and he lives up to it every day. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Doc Apt in Review

All checks out okay at the doc’s office.

Blood pressure was fine at 110/80.

Heart beat was little tough to find this time. Dr. Purdue thought maybe the baby had his back to us, but she heard the placental blood flow, which is as good as a heart beat at about 130 bpm.

I’ve gained a total of 13 pounds during this pregnancy – so not bad, but I’m sure I’ll gain more now that the baby is growing more. I may just stop posting the poundage… depending on how much I gain!

I had to choke down the glucose drink this morning. I think I was a little queasy from seeing a mom-to-be puking in the parking lot! Oh, I remember those days, not fondly, but I remember them! So I had to hold back my own urge when I was drinking the drink, but managed to get it down.

We saw Dr. Purdue, who is really a nice woman. She’s very though rough in answering all our questions. She gave some great advice about how to ease the heart burn, carpel tunnel and sciatica. We also talked about Frank’s role during delivery and she said if all is going well and the baby is behaving, then we could talk about the options then. But she makes no promises.
I don’t think we’re set on him helping too much down there because we know I’m going to need him playing coach rather than catcher. I think he would get too caught up in the moment of not dropping the baby to really experience what’s happening. So we have some more to talk about. We also have our Lamaze class in late January and that will help define our roles a little more, once he knows what’s expected.

Over all – good visit. We see Dr. Purdue again in three weeks when I get my RH factor shot.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Twenty Five Weeks

Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. Her weight — a pound and a half — isn't much more than an average rutabaga, but she's beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat. As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she'll start to look more and more like a newborn. She's also growing more hair — and if you could see it, you'd now be able to discern its color and texture.See what's going on in your uterus this week.
This week has been tough. With the holidays coming, I have been running around from errands to house cleaning. I think Frank and I collectively decided since we have lots to do this December, we may not unpack all of the Christmas Decorations this year. Our goal is to get the nursery up and ready by January 1. Just in time for my first big shower on the 11th. That way we can unpack everything into the room. So this year, we will for go the massive amounts of LED lights Frank usually puts up outside. Our neighbors will probably be grateful. We literally have the BRIGHTEST house on the block! The bright lights gleam at you once you turn the corner. It takes all of my driving expertise to stay on course and not head straight for the lights.

We’re putting up our tree tonight. We have an artificial tree that looks so real; we fool almost everyone who sees it. Each branch has THREE different kinds of needles on it – giving it a very real texture. We got it at a warehouse that makes the trees. They open to the public for two weeks in December and we got a great deal on a very life-like tree. It’s kind of like a secret operation, once you find out when they’re open – you have to find the actual warehouse in a very sketchy area. It was fun!

This past week has brought an onslaught of new symptoms…

Bring on the heartburn! I have never been one to have heartburn, or agida as Frank says. So I had no idea how painful it can be! I’m downing Tums like no tomorrow, they help for a few minutes. Some surprising foods that cause heartburn – peanut butter and chocolate… I’m beside myself. Those are my two staples! But I think I might have to stay away from some acidic foods and visit my cousin’s ice cream shop a little more often. Oh poor me ;)

Carpel tunnel syndrome? Whose brilliant idea was it to tack on this new side effect of pregnancy to an already swollen, grumpy, tired pregnant woman? I think this is a pretty new side effect, or more women are complaining about it! Either way. I get numbness in both hands, with shooting pain up to my shoulder. And best of all, the numbing pain is mostly at night. So I have a very attractive wrist stabilizer that I wear to bed. Now that it’s affecting both hands, I’m going out tonight to get another. Last night I was up several times trying to regain the feeling in my hand, the one without the splint. Telling myself, just ignore the pain… you can do it… I finally found a comfortable position, then wham – a kick to the bladder from our little guy. Thank you so much.

I still know exactly where my sciatic nerve is. Seems the baby really likes to lay on it causing pain and me to have this really awkward limp in my right leg. Kind of like I need a hip transplant or something. But it’s really awful. I may ask one of the PT’s at work for some advice. But these are pediatric PTs – how many 10 year olds have problems with their sciatica?
The swelling is back in full force. I can no longer wear my wedding ring, and I’ve reverted back to wearing my crocks. The only shoes I can fit in. I tried some cute Mary Jane type flats, but when I took them off, my feet still looked like they were wearing the shoes with the indentation!

I totally feel like I’m whining. I got myself into this mess, right? Any suggestions from the readers would be so greatly appreciated. I’m sure someone has a magical potion for heartburn or a special pillow to recommend for sciatic pain.

We have our monthly doc apt tomorrow with Dr. Purdue. I’ll post the updates next week. I’m sure she’ll say that everything that I’m feeling is normal and to take it easy when I can. I have to take my second gestational diabetes test. I'm not worried about that. We are also going to talk about writing our “birth plan.” We’ll see how that goes.

I’ll end on a good note. I don’t think I mentioned when Frank felt the little guy for the first time. It was at about 3:30 a.m. on morning, he just got home from work. I was almost 23 weeks along. We had to get up early the next morning to fly out to Nebraska and I was trying desperately to get back to sleep, but the little guy was up, doing his own little jig. Frank waited patiently with his hand on my tummy, then all of the sudden, thump thump.

“Did you feel that?” I asked.

“I did!”

We both were so excited that we couldn’t sleep and ended up staying up and talking into the wee morning hours.

Our little guy was sweet enough to give me a few wakeup kicks this morning that I felt from the outside. I’m definitely bonding with this little one. And I’m excited for others to feel him too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

First Shower

Last week I failed to mention that my wonderful Nebraska family threw me a girl’s pedicure party/luncheon/baby shower when I was visiting. We all lined up for pedicures and at 82 – Grandma enjoyed her first pedicure! Grandma said, “If a pedicure feels this good, I wonder what a massage feels like?!” Don’t worry Grandma, I’m sure you can find someone to take you to get a massage. I see another girl’s day out in your near future!

Grandma made me a beautiful afghan and a special receiving blanket with soft crocheted edging. It was very sweet and what a great excuse to eat at the Cheesecake Factory! Thank you ladies for helping me feel so much part of our family, even though I live so far away. I miss you all already!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Twenty Four Weeks

Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.See what your baby looks like this week.

It’s kind of alarming that my uterus is about the size of a soccer ball – that just sounds HUGE! I’ve been experiencing some aching pains and can tell the baby’s stretching everything it can to get more space.

Frank and I trekked out to Nebraska for Thanksgiving and it was so much fun seeing everyone and meeting the newest cousins – Addi, Ellie and Drew. We had plenty of quality time, sitting, talking, playing Wii, singing karaoke, shopping and of course eating! It was really nice to catch up and it’s like I never left. We did find out that my cousin, Susie, is expecting number two! Her little girl Addison is 10 months old, so these two will be nice and close. Congratulations Susie and Anthony!

We had a karaoke party and when everyone was singing, the baby was doing flips! I think he could hear everyone. Here’s a pic of my cousin Becky feeling the baby boogie inside me.
The flights were tough ‘cause we missed our connecting flight on the way out and had to spend a few extra hours in the Milwaukee airport. And let me tell you, there’s not much to do in the Milwaukee airport. We did a lot of people watching. On my way back they literally held the plane for me while I waddled across twenty gates. I made it by minutes. I definitely learned my lesson that paying a little more for a nonstop flight is sooo worth it, especially being pregnant and especially with kids.

I caught a cold on the way back home and was out for the count last week. I missed two days of work with a mild fever. The worst part about being pregnant and having a cold is that I can’t take anything! I can take Tylenol and Benadryl in moderation. So I took Tylenol for the fever and one Benadryl to help me sleep. It’s now been about a week and I’m still fighting it. Lots of soup and liquids and rest. Last night I went to sleep around 7 p.m. and didn’t wake up until 6 a.m. I haven’t had much of an appetite the past few days. And if you know me, you know that’s completely out of character! I think I even slept through dinner last night, but I know I have to force myself to eat, at least small meals throughout the day. So this morning I got a decaf peppermint mocha late and a bagel – both with huge calorie counts that should make up for my sleeping in last night.

We had another ultrasound with the specialist on Thursday and all looks great! Dr. Smith at NJ Prenatal Associates is really nice and made it a point to mention that “we had a beautiful baby.”

I smiled said, “you probably say that to all your patients.”

He said, “No, sometimes I just tell them you have a baby.”

Here's a pick from our 24 week ultrasound - the first is the 2D and the seond is the 3D. The second looks like the baby has his hand near his mouth.
Stat Updates:
Baby weighs about 1 pound, 4 ounces
Measuring about 10 days a head of schedule
My blood pressure was a respectable 100/60 – it keeps doing down!
Gained one or two pounds, which is great!

So far, we won’t have any more ultrasounds unless I have gestational diabetes or to check the position of the baby towards the end. Right now he’s been breech, but we’re hopeful he’ll flip around.

We have our monthly doc apt on Friday with Dr. Purdue. I’m taking my second glucose screening and I’m not worried. I passed the first with flying colors, so let’s hope that continues. I’m going to start talking to Dr. Purdue about the delivery and share Frank’s amazing story of his three deliveries! I’d love if there was some way he could safely help deliver his son, but not sure what the doctor will think.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Twenty Three Weeks

Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze her when she hears them outside the womb.

Wanted to include an update – we’re traveling, so we’ll update once we get back.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Twenty Two Weeks

At 11 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment. If you could see inside your womb, you'd be able to spot the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he'll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas — essential for the production of some important hormones — is developing steadily.See what your baby looks like this week.
Breaking news – my brother and his new wife Chrisi are having a GIRL! She’s one of the “triplets” arriving this spring. So, two boys and a girl. Poor thing will be tormented at family gatherings, but I’m sure she’ll be one tough cookie with two brothers and two boy cousins to contend with. Congratulations Mike and Chrisi and bring on the pink!

I’m feeling really good this past week. The morning puking ritual is becoming less of an every day thing. I have more energy and feel more like myself. We’re getting ready for a trip out to Nebraska for a Watson family reunion. I am so excited to see my extended family. I was very lucky to have gone to college out in NE and had the chance to spend some quality time with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I feel that time was a true gift in disguise being able to bond with my Midwestern family. And they welcomed me with open arms, fun weekends together, hockey games, school musicals and many a trip to the airport. You all have such a special place in my heart and I just wish I didn’t live so far away.

Here’s a picture of me and my grandma – isn’t she lovely?
The whole family will be in NE next week celebrating Thanksgiving together and I get to meet three new additions, cousin Amy’s twins Drew and Ellie and Susie’s little girl Addison. We have a full agenda planned, thanks to my very organized aunts! And they’ve even decided to throw a small baby shower for me, which was completely unexpected, but so sweet!

Ok, now that I’m all mushy and feeling hormonal – I better stop before the water works start.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good Night Sweet Pup

Wow! I hope Frank has these same skills when putting our little one to sleep... I had to share this.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Twenty One Weeks

Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long — the length of a carrot. You may soon feel like she's practicing martial arts as her initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. You may also discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better. In other developments, your baby's eyebrows and lids are present now, and if you're having a girl, her vagina has begun to form as well.See what your baby looks like this week.
Lucky 21. We’re just over half way to the finish line and I’m feeling great. I thought I was catching a cold earlier this week, but my super pregnancy immune system kicked it right out of my system. I’m still puking almost ever morning – this week it was 3 out of 5 days – so I’m doing good so far.

I saw the nurse practitioner, Suzanne, yesterday for my monthly check up. She said all looks good. Blood pressure was at 110/70, which is great! Fetal heart rate is about 140 – right on track. And she felt for my uterus which is just above my belly button. Total weight gain so far is 11 pounds. Not bad, but the doc doesn’t want me to gain more than 20 – so we’ll see how that goes. I have a feeling a lot of it is water weight, really, cause I’m just swollen all over.

Do you know where you sciatic nerve is? I do – I know exactly where it is. Cause this little baby likes to rest on it and that causes shooting pain down my right leg. It comes and goes, but mostly comes when I’ve been sitting for a while. So my new charge from the doc is to get up every 45 minutes and walk around. Not only will this help with my sciatica, it’ll help with the swelling I still can’t seem to get rid of.

Great news on the family front. My cousin Wendy and her husband Jay welcomed their newest addition, Gavin Ellis, into the world on November 11. What a cool birthday – 11/11. Wendy is the first of us cousins during this baby boom to have hers and we couldn’t be more excited. Gavin weighed in at a healthy 9 ½ pounds, 21 inches long. Jay is a pretty tall guy, so we’re sure he’ll take after his dad in the height department.
Our little guy is still measuring a little over a week a head of schedule. The ultra sound tech last time said he should probably be due on March 19. So, I’m not anticipating making it until my due date. Especially if he’s already big – I think they gain the bulk of their weight at the end.

I had to catch myself from making plans for work in April – not thinking that I’ll be on maternity leave by then. The end is getting closer and closer every day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nursery on Order!

I’m heading out after work to order our nursery furniture. We hope to receive the furniture by December/January. Our very generous parents have collaboratived and given us this great gift. The crib is convertible and changes into a toddler bed, day bed then into a full size bed. We also ordered two dressers, one high and one low. The low can double as a changing table. We will get a very nice glider and autumn. It’s so comfortable and it reclines!

Here are a few pics:
We also finalized our registry at Baby’s R Us. Check it out

Here is our nursery bedding collection click here to view all the pieces, and check out the picture below. Think lots of wild animals, in a fun, festive sort of way. Lots of tans and greens. We like the monkey the best, so we'll have lots of monkey accents.

We did not register for much clothing. I always find it’s more fun to pick out your own little outfits when you give gifts. We just ask that you get a wide variety of sizes – if the baby’s anything like us, he won’t be in 0-3 months for long! And one can never have too many onezies!

I’m sure the shower process has started. I know the north jersey folks, my in-laws, are hosting a shower for me on January 11. My mom is hosting a south jersey shower on February 7. I thought I wanted to be involved in the planning process, but as we get close, I think I’ll just enjoy the day and not worry about the little details. We have so many other things to worry about!
Thanks to my two very loving moms for hosting these showers for me. And for my sisters for their hard work too! I’m so looking forward to celebrating this new baby with friends and family.

Pregnancy and Pets

You know, they say that animals can sense that a woman is pregnant and tend to become more loving, or affectionate. We have none of that in our house - none at all...

Here I am after a long day at work, I prop up my swollen feet on several pillows, hoping to alleviate some of the swelling and here come Ozzie and Hastings to take their positions. Don't think I'm reliving any swelling with a 25 pound pug laying on my legs!

The pets have definitely become more affectionate and this photo happens almost daily. I hope they're sensing that a new baby is coming. Granted, I will watch everyone like a hawk, but I know Ozzie will be great with the baby. We even got an infant seat/bouncer that sits up higher off the ground to avoid any drive by kisses for the baby from Ozzie, or cat but in the face of the baby from the kitties.

I read some where that we should set up the nursery furniture way a head of time. We will also use a baby doll to place in the crib. This will give the cats a chance to explore and learn the rules - if there's a baby in the crib - stay out!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ultrasound Findings

We went for another level two ultrasound yesterday. Our first level two ultrasound found a "downs syndrome marker” in the baby’s heart. My doc sent us to a specialist and yep – there it was clear as day. It’s called a echogenic foci spot. Whish is basically a small calcium deposit in the left atrium. There is only one, and it’s very small. These deposits never grow and will never hinder the hearts ability to work properly.

Doctors only started seeing these calcium deposits in the past ten years, so they wanted to find out the significance. Well, turns out that 3% of all babies have one and a very minute percentage of these babies have downs syndrome.

However, doctors do not take this marker into account UNLESS there are two or three additional markers for downs syndrome – small pinky bone, different shaped nose, small ears.

AND we were fortunate enough to have a first trimester screening which put us at a greater than 1 in over 10,000 chance for any chromosome abnormality, including downs syndrome.

The doc says that he sees patients every day with this marker and 99% of them go on to deliver an average baby. AND even if we did an amnio, our risk is 10 times greater of having a miscarriage than having a baby with downs syndrome.

Long story short, we are not worried in the least. We are not going for any further testing. We have every faith that the baby is fine.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Twenty Weeks

Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now. He's also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches from head to heel — the length of a banana. (For the first 20 weeks, when a baby's legs are curled up against his torso and hard to measure, measurements are taken from the top of his head to his bottom — the "crown to rump" measurement. After 20 weeks, he's measured from head to toe.)He's swallowing more these days, which is good practice for his digestive system. He's also producing meconium, a black, sticky by-product of digestion. This gooey substance will accumulate in his bowels, and you'll see it in his first soiled diaper (some babies pass meconium in the womb or during delivery).See what your baby looks like this week. (Or see what fraternal twins look like in the womb this week.)

Wow – Half way to the finish line! Feeling really good. Still getting sick every morning like clock work. Hastings, my kitty, has gotten in the habit of following me into the bathroom to watch… strange I know.

I had a stranger notice I was pregnant last weekend! That was exciting. A man at the Hyundai service center asked it “it” was our first, and I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but then it clicked! Oh, okay, he meant the baby!

We have another ultrasound today. The doc wanted to get a better look at the heart to make sure everything was ok. I did some research on my end and it turns out that it’s really difficult to view all for chambers of the heart in moms-to-be with a little extra padding. So waiting a few more weeks and doing another ultrasound is standard procedure. But wish us luck anyway. I am starting to worry, but I’m sure we’re fine!

Just found out some very exciting news. My brother, St. John and his wife Linden are expecting their first baby!

They just told our parents this morning and I believe the baby’s due in May. I haven’t heard from the proud parents to be just yet, but I heard through the grape vine that they’re having a boy! We are well on our way to a full basket ball team! With my other brother Mike and his wife Chrisi also expecting – all the women in our family are knocked up! Accept for my mom of course! Mike and Chrisi will find out their baby’s gender on November 19.

This is so great. So far all the mommies are healthy and doing well. All the babies will be born within three months of each other. So in one year we went from one grand child to five, with the addition of Thomas, Mike’s new two year old step-son. My mom and step-dad Dave are on cloud nine!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween Fun!

We had a blast on Halloween this year. My nephew Zach and his mom Jen came out dressed to the nines. Zach was a scary skeleton! We trick-o-treated with our neighbor Lee Ann and her two kids, Amanda and Jason. Amanda was Abby Cadaby and Jason was an Amazing Race contestant! Oh - and Ozzie was a hot dog! His Grammie gave us this really cute costume! Fun and a sugar rush was had by all!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


People have been saying that I’ve been “glowing” lately. I’m glad I’m not has pale with nausea as I used to be, but I’d say my “glow” is merely a flushed feeling I have. My face is pinker than usual and I’m feeling rather warm throughout the day.

So glowing? Sure!

I’ll take that over pale and nauseous any day!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nineteen Weeks

Your baby's sensory development is exploding! Her brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that she may be able to hear your voice now, so don't be shy about reading aloud, talking to her, or singing a happy tune if the mood strikes you. Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom — about the size of a large heirloom tomato. Her arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of her body now. Her kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on her scalp is sprouting. A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on her skin to prevent it from pickling in the amniotic fluid.See what your baby looks like this week.
I’m feeling great this week! I still get up every morning and say my little prayer to the porcelain god, but then I’m fine. I just puke and get it over with and go on with my day.

I have been feeling the baby move more often. Still not at any specific times of the day and not hard enough to wake me up from a dead sleep. I’ve had a bit more energy, but I still have my days when I’m dead to the world tired.

Another pregnancy necessity I’ve recently found that makes pregnancy so much more comfortable is sleeping with a body pillow. I’ve heard women talk about the wonders of the body pillow and I wasn’t sold until I picked up a body pillow on sale at Target for $10. It helps me sleep so much better! They sell really expensive pregnancy pillows for $70+. They’re a certain shape and have curves. I’m in love with mine from Target! I got a really soft, fuzzy cover and I just snuggle up all night. Ozzie doesn’t like it because it takes up his usual space behind my knees. But he’s adjusting.

Cravings? I get cravings for what ever I see on TV. My mom used to eat Burger King Whoppers like they were goin’ out of style when she was pregnant with me. A Whopper sounds great right about now. I’ve noticed that I’m enjoying food much more now than I did during the first trimester. Eating used to be a chore, now I enjoy it again! I guess if there’s one time in your whole life you can really give into cravings it’s now. But remember, everything in moderation. I’m just waiting for the holiday season with all those extra treats! No eggnog for me, but pass me another cookie please!

We are registering this Saturday. It’s a busy day and we’re trying to fit it in after my nephew Zach’s fourth birthday party. I’m sure I’ll be exhausted, and hungry and most likely cranky, so we’ll have to take it slow and I’ll probably do some more registering online. Right now we’re going to register at Baby’s R Us and possibly Target.

The Watson/Daniels, Mazzarella and Frizell parents will giving us a joint gift of the nursery furniture. This is a huge gift and we couldn’t be more grateful! Thank you all for sincere generosity and continued support. Now we just have to choose! We’ll post pics as soon as we make the final decision.

I’ve been asking around about must have items and items that aren’t worth a penny and I’ve already been warned about the wipes warmer and how useless it is. I think I’ve decided being first time parents, sometimes having a lot of stuff helps build confidence and we’ll learn our own lessons on what we need and what’s frivolous. Also the baby will eventually decide what he needs/likes.

That’s the news for now. Looking forward to another week of feeling better and next week I’ll be half way done with the pregnancy! I can’t believe it, it’s gone by so fast.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Husband, the Big Softy

This little story should give you a glimpse into my dear husband’s heart. He’s a very carrying man, very sweet natured. And the fact that he’s a former fireman and current police officer shouldn’t shock anyone. He’s always willing to help at a moments notice and gets turned on by the sound of sirens.

Lately I’ve noticed that his usual hair cut has been, well, awful! Frank’s hair cut isn’t that complicated. It’s just a number one clippers around the side and I think a number two up top. Easy, right? It’s either lopsided, or has a few stray hairs around the ear. One time he came home with bangs!

Frank finally explained to me the man who cuts his hair has a bit of a shaky hand and doesn’t always do a good job. I asked him why he doesn’t go to some one else? We have a swanky new men’s salon that opened up down the street with huge flat screen TV’s with sports on 24/7 – a real men’s den so to speak.

Frank says that he feels bad for the old man, that he doesn’t have that many customers. So he continues to go. He often “fixes” his hair cuts when he gets home. There’s a lot you can do with spray gel.

I just look at him and his horrible hair cut and smile.

I am one lucky wife.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Emotional? Nah… just hand me the tissues!

Ok. I admit it. I have been very emotional lately. This new pregnancy symptom has kind of caught me off guard. I was never a crier. Even at the saddest of movies, I usually kept it together.

But lately – forget it! If there is a hint of an animal dying or even a come from behind football team, I’m a goner. I found myself crying with every extra point the team scored in We Are Marshall. Let’s not forget that the entire football team dies in the first ten minutes! Don’t worry, I didn’t give away the movie – that’s the whole premise. It really is a great movie. I thought I’d push my pregnancy hormones to their limit by watching My Dog Skip. Word of warning – DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE if you are pregnant! It’s about a boy and his dog. I’m getting teary just thinking about it.

This one caught be my surprise. I was actually perusing YouTube during my lunch break at work and found this…

It’s about a little girl named Abby and her best friend Rosco the pug. It’s a slide show of photos and video of the two growing up together all set to Some Where Over the Rainbow. Let me tell you – it took about two seconds for me to reach for the tissues.

Then there’s the complete opposite of crying is the hysterical laughter. It’s something I cannot control and it’s completely spontaneous. It really doesn’t matter what’s funny – I just start laughing hysterically at something I normally would just chuckle at. Frank’s really good about getting me to of tears because I’m laughing to hard. I think he really enjoys seeing me laugh so hard, that I grab my…well…you know… and run for the bathroom. Another joy of pregnancy!
It’s from one extreme to another and I kind of feel like I don’t have any control. That’s really hard for this self described control freak. I heard that you don’t get your normal emotions back until several months after the baby’s born. Hey, I’m ready for the roller costar ride if you are!

I’d love to hear your war stories of pregnancy – please feel free to leave a comment and let me know I’m not alone!

PS – Frank said I actually looked pregnant this morning. It was really cute and he said it with such excitement. I’ll post some pictures this week.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Eighteen Weeks

Head to rump, your baby is about 5 1/2 inches long (about the length of a bell pepper) and he weighs almost 7 ounces. He's busy flexing his arms and legs — movements that you'll start noticing more and more in the weeks ahead. His blood vessels are visible through his thin skin, and his ears are now in their final position, although they're still standing out from his head a bit. A protective covering of myelin is beginning to form around his nerves, a process that will continue for a year after he's born. If you're having a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and in place. If you're having a boy, his genitals are noticeable now, but he may hide them from you during an ultrasound.See what your baby looks like this week.
Welcome to month five! I’m officially five months pregnant. The pregnancy calendar doesn’t work like a typical calendar – I can’t even explain it, but at week 18 I’m in my fifth month.

Frank and I are still settling in that we are having a little Oscar as Nana Susan likes to say. Boys are fun, boys are energetic, boys break things… but all in all, we are ecstatic! Sharing the news at work was fun. Right when I announced we were expecting a little boy, all my friends immediately told me why boys were so much better than girls:

“Boys love their mommies” “Boys are so much easier to raise.”

And of course the negatives with raising girls:

“Girls are so much more emotional, once they hit 11/12, watch out!” “You don’t have enough closet space for a girl”

I’m sure if we said we were having a girl – the complete opposite would have happened. They would have shared all the great things about raising girls. It’s just fun to see people’s reactions.

I am feeling much better. I still puke almost every morning, but I just do it and get it out of the way. I have more energy and now realize how awful I felt before, knowing how good I feel now! I will definitely put this new found energy to good use. We have lots to do – get the nursery ready, clean out the garage (just something that has to get done!) and pick out furniture.

My appetite has returned and I find myself drawn into almost every commercial on TV for the newest food or snack. I haven’t had Frank on any craving runs yet, but I have a feeling it’s coming.

We made the appointment for the second level ultrasound to check out the baby’s heart. It’s scheduled for November 10. We aren’t worried about finding anything wrong, but of course we’ll be relieved when we get a clean bill of health. We’re just glad we get to see our little guy again!

Full speed ahead! Lots to do and feeling great!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Paint the room blue – we’re having a boy!

We found out on Friday that we’re expecting a little boy on March 26, 2009.

I was so worked up about my swollen feet that I had the nurses where I work take my blood pressure. It came out 145/64 - which is high for me. So I called the doc and he wanted to see me on Friday instead of Monday. Lucky us, we got to find out the gender three days early. Long story short - my bp is fine. Lesson learned - not all cuff sizes fit all!

We're so excited! With the last minute rescheduling, Frank almost missed the ultrasound because he couldn't get out of work early. When I arrived for my 8:30 a.m. apt, I begged the receptionist for a later appointment and she didn’t have anything - I burst into tears! I felt so bad for that woman to have to deal with me all emotional. I'm not a crier at all! I’ve been very emotional and moody lately.

Frank did make it - he raced up the parkway and made it there just in time to see me getting off the table. The tech was so nice; she put me back on the table and showed us everything. He sucked his thumb, gave us a wave, was flipping and kicking throughout the test. We could definitely see his little pee pee :) It definitely looks like a boy!

The ultrasounds to the right are as follows – I’ve become an expert at deciphering the fuzzy black and white images… 1. Is the money shot with his legs and in between his legs you can tell he’s a boy! Look for the white arrow. 2. His spine and skull. 3. His face and he’s giving us a wave. You should be able to click on the photo view a larger version.
The baby has a healthy heart rate of 140 bpm, my blood preasure is a respectable 120/70 and I've gained a total of 8 pounds from day one. Not bad!

The swelling hasn't returned, I think a lot of it has to do with me sitting at my computer all day. My ankles were back to normal all weekend and yesterday. I'll make sure I drink more today and take frequent breaks during the week.

The ultrasound tech did find a marker for downs syndrome in the baby's heart. We're not too concerned, and neither is the doc, because we had the first trimester screening and we have a greater than 1 in 10,000 chance of having a downs baby. And the tech said that she couldn't get a clear picture of the heart, so we get to go to a specialist in a few weeks. I think if there was some chance, I would definitely be worried, but I'm not. Mother's intuition, maybe.

Feeling better most of the time. Have some pretty bad head aches and I toss my cookies about 3 times a week and that usually happens if I get up really early. Like today, but after that, I'm feeling good.

We’re still letting the baby boy Mazzarella sink in for a while. It’s nice calling it a he rather than an it. We are keeping the name a secret until he arrives. There’s got to be some sort of surprise on b-day!

Thanks to everyone for being so supportive and sharing in our excitement.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Seventeen Weeks

Your baby's skeleton is changing from soft cartilage to bone, and the umbilical cord — her lifeline to the placenta — is growing stronger and thicker. Your baby weighs 5 ounces now (about as much as a turnip), and she's around 5 inches long from head to bottom. She can move her joints, and her sweat glands are starting to develop.See what your baby looks like this week.
Who stole my ankles?

My one crowning glory, my one delicate and thin body feature – gone to the water retention pregnancy gods.

When I got home yesterday after a normal day at work, I looked down at my little tootsies only to see two swollen stumps where my delicate ankle bones used to protrude. I thought to myself, “Isn’t this a little early for swollen feet? Doesn’t this usually happen in the eighth or ninth month?”

So I got out my trusty Pregnancy Week by Week and found that swelling is completely normal because of all the extra fluids moving around in your body. I cross referenced this advice with What to Except When You’re Expecting and it said the same thing – just be sure my blood pressure stays low and I’m not spilling protein into my urine. Well, I can’t find out either until I see the doc on Monday. The books suggested that I drink plenty of fluids and that I keep moving or do not stand or sit for too long and wear comfortable shoes. I’m on the comfy shoe wagon, I just need to remind myself to take frequent breaks and walk away from the computer after a few hours. One benefit of working in a children’s hospital is that I can take a break and always find someone to play Uno with or go for a stroll in our new therapy garden. Propping my legs up on top of my computer monitor (which is a huge no no according to our IT dept) may be too high, I need something in between. I’ll bring in a little stool for under my desk – just another thing we have to purchase!

After the purchase of the car, I was full steam ahead on to the next big purchases and I think Frank was getting a little overwhelmed by all this talk of buying this or needing that. He sweetly asked me not to talk about any big purchases for a week. I like how he put a time limit to it, but honey, seven days and counting and we’re off to look at baby furniture.

I’ve been feeling the baby move more. Still not at any special times of the day, just when she/he feels the need to flutter. I have noticed it’s moves often after I have something sweet or after I eat. It still feels like a flutter, or a pop here or there.

We have our next doc apt on Monday. I’ll definitely ask him about the new swelling, about some stretching pain I’ve been having – both of which I’m sure are normal. And of course we have our BIG ultrasound!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Check Out Our New Ride - The SantaFe!

I just had my first cup of caffeinated coffee in five months and the baby is doing flips! I think he/she likes caffeine as much as I do! A word to the pregnancy police - It’s safe to have up to 300 mg of caffeine a day and today I really needed a boost after staying out way past my bed time last night car shopping.

We finally closed the deal and Frank and I are the new proud owners of a cherry red 2008 Hyundai SantaFe! We came up with a nice compromise – I wanted all the bells and whistles, but couldn’t afford the bells and whistles with “top of the line” brands… so we compromised with a Hyundai. And I’m not so sure we even made a compromise because Hyundai has been top rated for safety and performance for many years and is affordable!

You should have seen us – bargaining with the sales man. I thought we made out pretty well. The sales man even started to get loud with us and we eventually settled on a nice price with a free LoJack thrown in.

Feeling a little more prepared for this baby.
- Family car...check!

Next on the list:
- Baby furnature
- Paint Colors
- Registries

The picture is from a Hyundai website – I’ll upload pics of me and the actual car. Promise!

Just a reminder we go in for our next doc apt on Monday! And we get to have our gender ultrasound! Do a little dance or say a prayer that the little one cooperates :) We'll of course post our news as soon as we find out.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sixteen Weeks

Get ready for a growth spurt. In the next few weeks, your baby will double his weight and add inches to his length. Right now, he's about the size of an avocado: 4 1/2 inches long (head to rump) and 3 1/2 ounces. His legs are much more developed, his head is more erect than it has been, and his eyes have moved closer to the front of his head. His ears are close to their final position, too. The patterning of his scalp has begun, though his locks aren't recognizable yet. He's even started growing toenails. And there's a lot happening inside as well. For example, his heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day, and this amount will continue to increase as your baby continues to develop.See what your baby looks like this week.
At times I feel better, more energized, less nauseous.

But then it hits me – I can hardly find the energy to get off the couch – or a wave of nausea comes over me that I have to start my “do everything in my power not to throw up routine” which consists of swallowing the excessive amount of saliva brought on by the nausea, then clenching my teeth, taking several deep breaths then pray that everything stays down…

Tonight we’re celebrating three birthdays – Frank my darling husband, my father-in-law Frank and my sister-in-law’s boy friend Fred. All of these birthdays are within a week of each other.

Then next week I have my mom, dad, step-mom Susan and Ozzie. October is a huge birthday month!

Lots of cake for the baby!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fifteen Weeks

Your growing baby now measures about 4 inches long, crown to rump, and weighs in at about 2 1/2 ounces (about the size of an apple). She's busy moving amniotic fluid through her nose and upper respiratory tract, which helps the primitive air sacs in her lungs begin to develop. Her legs are growing longer than her arms now, and she can move all of her joints and limbs. Although her eyelids are still fused shut, she can sense light. If you shine a flashlight at your tummy, for instance, she's likely to move away from the beam. There's not much for your baby to taste at this point, but she is forming taste buds. Finally, if you have an ultrasound this week, you may be able to find out whether your baby's a boy or a girl! (Don't be too disappointed if it remains a mystery, though. Nailing down your baby's sex depends on the clarity of the picture and on your baby's position. He or she may be modestly curled up or turned in such a way as to "hide the goods.")See what your baby looks like this week.

Over all I am feeling better. Today the nausea and fatigue have crept back and I’ve been getting the occasional heading. But I’m definitely on the transition to the feeling good second trimester.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve felt the baby move. I know it’s early, especially for us curvy girls, to feel the baby, but I swear I know the difference between digestion and a little one moving around inside me. I feel “flutters” every so often. Not all the time, and not at certain times. The technical word for this is called quickening: meaning quite literally, “first subtle kicks.” I’ll place my hand on my tummy and I think to myself… holy cow – there’s a real baby in there! I’m sure I’ll feel real kicks when I get closer to my 20th week.

I just scheduled our 18th week gender ultrasound and doctor’s apt for October 20. That way we’ll see the doc, Dr. Crane this time, and do the ultrasound the same day. Two appointments at once instead of two in two weeks which saves on time away from work! I will be seeing Dr. Crane, he’s the practice’s male doctor and I’ve never seen a male OB/GYN. Granted, he could quite possibly deliver this baby and this appointment he’s not getting up close and personal. But I was still concerned and I mentioned my hesitation to the nurse who I made the appointment with. I said, “I’ve never had a man down there before.” And she pauses, and she simply states, “Well, you got pregnant didn’t you?” And I just cracked up laughing! Sorry if that was too much information, but I literally laughed for a good 60 seconds.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Best Thing Ever!

The holy grail of maternity inventions… one of the major positives about being pregnant that no one talks about until you actually slip on a pair. Yes ladies, I’m talking about maternity pants. Hallelujah something that pregnant women can actually enjoy! The lovely stretchy fabric that replaces that awful constricting waistband with buttons and zippers holds the pants up and helps round out my curvy belly.

Well… ok, I’m taking it a little far, but after struggling with my baby bump and everything I tried on in my closet was so uncomfortable – these miracle pants have made my day.

Oh happy day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fourteen Weeks

This week's big developments: Your baby can now squint, frown, grimace, pee, and possibly suck his thumb! Thanks to brain impulses, his facial muscles are getting a workout as his tiny features form one expression after another. His kidneys are producing urine, which he releases into the amniotic fluid around him — a process he'll keep up until birth. He can grasp, too, and if you're having an ultrasound now, you may even catch him sucking his thumb.In other news: Your baby's stretching out. From head to bottom, he measures 3 1/2 inches — about the size of a lemon — and he weighs 1 1/2 ounces. His body's growing faster than his head, which now sits upon a more distinct neck. By the end of this week, his arms will have grown to a length that's in proportion to the rest of his body. (His legs still have some lengthening to do.) He's starting to develop an ultra-fine, downy covering of hair, called lanugo, all over his body. Your baby's liver starts making bile this week — a sign that it's doing its job right — and his spleen starts helping in the production of red blood cells. Though you can't feel his tiny punches and kicks yet, your little pugilist's hands and feet (which now measure about 1/2 inch long) are more flexible and active.See what your baby looks like this week.

Welcome to the second trimester!

Wow – I can hardly believe the first trimester is behind me and I’m one third of the way to the finish line.

The girls at work have mentioned I’m starting to show, but I’m not so sure. We have many other pregnant women here at work. It’s fun, it’s like our own little club. We share war stories of getting sick in public, or feebly trying to fit into our favorite jeans. I’ll start posting pictures of my growing belly, once it starts growing! It’s tough for full figured girls like me seeing those perfect round pregnant bellies, knowing that I will never look like that. But in the grand scheme of things – the shape of my belly really doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside that belly that’s important. And my baby looks beautiful!

I feel a little bit more energetic and my queasiness has seemed to lesson. Lesson meaning I don’t feel like I have to hurl every minute of every day. Now, I get breaks, maybe an hour here, or a few hours there. So I’m making the most of the time I’m feeling well enough to get a little work done around the house.

I have to tell the world what a wonderful husband I have! He has been SO supportive by going grocery shopping the past few months and cleaning all of the messes our little critters leave behind. Both things I still don’t think I could stomach – believe me I’ve tried and it usually ends up with me running for the bathroom/sink/or plastic bag already in hand.

Thank you – thank you – thank you to the world’s most patient husband. Don’t worry honey – I feel that boost of energy coming and you’ll get a much needed break from the house hold duties.

I received a gift from my secret sister this week. I signed up for a pen-pal sort of gift giving exchange on Mom’s all due in March got together to help pass the time and support each other through out our pregnancies by sending gifts once a month. My secret sister send the most wonderful things – a sleeping mask (which I honestly had wanted for I don’t know how long but never would think to buy for myself!), yummy chocolate covered fruit (one way to get that fruit serving… he he..) a wonderful note, some massage oil and organic soap. Very thoughtful gifts. Makes me feel horrible for not sending mine out yet. I have to admit that I’m been delinquent in sending out my first gift, but I have been too sick to set foot in a store. I WILL go today after work.

I treated myself to a mani/pedi yesterday after work to mark the end of my first trimester. I have always said what a wonderful gift it would be to give a pregnant woman gift certificates for a mani/pedi once a month during her pregnancy. When a woman can hardly reach her toes – what a perfect gift to make sure her little tootsies are looking their best. And of course, there’s all that time in stirrups! Come on ladies – the docs and nurses have to look at “unpleasant” things all day, let’s make sure our feet aren’t one of them! I’m going to make it my monthly ritual… it’s the least I can do!

I will be making my first materiality clothing purchase this weekend. There’s a new store that has “everything for expecting moms” that I’m going to check out. It’s time – I have five outfits that are still comfortable that I have been cycling through and it’s getting really old. And I’m sure my coworkers are sick of seeing me in the same five outfits.

Next doc appointment is October 14 and we’ll have an ultrasound the following week to determine this little one’s gender.

Ok – on with the second trimester!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thirteen Weeks

Fingerprints have formed on your baby's tiny fingertips, her veins and organs are clearly visible through her still-thin skin, and her body is starting to catch up with her head — which makes up just a third of her body size now. If you're having a girl, she now has more than 2 million eggs in her ovaries. Your baby is almost 3 inches long (the size of a medium shrimp) and weighs nearly an ounce.
This is the last week of the first trimester. Thank God!

I’ve been counting down the days until the beloved second trimester with its extra boost of energy and hopefully some relief from this 24/7 nausea. I felt a little better last week, and thought I was on the road a settled stomach, but then – wham! It hit me full strength on Wednesday. I even went home from work around noon. I got home, tried to eat a little bit and literally slept from noon until 5 p.m. Then went back to sleep around 8 p.m. This little one must be going through a growth spurt because it’s sucking every bit of energy from me.

I think I may have over done it on Tuesday with an event at the hospital with the Giants then an evening networking party. Too much for this preggo. I’m gearing up for a big weekend. We have a family event on Saturday (see below) and a Giants game on Sunday that is dedicated to Children’s Specialized Hospital! Of course I’m going! It’s an all day thing, so wish me luck.

Not sure if I shared the wonderful news that my brother, Mike, and his girlfriend are also expecting a baby! Mike and Chrisi are expecting their little one on April 7; just about two weeks after we’re due. We are very excited for the newest addition and are so thankful that our little one will have a new cousin so close in age. Chrisi has a two year old from a previous marriage, named Thomas and Mike has Zach who turns four in November. So in one year, we’re quadrupling the number of grandkids! My mom is on cloud nine! Mike and Chrisi are having a small wedding ceremony this Saturday and the family is looking forward to sharing this special day with them.

More good news – Frank’s cousin Jennifer and her husband Jon are expecting their second baby! Jennifer is due March 15 – just a week before me. I had seen Jenn a few times during the late summer and my pregnancy meter was going off, but I just kept quiet. Jenn and Jon like to wait until the end of the first trimester to share the news. Frank’s family is very close with Jennifer and her family so it is such a blessing to have these babies all with in the same year – practically the same month! Reese, Jennifer’s two year old, will be the queen bee with all her new playmates!

I’m just starting to feel uncomfortable in my regular clothes. Pants are a little snug around the waist and I might have to start thinking about maternity clothes. Maternity clothes have come a long way and are now very fashionable and comfortable! I know plenty of moms-to-be that wear them before they really need them, just because they’re so comfortable. I also know moms that wear them for months after the baby is born… if I do that – please do stage in intervention. In a nice way of course!

Looking forward to the second trimester!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Second Doctor's Appointment

We had our second doctor’s appointment on Monday. All of the blood work and testing came back normal except are RH factor. I am A- and Frank is O+ which means if the baby is + then we could have a problem with additional pregnancies. So I’ll receive a special shot around the 24 week and then again after delivery to avoid any future issues. It happens all the time and is not a big deal. We also got a call about our blood work that goes with our first trimester screening and it all looks good! We’re very thankful everything came back normal.

We saw our nurse practitioner, Debbie, who is so great. She listens to all of my symptoms telling me they are completely normal. She helped us settle a little debate Frank and I had going about nutrition and eating certain foods. Frank thinks I should be eating healthier foods and I know what my stomach can handle and right now it’s definitely NOT fruits and vegetables. I can’t even stomach water! Debbie was nice enough to inform Frank that it’s not worth it to suggest I eat certain things. It’ll just make us both miserable. I couldn’t agree more. But she did assure Frank that this food aversion is only temporary and that I’ll be eating veggies before he knows it. Just a couple of more weeks – I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Last night was brutal. I made the mistake of letting my stomach become completely empty and paid the price in dry heaves… it was awful. Frank was sweet and started to rub my back and I shooed him away. Ozzie was literally sitting right next to me and cocking his head side to side with every heave… Probably wondering what the heck I was doing! Today I have a busy day at work and came prepared with crackers stuffed in my pockets. I learned my lesson last night!

Stats from the doc:
Little One’s Heart rate: 154 – it’s always so cool to hear it!
Blood pressure: 110/70
Weight gain: NONE! We'll see how long this lasts!

Our next appointment is with Dr. Purdue on October 14. It’s a good that we rotate between the docs and our nurse practitioner. I’m sure Frank’s dying to ask about “helping” with the delivery. We all know he’s got a pretty good track record delivering babies!

The following week we’ll be scheduled for our 18 week ultrasound and we’ll be able to take a peek at the baby’s gender. I can’t wait! It already looks like a little baby now, but from what I’ve heard, it gets even better the later in the pregnancy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Twelve Weeks

The most dramatic development this week: reflexes. Your baby's fingers will soon begin to open and close, his toes will curl, his eye muscles will clench, and his mouth will make sucking movements. In fact, if you prod your abdomen, your baby will squirm in response, although you won't be able to feel it. His intestines, which have grown so fast that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into his abdominal cavity about now, and his kidneys will begin excreting urine into his bladder.Meanwhile, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly, and in your baby's brain, synapses are forming furiously. His face looks unquestionably human: His eyes have moved from the sides to the front of his head, and his ears are right where they should be. From crown to rump, your baby-to-be is just over 2 inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce.

Today I'm battling fatigue. I have a very busy day at work today and here I am fighting to stay awake. I'm happy to report the nausea is getting better. It's coming in waves - instead of constant sickness. But when it comes, it hits full force. I am still taking the Zofran when needed. I'm just waiting for the second trimester energy to kick in. I still have another week before I'm officially in my second trimester.

We see the nurse practitioner on Monday for our monthly check in. I'm sure they'll take my weight, blood pressure and discuss all the results from the blood work and tests.

Off to the beach ball for work! It's a big party they have once a year on the beach down in Long Branch at a really swanky resort. We get a steel on the price, and it's so much fun. I'm just praying the weather holds off. Our department puts it all together - so it's a lot of work. Perfect for a day when I can hardly keep my eyes open! I swear all these side effects are just training for when the baby comes and we have to function on an hour's sleep. I just have to keep thinking- I'm in training, I'm in training...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First Trimester Screening

So we went in for our first trimester ultrasound screening on Monday and everything looks a-okay. The ultrasound tech was really great, very sweet and explained everything we were seeing. She immediately measured the back of the neck, which came in at a respectable 1.21mm. Anything over 3mm is questionable. We’re still waiting for the blood work to come back, but all signs point towards good news. Frank and I both let out a huge sigh of relief when the tech said the measurements were normal.

During the scan, the baby was moving all over the place. But the tech was able to get what she needed. She even nudged the baby by jigling her scanner to see if it would move into a more favorable position.

The baby’s heart beat was healthy 154bpm – a little slower than our first reading, but still within the healthy range. Surprise to us the baby is measuring a week a head of schedule. The doc might change my due date, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I’m also happy to report I did not gain a pound! Not surprising since I’ve been so sick and haven’t been eating all that much.

It was so exciting to see the baby this time and it actually looked like a little baby! Our first ultrasound was at 8 weeks and the baby sort of looked like a gummy bear. This time we could clearly see a profile, arms, legs and a spine! We even saw the hemispheres of the brain – which was so cool!

I’ll never get used to actually seeing our little baby on the ultrasound screen. Knowing it’s inside of me – moving and wiggling around. It’ll become much more of a reality when I start feeling the baby move. Supposedly you’re not supposed to feel it until 20+ weeks, but I’ve been feeling flutters and all sorts of strange things. Could be the baby, but could be gas! Who knows for sure!

We see our nurse practitioner Debbie on Monday. Looking forward to getting the results of all that lab work we’ve had done. Wish us luck!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Eleven Weeks

Your baby, just over 1 1/2 inches long and about the size of a fig, is now almost fully formed. Her hands will soon open and close into fists, tiny tooth buds are beginning to appear under her gums, and some of her bones are beginning to harden.She's already busy kicking and stretching, and her tiny movements are so effortless they look like water ballet. These movements will become more frequent as her body grows and becomes more developed and functional. You won't feel your baby's acrobatics for another month or two — nor will you notice the hiccupping that may be happening now that her diaphragm is forming.

I’m so glad that I’m almost done with this awful first trimester. I know it only gets worse in the last few months, but this has been tough. The constant nausea has been a huge challenge and then just the past few days, lets just say things haven’t been moving as well I we’d like. When you haven’t gone in almost a week, you get desperate. I called out all the troops, self medicated, and ate way more fiber than I though humanly possible. I think constipation is a crewel joke Mother Nature plays on us pregnant women – like this is part of our training for pushing the baby out. Not funny. Not funny at all. In “Belly Laughs” Jenny McCarthy describes this lovely side effect of pregnancy as “Passing Stonehenge” and that is exactly what it was like. Glad to report things are clear sailing for now. And I have learned my lesson about eating the right types of foods to avoid this predicament again.

We head in for our first trimester screening on Monday at Saint Barnabas. I always like reassurance that things are going well and the little baby is growing on schedule. And of course we all hope the baby’s measurements are well within the normal range. It’ll be nice too to see the hospital and check out the possibilities for delivering there. We can decide between Overlook and Saint Barnabas. Overlook is much smaller and often that plays a huge role in patient care, but Saint Barnabas has a much better PICU and recently renovated their L&D floor. It’ll be a tough one – especially since I’ve worked in and out of hospitals for almost 10 years. I can be quite picky and I know exactly what to look for!

Did you know Frank and I were featured in JFK Medical Center’s promotional video? I being the young and cute PR assistant was asked if I would stand in as the new mom and they asked Frank to be the proud new papa. It was so funny. I think we were barely 22/23. I went out and bought the frilliest-old lady night gown I could find and hopped up into the bed with our fake baby. We had so much fun. And I really don’t think we were dating all that long – so Frank was a real trouper for going a long with it. I wish we had a copy of that video! And we can compare the fiction to the real life!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ten Weeks

Ten Weeks – a quarter of the way to the finish line!

Though he's barely the size of a kumquat — a little over an inch or so long, crown to bottom — and weighs less than a quarter of an ounce, your baby has now completed the most critical portion of his development. This is the beginning of the so-called fetal period, a time when the tissues and organs in his body rapidly grow and mature.He's swallowing fluid and kicking up a storm. Vital organs — including his kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver (now making red blood cells in place of the disappearing yolk sac) — are in place and starting to function, though they'll continue to develop throughout your pregnancy.If you could take a peek inside your womb, you'd spot minute details, like tiny nails forming on fingers and toes (no more webbing) and peach-fuzz hair beginning to grow on tender skin.In other developments: Your baby's limbs can bend now. His hands are flexed at the wrist and meet over his heart, and his feet may be long enough to meet in front of his body. The outline of his spine is clearly visible through translucent skin, and spinal nerves are beginning to stretch out from his spinal cord. Your baby's forehead temporarily bulges with his developing brain and sits very high on his head, which measures half the length of his body. From crown to rump, he's about 1 1/4 inches long. In the coming weeks, your baby will again double in size — to nearly 3 inches.

Feeling pretty good these days. I have my good days and bad days, but thankfully I’ve been feeling better most of the time. The medicine has really helped, I only take it if I know the nausea is going to get bad. I’m just really tired. Like, the hit by a truck, kind of tired. But I’ve been learning to rest when I can.

I had to take my car in for service this morning and was lucky enough to catch the last shuttle service back to work. I did have to wait to be dropped off third, but it was an entertaining ride! Our driver, Dominick is a sweet old Italian guy. He said "bada bing" about a hundred times. I couldn't help but laugh. Once we dropped off the last passenger, I told him I was a little car sick cause I was pregnant then he asks me to do him a favor... if the baby's a boy - name it Dominick - after him! I told him it was a possibility because my husband’s middle name is Dominick. He just smiled and wished me luck.