It's a Girl!

>> Friday, April 13, 2018

We're so happy to share that we'll be adding another sister to the family. The way I chose to find out was pretty anticlimactic. We had the genetic testing done and -- as part of it -- you find out the sex if you choose. So, the nurse asked me on the phone if I wanted to know. And I eagerly replied: "YES!" And then she said "would you like it in an envelope to pick up" -- and before she could finish her question, I was like "TELL ME, TELL ME!"

Because I'm horrible with surprises.

When she said IT'S A GIRL . . . it was such an unexpected experience. Hearing we were having another girl brought this wave of calm over my body. I immediately felt in my heart that our family is complete. It feels like this is what is meant to be. And I think raising a boy would have been interesting, but not terribly much different.

We went into this pregnancy with absolutely no preference. We never have had a sex preference -- children are all such gifts and PEOPLE are complex, so boy/girl really doesn't say too much in terms of how life will be. She'll have a vagina. Otherwise, we'll treat her like a human. Heck, I took wood shop and metal working instead of cooking and sewing in school. Being a girl or boy doesn't necessarily dictate interests.

Eloise still doesn't understand what's going on, but Ada is thrilled to hear there's another sister coming. We immediately went out and bought her a coming home outfit. I mean, this kid is destined to a life of hand-me-downs, she deserves SOMEthing special, right?

We've received such warm responses to our news, too. So many of you have shared that you come from all-girl families and that the bonds you have with your sisters is amazing. I have a younger brother and I had all male cousins until I was an adult. Being surrounded by boys my whole life felt like my destiny. So, raising girls is special to me. I do feel a special bond with them that I would describe as being different. Again, it's not really that they're GIRLS. But I suppose that must play in at some point. We'll share trials and other things that only girls/women can understand on some level.

I have also been told that we're in for an eternity of hearing comments like "Oh, your poor, poor husband" or "Are you going to keep trying for a boy?" or "You'll have to beat away the boys when they're teenagers" (Uh, what if one or more turns out to be gay? So many stereotypes and such!). As if somehow that matters. It's already become a reality even just one day after sharing the news. But we'll shake it off. Honestly, we're all incredibly stoked and genuinely feel like our family is complete with another girl.

And we think we have a first name! It just came to me the other day. It's a name we've considered in the past, but it somehow feels right this time around. That said, I may get hormonal and decide against it. Still very much lost on middle names as well. But knowing we're having a girl and knowing that we may have her name is making this feel all the much more real.

I'm almost 12 weeks. Everything is looking good. Aside from morning sickness, I don't have any pregnancy complaints. This is very different from my last pregnancy, and I hope to write more about it soon. Oh, and our genetic screen came back with low risk of chromosome issues -- and that's really what I was most excited of all to hear. Obviously there are other serious health issues that a screen would not pick up. But we've been there and done that, so we'll take each day as it comes.

Hope you have a great Friday!


Advanced Maternal Age, etc.

>> Monday, April 9, 2018

Thank you so much for your congratulations on our big news. I had another ultrasound last week and was so excited to see that baby was measuring 11 weeks with a strong heartbeat -- 168 bpm. The scan has definitely helped me relax a bit as I get closer to the second trimester. Some of you who follow me on Instagram know that I am anxiously awaiting results from free cell DNA blood work that I had done last Thursday. I should know by the end of the week if our baby has a risk of certain chromosomal disorders. And, yes, we're also finding out the sex this way. My guess is girl, so we'll see if I'm correct!

This week, I'm going to do all things pregnancy. So, if you'd rather skip -- I'm just letting you know. What I wanted to write about today is how I'm feeling. Not necessarily physically, though there is some of that I'll cover. But more what it's like to have my first pregnancy where I'm classed as advanced maternal age. I didn't care much at first, but seeing it checked off on my paperwork a few times now . . . it's had a surprising effect on me.

I mean, at 34, I realize I'm only on the cusp (I'll deliver when I'm 35) . . . but now I'm officially an older mom. (Image source)

For a silly example, in previous pregnancies, I've wavered on whether or not I should color my hair. My roots would bug me. This time around, I have quite a crop of grey hairs that are sprouting. I always thought I'd transition gracefully, but they're making me so darned self conscious! It's yet another reminder that I'm getting older. That doesn't have to be a bad thing, but somehow it just feels so different.

(As an aside, I ordered a new Overtone hair conditioning color. I'll write about it soon!)

I also started this pregnancy at the highest weight and lowest fitness level of any of my pregnancies. And that's not helping with self esteem. I feel a bit sluggish and chubbier that I'd like before I really start packing on the pounds. I am trying to jog 3 miles, 3 to 4 times a week, but it's been tough. I mostly have the evenings to fit in workouts and that's when I've been the sickest and most tired throughout the day. I've skipped a lot of workouts as a result.

I have tried not reading too much into AMA being a risk factor for certain complications throughout pregnancy and delivery. But I know as we age, there can be more risks of certain things. For example, I have had high blood pressure at a lot of my appointments so far. After taking it at the end of the appointment, we're all pretty sure it's white coat syndrome. But there's this nagging part of me that worries about preeclampsia developing later on.

One thing I like about being an older mom is that I am not really worrying much about after delivery. You know, when the baby is actually here. I've been there and done that. I know that I don't need to spend hours toiling over a registry or worrying about what gadgets I might need. The answer to most things is that I don't need them. We are trying to figure out sleeping arrangements. I think we'll be moving Eloise's room to the spare behind Ada's. It's small, but it'll provide some noise insulation from the baby being in our room. I'll get into this more another time.

I did have to go out and buy some maternity clothing. Like I said, I started out heavier than normal (months on progesterone will do that to you). All of the clothing I wore during Ada's pregnancy -- same seasons -- way too small. (And honestly, I'm sick of it. Like first-generation Liz Lange from Target.) Maybe I'll do a small maternity clothing capsule for you guys!

OK. What else? Well, I do enjoy the added monitoring throughout my pregnancy. As I've written before, my pregnancy with Eloise was rife with anxiety. And for good reason. But I felt my midwife didn't take my concerns seriously and didn't really offer much peace of mind. This time around, I am seeing an OB who is extremely understanding of that piece. He gave me additional ultrasounds in the first trimester, for example. And I know that as an AMA mom, there are more tests that go along with the process (like the free cell DNA). Some people don't like added stuff, but I am happy to get any and all information that's available.

Other topics I plan to cover this week include how I'm managing morning sickness, thoughts on being a family of five, and perhaps I'll know if baby is a girl/boy in time to share! If you guys would like me to write about anything specifically, let me know.


And Baby Makes 5

>> Tuesday, March 27, 2018

If you don't follow me on Instagram, you may have missed our announcement last week:

I am nearing week 10 of my pregnancy with our third child, and we're all incredibly excited. It still feels like early days, so I do share this news with some cautious optimism. But since I've been so open with our TTC journey, I felt disingenuous not telling you all something that's been such a big part of life lately.

Our due date is November 1st officially, but I'm measuring according to when I know I ovulated (super early for me), so more like October 28th. This is a special date because it's the same due date I have with my longest-lasting miscarriage two years ago. I'm actually coming up on my D&C anniversary this week, which is all sorts of crazy to think about.

I found out I am pregnant a couple weeks after my fertility testing. My midwife had recommended I get checked out after four months of TTC with ovulation timing using OPKs and using progesterone support. I ended up waiting 6 months, so I got pregnant on what was cycle 7 of trying to conceive. I ovulated on day 10 of this cycle, which is very (very!) early for me. And something new is that I also experienced ovulation bleeding for the first time in my life. I hadn't had a pelvic exam as part of my fertility testing since my pap was recent (so, the bleeding wasn't from that) . . . so when I had the bleeding, the doctor suggested I get an ultrasound, which confirmed ovulation on my right side

This is a bit kooky, but stay with me. I rarely ovulate on my right side. I am very in tune with my body and feel all the feels leading up to ovulation. I'm almost certain that every time I have been pregnant, it's been from ovulation on the right. I have a lot of pain when I ovulate on the left, and I just have a theory that I have a bum ovary. Who knows -- but I do find it interesting.

Anyway, I was convinced I wasn't pregnant because I hadn't been despite perfect timing for the previous six months. Silly, but why would it change? I took a pregnancy test (a cheap Wondofo) more to rule it out one morning right after Ada got on the bus for school. I didn't even look at the test for a few hours because I knew it would be stark white. So, imagine my surprise when I went to toss it out before lunch and saw a very faint pink line. I immediately called Stephen to tell him because I'm suave like that. But I didn't call the doctor for several days. Part of me was convinced it would be a chemical or that it just wasn't really happening.

When I ended up calling the doctor, they told me CONGRATS! And immediately said "Well, you'll be coming in for your tutorial on how to use Lovenox injections then, when can we make your appointment?" And I was like "WHAT?!" Panic mode.

I hadn't received my formal results in the mail yet . . . I got them the next day, and that's when I discovered that I have a MTHFR mutation. I wrote about that more in this post. Long story short (because it's a long story -- and many of you guys really helped me out) . . . I met with my doctor and opted not to do the injectable blood thinners. Since I have just one mutation, baby aspirin may be enough (it was for Eloise) . . . and my doctor had simply offered Lovenox as a precaution based on my miscarriage history. If any of you are interested, I can share more about this. I just don't want to bore you with details.

My first appointment was at 6 weeks and 4/5 days. My mom went with me because she and my dad were up visiting that day. I was so nervous for my ultrasound, but the probe immediately found the baby . . . and the little flickering heartbeat. Measuring exactly how far I thought I would be. After the ultrasound, I met with my doctor again. He's incredible. I can't say enough great things about this new practice and its staff. My pregnancy with Eloise was full of anxiety. And the staff didn't help matters. My fertility doctor there was great, but after I graduated from his care, I was unhappy.

I wasn't a pushy or annoying patient either. But, like, I had to BEG for ultrasounds even if I had a legitimate worry (like frequent contractions or bleeding). My midwife often just flat out denied giving me them and I'd go long stretches with so much worry. It snowballed and made me a wreck at times. I explained this to my new doctor and he said "why wouldn't I want to put your mind at ease? We'll set you up for frequent monitoring in the first trimester -- no problem." So I have been having ultrasounds every two weeks until I hit 12 weeks. For me, it's just helpful in the early stage to see that development is going steady.

I am going to be advanced maternal age when I deliver, so I was offered a free cell DNA genetic screen to check for any abnormalities in the fetus. I will be getting that blood work done next week and should have the results shortly after. I will also learn the sex from this screening (we have ZERO preference), but that wasn't my primary reason for doing it. I am genuinely interested in this type of testing, so I think it will be educational . . . and I would want to be prepared for what we discover if anything.

I am sure I'm glossing over a lot of stuff. Something I have found interesting is that in the four pregnancies I have had that have lasted long enough -- my morning sickness has been almost identical. I have good notes, and it seems to start at 5 weeks and 4 days each time. I throw up a few times a day (yum) and generally cannot tolerate eggs, bananas, dirty dishes, toilets, etc. I may have a special post dedicated to morning sickness. I feel like an expert.

Oh, I suppose something that is interesting about this being the third baby is that I am definitely showing. I can't break out maternity jeans or cradle a bump just yet . . . but my lower abdomen is firm and rounded. I have always had a retroverted uterus -- but not this time. It may have flipped after Eloise's birth. I wonder if that has something to do with it. I will share more about how I'm feeling and what's going on in the moment after my next ultrasound. Again, it's still early and anything can happen. But we're happy to share our news.

Thank you for reading!

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