Sunday, February 27, 2011

Post 86...How sweet it is

Continuing on in my baking madness, I made two lemon meringue pies and nearly two dozen cake doughnuts! And after an entire day of baking, I think I have finally tuckered myself out. I'm hoping today's baking extravaganza will keep the want-to-be baker inside me satisfied for at least a week because I don't know if our budget can keep up with the rate I am burning through our cooking supplies! But I have to admit, it felt good to have such a successful day in the kitchen. There's something so gratifying about creating something that I know will put a smile on everyone's face. Besides, who doesn't like home-made pie and freshly baked doughnuts?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Post 85...Andy's First Outfits

Yesterday my soon to be sister-in-law surprised me with some baby clothes for Andy.

Andy's first outfits! I can't wait to see him in them!

Post 84...Nesting with Nestlé

With this pregnancy, I have learned a few interesting things. One of which is the odd fact that pregnancy hormones can mess with eyesight. For the past month, I thought perhaps my eyes were going bad and that I might need a stronger prescription for my reading glasses. But after doing a little research in my pregnancy books, I learned that it is very common for pregnant women to have trouble with their eyesight. Apparently the hormones surging through me can cause my eyesight to seem a little sloppy. It's not a dramatic change but it is noticeable. From what the book recommends, unless it is a huge change that is affecting my sight dramatically, I shouldn't worry about it. In fact, it recommended holding off on seeing an optometrist until after the pregnancy. According to the book, my eyesight should go back to normal after I give birth. So I'm going to take the book's advice and hold off on getting my eyes checked out until after the pregnancy. For now, I'll just have to use my reading glasses more often, and make my funny scrunchy face when I try to read smaller fonts.

Aside from my eyes being a little wonky lately, I've been on a baking kick. For the last couple of weeks, I have had a sudden urge to bake anything and everything I can. From aromatic banana bread warm from the oven, to milk chocolate and white chocolate brownies. And most recently I baked vanilla cupcakes topped with sugary mounds of sweet vanilla frosting accented with a tangy hint of lemon. And before all that, it was sourdough french toast sprinkled with toasted almonds, warm maple syrup, and a dusting of powdered sugar. I couldn't really explain why I've had such an urge to bake, but it's been a fun way to kill time and make the apartment smell good. Most times I don't even end up eating my baked goods. In fact, more often than not, I send them with my husband to take to his work. His co-workers love them, but apparently all of the sweet treats inspired one of his co-workers to go on a 33 mile bike ride this weekend just to compensate for all the goodies he's been consuming at home and at work.

I never realized it, but one of my husband's co-workers pointed out that all my baking is actually a sign of nesting. Apparently his wife went through the same thing when she was pregnant, baking anything and everything under the sun. I don't know why that didn't occur to me before. I guess I always associated nesting only with cleaning the house. But as my husband pointed out, my need to provide food is just as much of a nesting trait as cleaning is. So go figure. My need to bake is due to the little bun in my oven. But even though I'm aware of that now, it doesn't stop me from wanting to bake more goodies. Right now it's a toss up between lemon bars or coconut cupcakes. And with St. Patrick's day coming up, I foresee a chocolate Guinness stout cake in the near future....

Post 83...20 week checkup

On Thursday the 24th, we had an early morning appointment with Eastside medical to have our usual two week check up on my cervix and the baby. Of course, the night before the appointment we had to get a sudden freak dumping of snow that made us worry whether or not we'd even make it to the appointment at all the next morning. But luckily for us, the roads were fairly clear by the time we were driving in.

Early spring my ass! Stupid worthless groundhog!

Anyway, I am happy to report that my cervix is holding up beautifully! The doctor said that, because my cervix is doing so well with the cerclage holding firmly in place, I can even start working up to going on daily walks! Of course, the walks can only be about 15-30 minutes long, but still I am stoked! After spending day after day on the couch, zoning out to netflix and reading from time to time, I am more than excited to be able to get out and about even for just a few minutes. And, if my cervix still looks as good at the next appointment, two weeks from now, the doctor said I might even be able to bump up my activity even more! He said it is his hope that, if my cervix continues to look this good, we can stop coming in for regular checkups once we reach 30 weeks and just come back in at 37 weeks to have the cercalge removed. And apparently the removal of the cerclage will be incredibly easy. I thought it would be another surgery. But from what the doctor said, I'll just come into the clinic as if I were getting a pap smear, they'll snip the stitch, pull it out, and that's it! No drugs needed, no surgery, nothing! Just a quick snip and then I'll go home.

The other great thing about the appointment was that we got to see the baby for over a half an hour! They were doing an in-depth ultrasound to check for all the limbs, organs, and blood flow. For over 30 minutes we just sat there watching little Andy wiggle around. Although he looked horribly scrunched up, folded completely in half with his knees practically touching his forehead! The nurse tried to jiggle him to get him to move so they could take better measurements, but he did not want to move from that spot. The doctor said it is completely normal for babies to fold themselves into a ball like that, but it just looked so uncomfortable! Who knows. Maybe someday he'll be a yoga teacher.

The best part of it all is that the nurse made a dvd of the ultrasound which we got to take home! So now we have a dvd of over 30 minutes of little Andy wiggling around! It's wonderful! I've already watched it several times. I swear, I could watch it every day.

The one big surprise: Andy was measuring out to be 20 weeks and 5 days! And in some spots (like his legs) he was measuring out to be 21 weeks along! Here we were all excited and nervous to get past 20 weeks which we thought was going to be on Friday. But on Thursday, we measured out to be further along than we thought! So we successfully passed 20 weeks, meaning I am now carrying longer than I ever have before. The doctor said it is common for babies to have a sudden growth spurt, jumping forward in their gestational age from time to time. Though I was really surprised to see that Andy had jumped almost a full week ahead, it then made sense why my weight had suddenly jumped up three pounds in the last week. I can already tell...this is gonna be one big baby!

Post 82...Joey & Andy, Andy & Joey

In our family, Joey is technically the oldest and Andy is the youngest. In my husband's family, Andy (his brother) is the oldest and Joey (my husband) is the youngest. For awhile we had Joey, our son, and Joe my husband which we got used to saying. But now we have Little Andy and Big Andy (or Uncle Andy) as well. Lately when I find myself talking about the comparisons of Joey and Andy, I have to specify that it's not Andy and Joe that I'm talking about. Before I know it, the whole thing becomes a big confusion. Not to mention it is all too easy to accidentally say Joey when I mean to say Andy, which doesn't help the situation either. I guess I just got so used to saying Joey when talking about our son. Now that we have another son, I have to get used to saying Andy instead. You can see how this gets confusing.

Sometimes I can't help but feel guilty about having another son. In my mind, I am in no way trying to replace Joey, but it's too easy to jump to that feeling. Joey will always be our first son, but Andy will be our first full term son. It's like having two first born sons, but at separate times.

After losing Joey, I remember some people told me that he was just checking my husband and I out and would come back another time. At the time, I can't say that I really believed in the idea that my son had come just for a little preview and would be back later. In my mind, he was up and heaven, there to stay. But now that I'm pregnant with Andy, sometimes they are so similar, I can't help but feel like Joey is back in a way. Both Joey and Andy have me craving cheeseburgers. They both have long legs and started kicking strong early in the pregnancy. And yet, although both brothers are so much alike, they're different in their own ways too. Joey had me gagging any time I was near sea food for the entire pregnancy, where as Andy had me avoiding chicken for a little while but now I have no food aversions. Joey had me craving butterfinger blizzards, where Andy has me craving..., well just about anything sweet. Joey kicked after meals but Andy kicks before meals when I get hungry. Plus Joey was up and moving early in the morning, where as Andy seems to sleep in until nearly 10am and is wiggling until late at night. Like Big Andy and Joe, the brothers are so much alike and yet so different.

As much as it seems like Joey is in there some times, Andy is very much his own person. The two brothers are obviously a lot a like, and maybe in a way Andy has a lot of his brother in him. But I still feel like Joey is in heaven watching over his little brother as Andy grows more and more into his own unique self. I will always love and cherish Joey, forever remembering what he taught us and what he sacrificed for us. But now it's time I enjoy the gift he gave to us...the gift of his little brother and the chance for Andy to carry to full term.

Every time I mix up their names, though I feel guilty at first, I soon feel the joy that comes from having such wonderfully similar and yet unique sons. I love it that they are so much a like. I love it that they are so different. Though there are so many emotions to sort through with having another son, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Post 81...Pasta Shell Eyes

Tomorrow I will be 19 weeks along. And although, so far, everything is looking great and I have shown no sign of miscarriage, I'm still waiting with baited breath for 20 weeks. Getting past 20 weeks will be a huge turning point for this pregnancy considering it will be the longest I have ever carried, and honestly I am very scared to find out if my body is up to the task. This whole pregnancy has been flying along until now. It seems once we hit 17 weeks, we've been wading through molasses, pushing to get past the dreaded 20 week marker. And of course having all of this time to wait gives me plenty of chances to freak out and get extremely emotional about it all.

The only problem with getting all emotional is that I often end up full on crying right before bed. And happens: pasta shell eyes! Yup, you read it right. I get what my mom and I jokingly call "pasta shell eyes." It's something I've had since puberty, passed on from my mom's side of the family. It's where, after crying the night before, our eyes will puff up, swelling so much that they look like little water-bloated pasta shells. Sometimes, if I'm crying hard enough, my eyes will puff up immediately after crying, but in most cases they'll puff up over night after a good cry. But lately it seems like my eyes are permanent pasta shells. If not from crying, my eyes look puffy from feeling so tired all the time.

Too many times I will look up at my husband after I've had a good cry and I'll ask him with a slight pout, "are my eyes puffy?" He then lovingly tries to stifle a smile and slowly nods his head. "Maybe just a little." he'll say, trying to be polite. I dash off to the closest mirror and yelp out "Augh! Pasta shell eyes! Their so pooooofy!" My husband will start to giggle as he hugs me from behind, trying to comfort me from the embarrassment.

Sometimes I call them my muppet eyes just because they look so silly. It kinda reminds me of that one old man muppet up in the balcony that used to hassle everyone. But more often than not, I call them my pasta shell eyes. Luckily for little Andy, he probably won't have the same problem since it seems to only affect the women in the family (with the exception of what we call my dad's "old man eye" when he'll wake up with one puffy eye for no reason other than he slept hard that night). For now, I guess I just have to get used to having poofy eyes. But with any luck, they'll soon be poofy from happy tears after celebrating being past 20 weeks.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Post 80...My Mother's Curse

It's been just about a week since we found out we're having a boy and still, I'm trying to wrap my head around it. I keep wondering: as a mother, what things can I pass on to my son? Will he like the same things I do? Will he be anything like me? And it's then that I remember my mother's curse....

It seemed so innocent and almost complimentary at first, that is, until I realized what it was she was really saying. It was after one of the many times I had gotten into trouble or talked-back to my parents for one reason or another. My mother sighed, shook her head, and said to me with an awkward smile, "I hope some day you have kids just like you." In my young ignorance, I thought at first that she was saying how much she loved me and would hope I would be blessed with children as wonderful as me. Obviously I had missed the point completely. Years went by as the curse came back again and again...

"Jenny! Did you eat all of my baking chocolate?"
"Um...what chocolate?" I asked, unaware of the chocolate smudged around the corners of my mouth.
"Oh Jenny, I hope you have kids just like you some day."

"Jenny, your room is a mess! Why are there wet bathroom towels on the floor?"
"I was gonna hang them up later!"
"[Sigh] I hope you have kids just like you some day."

"Jenny, you have been talking non stop since I got home. Can I please have a little peace and quiet for just a few minutes?!"
"Fine." I sat glowering at the table.
"Oh Jenny...I hope you have kids just like you some day."

It didn't take me long to realize it wasn't meant to be a compliment. It meant "I hope your kids put you through the same struggles you're putting me through!" Once I got the concept of my mother's curse, I hassled her about it and we shared a good laugh. But now that I am an adult set to have my first full term child, I can't help but remember the curse. What if my son IS like me? I could be in for one hell of a ride!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Post 79...The results are in!

A picture speaks a thousand words! In this case, it says it all. :)

The funny thing is; I took this picture in the summer before we were even pregnant. When we saw it at the time, my husband said it was a sign that our next baby would be a boy (the irony being that it was quite literally a sign). I guess he was right!

"Sunshine" is now Andrew Jerry Belousek! Named after my husband's brother, Andy. And also named after my Papa Jerry who passed away this last year.

I can hardly believe it! WE'RE HAVING A BOY!!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Post 78...Pink or Blue?

Yesterday we went in for another check up on my cerclage. After doing another ultrasound on the baby and my cervix, the doctor said everything is holding up beautifully! Everything is looking 100% healthy! I couldn't be happier to hear that, especially considering that next week will be 19 weeks, which is the longest I've ever carried. Knowing that the cerclage is holding up perfectly, I feel far more confident that 19 weeks will come and go without any complication.

After the ultrasound, my husband started to pout, saying that he wanted to see more of the baby. These check ups on my cervix seem to drive him nuts. We get a quick look at the baby and then the rest of the appointment focuses on my cervix. "I want to see more of the baby!" he grumbled. I tried to reassure him that next time we will get to see even more of the baby since the next visit (at 20 weeks) will be more of a baby check up than a cervix check up. I even reminded him that at 20 weeks we would be able to find out the gender of the baby. But that didn't seem to satisfy him. "But I want to see more baby now!" he moped. I laughed and hugged him as we waited for the doctor to come in and go over the ultrasound with us.

But much to our surprise, after the doctor went over the ultrasound images of my cervix, he asked us if anyone has told us the gender of the baby yet. "I thought it was too early to tell." I said, surprised that he asked.
"Well, sometimes we can tell at this point. What do you say we have some fun and take a look, just to see if we can tell."
My husband and I exchanged excited glances. "Okay!" I said, hopping back up onto the bed. "Well," I looked up at my husband, "I guess you get to see more baby after all!"

Sure enough, the doctor could tell right away! For a moment he stalled, asking us if we had any guesses of what the gender was. After convincing him that we really had no idea if it was a boy or a girl, he finally told us the answer. "Well," he said, "I am 100% sure it is a..."

But I can't tell you guys yet! Since we will be visiting our parents on Friday, we figured we would wait to tell them in person. So as of right now, they still think we won't find out the gender until our 20 week appointment! My husband told his co-workers and I told one of my best friends, but that's it. The answer will be revealed to you soon enough! All I can say is, I am more than excited!!!! I want to shout it out to everyone, but I have to try my best to wait until after Friday.

Last night was extremely emotional though. With so much excitement about the baby, now knowing more about Sunshine, I felt all the more need to protect him/her. Fear, excitement, past sadness, and new hope. The last time we found out the baby's gender, it was the day we lost him. Because of that, it still made for an emotional day yesterday. As to be expected in this pregnancy, everything comes with a mix of joy and some sadness at times. But it was truly wonderful this time, after finding out the gender, to feel such excitement and security knowing the cerclage is still holding strong! When I got home, I already started to dream of the day Sunshine will be born as I looked up baby clothes online.

I cannot wait to tell the world of my baby!

This is the latest ultrasound at 17 weeks & 4 days.

Post 77...Amburgers and Wootbeer

Nothing beats a big juicy cheeseburger with everything on it! Onions, tomato, lettuce, pickles; everything piled high on a deliciously fatty hamburger, blanketed in a soft melty layer of cheese. Just like the last pregnancy, the cravings for cheeseburgers has returned! Obviously this child takes after my husband's taste buds. Although, Sunshine has me craving chocolate more than Joey ever did. When I was pregnant with Joey, chocolate was of little interest to me. But with Sunshine, my long-standing sweet tooth has obviously been passed on.

Last night, my husband brought home hamburgers for dinner. He left the room for just a quick moment, and when he returned, he started to laugh. There I sat on the couch, my cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk and some sauce smudged on the corner of my mouth as I hungrily devoured my hamburger. For a moment, I paused, looking up at my husband with an embarrassed smile, my cheeks swollen with food. "I take it the hamburger is satisfying your craving?" he laughed. I nodded vigorously and went straight back to inhaling my dinner.

Is it bad that even typing this makes me want another cheeseburger?....

Post 76...Afraid of Hope

As the weeks have passed on since the cerclage was put in place, I have found myself feeling more and more hopeful that this pregnancy will carry full term. As I watch my belly grow (which it's done a lot of in just the past couple of weeks) I catch myself day dreaming of holding the baby in my arms, folding little onesies fresh from the dryer, drudging myself up for yet another midnight feeding. For the majority of this pregnancy, I have tried to focus on getting from one day to the next. But now that everything seems to be holding together, I can't help but feel hopeful again.

I have tried so hard not to get overly excited in case things went wrong again. But as the baby's kicks have been growing stronger and the doctors keep reassuring me that everything is holding up great, the blissful excitement of being pregnant is starting to get to me. I'm really starting to believe that this will really work.

And yet, with that excitement comes great fear. It's scary feeling so hopeful again. Even more so, I feel like I shouldn't be so excited and blissful just yet, not while I'm just entering my 18th week of pregnancy. You see, it was at 18 weeks in the last pregnancy that my mucus plug came out. At the time, I didn't know what it was. I called the nurse and explained to her what I saw but since there was no blood, the nurse excused it away as just a normal clot of discharge. A week later, I miscarried. So now, as I reach 18 weeks in the pregnancy, I am on high alert. Every day of this pregnancy I have been checking for any sign of spotting or unusual discharge, and so far, everything has been normal. But as I become more excited and hopeful, I try to push those feelings aside so that I don't miss any signs of trouble. Sometimes I still feel guilty about the last time, wondering if things would have been different had I been more alert and insistent that the doctors do a thorough check up after my plug had come out. But at the time, I didn't know any better. I didn't even know what a mucus plug really was. Instead I chose to believe in the nurse's best guess and I went on, blissfully hopeful.

But my husband has reminded me that having hope is a good thing. This time is different, and I have been very protective of this pregnancy, making sure to be aware of everything that I am feeling, double checking with the doctors. It's okay to have moments where I feel closer to the baby and allow myself to fully experience the excitement and hope. It's time I stop focusing on the possibility of losing the pregnancy, and start focusing on the possibility of carrying full term.

I never thought that being so excited and hopeful could be so scary.