Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Week 13: Start Spreading the News!

No matter how many times I google it, there are always contradicting answers as to when the first trimester ends and the second one begins. Hitting the 12 week mark, for all intents and purposes one would consider that 3 month period to be the first trimester. But it's tricky because there are 40 weeks in pregnancy which don't divide evenly into thirds. So some people say the first trimester ends at week 12, some at week 13, and some at week 14. I'm not sure what my status is!

Either way, this week is the big week for us. We are finally making it Facebook official (which makes it really real right? haha!). Over the weekend I subjected Will to making a loaf of bread while I photographed, and then posing for a final announcement picture. I posted the pictures, one at a time, on Facebook, with the final one including a caption that read, "We didn't want to miss out on all the fun. Baby J fresh out of the oven October 6, 2014!" I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Our Most Popular Facebook Post EVER!
Even sitting here now I cannot BELIEVE the amount of people that like and commented on our post. From our personal friends, to friends of my parents. From family members back home to the ones spread all over the country. From coworkers old to recent. It was amazing! I hope that I am able to convey to our little one just how much he/she was wanted, and loved, and anticipated by so many before they were even born. We are so lucky to have such a great network of friends and family! We ended up with over 320 likes and 65 comments. It was crazy and so fun! Thank you again to all who posted and liked, you absolutely made our day! 

A few people asked us if we felt relieved that it was finally out. I think in one way I am. I'm excited to finally share these posts, and be able to openly talk about baby stuff and pregnancy (especially being able to ask advice!), but really it doesn't feel all that different. 

In Come The Goodies!
Our family members are seriously life savers. But I do want to say that after developing a very complete registry, then putting said registry in an excel file and determining the total cost to get set up for a baby, I was kind of pleasantly surprised that it wasn't the atrocious figure I had originally in mind. I won't say it's cheap to have a baby by any means, but I was thankful that it was at least affordable for us. With that being said, I cannot thank our family enough for immediately jumping at the chance to make sure Baby J has anything and everything he/she could need. As of this point all of our nursery furniture has been purchased, along with the stroller and car seat, and the fancy diaper bag I picked out (and TOTALLY didn't realize was from Australia which ended up in a hefty shipping expense). 

As the things start coming in, I can't help but get excited. I know about zero when it comes to babies, and I'll admit, until now I had never even glanced through baby stuff other than picking up my signature grocery cart cover for the few baby showers I've attended. This is all so new and exciting to me! I only wish I could tear the boxes apart and put it all together to ooh and ahh over. Outside of a little sneak peak here and there, everything is having to stay packaged up so it will be easy for the movers to pack up when the time comes.

The Fitness Decline
I'm not sure how to describe the absolute frustration in trying to do things that you have always been perfectly capable of doing before, only to find that you are not capable of them now. It's safe to say that my level of fitness, both strength and stamina, have dwindled significantly, in spite of continuing to work out 3-4 times a week. I get winded SO quickly now, and I am starting to have to drop the weight in almost all of my workouts. I realized this week that I am down 5 lbs to my normal weight, and 9 lbs to my first doctor's appointment. I am thoroughly convinced that it is nothing but lost muscle mass. I feel weak, and it sucks. 

The trainer I work with most at crossfit has been great about not only encouraging me through every change, but also assuring me that it is perfectly normal to see a decline in performance. We have had four girls go though their pregnancies at our crossfit box and he has witnessed first hand their 1st trimester decline, 2nd trimester incline, and 3rd trimester plateau. I'm trying very hard to accept what he is saying, but when it feels like your body is just letting you down, and your mind wants to keep going, it's a hard thing to swallow. 

I have accepted that the clock is no longer important to me. I'm stubborn about lowering my weights, so instead I just take as long as I need to finish. I'm still refusing to walk instead of run, and taking regular breaks and drinking plenty of water is just part of my new game plan. As my trainer said, I just don't want my decline to go too low. My body definitely needs a bit of a break these days, but I can't let it be an excuse to totally give up and not continue to work hard. 

Is That My Uterus or Ab Muscles?
At this point my uterus should have moved beyond my pelvic bones and should start to form a bump, or at least feel hard to the touch. I'm not saying I have great ab muscles or anything, but I'm a bit confused as to whether the firmness I'm feeling is muscle or uterus. I had Will check it out and give his two cents and I think we both agree it's uterus finally coming through. I still don't have a bump, but I am liking that I can actually feel what is hopefully the beginning of one. They aren't kidding when they say the physical changes and growing are really assuring mentally and emotionally on this journey. Coming to the end of the 1st trimester so many of the symptoms disappear, and without a bump it's back to feeling like you aren't pregnant anymore. I'm happy to have anything that gives me something tangible to hold onto. Especially since our next appointment isn't for another two weeks. 

13 weeks down! One more week to finish the 1st trimester. I can't believe we're almost in the second trimester already! Time is flying!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Nursery

I knew well before we decided we were going to wait to find out about our baby's gender, that we would want a very neutral nursery. I had always envisioned soft creams, lots of organic textures and colors, and a very calm and peaceful environment for our little one. Will and I have had a thing for owls for a while now, and originally we planned to use them as the theme in the nursery, but apparently every one else in the world loves owls as well, so we moved on.

The final idea for our nursery came to me one day when I saw an adorable sail boat mobile featured on one of the blogs I follow. Slowly the idea came together to make the theme of our nursery one of Will and I's biggest passions, travel.

I found a wallpaper mural that was a collection of vintage travel maps and I knew we were onto something. Will and I started collecting maps from antique stores and online to create a DIY version ($400 for a wallpaper mural was a bit much), and piece by piece I put together our nursery inspiration board.

We are pretty much creating this board to a "T" with the only change being that the glider and ottoman will also be espresso. There was no availability online or in the stores for the beige color. 

The top right picture is just to show the map mural, and the picture beside it is a stripe decal I'm hoping to do on the rest of the walls. My mom bought us the owls at Christmas a couple of years ago, and my dad is building the ladder blanket holder and floating shelves. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

We're Doing It All Wrong

When Will found out we were going to Turkey and that he would be assuming the ADC (Area Defense Council) position, he made a call to the guy he would be replacing to try to get some insights to what to expect. One of the first things the guy asked was if we had children, and being that at the time we did not and were not expecting Will told him no, to which he responded, "Good. Don't!"

Will and I have wanted to live overseas for years. It was one of the biggest incentives for joining the military, because we knew that compared to the 0% possibility of his work taking us overseas in the private sector, at least through the JAG there would be a small chance it could happen. We live to travel. Even here in South Dakota we have made the long drives through snow and battering wind to do our best to get out and see the world around us. We would rather live in a quaint home and drive POS cars just so we can save to travel. To us, an overseas assignment would be an absolute dream come true because once you are over there, everything else is SO close, and SO cheap to get to. We had decided a long time ago we would wait to have children if we got an overseas assignment so we could live it up. 

Not only is Turkey the sort of "great unknown" to us, since we've never been to that part of Europe, but as the ADC, Will will be traveling almost every other week to places like Germany, Italy, the UK and Al Udeid. I have to pay my way of course, but there is no reason that I can't travel with him. In a way, this assignment, both location and the position, are absolutely perfect for us.

Except we have two dogs...and now we have a baby on the way. 

As I was posing the question about dog sitters on the Incirlik Spouses Facebook page, it really hit me that we are really doing it all wrong. Here we are with the travel opportunity of a lifetime sitting in front of us, and what do we do? We insist on bringing our dogs, AND we get pregnant. What are we thinking??

This was Will's #1 concern when we were making the decision to try for a baby. And now that that baby is a reality, the funny realization I'm having is that the baby, although obviously a definite travel challenge, is really nothing compared to trying to find care for our dogs while we are traveling to and fro. Not to mention, that I'm already feeling guilty at the thought of leaving them behind so often. 

Currently I spend 90% of every day with our dogs. Unlike many people, they literally go everywhere with us. It was a major adjustment moving to South Dakota where all of a sudden we didn't have family fighting over who got to take care of them while we took a weekend trip. But we weren't about to let that obstacle stop us. They have probably stayed in more hotels than some people have. They love a good road trip, and the simple word "go" sparks the greatest joy for them you have ever seen. We do our absolute best to make sure they have active, engaging, love-filled lives. So the thought of them having to call a kennel facility (no matter how nice) a second home, breaks my heart. We have already decided that if we are traveling within Turkey, we would be driving so the dogs could come along, but much of our travel will probably be by air unfortunately. 

I started writing this post hoping a solution would sort of work itself out as I wrote, but here I am at the end, still not feeling an answer. I know some people wouldn't think twice about leaving their dogs, but to us they are family. All I know is that it is going to be a hard battle between taking advantage of this awesome opportunity, and making sure our dogs feel loved and included. I am thankful that it is only two years. Hopefully Jim and Jeannie won't hate us for their less than ideal lifestyle for a short little time. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Protein! Protein! Protein!

I know you guys are probably open and welcoming to something different than the weekly pregnancy posts at this point. This one is still pregnancy related (sorry it's my life right now), but it has some use behind it ;)

We are using the Bradley Method, I won't get into the specifics of this method of child birth, but I wanted to touch on one part of the program that has provided a daily challenge for me. One key component, and very emphasized part of the Bradley Method is a focus on nutrition. We all know pregnant women need to eat healthy, possibly healthier than they ever have before, to feed and nourish their growing baby, but what I personally didn't know, was the types of effects that poor pregnancy nutrition could have on your unborn baby. Good nutrition can prevent a host of complications including PIH (elevated blood pressure), edema (swelling), pre-eclampsia, eclampsia (toxemia), "gestational diabetes", premature labor, anemias, abruption of the placenta, IUGR (intra-uterine growth retardation), and low birth weight (which can cause babies to be infection-prone).

In fact, studies have shown that with proper nutrition, many of these complications can be completely, 100% avoided.

We are planning and training through this program to have a natural childbirth. I haven't decided if I'm going to go into our reasoning for choosing this method on the blog yet, but to give ourselves the best chance of being successful, having a low-risk, healthy pregnancy and baby are really essential.

There are a lot of nutrition specifics outlined in one of the videos we watched in our classes, the Fitnessista did a great recap of them here, so I won't repeat what she has already covered. What I did want to talk about is the protein intake requirement.

Protein is above and beyond, probably the most essential nutritional component in your diet when you are pregnant. The amino acids in protein are the building blocks of our body's cells, and the cells that are forming to create your baby and help it grow healthy and strong. While it is not true that you need to eat for two during pregnancy (generally you only need about 300 extra calories a day, and that is really mostly in the third trimester), when it comes to protein you actually DO need to eat enough to help maintain and build two healthy bodies.

We gave up our vegetarian lifestyle not long after moving to South Dakota when having to adjust to what was available and the most nutritious for us here. Thankfully, moving back to the meat-eating side of the spectrum has been very helpful in this protein challenge. Pregnant and nursing women are encouraged to eat between 75-100 grams of protein EVERY SINGLE DAY. That is a lot my friends!

To put it in perspective, here are the protein counts for a few common things we tend to eat.

1 egg = 6 gm
1/4 c. shredded cheddar = 6 gm
1/4 c. cottage cheese = 6.5 gm
1 c milk = 8 gm
3 oz. beef = 20 gm
3 oz. chicken = 25 gm
3 oz. bison = 18 gm
1 tbsp peanut butter = 4 gm
1 medium sweet potato = 2 gm
1/2 c. lettuce = 0.3 gm
1/2 c broccoli - 2.3 gm

So you can see, it doesn't necessarily add up quickly unless you are walking around munching on beef jerky.

I am having to change the priority of the foods I eat at each meal, in part to make sure I'm getting enough protein first and foremost, but also because I only have so much space in my stomach. I've never felt so full! Trying to get enough protein, enough calcium, enough vitamin C, and all the other key nutrients that are so important makes you feel like you are doing nothing but eating all day.

A few things I've noticed...

1. Even though it seems like I'm eating more, by focusing on lean protein and healthy veggies first, I don't really have a lot of room left for things like really starchy foods and sweets. Surprisingly I haven't gained a single pound yet (currently 11 wks + 3 ds), and I feel more lean than I did pre-pregnancy.

2. My food scale is getting a workout. Again because of limited stomach space, I have to make everything I eat count. I'm also tracking my protein intake, so for accuracy's sake I'm measuring almost everything. I'm also living by food labels. Sometimes lunch feels like a hard math problem with all the calculating and weighing going on.

3. I've always had a hard time watching people eat a lot of junk food and throw their health out the window as they pick up another bag of fast food, but I'll admit it's REALLY hard seeing other pregnant women doing it now that I've learned just how imperative good nutrition is. It seems so unfair to their unborn babies. Everyone is different and it's not my place to judge or insert my two cents, but I do wish there was a way to open their eyes to the information I have been given.

4. I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again with bold letters, I am so so thankful for a husband that shares my interest in a healthy lifestyle and who is always supportive. The Bradley Method is also known as the husband coached childbirth method. Will's role in my pregnancy and ultimately in the birth of our little one are not just important, but an integral part of it being a successful natural childbirth. So far he has taken that role and exceeded all of my expectations. From double checking that I'm eating enough and the right kinds of foods, to deciding he would also aim for the same protein intake, to encouraging me to do my prescribed stretches and exercises (even if it means breaking out the timer app on his phone and doing them with me), to attending every class, reading all the books, and doing all the homework. He has been nothing short of amazing, and to an emotional mama, there is nothing more heart-melting.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week 12: The Most Beautiful Sound In The World

This week started with a lovely migraine. This makes number 3 since finding out we were pregnant. I thought my head was going to explode. I was seconds from calling the doctor when the pain finally broke and I was able to rest just a bit. The throbbing continued but at a more bearable rate thankfully. I did break down and take some tylenol. After reading more and more about the effects of drugs, even the ones deemed safe for baby, I'm feeling more and more strongly about not taking anything during my pregnancy. But I'll be honest, in the throws of the pain that day, I felt taking some tylenol was less traumatic for the baby versus it having to deal with the stress of the pain I was feeling. Although I think I was at the peak of the pain and if I would have just held out another couple of minutes I might have made it through. Man I hate migraines!

Tiny Flutters
Most women don't feel their baby move until around week 16 in their pregnancy, but if I didn't know better I would swear I've felt our baby move here and there. At this point it is definitely kicking and moving around, it's just usually too small for the mother to feel. It may be my "sensitive uterus" but every now and then I feel little flutters in there. I can't say for sure it's the baby moving, but I like to think it is.

Hearing the Heartbeat for the First Time
We weren't sure if the doctor would try to find the heartbeat at this appointment. Many times 11 weeks and 2 days is just too early to hear it, and anxious mothers freak out if their tiny baby doesn't perform. So with that in mind, and due to Will's work schedule he didn't attend this check up. After explaining to the nurse about our move (I think the whole office knows now), and the short timeline we are on to furnish the nursery, and the fact that we haven't officially announced yet because we wanted the assurance of hearing the heartbeat, she promptly sent in the tech that handles the doppler.

This time I was allowed to record. I'll admit I was a little distracted by her moving the wand around in the gel, and listening, and hoping I hit record when I was supposed to that my reaction to that tiny, fast-paced little heartbeat was not how I had expected to react. I think I simply jerked my head up and smiled catching the tech's reassuring smile in return. Every time I go to the doctor I'm secretly amazed that there is a baby in there. I've got no bump to speak of, and as of today I've not gained a single pound. That tiny heartbeat was the best thing I've heard to date.

The tech said our little one was a mover because every time she would find the heartbeat, the baby would move and she would have to search again. Finally she found it and got it to hold steady long enough to record.

I sent the video to all of our family and of course to Will. A strong 170 bmp, and an active little peanut! 

Something I didn't expect to find out during the appointment, was that one of the blood tests I had done back at my very first 6 week appointment (called the Harmony test at my office) had already determined our baby's gender. The test is made to look for things like down's syndrome and trisomy, but as a result of analyzing the chromosomes, it also determines the gender with something like a 99.5+% accuracy. I quickly told the nurse we didn't want to know the gender, but man was it hard knowing the answer was right there on that piece of paper in front of me. I'm glad we aren't finding out, but I never said it would be easy haha!

First Purchases
We had been holding out buying anything until we felt more sure that we were going to make it past the first trimester. I know it's a sort of morbid way to think, but so many many things can go wrong. We had decided providing this appointment went well we would go ahead and start ordering things, and make it Facebook official. 

I ended up finding a Medela breast pump tote, brand new and never used on Craigslist. Including a set of bottles and extra accessories. I made out like a bandit saving over $100! I picked it up shortly after the appointment making it the very first thing I bought for the baby, well except for some maps Will and I had been collecting to decorate the nursery. 

I had to meet a friend who I help with her business, and she just so happened to be at Target. I just couldn't help myself, I HAD to peruse the baby aisles. I decided that if anything was a decent price there from our registry I would go head and buy it. Our family has so graciously taken care of buying the furniture and our stroller and car seat, so we decided we would buy anything other bulky things that I wouldn't be able to fly over in my luggage. 

Unfortunately the only thing I found at Target was a Johnny Jumparoo, but it was still exciting. Right now our Amazon cart is sitting full and I'm ready to click the place order button! 

Gender Prediction Tests
There are a million old wives tales about how to predict gender. Bad morning sickness means a girl, a lower than 130 heartbeat means boy, etc... None of them are really accurate ways to predict the gender of course, but sometimes it's fun just to play along.

Chinese Gender Predictor - There are two different Chinese gender predictor calendars out there, one determined by your Chinese lunar age at time of conception, and the lunar month you conceived, and one just done by your regular age and month of conception. According to the lunar age and month we're having a girl, according to my regular age and month we're having a boy. 

Ring on a String Test - Supposedly you can dangle your wedding ring from a string (or in my case a thin chain necklace) over your belly and if it swings back and forth you are having a boy, in a circle means a girl. According to my ring we are having a boy. 

Cravings - If you crave sweets = girl, salty = boy. I have told Will multiple times this is definitely his baby because I have inherited his insatiable sweet tooth. Ice cream, pies, and cookies oh my! Girl!

Morning Sickness - Acne could be thrown in with this one as well. It's said girls suck the beauty out of their moms, blessing them with terrible morning sickness, and acne. While boys give mamas-to-be that beautiful pregnancy glow. This one is kind of a toss up for me. Compared to the many women who spend much of their first trimester (and sometimes the 2nd and 3rd) snuggled up to the porcelain throne, my slight bit of nausea and food aversions was a cake walk, but I did still have it for a few weeks. As far as acne, I'm not sure my face has been totally clear since the week before I tested positive, but it's not like I've taken on the nickname "pizza face" either. So I'm deeming this one inconclusive. 

Mayan Even or Odd Test - Legend has it that the Mayans determined a baby's sex by looking at the mother's age at conception and the year of conception. If both are even or odd, it's a girl. If one's even and one's odd, it's a boy. I was 28 when we conceived and it was in 2014 = girl.

Heartbeat - Many say if the baby's heart beat is above 140 it's a girl, below it's a boy. At our ultrasound the heartbeat was 139 bpm, at this weeks appointment it was 170 bpm. I've also read that if the baby is active (which ours was) it will be higher just due to the movement. So again, at least for now, this is inconclusive. 

So basically, only God (and the nurse that read my blood test results) knows what we're having haha! 

Still Bump-less
Over the weekend we went to see Divergent (which was awesome!), and Sunday Will went skiing with one of his coworkers while his spouse and I, and their baby Teddy (Theodore Boone, seriously the best name ever!) hung out in the lodge. Nothing too exciting but some good girl time chit chat, which I've learned is a precious thing to come by since we've moved. I did make sure to snap my belly bump pic with all the snow at the ski area. I keep hoping the snow is on it's way out, but alas, it's in the forecast for tomorrow again. Anyway, here I am at 11 wks + 6 d.