29 weeks and 33 years

Last Saturday was the baby shower. My best friend put together such a wonderful event, with lovely decorations and MIL cooked such a delicious spread for us. I met new in-laws I hadn’t met before and got to reconnect with friends we see too rarely. It was overwhelming with so many people, but it was a good day. I felt so loved.

The Sunday after was my birthday, and Sunday also marked 29 weeks pregnant with my little guy. It’s going by so quickly, the weeks kind of fly by these days. I was more excited about hitting 29 weeks than I was about my birthday. I’ve been in such a weird place emotionally lately. I asked that no one acknowledge my birthday if possible. Of course, it didn’t work and I still got a gift from my mother-in-law and went to see a movie (Guardians of the Galaxy, very fun) and made a cake with my husband. I ended up returning the gift, because my mother-in-law always buys things that are very thoughtful, but are not my style at all. I really wish she’d just get me gift cards, but I guess part of the fun of giving someone a gift is picking it out for them. I got a pink nightgown that was too small and that isn’t my style besides, so I returned it and got some sweet little baby things. All I can focus on lately is preparing for baby, which is part of why I didn’t want my birthday acknowledged. If I’d had my way entirely, the money we spent on cake mix and the movie would have gone into my maternity leave fund. All I want these days is more time at home after baby arrives. I just want more time with my baby.  12 weeks is too little to leave him with someone who isn’t me, and those 12 weeks aren’t even guaranteed… I might have as little as 8 if we can’t afford me to be out of work for that long.

Don’t get me started on how the US is the only civilized country that doesn’t guarantee any sort of paid leave for new parents. I don’t even get FMLA because I’m a contractor, so I might not have a job to go back to at all.

Tomorrow we’re going to the mountains for a sort of “college roommate reunion” for my husband. The guys all try to do this once every year or two, and no one’s gotten married this year (and thus no excuse to gather somewhere), so they decided to rent a house in the mountains for the weekend. I’m looking forward to it, but also dreading it. I’m so tired lately, and I know I won’t be able to get away with being solitary and sleepy all weekend. Sunday will be 30 weeks. 10ish more weeks of waiting for my little guy. See? It’s all I can think about these days.

I’ve been having hiccups lately. Like, not me, but the little guy. I can feel them and it’s so funny. They just feel like tiny little thumps, not moving around, very rhythmic. Bump… bump… bump… for about a minute and then they stop.

When I returned the gift from my mother-in-law, I used the store credit to buy a little footed sleeper and a little set with a onesie, pants and a fleece zip up (I wanted a baby coat, but the stores don’t start carrying winter things for another little while!) I realized it was the first clothing items that I’d gotten for him. I didn’t register for clothes and other people got us some things, but we have been so frugal that we hadn’t bought any yet. The sleeper is blue and white striped with monster feet and a little monster on the butt. It’s so little (and also so big… I can’t believe he’ll get that big inside me!)

Okay. Time to go to work. Long days this week, preparing for being out of work tomorrow. I love the mountains.

Size of babe: My little guy weighs about 2.5lbs this week and is around 15 inches long from head to foot. So little.

Maternity Clothes: How is it that I’m already outgrowing the maternity clothes I bought two weeks ago? My skirts are already getting tighter!

Nursery: Nothing additional done yet, but we did get a lovely pennant banner from the baby shower to hang in his room and a framed picture of a spaceship that says “Dream big, little one”. It’s unbelievably sweet.

Sleep: I can’t settle down at night these days. I’ll go to bed at 1am or 3am because I can’t get my mind to slow down. Then I work all day and I come home exhausted, and I can’t sleep again that night. It’s wearing on me, and it’s been making my emotional state a little more … um… volatile, I guess. I’ll cry over anything lately.

What I miss: This week? I miss being able to have a drink or two. I didn’t drink for almost a year before I got pregnant anyway, so it’s not like I gave it up just for baby. But I keep thinking about how I love a good summer sangria. Red wine, orange juice, maybe pineapple juice, something fizzy, some fruit. So yum.

Best moment this week: The baby shower. I felt so loved and we got so many nice things. I can’t believe so many people care about us and are so excited about little Baby S.

Worst moment this week: Yesterday, when I started thinking about how much I miss my mother (it’s doubly hard because we’ve been seeing my mother-in-law so much more often recently and I’ve been feeling so resentful toward her for no reason except that I don’t ever get to see my own mom…) I hate sharing this with everyone except my own mom. It feels so lonely. I’m glad she can come visit after baby is born, but I wish I could be excited about kicks and getting all round and going baby shopping with her.

Looking forward to: A relaxing mountain weekend. Hopefully relaxing, anyway. There will be so many people there, so this introvert is also half-dreading it!

Cravings: Nothing big. Sangria. Still watermelon, but I’ve calmed down on eating it every day. :)

Symptoms: Back pain. Incredible lower back pain, just above my butt. It’s a sharp, stabbing, unexpected pain that comes when I least expect it. I’ll be fine and then I move a certain way and it’s so painful that I can’t move or breathe or think and I have to straighten my body out so it stops hurting. I think it’s probably related to the other pelvic pain I’m dealing with.

28 weeks

I felt pretty today for the first time in, oh, 6 months or so. I spent most of the day just relaxing, reclining on the couch, taking a nap, playing with my phone… and I realized that all my reclining has made it so I have ankles again! I can actually see the bones in my ankles! I’m sure they’ll swell right back up tomorrow while I’m at work, but for now, I have distinct calf-ankle-foot separation and it’s lovely. I went to the grocery store tonight, too, and walked around buying things for lunches this week and at one point, I was stopped in the prune section (don’t judge, I need the help sometimes) rubbing my tummy because babes was moving around, and I realized that I look legitimately pregnant. It was the first time that I actually felt good about my new shape, round and lovely and happy.

I don’t know how long this feeling will last, but hopefully it goes on for a bit. I miss liking the way my body looks. I can’t like the way it moves lately either… I have such awful pelvic pain most days and for the past few days I’ve also been having some bad lower back pain, too. I find that I have a hard time doing much moving around at all. Anything where I’m not moving my legs in perfect tandem hurts my pelvis so much.

This week I noticed that baby is big enough that I can feel him even when he’s not moving. Like, I can tell where he is by feeling my tummy from the outside. The uterus is harder than the rest of my organs (which are now all squished up inside my rib cage) so I’ve always been able to tell where that is, but I can only just now tell where he himself is hanging out. I’m still not sure if I’m feeling a head or a back or a butt, though. Maybe that will come in time, too.

Also starting this week… third trimester nausea. I heard this was a thing, but I never experienced it until yesterday. Out of nowhere, I just felt sick to my stomach last night. I could barely function, I was so nauseated. It happened again today, after I had my daily ration of watermelon. I ended up having to go lay in the bed and hope I didn’t barf. And now I feel slightly nauseated, but not incapacitated by it. I’m sure it’ll hit tomorrow too. I feel like this is my payback for not having morning sickness in the first trimester.

Size of babe: Just over 2lbs and just over a foot in length! Big enough that I can feel his little body with my hands over my tummy.

Maternity Clothes: I finally went to Old Navy and got a few things. The only caveat my husband gave was that they were not allowed to be black (since about 95% of my wardrobe is black and the other 5% is dark gray). So I got a gray skirt, a navy blue shirt, a pink shirt and a blue shirt… total came to around $40! I didn’t realize how stressful it had gotten, trying to fit into clothes that obviously didn’t fit me. When I wore my new shirt and it covered my whole tummy?? It was so comfortable!

Nursery: We finally went to Lowe’s and bought a ceiling fan for the room. It’s one without an overhead light, so we’ll have to get a lamp or two at some point, but probably not anytime soon. I wanted the fan, though, because the room gets a little stuffy and having a fan is recommended to prevent SIDS. We also got paint, but we haven’t started painting yet. We decided on Chromium, which is a very light gray. I know, gray for a baby’s room? But I think it’ll work out perfectly – he can choose his own colors for accessories someday and it’ll always look nice, and we are planning to add color with wall art and bedding.

Sleep: Lately I haven’t been sleeping well again. Or, I fall asleep okay, but I wake up so often it’s barely even worth it. I wake up when the dog makes noise, or when the husband turns over in his sleep (seriously, does he need to thrash around so much??) or when I turn over in my sleep, or when I need to pee, etc, etc. Tired a lot lately.

What I miss: What I really miss? Not worrying about money. I am worried all the time. Daycare costs are so high, but I can’t afford to stay home. I’ve been working overtime (thank goodness it’s an option right now, because with my job I never know if I’ll even be working tomorrow, much less a full 40 hours) the past two weeks, even though I’ve been so tired. Hopefully I’ll have overtime this week again. We have very little in savings because unexpected expenses keep coming up. Everything would be fine in our day-to-day if we didn’t have to plan for me to be out of work and for another ~$1400/month bill for daycare after that. I don’t know how people do it, honestly, and I worry all the time. I wish with all my heart I’d never gone to law school. I don’t make more money than I would otherwise, I have no job security and I have $360,000 in school loans. If I could go back in time…

Best moment this week: Feeling pretty today. :)

Worst moment this week: Feeling sick today. :(

Looking forward to: Seeing my best friend on Saturday!! She is throwing a baby shower for me with my mother-in-law, so she’ll be in town for the day! I am not really looking forward to the shower (I’m worried about having to dodge grabby hands trying to touch my tummy, worried about meeting random in-laws I haven’t met before, worried about being social if I’m feeling nauseated again, and I hate opening gifts in front of people, etc.) but I am looking forward to seeing her!

Cravings: Still watermelon! I could (and usually do) eat it every day!

Symptoms: The newest one is just the nausea. The worst one is the SPD pain (where the front part of your pelvis moves too much and causes incredible pain like my entire body is splitting in two and my legs don’t work right) and the back pain. The funniest one is the snoring – I wake myself up a few times every night with my snoring now.

27 weeks

I keep thinking about how this baby will very likely be our only child and how this pregnancy is going by so quickly. It’s the perfect example of the concept “the days are long but the years are short”. Every day lasts a long time, and the bad parts (the heartburn, rib pain, etc) seem to go on forever, but… it feels like just yesterday that I was just finding out and now here we are ~13 weeks away from meeting this little guy.

It’s a weird feeling. I don’t exactly love being pregnant, but there’s a part of me that does. Right now, this little guy is mine. He’s all mine. Intellectually speaking, I know I share him with my husband and with our families, but right now, with him inside me, he’s all mine. And I’m jealously guarding that feeling. I love that his kicks are mine and that I am the only one who can nurture him and I’m the only one who can feel his tumbles and rolls. I know his habits. I know that he likes to get kicky when I eat watermelon, and that he’s especially active very early in the morning. I’m worried that I’ll forget what it’s like to feel him move around in there. As much as I want to meet him, I don’t want to have to share him.

I had friends from out of town visiting this weekend. Their son is 2.5 years old and I was talking to them about different aspects of pregnancy, and they had already forgotten so many parts of it. I guess the memories of the past tend to fade when you spend every day making new ones. I’m worried that I’ll forget these lovely things and it makes me a little sad. Every first is also probably a last.

I want to remember everything, but I’m so bad about writing it down. And pictures? Forget about it. Today, my friend took photos of us before she left but other than those (in which I was seated and wearing pajama pants), there’s only one other photo of me pregnant, and you can’t really even tell. I need to get better about documenting this, so I can remember later how it felt to carry our baby inside me.

Size of babe: Depending on the site, baby is somewhere around 2lbs and is around 14 inches long and would have a 90% chance of survival if born today! (But I’d like him to stay in there for at least another 10 weeks!)

Maternity Clothes: The skirt I sewed is already too small. And all of my stretchy (non-maternity) shirts are finally too small! So I’m going to check Old Navy and get some shirts to wear and maybe a skirt or two this week. My maternity jeans that were a lifesaver around 12 weeks are now getting too tight! I still feel like I look pudgy… like I’ve just sort of let myself go and gained some weight. But based on how things are fitting, I guess I have a pretty legitimate bump now!

Nursery: We haven’t painted or decorated yet. Since we had friends visiting, we decided to wait until they left to do anything to the room. We did get a crib as a gift from my in-laws, and this week I’ll probably work on getting that put together!

Sleep: Sleep has been hit or miss. Last weekend, it was the hottest week of the summer with regular temps in the mid- to high-90s… and our air conditioner broke. It took the tech a week to come out and fix it, and during that time, I spent a couple nights sleeping maybe 2-3 hours a night. It was awful. Then this weekend, I was up late with one friend and up early with the other. So it’s mostly external reasons, but I haven’t gotten much sleep lately. Oh! And babe is finally strong enough to wake me up with kicks! So twice this week, I’ve been woken up with early morning breakdance parties. I love it, but I’m sure I’ll reach a point where I just want to sleep instead!

What I miss: Beer. Husband and friends were drinking such delicious smelling (yes, I like to smell the beer) all weekend and I got kind of jealous! But I don’t drink even when I’m not pregnant, so craving beer so much is a little weird for me! I think it’s the difference between not drinking by choice and not drinking out of obligation. As soon as little one arrives, I’ll probably go right back to not craving beer or margaritas again!

Best moment this week: Getting to spend some time with friends. It’s hard being so far from my own network, and I know it’s a choice I made when I married my husband and moved away from my own friends and close to his. But I get so lonely sometimes, and it’s good to remember that I do have a support network of my own… they’re just scattered over the US and far away. Oh, and I passed my gestational diabetes test! The doctor called after my bloodwork came back and I was worried I’d failed it (she specifically said she would only call if it was bad news!) but she said that I just had slightly low iron and should take a supplement! I’m so glad, because I’m still craving Twix and watermelon like crazy.

Worst moment this week: When our air conditioner was broken. I was so sick last Sunday night and I must have slept only 2 hours. Then I worked a long day Monday (to avoid being home, in the heat) and came home to my husband vacuuming… in 95 degree heat. Our vacuum just pours out heat. I just started crying and went to sit in my car with the A/C on until I could calm down.

Looking forward to: My husband’s college roommate/friend reunion. Every few years, all the guys and their wives get together for a weekend or so. We haven’t had a big get-together in ages… So I’m pretty excited about seeing everyone, including several I haven’t seen since our wedding in 2012! We’re going to spend a weekend in the mountains a week after the baby shower and I can’t wait.

Cravings: Watermelon, every day! Little babe loves it too! He dances every time I have some.

Symptoms: A few things. Swelling still. It’s a little worse every day. I can make little divots in my ankles when I press them. I’m also having some rib pain every time I eat, which I think comes from everything being pushed up and out now that babe is getting so big. What else? I’ve had a spell or two of high blood pressure, but nothing worrisome. Just enough to feel uncomfortable. And the heartburn. It’s pretty bad. I get it from drinking water sometimes and even my prilosec doesn’t help some days.

 

In other news, I have an appointment at the local Crossfit for a functional fitness assessment tomorrow. I don’t think we can afford for me to attend, but I saw them at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and stopped to chat. I really wish I could be physically active again. I hate the psychological stress that comes with me not moving around enough. I sincerely believe that exercise keeps me from needing antidepressants and I’d like to be proactive about that instead of waiting until my mental state is so bad that I can’t snap out of it without meds. I don’t want to reach that point, and I think Crossfit really helps mentally, more so even than it helps physically. I miss being part of a community, too…

24 weeks

Hi baby!

Daddy and I still do not have a name for you. My favorite is Alexander but Daddy doesn’t like it for whatever reason. Daddy’s favorite is William, but I think it’s too boring. We do have a middle name for you, but we’re keeping it secret just in case we change our minds. At this rate, we might have to meet you and get to know you before we get you a name!

These past weeks you’ve really started rolling and poking me all the time. You get so excited when it’s time for me to eat, and I think you don’t like having your personal space restricted because you always jab and poke when I’m wearing anything with a tight waistband. I hold my tummy sometimes and talk to you in the mornings. I wish I could share this with your daddy, but just the same, I’m glad to have you all to myself for a while. You’re mine and I’m yours.

Love,
Mommy

Size of babe: About a foot long. If babe came today, he would have a chance of surviving and he’d be just over 1lb and look like a tiny, tiny perfect little baby.

Maternity Clothes: I finally sewed myself a skirt. Well, I sewed myself a skirt and tried it on… and it was huge and frumpy and ugly. So I cut and sewed a different skirt out of the first skirt. It’s a little tight around the knees because it’s a non-stretch fabric, but it’s comfortable and cute.

Nursery: We finally went and got paint chips. We’ve got them hanging on the wall, and we’re probably going to pick up paint today. We’re looking at neutral-to-blue grays and probably going to do any art and accessories in white and navy.

Sleep: Can you believe I actually slept through the night once this week!?? It was amazing. And last night, I only woke up once! I feel well rested for the first time in five months…

What I miss: Nothing right now. Maybe I’m finally hitting the second trimester stride, just in time for the third trimester to be looming over the horizon.

Best moment this week: Picking out paint colors and finally being able to imagine what things might look like when it all comes together.

Worst moment this week: It has to do with a crib mattress and cigarette smoke, but I don’t really want to talk about it. Let’s just say that, during this pregnancy I haven’t really had many sad-emotional moments, but damn do I have a hair trigger and hot temper these days.

Looking forward to: Oddly enough, I’m looking forward to the baby shower! I say “oddly enough” because I don’t generally like being the center of attention, and I know husband hates it even more. And because none of my friends can make it (other than my best friend who is throwing it for me with MIL’s help) and it’s going to be all husband’s friends and family… but I am anyway. We got a mock-up invitation today to approve before they get sent out, and my best friend did such a good job that it made me feel excited and so loved. I hope it goes well. :)

Cravings: Twix bars! I want one every day. I don’t have one every day, I just want one. Last night, husband went to the grocery store and got me brownie mix so I could try to sate that chocolate craving.

Symptoms: Oh, the swelling. My feet and ankles are swollen most of the time now. I don’t have full-blown cankles yet, but I’d bet they’re coming soon enough. And the hot temper. My one overarching pregnancy symptom so far has been uncontrollable anger. I try not to do anything that I know I’ll regret later when I’m more even-tempered, but I spend a lot of time just seething in fury these days.

22 weeks

Dear baby,

Something very special happened this week, baby. I fell in love with you.

I know, I know. “But,” you’re going to say, “I thought you loved me this whole time!” Well, not really. I definitely loved the idea of you, but it was still such an abstract idea that I couldn’t love you, not really. And I’m sure what I feel now is only a glimmer of what I’ll be feeling when I meet you. And that is only a glimmer of what I’ll feel as you grow and I get to know you.

Before, I felt protective of you. I wanted you to be okay, to live and grow and be healthy. Now? Well, I love you. I feel you moving more and more each day, getting stronger and just being silly in general, and I realized a few days ago that I love you.

I’m pretty sure you’re still an abstract thought to your daddy. We’re both watching me get nice and round, growing with you, but it probably won’t be “real” for daddy for a while. Even so, daddy felt his first kick last night. You were thumping me pretty well, and I told daddy just where to put his hand, and you gave him one good thump right in the middle of his palm. He looked pretty surprised and happy. Can’t wait until you’re jabbing him all the time, too.

Love,
Mommy

Size of babe: The size of a papaya, they say! I prefer to think he’s about the length of a regular sheet of paper… right around 11 inches!

Nursery: We’re still unpacking, and I think it’s time to start thinking about paint colors and curtains! We probably won’t worry with other things until we get actual furniture after the baby shower!

Sleep: I’ve started having some pubic symphysis pain (the very front of your pelvis isn’t a solid piece, it’s two bones held together with ligaments. During pregnancy, hormones make ligaments get looser, so those bones aren’t held together rigidly anymore, and it’s painful to walk sometimes) and sleeping on my side makes it worse. Unfortunately, I’m not supposed to sleep on my back (uterus puts weight on the large vein that brings blood from the legs back up, and can cause dizziness and difficulty breathing). So I’ve been trying to sleep with a pillow between my knees, but it’s so unwieldy! I usually wake up with pain these days.

What I miss: Sleeping through the night without pain!

Best moment this week: When the husband got to feel his first little thumps. I’ve been waiting for that since I found out I was pregnant. They were faint and small, so it probably feels to him the way it felt to me a few weeks ago… not really real yet. Soon, though, we”ll have bigger, stronger knees and elbows and feet and he’ll be able to feel all of that!

Worst moment this week: On Tuesday and Wednesday this little stinker of mine went into hiding. After a week of regular thumps and jabs, all of a sudden nothing. I’d woken up on my back that morning, and I thought maybe I’d harmed him. I called the nurse hotline and they said he was probably just hiding at the very bottom/back and I couldn’t feel him. I was so worried until Wednesday evening at work, when I felt tiny thumps and taps… just inside my butt. Yep, apparently you can feel them there, too.

Looking forward to: Picking out paint colors for the nursery! I’m thinking very light gray, and getting darker gray curtains, then having all the accents be navy blue and white!

Cravings: Watermelon! I’ve been craving watermelon like CRAZY! I can eat an entire huge container of it in one sitting at work. It probably looks crazy to everyone else, but it’s so good.

Symptoms: The swelling has begun. I was hoping I would escape this particular symptom, but no luck. Monday at work was so hot that my feet swelled up horribly. Tuesday and Wednesday were bad, too. As long as the temperature at work is decent, I’m okay, but it’s almost always far too warm. (It was in the 80’s inside the building!) It’s awful and so unattractive. Bah.

thanks, obama

Can we talk for a second about something serious?

I never post politically charged things. I don’t usually talk about things like this. But I have read so many bad things about it that I wanted to let people know that, for my family, the Affordable Care Act has been a lifesaver. A lifestarter, even.

Let’s start at the beginning.

I graduated from law school in October 2011. I went to a pretty good school, but the future was not exactly bright. This is how jobs work for students at large law schools: Your first job out of law school generally comes from the firm that you spent your 2L summer with… which is often the firm you spent your 1L summer with, as well. So in the spring of 1L year, you start interviewing and hopefully accepting job offers. If your 1L summer firm likes you, they’ll invite you back for 2L summer. Or you can find a different firm for 2L summer, and then if your 2L summer firm likes you, they’ll invite you to join as an associate after graduation. After the crash of the legal industry around 2008-2009, large firms stopped hiring summer law clerks. They started firing associates who had been there for years. Seasoned attorneys couldn’t get jobs, much less 1Ls. So I got a job as a research assistant both summers, and never spent time with a firm. By the time I graduated, business had picked up with firms enough that they started hiring 1L and 2Ls again… but my chance had already passed. They call us “the lost generation”.

So when I graduated, I came back home and got a job. Any job. I had gone to law school out of state, so I didn’t have any contacts here. I had no firm experience. So when I took a job, I took it despite the fact that it offered no job security and no benefits. None.

After I left law school, my health insurance from them went away. I have a heart condition that hadn’t been checked since 2004, and I just crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t die from it. I had been on several medications, but without health insurance, I couldn’t afford to see a doctor to get prescriptions renewed, and I certainly couldn’t afford the medicines. Not even the generics. So I self-weaned from them, without medical supervision, and tried not to get sick. This went on for over two years.

The plan when I got married in 2012 was to get added to my husband’s insurance. His company, however, said that our marriage wasn’t a “change in circumstances” so I couldn’t be added until open enrollment. I think they lied, but I digress. When open enrollment came around, we realized that it would cost us over $400/month additional to add me to my husband’s insurance, and that next to nothing would be covered. My heart condition wouldn’t be covered at all, because it’s preexisting. If, god forbid, we wanted to add maternity coverage, we would have to purchase an additional rider that would take my portion alone close to $1000/month. We wanted to start a family, and wouldn’t do it without health insurance. At this rate, we’d simply be childless forever.

So we declined to add me to his insurance. It just wasn’t worth it. I vowed to redouble my job search to find something, anything with benefits. In the meanwhile, I looked for standalone policies. Well, it turns out that in my state, it wasn’t even possible to purchase standalone maternity coverage. I could purchase a standalone plan that would cover next to nothing for around the same amount that I could have been added to my husband’s insurance, but there was no way possible to add maternity coverage. It simply wasn’t available.

So I thought maybe we would never have a child. Jobs are still scarce and by the time I did get a fabled firm job, I’d be pretty focused on work and wouldn’t exactly want to start a family at that time. And I was getting older and, realistically speaking, time was just running out. I mourned for a long time because of this, mourned for the kid I’d never have.

And then the Affordable Care Act marketplaces opened up. Obamacare. And I was skeptical, but I looked. I couldn’t even log on for the first month. I was worried the website would never work, and by the time I could even shop around, it would be too late and open enrollment would be over. I was worried about the expense, I was worried about everything, because up until this point, everything had gone wrong.

But this went right.

After a few rocky weeks, I was finally able to log into the site. I filled out all my information and it actually got processed. Then I got to look at plans.

I found a plan that would cover 80% of all costs, with primary care visits AND ob/gyn visits at no cost. Yes, I can visit my obstetrician for free, as often as I need to. My deductible is low enough that it’s not a deterrent. Prescriptions cost me $3 a month. And? Maternity care is automatically included. No searching desperately for maternity riders. All this for less than my husband’s employer-based insurance costs, with much, much better coverage.

My insurance coverage started up on January 1, 2014. I got pregnant around the end of January and we are expecting our son in October. Thanks, Obama.

I saw my heart doctor for the first time in a decade in February, and he assured me that I wasn’t going to die. Thanks, Obama.

I have doctor appointments every four weeks, to make sure my son is healthy and growing. The other day, we got a bill for a routine test that would have cost over $1000 without insurance. We paid $12. Thanks, Obama.

My job still doesn’t offer benefits, but I’m not desperately trying to leave anymore because it’s not a bad job and it allows the flexibility I’ll need to be there for my son. This little life growing inside me would never have happened, if not for Obamacare. I know people say bad things about it, and some lives may have been negatively impacted by it. But I think the overall impact is overwhelmingly good. My life has changed  because of Obamacare. It is infinitely better. And in about 19 weeks, I’ll get to meet the little person whose life has been possible because of Obamacare.

 

Thanks, Obama.

 

20ish weeks

Dear Baby,

We’re officially more than halfway done! This week mommy started feeling you wiggle around in there a bit. At least, I think that’s what’s going on in there… You like to have tiny dance parties late at night, after mommy eats dinner and when mommy’s falling asleep. You probably have dance parties all the time, but you’re still too small for me to feel unless I’m being very, very still. You especially like sweets and orange juice… I can usually get a few good thumps after I have those things! When I think I’m feeling you, it feels like little bubbles inside my lower tummy.

Daddy has said that when I’m still asleep in the mornings (he wakes up earlier than I do) I will rub my tummy in my sleep. You’re definitely making my tummy poke out enough that it’s one of my favorite things to do when I’m awake, too!

Love you,
Mommy

This week has been great! I’m so excited to be more than halfway done… even though another 20 weeks seems like such a long time. I hate waiting (but don’t get me wrong, I definitely don’t want him to come early!) We’ve started a registry, which was far more overwhelming than I thought it would be. It always sounds like fun… basically window shopping, right? But it’s stressful to have to decide what someone else might buy you, and then to go home and look at reviews and realize you’ve just registered for what amounts to a baby deathtrap. We’ve got the biggest things on the registry now, but still have to flesh it out with smaller things. I’m really hoping people choose from the registry, because we put so much thought into it and I don’t need hundreds of newborn onesies (that he might outgrow before he even wears) but have to put him to bed in a box since we don’t have a crib.

I’m full of worries lately, too. I’m worried that my mother in law will critique my parenting choices. We’re breastfeeding and using disposable diapers. I want a pack and play with the newborn sleeper attachment, so he can sleep in our room for the first several weeks (but not in the bed with us) but a crib for when he’s older. I’m going to be one of those moms who insists on hand-washing for visitors, and on pertussis and flu vaccines for frequent visitors (like grandparents).

I just know I’m going to hear “well, we did/didn’t do [insert whatever they think I'm being neurotic about] and our kids were just fine.” And with my own mother, I have no problem standing up to her. My relationship with her is always safe, and I feel very comfortable being up front and firm. But with my mother in law? I don’t want to offend… so I don’t know how I’ll approach things that we disagree on.

I’m also worried about when he goes into daycare. I’ll have to go back to work, maybe three months after he’s born. 12 weeks is too little to leave him with strangers! And he’ll be a breastfed baby, and I’m not sure if a daycare worker will know how to handle that without overfeeding him. See? Worries about things that haven’t even happened yet, and won’t for quite some time. About things that might never happen.

Anyway. I made a mobile for over his crib. I’ll post that sometime later this week. It’s ridiculously cute. I want to quilt something now, too. I’ve never done a quilt before, so it should be a learning experience!

Size of babe: About the length of a banana? Turns out at 20 weeks, they stop measuring from crown to rump, and start measuring from crown to heel! So little man is about the length of a banana from the top of his head to the bottom of his little feet!

Maternity Clothes: I have a couple dresses, but I’m going to go soon and buy some tops. Mine have finally given up covering my entire tummy, and they try their hardest to ride up to just over my bump all day long!

Nursery: I was dead set on pirates, but husband wanted spaceships… so we went with spaceships! (My only rule is no monkeys!) We”ll probably paint the room in a light, cool gray. Maybe a navy accent wall, maybe not. We registered for spaceship/alien bedding and I’ve made a little outer space mobile for over his crib. I’m so excited. :)

Sleep: I keep forgetting to drink enough water during the day, and by the evening, I’m parched. So I drink tons of water, and then I’m up 6-7 times a night to pee! Other than that, I sleep very well!

What I miss: Coffee again. I would commit horrible crimes for a consequence-free, large, black, piping hot coffee.

Best moment this week: Feeling those first little thumps! It feels like bubbles moving around in there. I like to drink some orange juice and then wait a few minutes to see if I can feel them. I can’t wait until I feel some proper kicks and jabs… and until hubby can feel them, too.

Worst moment this week: I’m out of work for most of the week, because my project ended at work and doesn’t pick up again until Monday. Every time I think we’re getting ahead on maternity leave savings, something like this happens to set us back again.

Looking forward to: Having some proper kicks from baby! And having them strong enough for hubby to feel from the outside! Also looking forward to finishing the unpacking. There are still boxes everywhere, and we can’t figure out where to put some of the furniture. It’s stressful!

Cravings: A margarita. I might also commit horrible crimes for a consequence-free margarita. Oh gah, I can barely even write about it without just about dying from want. The funny thing is, I don’t even drink when I’m not pregnant. I haven’t in over a year, because alcohol makes me so sick. But I really just want a frosty, sweetsour margarita with a little extra tequila for bite.

Symptoms: Pregnancy rhinitis, still. Sneezing like crazy, and occasionally I will pee a little when I sneeze. It’s lovely, let me tell you. Other than that, along with my gradual rounding-out, there isn’t much going on. I love the second trimester!

18 weeks

Hi baby,

Daddy and I have spent the past few days getting the new house set up. We’re still living out of boxes and it’s pretty much chaos around here. I’m looking forward to having everything settled, so I can start dreaming about your nursery! I have no idea how I want to decorate it. I wish I knew you a little better first. How am I supposed to know if you’ll prefer blue or green or brown or red, or if you’ll like airplanes or ships or soccer balls or even teddy bears best? I will just have to decorate it the way daddy and I like, and when you’re old enough to tell me differently, we can remake your room to suit you better.

I talked to so many people this week about you. Everyone is so excited that you’re a boy. When I told your Halmoni and Grampie, they both just laughed and laughed. They both said they were sure from the beginning that you would be a boy! I’m excited for you to meet them. They already love you so much.

Now Daddy and I need to get serious and figure out a name for you! I know we’re not even halfway done yet, but I can’t wait to meet you, little guy.

Love,

Mommy

 

Size of babe: About the length of a bell pepper!

Maternity Clothes: I bought my first maternity dress! I think I’m going to get a few more… it’s going to be too hot for pants soon!

Nursery: We closed on the house, so at least we have a room! But it’s full of boxes… :) Soon we’ll be brainstorming decorating ideas.

Sleep: We moved the big furniture in on Friday, which was the first time I slept in our bed in ages. It was LOVELY. I only woke up three times to pee.

What I miss: Sandwich meat. I’ve been craving a good sub sandwich, or maybe a bagel sandwich. It’s such an easy lunch.

Best moment this week: Realizing that when I’m laying on my back, my tummy still pokes out a bit and I can feel a hard little lump just below my belly button. I can’t believe how big he’s getting in there.

Worst moment this week: Trouble with the former landlady has got me all anxious. She’s trying to keep our security deposit when she has no grounds to do so, and I’m sure we’ll get it back, but I would really rather be spared the headache and anxiety.

Looking forward to: Getting the house settled. I think I’ll work on the kitchen tomorrow. Even if the rest of the house is still a mess, having a working kitchen makes everything else better.

Cravings: Still salads. I ordered a garden salad with chicken on it today, and the restaurant gave me a buffalo chicken salad with blue cheese on it instead. I almost cried. It turns out I’m pretty serious about my food lately.

Symptoms: Some round ligament pain when I move too quickly. Also, I’m not sure if I have bad allergies, a summer cold or maybe pregnancy rhinitis, but I have been sneezing like CRAZY lately. Like, 10 times in a row, a few times a day. It’s nuts, and my regular allergy meds aren’t helping.

17 weeks – it’s a boy!

Dear baby,

Today mommy and daddy got to see who you are! I was so nervous. I always get nervous before a scan, worried that they will find something wrong. But that’s just me, I guess. There was nothing to be nervous about! I had a glass of orange juice beforehand, because I heard it makes for wiggly babies. And boy were you wiggly! I kept laughing because we could see you stretching and kicking and rolling around in there. We got to see your heart and your brain and all the little parts of you… My favorite was your little knees and your spine and ribs. So sweet. I’ll get to tickle them so soon!

The ultrasound tech asked if we wanted to know if you were going to be a girl or a boy. Of course we did! Mommy has no patience for waiting! So she looked and we all held our breath… and we found out that you are going to be our son. Mommy and daddy held hands and we just laughed! I might have cried a little bit, too. I almost want to cry again, remembering. I couldn’t stop grinning the biggest smile. When I could finally look away from the screen, I saw that daddy couldn’t stop smiling either. Your daddy is so excited for you.

I’m so happy. We get to meet you in just about 5 months.

Love,
Mommy

Size of babe: Weighs 7 oz and about the length of an iPhone!

Maternity Clothes: Wearing maternity jeans every day, but I think I’m going to switch to summer dresses very soon! It’s too hot for pants!

Gender: It’s a boy! I’m so happy, I cried a little. My son. I’m having a son.

Nursery: Well, now that I know you’re a boy, I can start thinking of things! Maybe dinosaurs!

Sleep: We’re staying in a friend’s guest room until we close on our new home (Wednesday!!) so sleep has been hard to come by. I just don’t sleep well in places that aren’t home, you know?

What I miss: Still coffee. I love coffee. I’ve been able to have the occasional lightly caffeinated drink, but I really miss just a cup of bold tasting hot black coffee.

Best moment this week: Our scan today. We’re having a son. I keep thinking of watching him toddle around after my husband in the yard with his little bubble mower, or needing scraped knees patched up after falling from a skateboard. I’m so excited about having a little boy.

Worst moment this week: I had a horrible appointment last time, with a horrible doctor. It was honestly so bad that I’m thinking of complaining about her to the medical board and the practice she works with. But because of this horrible visit, I’ve been having lots of problems with my self-esteem and stuff. And I’ve been having trouble with my eating habits. I feel like I’m having borderline-eating-disorder thoughts, and that’s not healthy when I’m trying to grow a baby. I’m trying to work myself out of it, and I’m sure it’ll get better once we’re in the new house and can cook ourselves instead of eating out most meals… it’s been hard, though. Being pregnant is hard in ways that I wouldn’t even have considered.

Looking forward to: Telling my parents that it’s a boy! My mom gets home from Korea tonight, so I’m waiting to tell them both at the same time. I’m so excited.

Cravings: Fresh things. Salad. Oh, and raw cucumbers or raw bell peppers. Oooh, and fresh watermelon omg. And strawberries. I love being pregnant in the summer! (Remind me of this when I’m huge and it’s 100 degrees outside…)

Symptoms: None, really. Just some weight gain. And bigger boobs. The norm. :)

Workouts: I’m going to get a membership to the YMCA, I think. They have a pool, and I’m sure I’m going to need it later on when I’m hot and heavy and just want to be outside!

9 weeks

Dear Baby,

Sorry I’ve been MIA the past couple weeks… I have been having a hard time connecting to what’s happening. This might not make sense until you are a mommy or daddy yourself someday, so don’t think it’s because I don’t love you. I’ve just been so sad and worried that something is wrong that I kind of emotionally distanced myself a little. You see, at week 7, all my symptoms disappeared. Suddenly, I felt fantastic. No nausea, no fatigue, no food aversions. I still had mild generally not-feeling-well in the evenings, but nothing that I would consider a real symptom. All this happened right when symptoms are supposed to be ramping up. So I thought the worst. I expected the worst, and planned for it and generally didn’t let myself hope for more.

We went to see the doctor this morning for our first ultrasound. I just knew that we would have bad news, and I was so prepared for it. Imagine my very real surprise when the midwife told me and your daddy that you are alive and measuring perfectly at 9w1d. We even saw your tiny heart beating and got to hear the sweet swish-swish sound of it. Daddy and I held hands and I cried a little and also laughed a little. Daddy and I were so surprised that we didn’t know what to say. We waited until we were in the elevator leaving the building, and we just hugged and laughed. I loved seeing your daddy so happy.

I’m still shell shocked, to be honest. I was so prepared for the worst. I was prepared to hear them say that you weren’t growing or that we were losing you. I have to wrap my head around the idea of you all over again. All I could think about today was that I want to make you something, but I don’t know what. I want to sew things. I can’t wait to find out if you’re a little boy or a little girl.

This evening, I told my parents. I made my dad install Skype on his iPad, with the idea that we would just chat. They had no idea. I told them that they would have to come visit us for Christmas, since we wouldn’t be able to travel. When they asked why we couldn’t travel, I told them that it wasn’t a good idea to travel so far with a baby. They were so surprised! They didn’t believe me at first, so I showed them the test and a picture of the ultrasound. I don’t think it sank in until I called my mom Halmoni (this is Korean for grandmother) and called my dad Grampie. My dad cried a little and my mom was so happy. Halmoni said that she was never sick when she was pregnant either, so maybe that’s why I haven’t been feeling sick! She made me promise to use Skype all the time after you get here, so she can see you as often as possible. We are going to tell Daddy’s parents on Saturday. I’m sure they will be happy too.

Estimated Due Date: October 19!

Size of babe: Almost exactly an inch long. :)

Maternity Clothes: We went out this weekend to get a pair of jeans and a pair of shorts for me. I was so worried about bad news that I wouldn’t take the tags off and wear them, because I was certain I’d be returning them after my appointment today. I’ve never been more happy to be wrong in my life!

Sleep: I toss and turn a lot. Still getting up 3-5 times a night to pee. I think this is going to be a part of my life for a while, so I may as well get used to it!

What I miss: Caffeine. Lunch meat. Sleeping all night long!

Best moment this week: Seeing that little flicker on the screen that meant my baby is alive and growing. I’m tearing up just remembering.

Looking forward to: Telling D’s parents!

Cravings: Chai lattes. I bought a chai latte mix the other day (decaf, hehe) and have been mixing it with lactaid milk. It’s so good! I have one every morning.

Symptoms: Evening blah-ness. Just generally feeling ugh/gross/tired/queasy in the evenings.

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