Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Team Grue

We had our anatomy scan today, and I'm pleased to report that Guido is perfect and symmetrical--and is measuring ahead of schedule. Our official due date is April 2nd.

Guido, showing off the nice pointy chin s/he got from me, and the honker s/he got from Danny. Not sure where those duck lips came from.

Guido was supposedly a dancing machine the entire time Natalie, the tech, was taking measurements. The screen was turned toward Natalie, so I couldn't see it, but Danny was able to watch our dancer in action. Then, when it was time for us all to look at him/her just for fun, s/he decided to stick his/her butt up in the air and take a nap. Hmph.

Another point of interest is that I have an anterior placenta. Of course I do! This means my placenta is between Guido and my stomach--so it acts as a barrier to his/her kicks. All this means is that I'm going to feel movement much later than most people. My OB said it'll be at least another month. Annoying... but definitely not the end of the world.

So, in case you haven't figured it out yet, allow me to explain what the title of this post means. Team Grue = Team Green that turned into Team Blue because baby's mommy and daddy have no will-power.

Danny was right--Guido's a perfectly healthy and big baby BOY!

I used to have no idea what I was looking at when people showed me gender-determination pics like this. In case you don't get it, imagine that Guido is sitting upright on a glass table, and you're underneath the table, looking up. What you're seeing is his butt, the backs of his legs, and the underside of his weenie. Make sense?  

When Natalie first asked if we wanted to know the sex, Danny said, "We're not sure." Huh? I totally wanted to know, but I didn't think he'd ever change his mind. He's wanted it to be a surprise since before this baby was conceived.

She said she'd get all the shots she needed to, and then we could decide. A few minutes later, she asked us what our final answer was, and Danny looked at me and said, "I wanna know! Do you?" Um, yes, please.

Proud Daddy

I'm not gonna lie--I do regret finding out. Just a little bit. I have to let go of the image of Danny exclaiming, "It's a _____!" in the delivery room. On the bright side, though, knowing the sex makes this whole awesome thing feel that much more real. We're having a baby! And it's a boy! And I can start buying stuff like a crazy lady now.

Exhibit A. You're welcome, Target.

Monday, October 29, 2012

17 Weeks = Onion

Today, I'm 17 weeks and 1 day pregnant, and our baby is the size of an onion.

We didn't take our onion photos yesterday because it was rainy and cold out. I've since realized the weather won't be improving anytime soon, so I just dragged Danny out in Hurricane Sandy (or her effects on Cleveland, anyway) for this photoshoot.

Check out that patriotic umbrella!

This week, Onion is putting on some fat. Put on lots of it, Guido. I love a fat baby.

Wind gust!

 I've been feeling great lately, but simmer down, kidneys! I got up to pee 6 times Saturday night. Six times in 8 hours is no joke. Try feeling rested after that.

Even bigger wind gust!

We have an ultrasound tomorrow--our anatomy scan. This is the biggie, where they measure everything, and make sure Onion's growing properly and looking normal. We could also find out if we're dealing with a pee-pee or a hoo-ha, but we're going to (try to) stick to our guns and keep it a surprise.

Biggest wind gust! This is when Danny said, "I'm done!" and ran inside. I should note that my police officer husband left me outside to fend for myself. And remember my patriotic umbrella? He's no longer with us.

Please, God, let this baby be perfect (and let me "accidentally" see a hoo-ha... or even a pee-pee, for that matter). And keep all of my East Coast friends safe during Hurricane Sandy.

Happy Birthday, Baby Celis #2

Today's one of those rough milestones that I'm looking forward to putting behind me. Unfortunately, I have lots of days like this--days that should be very different than they actually are.

Baby Celis #2's estimated due date was October 29th, 2012. Today. My arms feel so empty.

I couldn't wait to bring her home from the hospital in a tiny Halloween costume.

I know she was a girl because a) I dreamt of her a thousand times and b) I bought a newborn ladybug costume 2 years ago (before kids were even on our radar), and I know it was meant for her.

Halloween hurts my heart this year.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Baby Celis #1, Part One (The Happy)

One year ago today, Danny and I found out we were going to be parents. In honor of our first angel, I'm going to share that story now. Part of it, anyway.

I've said before that I'll never really write about my miscarriages because I can't do the pain justice. I'm not sure I can do the joyful times justice, either--but I’ve since decided that I owe it to my babies to tell their stories. Plus, Danny’s been asking me to write about them—and there’s not much I wouldn’t do for that guy.

It makes sense to start at the beginning, with Baby Celis #1. I’ll give you Part One today—the one year anniversary of my first positive pregnancy test---and Part Two on November 27th—the one year anniversary of the day we said goodbye to our first baby.

I'm allowing myself one hour to write this because if I fiddle with it until I think it's good enough for my baby, I may never finish it.

Part One. Ready, set, go.

When I took a pregnancy test during my lunch hour on Thursday, October 27th, 2011, I was only kind of surprised to see two lines appear. I obviously bought the test for a reason. We all know how babies are made. Plus, I thought my period was late (I never kept close track), and moreover, like with my pregnancies that followed, I just knew.

I didn’t tell Danny immediately because I wasn’t going to tell him something so momentous over the phone. Also, this is ridiculous, but I wanted to make sure I was pregnant (by peeing on a million more sticks). I didn’t really allow myself to think about the baby in my belly that afternoon. My main focus was Danny and what his reaction would be. Just two weeks prior to this, he’d told me that he didn’t want to start a family for at least 5 years. We didn't know it, of course, but I was already pregnant when he'd said that. Life's funny, I guess.

When I got out of work, I took another pregnancy test--a fancy digital one this time--and sure enough, an undeniable "pregnant" appeared on the little screen in a matter of seconds.

My hands shook as I walked out of the bathroom with my positive pregnancy tests. I found Danny, who was on some weird muscle man diet at the time, in the kitchen, browning some ground beef and making hard boiled eggs. I said, “Now, don’t freak out—but I took this test at lunch, and there are two lines, and I took this test just now, and it says ‘pregnant.’ It must be true."

The color drained from his face. He grabbed the tests and examined them, then he grabbed the wall to steady himself. He managed to squeak out, “I have to sit down. I have to get some air,” and ran out the front door. I followed.

And that’s when it happened. As we sat outside on our stoop on that sunny fall day, freaked out and wondering how the hell we were going to handle this, our hearts opened up and swallowed that sweet little life we'd made together. We fell in love with our baby, just like that.

We were going to be parents! We were going to raise and nurture and shape and love a human being who was going to be the best of both of us. Yes, we were terrified--but we were also ecstatic. We made a baby, and on June 27th, 2012 (I'd already used an online calculator to figure out our estimated due date), we'd be able to hold him or her in our arms. Because isn't that how it always works?

We knew our lives would never be the same. We just didn’t know in what ways—or to what extent.

We ran down the street to tell Danny’s mom (yes, I live 7 houses down the street from my mother-in-law), and she laughed and cried—and we laughed and cried. I wasn’t sure how she’d react since Danny and I weren’t married yet. (Not that it’s important, but let the record reflect that we'd been engaged for 5 months.)

My favorite engagement photo. I was actually pregnant with Baby Celis #1 when it was taken--but didn't realize it until 4 days later. An 11x14 of this photo is hanging in our living room, and I consider it a tangible memory of our first baby.

But she was elated. I remember her saying, “How did this happen?? Well, I know how it happened,
but how did it happen? Oh, it doesn’t matter!” And we all hugged, and laughed and cried some more.

Now, 3 people in the world were head-over-heels in love with Baby Celis #1.

We decided to visit our best friends, Josh and Sarah, who have a house full of kids. We needed them to tell us we’d be okay, that we were perfectly capable of raising a baby, and that nothing in the world compares to being a parent.

As soon as we shared our news with them, that's exactly what they told us. Cue more tears and laughter and hugs.

And even more love for Baby Celis #1.

Afterward, Danny and I went to our favorite pizza place to celebrate. I remember running across Detroit Avenue, hand in hand, laughing our asses off and bursting at the seams with excitement. We wanted to shout our news from the rooftops, but we settled with just telling our server. (For the longest time, we avoided that restaurant because I was afraid she'd remember us and ask about our baby.)

Remember the hard boiled eggs Danny was making? We learned that night that if you boil eggs for 3 hours, they explode all over your face and ceiling when you touch them. Hard boiled eggs will forever remind me of our first baby--in a good way, I think. We were so thrilled to be celebrating our baby that we forgot about everything else. It's sweet.

We spent the following weeks falling more and more in love with Baby Celis #1. (Oh, and we ran to the justice center and got hitched.)

So much joy. Reading the letters we wrote to each other on our wedding day. They're primarily about how awesome it was going to be to be parents. (If I ever feel like sobbing until I puke, I'll bust these letters out and read them.)

The happiest memories of my entire life are from when this baby was here with us—Danny rubbing my belly and talking to our sweet baby, poring over names and nursery photos, unabashedly buying cute baby stuff, brainstorming fun ways of telling the world our news, dreaming of traditions (ice cream-and-bookstore Sundays, cupcake-breakfast birthdays), writing our baby letters, wondering who our baby would look like, who our baby would be.

(That wasn't a bee pun up there.) The first thing we bought for Baby Celis #1. I very clearly remember wandering around Banyan Tree with Danny, trying to pick out the most perfect first gift we could find for our sweet baby. Danny couldn't resist this. It's been stashed away in a box for 11 months, and Danny and I just forced ourselves to peek into it last week for the very first time.

Our joy eclipsed any negative things going on in our lives at the time. Nothing else mattered. I remember laughing so much those days. I remember crying (happy tears, sometimes tinged with overwhelmed tears) until I laughed and laughing until I cried. It sounds corny, it sounds trite... but we were on top of the world.

I don't think I'll experience unbridled joy like that ever again. I know I haven't since, despite all of the wonderful things that have happened to us. Now, my happiness is always varnished with a thick layer of skepticism. I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Not then.

If there’s anything I want people to understand (besides the horrendous pain that came later), it’s that I do have happy memories of our first baby. I really can look back at those days and smile (even if it is through tears most of the time).

My first pregnancy is divided into two distinct parts—the happy and the sad—so that’s how I’ll divide Baby Celis #1’s story. I’ll end Part One here, on a happy note.

Again, let me reiterate, we were so, so happy.

Added 11/27: Here's Part Two.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thrifty Thursday #1

Happy 1st Thrifty Thursday*!

I'll be sharing two Craigslist purchases with you this week because they're both small ticket items. Here they are, a Bumbo and a Fisher-Price Whale-of-a-Tub bathtub:

Craigslist Price:  $20 total ($15 for the Bumbo, $5 for the tub)
Target's Price:  $71 total ($40 for the Bumbo, $11 for the Bumbo tray, $20 for the tub)
Amount Saved:  $51
Amount Left Before I Can Justify Buying My Joya Rocking Chair:  $649

*An explanation of Thrifty Thursdays:
According to my readers, I should spend approximately $300 on a rocking chair. I've already admitted that I'll be spending a whoppin' $1,000. That's a difference of $700.

To offset this $700, I plan on saving money elsewhere. Every week, I'll buy something for the baby from Craigslist or Ebay, and the amount of money I save will go toward this $700 difference. So, say I score a $200 stroller on Craigslist for $100. The $100 that I saved will be "banked," and I'll have to save $600 more to justify purchasing my glorious rocking chair. For a more in-depth explanation, see this post.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baby Celis's Gray and Turquoise Nursery Mood Board

Since I can’t actually start working on the nursery yet (for a million different reasons), I made this mood board last night:
I only let myself put 20 items on the board because I was afraid I’d go crazy and still be working on it when my alarm went off this morning. Here’s a description of everything pictured:
  1. Color scheme: the walls will be painted a lighter gray (maybe Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl), and the accent colors will be darker shades of gray, various colors from the aqua/turquoise/teal family, and pops of warmth via coral or orange. 
  2. DIY paper mobile (not necessarily this one) made of turquoise and gray paper
  3. Melissa and Doug's 4-foot giraffe (which we already own)
  4. Birch tree mural or decals 
  5. Baby Mod Olivia crib in amber and white (the picture is of the espresso and white version because I couldn’t find a good picture of the amber one) 
  6. Turquoise chevron curtains
  7. Decoylab Baby Hedgehog Clock (which we already own; it was the very first thing we bought for this baby)
  8. Monte Joya Rocker in charcoal
  9. Urban Outfitters Stella Floor Lamp in turquoise
  10. A cute little shelf or two to display a jar of pinwheels, the name blocks we made, etc. I also love the idea of hanging up a meaningful outfit.
  11. Lots of fun prints from Etsy, including the one pictured ("Home is Wherever I'm With You" by splendidandsound
  12. Cute fabric-covered storage (DIY?)
  13. Ikea moose rocker (which we already own)
  14. Mirror (hopefully thrifted or from T.J. Maxx) that I’ll paint aqua/turquoise and hang above the dresser, so Baby Celis can admire him/herself when s/he’s on the changing pad
  15. Mid-century modern dresser (which we already own; Danny just has to refinish it, and if he can’t, I’ll find another one on Craigslist)
  16. Gallery wall using Ikea Ribba frames that I’ll hang by the mirror above the dresser
  17. Turquoise shag rug (not necessarily this one)
  18. CB2 knitted pouf in graphite
  19. Book wall using Ikea Ribba picture ledges
  20. Fabrics (for sheets, crib skirt, blanket, throw pillow, changing pad cover, covered storage bins, etc.) in turquoise and gray—and possibly a pop of orangey coral here and there
Now, we just have to move everything from the office to the upstairs bedroom and everything from the upstairs bedroom and future nursery to the office; then get new windows in the nursery, have the hardwood floors and other woodwork refinished… and we should be able to get crackin’! It’ll be like moving into a new house, and I panic just thinking about it. 

Good Lord.

But let’s just focus our attention on that pretty mood board for now, shall we?

Monday, October 22, 2012

16 Weeks = Avocado

Today, I'm 16 weeks (that's 4 months!) and 1 day pregnant, and our baby is the size of an avocado. Last week, s/he was supposedly the size of a navel orange--which makes no sense. On what planet is an avocado larger than an orange? Or am I insane?

Anyway, this week, Avocado is growing hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes, and his/her taste buds are forming. Will s/he have a sweet tooth like mommy and daddy?

Things have been awesome on the symptoms front. I'm still peeing my brains out at night, and I'm finding it hard to catch my breath--but those are my only issues. I'm even feeling slightly less exhausted these days, which has been nice.

Oh, dang, I'm sassy.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

DIY Name Blocks

I plan on making lots of things for the nursery because a) nurseries with personal, handmade touches are always the sweetest and b) I'm buying a $1,000 chair.

When I ran across this tutorial the other day, I knew I had to give it a shot--so Danny and I bought the supplies and had a night of crafting.

Like with anything he and I attempt to do, this took way, way longer than we anticipated. Three hours for 4 blocks. That's 45 minutes per block.

Keep reading.

Anyway, this post should actually be called "MYHDIH Name Blocks." Make-Your-Husband-Do-It-Himself Name Blocks; as soon as I started trying to cut the paper with the X-Acto knife, I started getting pissy. I was cutting chunks of the block off, the edges of my paper were all jagged, and I was afraid I was going to cut my face off.

My awesome husband volunteered to take over. In fact, he yanked the X-Acto out of my hand and told me not to touch it again--and to just let him know which paper to put where. Apparently, I'm scary when I'm angry.

First, he spread some Mod Podge on one side of a 2"x2" block with one of those craft sponge thingies.

Nothing sexier than a man with Mod Podge.

Next, he put the block, Mod Podge side down, onto a piece of pretty paper. He then cut around the block with an X-Acto knife. He did this 23 more times. This task is so much more tedious than you're imagining. It's horrendous.

Go, Danny, go!

 After that, I stamped letters onto the blocks. All but 2 of them, anyway.

See? I'm not completely useless!

Luckily, the boy name and the girl name we've chosen both have 4 letters--so we only had to do 4 blocks. Each block has 2 lettered sides (one from each name) and 4 stampless sides.

Block #1:  boy side. 
Block #1:  girl side.

I don't have a picture of myself in action, but once everything was papered and stamped, I went over all of the edges with Mod Podge to smooth them down. Here's the end result:

All the pretty blocks, with the last 3 letters
turned away from you. You didn't think  
I was going to reveal the names, did you??
See previous caption.

I'm going to put these way up high on a shelf, unstacked--you know, horizontally. In retrospect, I'd only decorate the 10 sides that could potentially be visible (4 for each name and the two end sides). That would have saved a good hour or so.

In summation, making your own baby name blocks isn't fun at all--but holy crap, they're adorable. Oh, and I'd marry Danny a thousand more times if I could. He's the greatest.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rock My World, Part Two

Remember my rocking chair poll from last week? Allow me to explain.

I'm going to spend a small fortune on a rocking chair for the nursery. I fell in love with a particular chair ages ago, and I already knew I was going to buy it when I created the poll. Many of you will think I'm out of my mind when I reveal how much this chair costs--87% of you, in fact (and you're probably right).

One of my readers referred to rocking chairs as an investment, and I wholeheartedly agree. To me, the rocking chair is the most important part of the nursery. I'm going to read a million stories and sing a million lullabies in this chair. It's where I'll kiss away a million tears and evoke a million giggles. Since I'll be spending so much time in this chair, it has to be super comfortable.

When our children have outgrown their mama's lap, I'll move the chair into the living room, so it needs to be able to move seamlessly from room to room. Oh, and it has to be pretty.

It also has to be very well made. I want to rock my grandchildren in this rocking chair, and tell them all about how I used to rock their mommy or daddy in that very same chair.

Okay, I'll cut to the chase. Here's the chair:

The beautiful Monte Joya Rocker that stole my heart.

Are you ready for this? It's $995. I know, I know. But my mind's made up, and it'll be my only splurge, I promise.

So, this is where the poll comes in. It was a tight race right up until the very end, but according to my dear readers, I should spend approximately $300 on a rocking chair. I've already admitted that I'll be spending a whoppin' $1,000. That's a difference of $700.

To offset this $700, I plan on saving money elsewhere. Every week, I'll buy something for the baby from Craigslist or Ebay, and the amount of money I save will go toward this $700 difference. So, say I score a $200 stroller on Craigslist for $100. The $100 that I saved will be "banked," and I'll have to save $600 more to justify purchasing my glorious rocking chair.

Danny has already pointed out that this challenge is completely illogical because I'm spending money to save money, but it's my game, and I make the rules--and I don't care if none of it makes sense.

Speaking of rules, here they are:
  1. Any item I purchase from Craigslist or Ebay has to currently be on one of my registries. (Yes, my registries are already done. Hello, Type A.)
  2. I purchase my rocking chair in early January, whether or not I've reached $700. (I highly doubt I will, but this is my game, remember?)
There you have it! Get ready for Thrifty Thursdays, where I'll be sharing my purchases with you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Surprise from Aunt Rachel

"If you know someone who has lost a child [...], and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that [their child] died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that [their child] lived, and that's a great, great gift." 
--Elizabeth  Edwards 

I just mentioned this the other day, but very few things make me happier than somebody acknowledging my lost babies. It doesn't happen very often, and I know it's not because people don't care. It's because they just don't know what to say.

My sister nailed it. Baby Celis got this sweet sheep in the mail from her today, and I got this perfect little note that got me all teary:

The note says, "Thinking about you and your little angels. Love you, Rachel." (I was going to refer to this photo as a blooper, but is it really? Every photo's better with a cat in it.)

In case anybody needs further proof that Danny's convinced this baby's a boy, this onesie also came in the mail today:

Danny got it from an Ebay shop, Little Munsters. (This is folded in half, by the way. I didn't want you to think I don't know the difference between a t-shirt and a onesie.) 

That's the first thing Danny's picked out for the baby all by himself. I guess a baby girl could rock it-- with the right accessories, maybe, as long as she's not one of those girls who looks like a boy until she's 2.

I may be guilty of buying a slightly girly onesie, but could you have resisted it?

Cute cute cute cute cute cute. Buy your own from Lucky Thirteen Design.
Didn't think so. 

Have I mentioned how difficult it is to find cute gender-neutral clothes??

Monday, October 15, 2012

Violet's Light

This evening, my friend, Megan, and I attended a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day ceremony known as Violet's Light--named after the organizer's niece who was born sleeping last year.

Smiling as we remember our babies.

It was a very small gathering of people (you didn't have to be present to have your baby honored during the remembrance), but it was so, so sweet. A gazebo was lined with luminaries with our babies' names on them, and at exactly 7 P.M., we lit candles in honor of our angels.

All of the babies' names were read, and some people shared a few words about their experiences. I didn't get teary until I saw a couple of men cry. That'll do anybody in.

The luminaries glowing as 60 angels' names are read. 

I've said it before, but it bears repeating:  I wouldn't wish this kind of heartache on anybody, but it means the world to know I'm not alone--and that my babies aren't, either.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

In 1988, Ronald Reagan designated October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. October 15th, in particular, is the day set aside to remember all the babies who had to leave us too soon—and to raise awareness for miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss.

It happens more often than people realize because it's still such a taboo subject. I hate that people choose to suffer in silence. I hate that people feel ashamed of something horrendous that happened to them. Our babies died! This day of remembrance gives people a reason to talk about their babies. Many survivors of loss choose tomorrow to come out of the closet about their losses.

I'm part of the 1 in 4 who knows the devastation of having to say goodbye to a baby, to a future. Three babies, actually. Three futures. I know what it's like to hurt so badly—to be so afraid of never being able to hold a baby of my own—that I literally bawled until I threw up. I know what it's like to watch my husband fall to his knees and sob uncontrollably. I know the isolation, the desperation. I know what it's like to be this close to giving up.

In the beginning, when I'd "only" had one miscarriage, I planned on keeping it to myself. After my second loss, though, I realized I owed it to my babies to talk about them—and to never stop talking about them. I don't want the world to forget my babies existed—if only for a short while. I want everybody to realize that lots of people (not just 60-year-olds or 500-pound people or crack addicts) lose babies. I want people suffering their own losses to know I'm here for them, and maybe the only thing I'll be able to do is swear and cry, and be pissed and sad right along with them... but I'm here.

If I have any advice for somebody who hasn't experienced pregnancy or infant lossbut whose loved one has, it's this:
  • Just let them know you're there for them. Don't try to relate to what they're going through because either you've lost a baby or you haven't; there's nothing else in the world like it. I'm not saying you haven't experienced pain or suffering, but losing a baby, a part of yourself, is its own kind of hell.
  • If you're pregnant, try to wait more than 5 seconds after their loss to break the news to them. This sounds harsh, but their own heartache overshadows any joy they can muster up for you, no matter how much they love you. There was a time in my life when you couldn't have paid me a million dollars to intentionally associate with a pregnant woman. If your grieving friend needs space, give it to them, and don't take it personally. They'll come around.
  • I'm stealing this line from one of my fellow loss mamas: Sometimes a simple "I'm sorry" goes a long way. It's true—sometimes, that's really all there is to say. If you attempt to say much more than that, you run the risk of accidentally saying something stupid. (I could share countless offensive things people have said to me, but I'll refrain.)
  • Lastly, for the love of God, don't pretend the loss didn't happen. I'd rather be asked a thousand dumb questions, or deal with a thousand stupid comments than have somebody who loves me not acknowledge my babies. I brought my miscarriages up when I was out with a friend who was clearly avoiding the subject once (I'd just come out about my losses), and she said she didn't think I'd want to talk about them. Why would I not want to talk about my babies?
I'm sure people wonder what's wrong with me, how a 28-year-old could possibly have 3 miscarriages—and here's the answer:  nothing. After seeing a specialist and having several painful and invasive procedures done, over 50 vials of blood drawn, and testing on Danny and me to make sure we're compatible, we learned that there's nothing "wrong" with either of us.

I hated not having any answers. I prayed so hard that the doctor would tell us, "This is what's wrong with you, and here's the cure!" Instead, our official "diagnosis" was bad luck, and we were told to keep trying. I hated treating making a baby like a game of trial and error, but it was our only choice—and I'm so glad we didn't give up. I found a quote by Galileo, of all people—"I've loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."—that helped me soldier on. I remember chanting it in my head over and over and over again.  

I have this tremendous fear that people will assume that since this current pregnancy is going well, I'm cured—that I must be all better now. The truth is, while the fear of never becoming a mother has subsided, I think about the babies I lost several times every day. I love them so, so much. I'll always wonder who they would have been, what they would have looked like, what their favorite colors would have been, what their laughs would have sounded like. I'll always feel robbed and jaded, and jealous of the people who get to naively skate through their pregnancies. I don't cry as often as I used to—but the tears still sneak up on me every couple of weeks. I constantly still think about what should be.

I should have a 3.5-month-old baby, or I should be giving birth in 2 weeks, or I should be pregnant with twins right now. (Just hearing the word "twins" is enough to make my stomach turn.) This should be my first Halloween, first Thanksgiving, first birthday, first Christmas as a mommy. Should, should, should, should.

I hate it. I hate being part of this sad club, and I'd do anything to get out of it. I hate that anybody has to be part of this 1 in 4. However, I've met wonderful people who have helped see me through my darkest hour. I'm going to a remembrance service with one of them tomorrow night, and I can't wait to hug somebody who understands—and bawl our eyes out together as we remember our sweet babies that we'll never get to hold.

If anything good has come of this whole ordeal, it's that it's brought Danny and me closer together than two people have ever been. We've seen each other at our most vulnerable, and we love each other, respect each other, and "get" each other in a way that many couples never will. There's no shoulder I'd rather cry on, no tears I'd rather wipe away, nobody I'd rather have by my side.

15 Weeks = Orange

Today, I'm 15 weeks pregnant, and our baby is the size of an orange.

Off to a wedding! (These were taken last night.)

This week, Orange can hiccup, and I can't even handle how adorable that is. S/he's squirming up a storm in there, too, and I can't wait until I can feel movement. Shouldn't be long until I can feel little flutters. Some people even feel them this week!

If this child inherits any of my physical traits, please, God, let it be my eyes. Not that there's anything wrong with Danny's.

As far as symptoms go, I had a decent week--still worse than my first trimester, though. I had one barfy morning that I'm blaming on the Pizza Hut I ate the night before, as well as a few nosebleeds (a very glamorous symptom of pregnancy, caused by an increase in blood volume). I've also been experiencing lower back pain, which freaks me out because I still have 25 weeks of this pregnancy to go. No headaches or heartburn. Still waiting for my exhaustion and nightly bathroom trips to let up, which should happen sometime this trimester.

Still bumpless, but look at that matronly shelf. (And those aren't the most flattering sleeves in the world, eh?)

Lastly, as evidenced in the photo above, my boobs keep growing. I'm getting slightly concerned at this point. What are they going to look like when they're full of milk?? Grotesque, I imagine. I keep reminding myself that they'll make extra comfy pillows for my lucky baby.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rock My World: A Poll

This fact-gathering mission is very important, and it'll make sense to you sometime next week, I promise. Stay tuned!

Added 10/25:
Since Blogger decided to delete my poll data, here are the results:


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Maternity Jeans

Awesome Thing About Being Pregnant #500:

Maternity jeans! (These ones are from Motherhood--and come in petite.)

Yep, I broke down and bought some maternity jeans yesterday, and I'm sporting them right now. So what if I currently have no bump to speak of? I do have bloat and rolls that my real jeans can no longer accommodate.

Anyway, where have these things been all my life?? I don't mean where have they been the last few months; I mean where have they been all my life, as in the last 28 years? They're as comfortable as sweatpants, but they look just like real jeans. Best of both worlds.

Danny totally called it: "You're going to keep wearing these even after the baby's here, aren't you?" Um, duh. I look forward to expanding my collection, and I may never wear jeans with buttons again.

There's no one I love sharing my joy with more than Danny, so I may just have to buy him his own pair. Pizza nights are about to get a whole lot comfier.

Monday, October 8, 2012

14 Weeks = Lemon

Today, I'm 14 weeks, 1 day pregnant, and our baby is the size of a lemon.

This week, Lemon can squint, frown, pee(!), and grasp. I keep imagining him/her grasping Danny's finger for the first time, and it makes my heart soar.

I'm still very tired, but my extreme hunger seems to be subsiding--which I'm thankful for because I've been packing on the pounds way too quickly. Can't blame back fat on my expanding uterus. My heartburn seems to have hit the road, too, hallelujah. 

I do have a strange new symptom, though, aptly named "lightning crotch." One of my friends compares it to being kicked in the privates with a steel-toe boot, and I can't think of a more accurate description. Saturday morning, this phenomenon caught me so off guard--and was so intense--that I actually had to stop dead in my tracks and rub the affected area (even though Danny and I were out running errands). Yowza. 

The things nobody tells you. I can't wait to see what else is in store for me. Seriously. Every weird little symptom or feeling just makes this whole experience that much more real. I'm pregnant! 

This seems random, but it's the perfect week to mention that I totally stole the idea of doing food/baby comparison photos from Carolee Beckham. When I stumbled upon this gem from her blog, I knew I had to copy her:

Photos by Carolee Beckham

I remember thinking that my own lemon pictures were a billion years away, so I'm thrilled to be posting them today.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Second Trimester

Today, I'm 13 weeks, 3 days pregnant, and this is officially the first day of my second trimester.

Two months ago, I was sobbing hysterically (that's an understatement) in the ER because I truly believed this pregnancy was over--and that Danny and I would never be able to have biological children.

And today, I'm entering my second trimester. Today, our baby's heartbeat was louder than ever on the doppler. Today, I feel so blessed.

...despite the fact that it's 3 a.m., and I've been awake for 2 hours because I can't stop peeing, and it feels like there's a campfire going on in my chest. This baby's kicking my butt tonight... but I think it's his or her way of saying, "I'm still here, Mom!"

You sure are, kid.