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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Must Have Baby Items

Ok, I have to admit that I have started a baby registry… ok two… One at Target and one at Baby’s R Us. I just feel so overwhelmed at the multitude of products available and it’ll take me forever to decide what we need vs what we want. Not to mention reading product reviews and research… I’m in over my head. I’d really like to keep items to a minimum if we can. I know our parents didn’t have half the things we did and we turned out just fine!

I’d like to ask you, my dearest friends and family – what are the must have items you found priceless when bringing home your new baby?

Frank to the Rescue

I woke up feeling like my old self again, only to be hit by the nausea and fatigue as soon as I got out of the shower. By the time I got to work, I could barely keep my eyes open. I’m trying to find that ideal time during the day to actually be productive… is it first thing in the morning? Nope – once the nausea hits, it’s over. What about early afternoon? Nope – once 1 p.m. comes around, my eyes start to close like clock work. How about when I get home from work? Nope – it seems that my nausea is at its worst in the late afternoon/evening. So I try to eat something then crash on the couch. I feel like I haven’t done a thing the past few weeks… I feel so useless…

One person that has been stepping up his game is my darling husband, Frank. He’s been so great! He goes grocery shopping every week. And I really think he enjoys picking out special things for me to eat. Last night he brought home pregnancy tea… Though, I’m not a big tea drinker, I might have to give this a try just because he thought of me. I had mentioned once during one of my nausea induced cravings that Sunny Delight might be nice to have. He has since bought, I’m not kidding, four gallons. He’s stocked me up on ginger snaps, cheese and crackers, and to-go packs of peanut butter so I can take it to work… I imagine he goes down every isle. What a trooper.

He does the dishes without me asking for his help. He helps feed Ozzie and takes him out. And he’s even crossed the proverbial wall that most husbands never seem to attempt… he puts his dirty dishes in the dishwasher rather than piling them in the sink. Wow… really! He surprises me everyday with his unending support.

I love you Frank!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nine Weeks

Your new resident is nearly an inch long — about the size of a grape — and weighs just a fraction of an ounce. She's starting to look more and more human. Her essential body parts are accounted for, though they'll go through plenty of fine-tuning in the coming months. Other changes abound: Your baby's heart finishes dividing into four chambers, and the valves start to form — as do her tiny teeth. The embryonic "tail" is completely gone. Your baby's organs, muscles, and nerves are kicking into gear. The external sex organs are there but won't be distinguishable as male or female for another few weeks. Her eyes are fully formed, but her eyelids are fused shut and won't open until 27 weeks. She has tiny earlobes, and her mouth, nose, and nostrils are more distinct. The placenta is developed enough now to take over most of the critical job of producing hormones. Now that your baby's basic physiology is in place, she's poised for rapid weight gain.

Wow! I can’t believe I’m nine weeks already.

I had to take the dreaded glucose screening this morning. It really wasn’t that bad. Had to fast until 9 a.m. then had to drink a very sweet orange liquid. It tasted like a melted orange flavored ice pop. This will give the docs an idea how my body processes sugar. I’ll have to take another one between week 24 and 28. These tests will determine if I have gestational diabetes. Let’s hope I’m in the clear for now!

Feeling good today, just tired. The wonder drug Zolfran continues to work its magic. I really enjoyed a bagel this morning for the first time in weeks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First Ultra Sound - 8 Weeks

Here's our first ultra sound. The baby measured on track with our March 26 due date at 8 weeks 4 days. I asked the tech if she was sure it was only one, she said yes. With so many twins in my family - I just had to be sure.
It even gave us a wave... well what looked like a wave.
The heart beat was a strong 174 beats per minute and all of the fluid levels look good.
It's hard to imagine that there is a little person inside me with a beating heart and it's moving around. This first ultrasound definitely made things more real.
I have my first gestational diabetes screening tomorrow - have to go into the doc's office and down a very sugary drink. Then they messure my glucose levels... let's hope all goes well with that.

We're going in for another ultrasound/screening test some time between week 11 and 13. It's a the first trimester prenatal screening for down syndrome and other chromosonal abnormalities. They measure the fold of skin on the back of the neck, along with blood work to determine your risk factors. We're definitely doing it. It's better for us to have piece of mind that the baby is healthy or if we need time to prepare.

Love Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

This past week love came in two very distinct forms - food and manual labor!

The first – was in a surprise New Orleans Kings Cake sent by my dear step-mom Susan and my Dad. Susan born and raised in New Orleans pulled a few strings and ordered me the Mardis Gras treat and had it sent to my office. I had casually asked them when they’re available and got a reply that one was already in the mail from Hadley’s, New Orleans’s most famous bakery.

The most fun about a Kings Cake is that there is a little plastic baby baked in side and who ever gets the baby in their piece gets to host the party for next year! Growing up and spending many summers in New Orleans, I came to appreciate the culture, heritage and the Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez lifestyle.

Thanks Dad and Susan for bringing a little bit of New Orleans back to this Jersey Girl.

The second out pouring came from my mom who knew I was confined to my couch and that my house can easily become over run with pet hair with two cats and a dog and a husband. She promptly scheduled a cleaning crew to come in and clean my house from top to bottom. They wonderful ladies came on Sunday and spent five hours cleaning while mom and I shopped. My house has never smelt this clean... even with my super hero preggo nose!

Frank thought they did an amazing job and suggested that we have them back in a few months – I’m all for it!

Thanks mom for always knowing exactly how to make me feel better. As you’ve told me many times, a clean house is a healthy house.

The Magic Little Pill Called Zofran

It even sounds magical… ZOFRAN… All hail ZOFRAN…

My lovely nurse practitioner Debbie, felt compassion and empathy when I told her of my 24/7 non-stop urge to vomit. She prescribed Zofran - a little pill that has magically taken away most of my nausea and vomiting.

Ten minutes after I took the first pill I found instant relief. I haven’t vomited in days. I feel like my old self again. And most importantly, I found my smile again. I was walking into work yesterday, smiling… and realized that I hadn’t smiled in weeks! People often tell me that I always smile, and I always say – why not! I work in a pediatric rehabilitation hospital and a friendly smile sure goes a long way – for the patients, parents and even my coworkers.

I still fill like I’ve been hit by a truck and can hardly make it up the stairs without needing to take a break… but getting rid of this nausea and changed everything. I can actually work, eat, and sleep through the night. Well without the three or four trips to the potty… But I’m not startled awake with dry heaves.

I’m so thankful that our insurance covers this wonder drug. Zofran is prescribed to cancer patients on chemo therapy and for post op recovery. It cost… get this… $750 for a SEVEN day supply! Holey cow! I was worried that the insurance would cut us off at one point, so I called to be sure future prescriptions are still covered so I don’t have to ration my supplies. We are very privileged to have such great coverage.

Working in the medical field and seeing insurance companies continually reject much needed therapy or wheelchairs for children is something that will always infuriate me.

All hail ZOFRAN and dill pickle potato chips here I come!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We’re telling the world!

After a very successful doctor’s appointment yesterday we are telling the world we’re pregnant. Frank was a little hesitant, but I figure… why not! Everything looks fine, the doc said it’s up to us, and we all know I can’t keep a secret if my life depended on it.

They did an ultrasound and everything looks good. We heard the heart beat and the little one was moving around and even looked like it was waving! The baby’s heart rate was a healthy 174 BPM and measured exactly 8 weeks, 4 days. My blood pressure was a respectable 110/70 – not bad!

All signs are a go!

I have to go in for a few screening tests, gestational diabetes and a special ultrasound around the 11th week. These are all normal tests.

We couldn’t be happier.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eight Weeks

New this week: Webbed fingers and toes are poking out from your baby's hands and feet, his eyelids practically cover his eyes, breathing tubes extend from his throat to the branches of his developing lungs, and his "tail" is just about gone. In his brain, nerve cells are branching out to connect with one another, forming primitive neural pathways. You may be daydreaming about your baby as one sex or the other, but the external genitals still haven't developed enough to reveal whether you're having a boy or a girl. Either way, your baby — about the size of a kidney bean — is constantly moving and shifting, though you still can't feel it.

I marked the occasion by tossing my breakfast promptly after brushing my teeth… ah the joys of the first trimester.

We're gearing up for the doctor's appointment on Monday when we get to see our little kidney bean.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Super Schnoz

Ok – I have what they call pregnancy nose. It’s a new superhero sense of smell you get when you’re pregnant. I’ve heard people mention how a pregnant woman’s sense of smell increases or becomes more sensitive, but I had no idea what they truly meant until I received my special powers.

I can smell everything – and it’s not just the normal waft of odor, it’s intense. I can smell a pickle a mile away. I can smell the varnish on new office furniture. I can smell what my husband had for lunch when he kisses me hello at the end of the day.

This superhero sense of smell can be detrimental to one’s queasy stomach. I went to feed Ozzie his dog food we’ve been feeding him since he was a puppy. And I got one whiff, and that sent me running for the bathroom. On the scale of putrid aroma for pet food, dry dog food ranks pretty low. Now don’t even ask me to open a can of wet cat food – I can’t even think about what that would smell like to me.

My house smelled putrid – to me anyway. I’m sure it was fine. Clean, spick and span – but to me, it smelled of dirty socks and kitty litter. Frank went out and bought a scented air filter to put in our central air system. Who knew something like that even existed!? Well, he got three scents and the first one he put in was “tropical.” Yes, it’s definitely tropical – my house now smells like a tanning salon. Guess it’s better than dirty socks and kitty litter.

Are there any moms that have had the same superhero gift? Or another they'd like to share? Please feel free to leave comments.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Help Arrives

When my wonderful parents and in-laws asked how they could help me feel better… they jumped at the chance to help. My mom made home made soup and brought it over that day! She makes the best soups I have ever had! We call her the soup mama and think she should open up a store right next to the Soup Man… She’ll give him a run for his money!

Frank’s parents have gone above and beyond helping us. I have literally been coming home from work and just collapsing on the couch. I haven’t done a stitch of house work and I told them my house just reeked (Yes, I have a superwoman nose – more on that later) and here they come with cleaning supplies and cleaned it from top to bottom. Frank’s dad trimmed some bushes outside – not sure how that makes me feel better, but hey – it’s done! That’s good enough for me J

Frank’s mom did laundry and they both cooked us two meals so far this week.

Tonight we’re celebrating my brother’s girlfriend’s birthday and my mom mad me a special pasta salad… with all my faves. It’s nice to feel special once in a while. I just hope I can keep that wonderful pasta salad down. We’ll see how that goes.
We are truly blessed to have such wonderful parents who have all been really supportive. And it’s only the beginning! Let’s hope my second trimester goes a bit smoother.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

I just puked into my garbage can under my desk at work. Now my office smells like puke… air freshener in the office is a MUST!

I don’t think there’s anything more humiliating than pausing in mid-sentence trying to keep the vomit from creeping up your throat… while the person you’re talking to looks at you like, “what’s a matter with you?” Or if they know you’re the queen of vomit, they are hoping to god you puke in the other direction while they run for the nearest exit.

This time I’m so glad I was alone. No one to witness my most recent up-heavel.

I thought I was doing everything right today. Granted, the smell Ozzie’s dry dog food sent me running for the kitchen sink where I had a great ab work out… I then dutifully ate toast with peanut butter and headed off to work. I had a snack, then an early lunch with lots of protein. Come 3 p.m. I was feeling a bit pukey and thought I’d take some emetril, recommended by the doc to help ease nausea. Well – that was it. Once the medicine went down, it came right back up with my lunch - now securely triple bagged waiting for the clean up crew tonight in the office. I wonder what they’re going to think!

Too much drinking in the office perhaps? Nah… let’s let them wonder for a while.

The bathroom’s about fifteen steps, but this one was a total surprise. Well, I guess next time I’ll try taking the medicine in the bathroom with the toilet within close aim.

I actually feel a little better now that I’ve cleaned everything out.

Gross, I know. But what else can I do? I have to go with the flow…

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Causiously Feeling Better

I’m almost afraid to admit I actually feel better. I’m afraid because last time I told people I was feeling better I immediately got sick again, and that time it got even worse! So, I cautiously inform you that I’m feeling better today, and am keeping the thought in my head that at any moment I could in fact get sick again… but praying that this will last at least a few days. I want my life back, I want some energy, I want to feel like myself again.

I’m taking advantage of my new found settled stomach to eat some well balanced meals: today, peanut butter toast breakfast, cheese and crackers for a snack, London broil for lunch. See the trend… protein! It’s working for me.

The cafeteria where I work actually makes really good food. I’ve worked at many hospitals, and nothing they served could even compare with the cuisine that CSH in Mountainside serves everyday. I often don’t cook dinner during the week because Frank’s working and it really doesn’t make sense to cook just for me. So I have a nice meal for lunch at work and then snack at home or have a frozen dinner. Sometimes I even bring home food from the cafeteria for Frank – he loves it too!

Today is national Miracle Treat Day at Dairy Queen. Buy a blizzard and all the proceeds go to Children’s Miracle Network, which CSH is a beneficiary of. Hey – all the more reason to enjoy a frosty, creamy, sweet treat. I have a date with LeeAnn, my neighbor, and her two kids. If I’m feeling up to it by the end of the day. We’ll see.

Seven Weeks

The big news this week: Hands and feet are emerging from developing arms and legs — although they look more like paddles at this point than the tiny, pudgy extremities you're daydreaming about holding and tickling. Technically, your baby is still considered an embryo and has something of a small tail, which is an extension of her tailbone. The tail will disappear within a few weeks, but that's the only thing getting smaller. Your baby has doubled in size since last week and now measures half an inch long, about the size of a blueberry.

Wow – seven weeks already. Sometimes it seems like it’s flown by, but on other days time seems like it’s dragging. I’ve been feeling very green with nausea. But I think I’ve found the key – protein. Having a little protein with my snacks helps stave of the nausea for a while anyway. You know you read all these things – small meals, bland food, ginger ale - yada yada yada. You never know what’s going to work for you until you try it all.

Frank’s reading his book, “Pregnancy Sucks for Men!” I couldn’t be more proud. I think that’s what finally helped him realize how miserable I am and how much I need him. I think he’s finding it useful into understanding the mysterious pregnant woman and his care taker mentality has kicked in. The book is written by a dad who has been through it all with his pregnant wife and is quite entertaining.

Frank has been wonderful. He’s been doing the dishes and grocery shopping. I can’t even think about stomaching the sights and smells in a grocery store. Even the smell of our own fridge gets me sick. He gets up when I get home from work to help me with dinner or feed the dog. Then he goes back to sleep only to get up at midnight for work.

We see the nurse practitioner and have an ultra sound on August 18 - in about ten days. It will be so nice to actually see what’s been making me so sick and proof that there’s a little one growing inside me. I took the whole day off so Frank and I can spend the day together.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Unexpected

I’m not as emotional as I thought I would be. Haven’t cried a drop yet. But that might change.

I get the hick ups a lot more… and unfortunately, they usually induce my gag reflex. So it goes something like this… hick up-gag… hick up-gag… and so on. It’s not fun.

I’m burping way more than I used to.

Everything smells horrid. I had heard about smell aversions, but I never thought it would happen to me. Even little Ozzie smells awful, though he’s probably way past due for a bath. I’m researching personal air fresheners I can take with me everywhere. I’m just glad I’m not commuting on NJ Transit. Even when I wasn’t pregnant, there were smells on that train that I have not forgotten.

Time seems to be creeping by. I do everything in my power to get through a day and I wake up and it’s the same thing, kind of like ground hog’s day. I can only imagine once this nausea subsides, I’ll have a whole new symptom that will take over my life.

I thought I would really enjoy pregnancy. Boy was I mistaken. Hopefully things will change. Once we actually see who’s in there making me so sick.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Suck it Up!

Well, I’m still sick. Morning sickness yes, but let’s not forget afternoon, evening and all night long sickness. I called out of work on Monday and am trying to tough it out today. I am definitely not a trooper when it comes to being sick and trying to work. The first thing I did when I got up in my office this morning was dry heave into my trash can…

What sets me off? Smells mostly. Everything smells horrid. My office smells like paint – made me hurl.

I had a meeting today with a very nice woman who had just come in from out side and she smelled. Smelled like she had just been out side – not major BO, but enough. And that made me sick.

Right now I’m getting a waft of odor coming from the bathroom at work. Reminder to self, bring in air freshener ASAP! I’m literally holding my nose.

I called the doctor and asked what I could do to stop this horrible vomiting and nausea. She suggested I try emetrol. It’s a liquid over the counter anti nausea med for kids. My boss Jeannie, pediatric nurse, said she used to give it to kids who were puking in the hospital. I picked it up at lunch time today and choked it down. Seemed to help enough for me to have half a chicken wrap and take my vitamin. But I can feel the nausea creeping back.

Doc also said to sip coke and eat small, frequent meals of bland food. I’m just trying to eat things that don’t make me gag at the mere thought or smell. When the nurse was talking about foods I should avoid, I started getting sick with her just mentioning fried foods…
Will this ever end?

My mom was so sweet to bring over chicken soup last night. She was sick for six months when she was pregnant with me – I pray that this ends soon, if not by the end of my 12th week.

I’ve noticed some family have stopped asking how I’m feeling. I guess they don’t want to hear me complain. But in their defense, I have no right to complain and I’m sure it gets old hearing me go on and on. I got myself into this mess. But it just plain sucks!

In the wise words of my friend LeAnn, I need to “suck it up”… stop complaining and just go with it.

I’ll try…

Friday, August 1, 2008

Jello - Straight Up Please

I spoke too soon, my nausea is back in full swing. I had to catch myself in mid-sentence this morning as to not hurl all over my coworker’s desk…

I’m sick of ginger ale. I’m sick of crackers. I’m just plain sick. And no one seems to have an ounce of sympathy for me! But, I don’t blame them.

My mom was very sick when she was pregnant with me – she said for at least 6 months she was vomiting non-stop. I hope to god this passes in a few weeks. Mom said she used to drink straight Jello. You know the liquid stuff before you put it in the fridge to chill. Right now, I might give that a try! I’m desperate! Ok, may be not, but Jello does sound appealing. Maybe I’ll make some with Zach this weekend.

I have a lunch date for work. I’m not sure how I’m going to feel. It’s at a very nice Italian restaurant that I’ve been to many times. I’ll start out with bread and go from there. I’ll just be sure to get a seat nearest to the bathroom.