Jaundiced Newborn

We weren’t really surprised when the blood work came back and confirmed little Thea had jaundice. Her older brother had suffered from it too at birth. She had high risk factors for developing jaundice; being of Asian descent and having a Coombs positive test (my and her blood types are incompatible) so we knew it was a likely outcome. But my son’s doctors had allowed us to take him home and supplement with formula until my milk came in to get him having more frequent bowel movements (which clears the bilirubin from their system). They had us go into the hospital every day for about four days to have his blood drawn and levels checked and if they hadn’t gone down in a timely manner or had risen too high he would have had to go back to the hospital to undergo phototherapy.

Thea’s doctors, however, had us take her home and prescribed a biliblanket (ultraviolet lighted blanket) to be used 24/7 until her levels dropped to an acceptable degree. I thought this was wonderful! I didn’t want to stay at the hospital any longer than we had to (in fact I had them discharge us 24 hours early). But now after nearly a week of at home treatment, I feel differently.

While we waited for my doctor to discharge me, Thea was given phototherapy at the hospital. They too used a biliblanket, but it was much stronger than the one they send you home with. My little girl had to wear goggles strapped over her tiny face to prevent her from seeing the light which would damage her delicate newborn eyes. At the time I thought it must be horrible for her to have to lay there with her eyes covered.

newborn on a biliblanket for jaundice

Had she stayed on treatment at the hospital she probably would have only needed one or possibly two extra days there. The home treatment, however, took four days and meant she and I were literally hooked to an outlet nearly 24/7. Thea had to lay in just a diaper with the lighted blanket against her back all day. And sleeping at night, which is already tricky with a newborn, became nearly impossible when every time she moved the blankets I had covering her shifted and the bright light shone in my face. The biliblanket also generates a little bit of heat and Thea was constantly sweaty from laying on it.

at home jaundice treatment

The other downside was every morning between 7 am and 8 am I had to drive back to the hospital and get her blood drawn. Part of me looked forward to this outing because it was the only time in the day I got to leave the house with her, but of course driving there on so little sleep and having to watch her get her little feet pricked over and over again was no fun.

Thankfully her numbers peaked on the fifth day and yesterday she was given the okay to stop using the biliblanket. She also had her last blood draw this morning. Now that the jaundice ordeal is finally ending I am happy to be able to get out a little with my baby and actually be able to put her in clothes. And she’s much more comfortable not having to be strapped to a lighted blanket all day.

She Arrives

If you read my previous post, I can now confirm my suspicions were correct; I was in labor. From the moment I awoke I was having contractions. They started sporadically spaced between 8 – 12 minutes apart but over the hours they began to quicken and regulate. I spent the entire day laboring at home, waiting for my contractions to get closer together so we could go to the hospital to meet our little girl. We created a labor tradition by going to a local diner to indulge in one last yummy breakfast before the birth. With my son we stopped at a greasy spoon on our way to the hospital because I knew I wouldn’t be eating much of anything once we were admitted. With my daughter I was just tired of laboring at home and focusing on the pain so the excursion was a nice and tasty distraction. It was our last meal out together as a family of three.

And in an odd twist of fate, my mom happened to be flying in that evening for the birth. She had booked her ticket literally months before, choosing to fly in five days early because my son had been born early. Little did she know she had selected the absolute perfect time to fly in. We went to pick her up at 6 pm, with me now contracting every 6-7 minutes. We stopped to grab food, got home and ate, and were headed to the hospital by 9 pm when my contractions had jumped to every 3 minutes. I’m still amazed at how perfectly it worked out for my mom.

My labor coaches

This labor was so unlike my first labor I can hardly believe it now as I write about it. This go around I had a textbook labor, everything progressed on its own and in a timely manner. Since my son’s labor started with broken water but no contractions, I spent more than 30 hours at the hospital, mostly trying to get labor to progress. But since I was already contracting well by the time I got to the hospital this go around, my experience was so different and so much quicker. At 9:30 pm we were put in the observation room to monitor my contractions and by 10:30 pm we were officially admitted and shown to a birthing suite. The next hour was spent getting labs done and IV ports placed and then I was finally unhooked from all the machines and allowed to roam. While the nurses filled my labor tub I opted to walk around the room, stopping frequently as the contractions became harsher and harsher. And as soon as the tub was ready I climbed in and spent nearly an hour breathing and squirming through the contractions that were only 2.5 – 3 minutes apart by then.

Contraction support

Around 12:30 am the pain was becoming too much for me and I began to shake and lose focus of my breathing technique. I opted to get out of the tub and requested an epidural. Luckily for me the anesthesiologist was already in the vicinity and was in my room within 15 minutes.  Within 30 minutes I was feeling much better and was able to relax for the first time in about 20 hours. The epidural didn’t quite work correctly though and the right side of my body never fully numbed. I could still feel the contractions, albeit much less harshly. They offered to get the anesthesiologist back to try and fix it, but I actually preferred to continue to feel the contractions so I could tell how I was progressing.

And progress I did! Within 3 hours I went from 5 cm dilated to 10. With my epidural not being 100 percent effective I definitely could feel the pressure of my baby moving down into position. I contacted the nurse about 20 minutes before I was scheduled to be checked again because the pressure was so intense I knew I must be fully dilated. After confirming this my nurse told me we could do a couple pushes as we waited for my doctor to come in and she got me into position and had me bear down.

“Okay stop! She’s almost out. Let me get the doctor in here first,” she told me. My reaction? Are you kidding? One push and you’re telling me she’s already almost out? Both my mom and husband confirmed it. They were about as incredulous as me since they had both been with me for my son’s birth and struggled alongside me as I pushed for nearly 2.5 hours with him.

The doctor rushed in a few minutes later and literally one more push was all it took. I watched amazed as my little girl entered the world, overcome with emotion. This experience was something I never had with my son. The long labor and hours of pushing had left me so physically spent I hardly recognized when he was actually born. I was in a mental fog and just remember them placing him on my chest. With this birth I was able to reach down and help place her myself. I had no mental fog and just felt so in the moment. It was an amazing way to end my pregnancy and labor experiences.

Newborn

Our little girl, Theadora (Thea) was born August 17, 2017 at 4:38 am. She weighed 6 pounds and 10 ounces and was 19 ¾ inches long.

Thea

And as I write this I am happy to say the recovery process has also been completely different and so much easier. I didn’t need any pain medications after birth and although I won’t be taking any long walks downtown or running around the playground with my toddler anytime soon, I’m already weeks ahead of where I was physically with my son.

I feel so lucky to have had such a positive birth experience. And now my family feels complete and perfect. My son has taken to his little sister even better than we had anticipated and I can’t wait to see their relationship grow and develop over the years.

First family photo

The Time Has Come (I Think)

(This was written on August 17, 2017 during active labor)

To say I’ve been impatient for my little girl’s arrival is a severe understatement. I have actually found myself getting depressed the longer this pregnancy lasts. My son came early at 38 weeks so I never had to go completely full term and experience all the discomfort and pain that goes along with that.

I also didn’t have a “normal” onset of labor with my son. My water broke before I ever had any contractions and my 32 hour labor didn’t get painful until the last few hours.

So here I am, at 39.5 weeks pregnant and I think I am in labor. At least I am really hoping all these painful contractions are signaling the beginning of labor, otherwise it’s some awful false labor pains. Yesterday morning I awoke feeling, frustratingly fine. No contractions, no aches; just normal exhaustion. And because I am going insane in these last days of pregnancy I threw myself into a canning project to keep my mind and body busy.

After several hours of preserving blueberries and making pepper jelly I had my 39 week appointment where the doctor checked me and proclaimed I had not progressed (dilation or effacement) since the previous week much to my disappointment. I came home and took a nap, convinced my baby girl is going to come late just to spite me.

After awaking from my nap I realized I was a bit crampy, but figured that was a result of the cervical check that afternoon. Later in the evening, though after my shower I began having real contractions (or at least I think they are). Painful, somewhat frequent, and they didn’t go away by changing positions or drinking more water.

I managed to sleep about 5 hours but when I awoke the contractions were back. And now after being awake for a few hours they continue to strike every 7 – 12 minutes and nice and painful too. So although I know this might still be a case of false labor, I’m thinking it’s the real deal. And hopefully it goes a bit faster than my son’s 32 hour one.

before labor

A Reflection on Pregnancy

A comparison of my two pregnancies

Well I’m down to the last 12 days before my estimated due date and it can’t get here fast enough for me. I am very ready to meet you little girl and am definitely over the whole pregnancy thing. As your arrival looms so close, I can’t help comparing your pregnancy with that of your older brother’s three years ago.

This pregnancy has gone much smoother than my first did and has been all together healthier. I started off healthier and continued to exercise regularly and eat healthy (mostly) throughout which greatly contributed I think. In fact the best side effect I had with this pregnancy was my obsession with working out. For the first time in my life I awoke nearly every morning with the desire to exercise. I still have that desire, but the aches and pains have seriously limited what I can do in these last couple weeks of pregnancy. I’m not expecting my newfound love of exercise to stick around after you arrive, little girl, but even if it doesn’t it was fantastic while it lasted.

With your brother I suffered several ailments (kidney stones, broken toe, Bells palsy) and with your pregnancy I have had none of these issues. However, the biggest difference has been hormonal. I was completely even-keeled during my first pregnancy, but this one has been a whirlwind of emotions. I’ve been irritable, sad, angry, and even depressed throughout the entire pregnancy with no idea what each day would bring. Some days I was my regular old self and other days I hardly recognized myself. It has definitely been a long nine months for me and your dad and brother (sorry guys). Physically I feel much stronger and more prepared this go around, but emotionally it has been exhausting. I really thought the whole trope about pregnant women being hormonal was blown way out of proportion during my first pregnancy, but now I completely see where this notion comes from.

As the pregnancy comes to an end I am both saddened a bit by the idea that this is the last time I will feel a baby growing inside me and excited to be through with this chapter of my life. I think you understood my desire to soak up this last beautiful experience as much as possible and thus you moved so insanely frequently and violently inside me I can now say I am ready to be done. Seriously. You contorted my belly so much I had strangers in public give me horrified looks when my shirt began poking out at crazy angles and degrees. I looked like I was birthing an alien. I will always remember the way it felt to have my hipbone and ribs stretched and punched at the same time internally. You are so active, even in these last few days that I wonder if you will ever sleep once you are born. It definitely doesn’t feel like you sleep much now.

I don’t know what to expect from your actual labor. I pray it is much quicker than your brother’s (30+ hours) and at least this time I will know what to expect going into it. Your brother was born at 38 weeks so it looks as though you are going to make me wait a bit longer than he did. I do know I am just as excited to meet you as I was with your brother. I can’t wait to see what you look like and hold you in my arms for the first time. And when you look up into my face for the first time I know I will feel completely at ease and as if I’ve known you forever, just as I did with your brother. Just thinking about that moment gets me emotional. So be it a long and laborious labor or a quick and exciting one, it will be worth every ounce of pain and tear shed to finally have you part of our family. So not to rush you, baby girl, but you can come whenever you are ready because we certainly are ready to meet you!

Throwing an Outer Space Party for Toddlers

outer space banner

My son requested an outer space theme for his 3rd birthday and I was more than happy to comply since I secretly hope he becomes an astrophysicist or something in the field of astronomy. The thing is, it’s actually very hard to find space-themed items. It’s a sad commentary on society’s prioritizing of the astronomical field, I think. Anyway, I realized I was going to have to get creative to pull this thing off.

Luckily I am also pregnant and have had an insane nesting urge since early in my second trimester. And with this being the second baby, there’s really not much to do. We already have most of the items we need and there’s no nursery to setup because she’ll be sharing a room with our son eventually. So I used all that extra energy to plan my son’s birthday. In the end it turned out fantastic and didn’t cost much at all.

Décor and Location

Honestly, I didn’t waste too much time, energy, or money on the décor. For a bunch of toddlers there’s really no use in decking the place out when they won’t really appreciate it. I decided to keep it nice and simple. I got black tablecloths, a cool large space birthday banner, and my son’s present which was a rocket ship tent. These were enough to give ambiance and fully explain the party theme.

rocket tent

For the location I normally would have hosted it in our yard or at a park to save money, but knowing I’d be 35 weeks pregnant and it would be mid-July I didn’t want to be hot and sweaty. Instead I booked a FREE community room our local grocery store offers. Now, obviously not all areas will have a resource like this, but make sure you look into it because you’d be surprised how many places offer free or low cost rooms. With it being inside I was obviously constrained by the size and layout of the room which is why I decided to plan lots of activities for the kids so we wouldn’t have more than a dozen toddlers running wild in a small room.

Activities

Planning the activities was my favorite part. I looked online to get ideas and in the end used a combination of things I saw and my own ideas to create different stations the kids could enjoy. It worked well to contain the chaos and it also gave parents something to do at the party rather than just stand around and watch kids run and scream.

Glow In The Dark T-Shirts

Instead of party favors I decided to have a t-shirt decorating station. I purchased inexpensive space stencils and glow in the dark fabric paint online and found an amazing deal at a local thrift shop on brand new t-shirts. I still can’t believe the luck of it, I literally found toddler size new shirts for $1.50 a piece. The chances of that happening has to be small. If I hadn’t stumbled on this find, I planned on purchasing t-shirts online where I found them as low as about $2.75 each.

outer space activitiesouter space activitiesSpace shirtsSpace shirts 2

The kids and parents loved this idea and everyone ended up with really cute and unique shirts by the end of the party.

Space Sensory Station

What toddler party would be complete without a sensory table? Kids absolutely love these things so if you’ve never used one I totally recommend it. Basically you fill bins with various items of varying shapes, sizes, and textures and that’s it. The kids will do the rest. They’ll scoop it, play with different items, and inevitably spill some of it.

outer space sensory binsSpace sensory bin

For our sensory bins I bought black and neon colored aquarium rocks for the base. Then I placed solar system stickers, glow in the dark planets, bouncy balls that looked like rocks, and various space-themed erasers in them. I completed it with a pair of tongs and scoopers for each and they were done. This was the simplest to plan and put together and was one of the most popular stations. Most of the items I put in them came from either the dollar store or from a cheap online retailer.

Learning Landing

I didn’t want to waste an opportunity to sneak in some education so I created the Learning Landing. I printed space coloring pages, offered black cardstock and space stickers to make scenes, and had a pile of astronomy books and other educational materials to look at. I also found a great solar system large puzzle at a thrift store that I added to this mix.

Space learning table

I’m not sure how much the toddlers learned, but they enjoyed the stickers a lot and I found the parents had a great time coloring! Fun for all!

Planet Painting

I also wanted an art activity so I threw in planet painting. All these materials were bought from the local dollar store. I bought:

  • Styrofoam balls for the planets
  • Styrofoam rings to place the planets on to dry
  • Several packages of paint
  • One package of paintbrushes
  • Plastic bags to take them home if they hadn’t dried in time

Planet painting station Painting planets in action

This was another simple activity that the kids really loved.

Cosmic Capsules

As luck would have it I found space-themed grow capsules at Target that worked wonderfully as my science station. All I needed to provide was hot water and bowls. The kids chose a capsule, dropped it in a bowl, and then let a parent pour the hot water over it. In minutes they watched their capsules burst open and form into a space shaped object. It was easy, cheap, and went over very well.

Space growing capsules

Space Food

The last challenge was to figure out the menu. I didn’t want to spend a ton on food that toddlers might not eat so I picked some of their favorites and made them space-themed. Here’s what we ended up with:

  • Cosmic Fruit (watermelon cut into space shapes and red grapes)
  • Astronaut Yogurt (kids yogurt shaped like astronauts, amazing I found these at a store)
  • Galactic PB&J (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into space shapes)
  • Star Wars Mac N Cheese (Kraft offers Star Wars shaped mac n cheese)
  • Strawberry Space Goo (strawberry jello)
  • Rocket Fuel (Koolaid squeeze bottles that look like rockets)
  • Star Wars Cheez-Its (Cheez-It brand crackers makes these)
  • Hummus, spinach dip, crackers, carrots, sub sandwiches, and fried chicken (more for the adults)
  • And of course a space decorated birthday cake

outer space food space food spread more space food Rocket cakeSpace fruit

Besides the cake, sub sandwiches, crackers/dips, and fried chicken everything was made at home so it kept the cost down and the food seemed to be a hit based on how quickly it disappeared.

In the end the party was a great success. Everyone seemed to have a blast and my son made some great memories. I loved planning this party and look forward to future themes. I will add the main thing that made this possible and easy was starting far in advance. I literally began planning this in January or February and kept my eyes out for any space-themed items whenever I was shopping. I just had a box I threw everything into as I bought it and kept a list going of my ideas. It made the whole process far less daunting and I didn’t feel overwhelmed because I did it little bit by little bit.

I hope this helps for anyone looking for ideas on a space-themed birthday. Feel free to share any of your ideas or successes in the comments below.

 

A Unique Baby Shower

baby shower

So having a baby shower for your second baby is always a little different since you already have most of the baby gear you’ll need from baby number one. Since we are having a girl this time around I knew I could always have a “sprinkle”, a small shower intended to provide clothing for the baby. Or there is the always useful “diaper shower” in which everyone brings a pack of diapers and/or wipes so you’re stocked up for awhile after baby arrives. But we cloth diaper so we are already set on that end.

All smilesDecorative platebaby shower foodPainting funpainting baby shower

After thinking about it I realized all I really wanted to do was hang out with friends and celebrate the upcoming birth of my little girl. We didn’t need baby gear, or diapers, or clothes (because as I previously wrote I am sort of obsessively buying outfits for her already) so I decided to have it at a pottery painting venue and have everyone paint a small personalized item for her. And because I seem to be nesting a LOT with this pregnancy, but have very little that actually needs to be done it was nice to have something to put some effort into. I had way too much fun making the shower favors, lol.

baby shower favorsbaby shower candiesgift bags

It turned out to be exactly what I needed. At 32 weeks pregnant I’m starting to get tired easily and enjoyed having a morning of visiting with my girl friends, leisurely painting, and enjoying a few hours of toddler-free time. And my baby girl will have a collection of beautiful thoughtful unique gifts. Oh, and I got to pig out on yummy snacks and a most delicious raspberry lemonade cake (thank you SO much, Hilary) so this was one very happy and satisfied pregnant lady.

baby shower cake

It was also an amazing shower because my mom flew in from California to surprise me and be here for it. She wasn’t able to attend my first baby shower in Florida so it was so special to have her here for my second and last shower.

Me and momSmile

Cuddling my friend’s newborn baby girl today has made me all the more excited to meet my own little girl. I’m enjoying these last few weeks of pregnancy more so than with my first because I’m not nervous of the unknown like I was with my son. I don’t feel nearly as stressed as I did at this point last time and other than the regular last trimester aches and pains things are going surprisingly well and easy. This pregnancy has seemed to fly by much quicker and I can hardly believe I’m so close to the end.
Thank you to all the wonderful ladies who came out to celebrate with me today and to all those who couldn’t be here and sent me beautiful gifts and well wishes. I can’t wait for everyone to meet our little Thea!

Third Trimester

Third trimester is here!

I’m just a couple days away from week 28 of this pregnancy, so I think I can consider myself in the third trimester! We’re in the homestretch now. And as excited as I am to meet my little girl, I must admit I am also already beginning to romanticize this pregnancy and anticipate the sadness I’ll feel at no longer being pregnant. I know my first trimester was hell, but the second was so nice I’ve actually been able to enjoy the experience.

Things are progressing quickly now. I took my glucose tolerance test last week and have yet to hear anything from my doctor, so that means I must have passed. Yay! With the last pregnancy I failed the test by TWO points and had to do the 3 hour test which was no fun at all. I was also happy that this time around they had the fruit punch flavor, which was far more palatable than the orange I took with my first pregnancy. This drink was both dye-free and BVO-free also, which is a step in the right direction in my opinion.

third trimester glucose test

I’m at the stage of pregnancy now where I go every two weeks to the doctor for checkups which also makes the time seem to go by faster somehow. It’s almost time to start thinking about touring the hospital, packing a hospital bag, and washing all the baby clothes.

Speaking of baby clothes… I can’t stop buying things for little miss. I was not that way at all with my son, but I suppose I didn’t have to be because I was gifted so many wonderful hand-me-downs from friends. I mean I was given everything from newborn to 4T with him so I guess I never felt the urge to purchase much. And let’s be honest, there are just so many adorable girl outfits. I hit up the local thrift stores and rummage sales and walk away with a bag or two of adorable clothes for dollars. I’ve got clothing from newborn – 18 months so far, and have spent about $100 total. But as I sorted through them the other day, I realized it’s about time to stop shopping. I’d hate to have too many outfits on hand and end up not using them all. It’s also become a game for me because I’m not a huge fan of the color pink so I’ve been determined to seek out outfits with little or no pink in them, which is pretty hard with baby girl clothes, lol.

More girl clothing Baby swimsuit Baby clothes

As we get closer and closer to adding this fourth member to our family, my son gets more and more independent. I’ve been relieved at how well he seems to be handling the thought of a sister. I know the reality will be a whole other story, but right now he loves to kiss and sing to his sister every day and is constantly grabbing things at the stores he wants us to buy for her. It’s so heartwarming. And my little boy who used to cry if I left his side not more than six months ago is all geared up and excited to start summer school. He tells me he can’t wait to go to school “all by myself”. I can’t believe how big he is getting, but as much as it tugs at my heart to see my baby growing, it also reassures me that the spacing of our children is just right for us. A year ago he would have been devastated I think to have to share mommy with another, but now he yearns for more freedom and revels in doing things all by himself. I think he’s going to end up being a fantastic help with this baby and I can’t wait to see the two of them together.

Siblings

So less than three months on the countdown. Here’s hoping this last trimester is as smooth and enjoyable as the second was.

Viability Week

We have now reached an important milestone in this pregnancy; 24 weeks which is considered viability week. Of course, I would never want my baby born so early, but it’s reassuring to know we’ve reached the point that should anything happen, our baby girl would now have a fighting chance at surviving outside my womb.

As this pregnancy progresses I am struck by how different it is from my first pregnancy. My second trimester with my son included lots of backaches, strong cravings for sugar, and a horrible kidney stone episode that landed me overnight in my L&D. With this little girl, I have nearly no muscle pains (although the ligament pains are similar), I have very little desire for sweets, and thankfully there have been no kidney stones this time around (knock on wood). Of course I learned my lesson with my son’s pregnancy and have been extremely good about drinking lots of water to stave off the kidney stones which I’m prone to and have been religious about working out (once I got out of the exhausting first trimester) to help with back pain. The only big issue I’ve had in this trimester with baby girl is ongoing insomnia. But even that is manageable as I can usually get in a quick nap if I failed to get any sleep the night before.

This pregnancy also seems a bit easier because I know what to expect. The unknown with the first pregnancy was so nerve-wracking. I spent so much time reading and googling and questioning friends and family about every little thing, but this time around I use that time to read for pleasure or work on small projects around the house, or, let’s be honest, entertain my toddler son.

My favorite aspect so far though, has been sharing this experience with my son. He loves to yell at his baby sister through my tummy and asks me every few days if my baby is coming out yet. He also loves looking at the album I made for my pregnancy with him and pointing out all the pictures of my big belly and exclaiming “That’s me in there?” He also enjoys sharing his toys with his sister, which usually means he’s rolling a car or pressing a toy against my belly button. It is so fun to see the pregnancy through my toddler’s eyes. It truly does seem more magical.

Sharing Cars                                       Talking to his sister

 

And since this blog serves not just to share my experiences with friends and family, but also as a digital baby book for my children here are some observations I want to remember thus far in my pregnancy:

  • Baby girl is a mover! She twists and turns and throws punches or kicks all night long (which may be contributing to the insomnia)
  • Cravings: Mostly fresh vegetables and fruits. Tomatoes (which I never liked much pre-pregnancy) and cucumbers have become a staple breakfast dish. Anything spicy.
  • Aversions: Chicken, pork, red meat. I can eat them if someone else prepared them, but I don’t like cooking them myself. This pregnancy we’ve lived off of fish and vegetarian dishes mainly. I’m not complaining, it’s been a healthy several months around here.
  • Issues: Picking a name has been much harder this time around. There are far too many girl names and narrowing it down and selecting one is proving difficult. I think we may have settled on one, but I’m not convinced yet. With my son I just knew it was right, and I’m waiting to feel a similar emotion with this one. Shopping is my other vice now. We don’t need much since we have most the baby gear needed, but I can’t go by a secondhand store or rummage sale without buying some adorable girl outfit I see. She’s going to have outfits for the first year of her life by the time she makes her appearance at this rate.
  • Second trimester: Pros: Lots of energy, lots of nesting, no more morning sickness               Cons: Lots of ligament pains and pelvic discomfort (she’s already head down and very low), insomnia

So far this pregnancy seems to be zipping by. And although I’m excited to meet our little girl, I will miss some of these beautiful pregnancy moments.

It’s A Girl

It's a girl

Although I had been predicting a girl throughout this entire pregnancy, it was exciting to have it confirmed by ultrasound last week. Now I can start calling our baby “her” and telling my son about his sister. It was also nice to see a healthy and active baby bouncing around on the screen. She was so active in fact, we failed to get any good profile or head images from her. I was just happy the technician managed to get all the vital organ and structural readings she needed, although it took her awhile as she chased our little girl around my womb.

This pregnancy has definitely been different so far. The first trimester I was much more sick than with my son and for the first time I understood when people refer to pregnant women as hormonal. With my son I didn’t have any mood swings or depression, but with this one I have. I cry easier, I get upset over little things, and I have had a lot more anxiety. But it’s far better now in the second trimester. With my energy levels back up and no more morning sickness to keep me down, I’m feeling a thousand times better than I was six weeks ago.

My son was a very active baby, but this little one appears to be giving him a run for his money. She wiggles and kicks a lot and I began feeling her move in my 15th week. Now at nearly 19 weeks the movements are getting stronger and much more frequent. My son has enjoyed feeling my belly and laughing when she kicks his hand.

I’m also experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions already. These started around the 17th week. With my son I believe they began somewhere around the 20-22 week. We’ll see if I get them as frequently as I did when I was pregnant with my son.

This pregnancy seems to be flying by, whereas I felt like I was pregnant forever with my son. Part of this is the fact that working from home and caring for a toddler tend to make the days go by very quickly, but part of it also comes down to the bittersweet fact that this is my last pregnancy and I want to savor each moment of it, so it tends to feel like it’s flying by quickly. I’m trying to appreciate it all, even the days I feel miserable, because I know in the blink of an eye the baby I’m carrying will suddenly be a toddler and then in school and then a teen, etc. etc. Time does seem to go much faster now that I have children and I struggle with wanting to soak in every amazing moment and wanting to have a bit more “me” time.  I suppose that isn’t likely to go away until the kids are grown and moved out on their own.

As I approach the halfway mark of this pregnancy I am excited to start preparing for our little girl’s arrival. I was pretty set on having two boys, but now that I know I’m having a girl I am thrilled. It’s going to be a new and thrilling road for our family.

Pregnancy Insomnia

 

Pregnancy insomnia

Pregnant woman with insomnia

This pregnancy has been worlds different from my first. Not only was the first trimester plagued with awful morning sickness, but I’ve been dealing with pregnancy insomnia practically the entire duration so far. I had a few incidents of insomnia when I was pregnant with my son, but nothing like this.

About 5 days a week I fall asleep for about 3-4 hours and then wake up. Once awake I’m usually awake for 2-4 hours before falling back asleep for a couple more hours rest before the morning. It’s very frustrating. I have tried everything. Soothing yoga at night, herbal teas, relaxation techniques, listening to calming music. Nothing seems to make me tired once I’m up. The energy that I wish I had during the day is coming to me at 2 am when it’s not appreciated.

At least I know I’m not alone. About 75 % of pregnant women report issues with insomnia. I’m not sure how many of them are suffering chronic insomnia like I am, but most know the frustration of it at some point in their pregnancy. If I surf the pregnancy web boards in the wee hours of the morning I am always relieved to see posts from other insomniacs.

The good news for me is since I work from home I am able to rest a bit during the day. I try to nap at least 30 minutes a day when my son is sleeping and that helps rejuvenate me a bit. If I’m unable to sleep during the day I try to find time to engage my son in some solo activity so I can at least put my feet up and relax a bit.

Oh, and I have found a new remedy that has been working well the past few nights. I stumbled upon the classic PBS show The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross on Netflix and am happy to report it has been aiding me in falling back asleep when insomnia strikes. Between the hypnotic painting techniques and the fact that Bob Ross has potentially the most calming and soothing voice ever, I can usually drift into sleepland within 30 – 45 minutes of turning it on. I hope this continues to work and who knows maybe I’ll become a better painter too.

Pregnancy insomnia is just one of many pregnancy symptoms that drive women crazy for nine months, but I also know how fast those months go by. Like all the other annoying side effects, it will pass and in the end will be totally worth the outcome.

Do you have any cures for pregnancy insomnia? If so feel free to share them with me. Thanks.