Sunday, October 18, 2009

Welcome to Fetus-hood!

To my sweet Poppy, Sugar Packet, Nugget;

I should begin by letting you know how proud we are of you! You have overcome your first milestone, accomplished your first task, and boy oh boy do I have the nausea to prove it! You took one look at being called an embryo, and decided to up the ante. Hello, fetus-hood! You have grown from a tiny little ball of cells to a somewhat-functional little person! Its so exciting for us to know that you now have all of your organs safely in place, that you're testing out your new accessories by moving your little arms and legs like crazy, pumping your own blood and even making your own waste! Way to go, kiddo!

Even though I swear I knew you were growing inside of me before the pregnancy test confirmed it for us, even though I took four pregnancy tests, had the doctor confirm our pregnancy, have seen your adorably cute little blob of a body swimming around on a screen, even though I've been sick to my stomach for weeks, can't even think about eating food, and am up and down all night to use the bathroom, it is so incredibly hard for us to believe you're actually in there. That we are actually blessed enough to have made you. That you're strong and growing on schedule and healthy. But it is still so hard to comprehend that we get to have a child; that we get to have you!

The weirdest thing about it all? We are already so in love with you. Its hard to explain how we've only known about you for mere weeks and you already mean the world to us. There is nothing we wouldn't do for you. You are ours, and we are yours. We are so excited to watch my belly grow as you do, to go to the doctor to check up on you, to get to see you again on the ultrasound screen, and to feel you moving around inside of me. We lay in bed, your daddy and I, and talk about your life. What you'll look like, how you'll be. The kind of parents we want to be for you.

Speaking of your daddy, you are going to get a kick out of him. He is quite the man. He takes care of me (and you!) like there is no one else in the entire world that matters. You aren't so fond of anything right now, so I've been pretty sick and tired and useless. All I can do lately is lay around and try not to vomit. But your daddy? He does everything. He works hard for our family and he loves you and me like crazy and thats plenty in my book. But lately? He's been cleaning the house, doing the dishes and laundry, and as I write this he's making dinner. This morning for breakfast he made French toast, ham and bacon, and even turned it into a smiley face. I'm sure there will be plenty of smiley-faced breakfasts in your days.

He also can't stop touching you. He loves to rub my belly, kiss my belly, cuddle my belly. He still goes on and on about how excited he is that we get to have a child, that we get to have you! I cannot wait to see him interacting and playing with you. You really are one lucky little tyke to get to call such a man Daddy. And I'm pretty darn lucky myself. :)

Keep on trucking, our sweet little unborn! There are plenty of weeks and milestones ahead of us and we can't wait to experience each one with you.

We love you more than you can possibly know.

-Mommy and Daddy

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Attached Parenting/ Exterior Gestation

Clearly, at this point and for the next six-ish months I am 100% attached to this baby, and this baby to me. I rely on him/her to make me feel nauseous, to crave something that just makes me puke, to bring me really weird dreams (like the CPS lady showing up asking me where my baby is and upon telling her baby is still growing inside me, I get 'taken in' for losing my baby...) and to make me constantly touch my lower belly, dreaming of our future, of our family, of the amazing love I already feel and how it is growing exponentially daily. Baby, on the other hand clearly relies on me for safety, nourishment, temperature regulation, and plenty of other life-giving stuff. It is obvious that both of us are significantly impacting each others lives. We rely on each other. We are basically one.

Unfortunately for many, many babies, this whole attachment parenting ends when it is no longer obvious that mom and baby are attached, namely, when baby is born. Nursing babies tend to stay more closely attached, strictly due to the round the clock body sucking they need. Our baby, however, will maintain attached to me. Yes I am planning on breast feeding, and no I am not planning on keeping this little sea monkey in me longer than the 9 months. But I have been doing research (really, Kristin researching? Thats odd. Not.) that shows the immense benefits of attached parenting and something that was entirely new to me called Exterior Gestation, or exterogestation. (Apparently this is new to blogspot, too, as it is telling me its spelled wrong...)

The whole idea that the closeness ends after birth is something us crazy westerners and Anglo-speaking people came up with. Around the world babies are constantly attached to their parents until they are completely mobile. We're talking baby wearing here, folks. Around here, though, we have all these nifty products that are made with the express purpose of ease, and keeping baby occupied and out of the way so mommy and daddy can get stuff done sans baby. But the research that has been done on babies that are constantly in physical contact with their parents is pretty amazing.

Here is the deal. Human infants are born more immature, mentally and physically, than any other mammal. Most mammals are already mobile (we're talking walking or crawling) within a few hours after birth. Not so much with the human infant. Something interesting, though? The average number of days a baby is born from the day of conception is 266 1/2. The average number of days it takes for a baby to crawl (like really, actually crawl) from birth? 266 1/2. Therefore, if a human were the typical mammal, our gestation period would actually be about 18 months. This also falls in line with the fact that most mammals are born with 50% of their adult brain, whereas humans are born with 25%. And how long do you think it takes for humans to be at 50% of their adult brain? Thats right. 9 months after birth.

But because we are superior (I'm not being all GO HUMAN! here, just stating the facts) than these other mammals, it has proven to be extremely beneficial to be born so immature. "The infant is not a passive creature who is shaped by his environment, but is constantly exploring, trying to learn, and bring the environment under his control." (Karen, Ph.D, R.) Long story short, humans shape their environment, more so than the environment shapes them. The critical first nine months after birth, when the baby is still extremely immature and developmentally incomplete, are vital to the baby's development. Think how much more the baby learns while his brain is growing faster than it ever will again, being outside of the womb with all of the sights and sounds and smells and tastes of the world around him.

We are one of the few societies that isn't constantly attached to our babies. We are breast feeding less and less, working more and more, and plenty of us consider picking up a crying baby spoiling it. (Post on this for another day. I'm sure your retinas are already bleeding.) The fact of the matter is, throughout most of history, if we took care of babies as we do today, bottle feeding, leaving them for work, sleeping in different rooms, etc, we would not have survived as a species.

"Nature intended for babies to be with their mothers, especially at a time when their brains will grow more than any other time in their lives. Babies could not have been born developmentally incomplete and left alone most of the day or separated from their mothers if we were to survive as a species. No matter however numerous its advantages, however, retardation of growth rates and birth at an earlier state of gestation could never have occurred had there not been compensating care taking behavior on the part of the mother."

So what does this mean for us as a family? It means we'll be sleeping together for awhile. It means I'll be staying home as a mommy. It means I will do everything in my power to breastfeed, and will go into thinking and KNOWING I can do it. It means this little love duck (love duck? Really, where do I come up with these names?) of ours will be attached to me. A lot. Thanks to this:

Enter: The Sleepy Wrap. Weird name, but from all of my research, this is one of the best wraps out there, and wraps are one of the best carriers out there. Once the little tyke gets to be about a year, we'll switch to a Mei Tai of the BabyHawk Brand.

So there you have it. Part of our plan to be the best parents we can be. Part of the whole 'best parents we can be' thing, though, is knowing that every child is different. That plans can change, that life can throw curve balls and that things may not end up exactly like we'd like them to. But this is what we feel will best suit our family and our baby and so this is what we're aiming for. And we'll try are darnedest to make it work.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Love at First Sight


Let me just go out on a limb here and say I was so incredibly nervous/anxious/terrified/excited/worried/thrilled/sick to my stomach/ecstatic at the thought of our ultrasound. The week or so before, it was mainly the good. I couldn't wait. It was scheduled out two weeks from the day we had it scheduled and that seemed like an eternity. As if 9 months isn't long enough!

Then as they day approached, namely the day before, I started worrying. I had been sick all week with that rotten cold, which was a more complained about endeavor than the pregnancy symptoms that week. Then, I read a stupid, stupid, STUPID article by accident Thursday morning that said one of the first signs of miscarriage is not feeling pregnant. So what do you think I was feeling at that exact moment? I certainly wasn't feeling pregnant! Surely, I had lost this baby. Surely I wasn't fit to carry a baby. Surely this was all too perfect, all too surreal. There was no doubt in my logical mind that I was pregnant; four home-tests, as well as a urine and blood test at the doctor, a board certified nurse coming in to tell us, "You're most definitely pregnant!" and a doctor spending an hour going through medical history and birth stories of everyone I've ever known and then oh so wonderfully 'checking to see if my pelvis is large enough to give birth naturally'. I'm fairly certain all that doesn't happen from lack of proof of a baby growing. But my regular brain? The logic-free one? Yeah. There was no way I could be pregnant.

We got to the imaging department half an hour early, because, well that's just how I roll. And if you know me well, you will know that in any situation where quiet, still waiting is required, I prefer to do nothing. No reading, no talking, no anything. Just sitting and staring. People watching is allowed. The entire time I'm sitting there, while Rob reads a camera magazine and tries to grab my attention to take it off of what I'm certain he knows I'm thinking, I am praying to God for peace and protection of our unborn, and arguing with my logical brain that, of course something is wrong, of course we're not going to see a heart-beat and how in-the-heck am I going to be expected to just waltz right out of this place just having learned my baby is gone? I understand I'm crazy, people. Really, I do.

Side Note: I was told to drink one quart of water one hour before the appointment and DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PEE AFTER DOING SO. Okay, um, I have to pee like the dickens sans drinking any water. What kind of foul punishment is it to make a pregnant woman drink two bottles of water and not pee? I was in pain. If my bladder has ever caused me pain, that was the day.

So we finally get called back into this dark little room with a chair for my love, a bed for me and a sweet ultrasound tech (I don't actually know her title, so we'll just go with that) who was very soft spoken and told me she'd let me pee as quickly as she could. She was my new best friend. So I lay down, fold my jeans down a bit, and she squirts that weird feeling warm goo on my lower belly and the instant she touches that little magic wand to my belly we see our baby. Our baby! Oh the screen! (Not that the little tyke is all that big anyways, but dude was DWARFED by my GIGANTIC bladder! I know, I know, too much information but OH MY GOODNESS. My bladder was a BEAST!) We sat amazed as she showed us this video/picture of our baby, in my belly for twenty minutes. I tried my best to ignore to agonizing pain of having my already too full bladder pushed on over and over as she looked for various parts of me and measurements of baby.

She then zooms in on baby and we see this tiny little light bulb flashing; white, gray, white, gray, white, gray, white, gray. Our baby's heart. Beating! Strong and fast and perfectly normal! The screen was then cut in half; half ultrasound of our baby, the other half this weird, lined, chart looking thing which she told us was the motion of our baby's heart beating. All 151 beats per minute of it! We were amazed. We sat in utter bliss. I'm fairly certain I would trade never peeing again for being able to sit there for the next seven months and watch that adorable little heart beating on our little blob of baby.

When it was time to go (we avoided the, um, 'other place' of interest for first trimester ultrasounds because the tech was able to get the measurements she needed just from my belly) we walked out to a different world. We had our baby, alive and well, with his or her little arms and little legs and amazing little beating heart. Rob couldn't stop saying "that is the coolest thing I have ever seen in my LIFE" and "I have never seen anything so AMAZING" and "that was our BABY!" Needless to say, he doesn't cuddle me in bed anymore. He only cuddles his baby. Have I told you how much I love this man? I feel like the luckiest woman alive to not only get to be called his wife, but that my child, our child, will get to call him daddy.

The picture we got isn't great, but it is still amazing to stare at because it is a picture of our baby. Of that tiny little 3/4 of an inch baby, our large raspberry sized nugget, that we are already head over heels in love with. Here's to counting down to December, when if everything goes normal and well, we'll have our next ultrasound!

Crown to Rump Measurement- 3/4 inch
Weight- too little to measure :)
Due Date: Friday, May 14th, 2010 (doesn't that sound so futurish?)
Ultrasound from Friday October 2, 2009: 8 Weeks 0 Days


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Goodbye Modesty, Hello Baby!

I took the crazy test, and it was a positive two pink lines; pregnancy has made me crazy. Not only does this pregnancy have me eating nothing but applesauce, peeing 347 times a day (17 times in the middle of the night), irrationally needing to rearrange and/or buy new furniture, perilously sorting through things and wanting to give EVERYTHING away, but it has me crying. Desperately crying. Ridiculous, reasonless crying through pretty much any song or show or commercial, but namely Friday Night Lights. Have you seen the show? Disclaimer: if you're pregnant, for the sake of yourself, your spouse and your unborn child, please do not watch this show. Holy cry fest 2009.

Aside from the peeing, the crying, the needing to buy new and the purging of old, pregnancy and this sweet little nugget growing inside of me haven't really treated me too badly. I'm nauseous most mornings and evenings, and sometimes through the day but I can really track it to when I let myself get too hungry. Which is quite an easy task, seeing as absolutely NOTHING sounds good. Applesauce? Yum, delicious! Anything else? No thank you. I have actually had to (I apologize) hold in my vomit just thinking about certain things. The other day I about lost my applesauce at the mere sight of some canned black beans in our pantry. I had no intention of eating them, I was not trying to concoct a recipe using them, and I'm not so sure I was even thinking about them, but the sight of that innocent little can had me running to the bathroom and praying to the Good Lord Above that I could keep down my lunch.

With the help of my loving Water Nazi (you know, the Baby Daddy) I've been doing my best to down as much liquid as I can, (I promise, Mom!) but it has proven to be a difficult task when there are times pure bottled water makes me gag. I still can't figure this one out, but I've taken to just going with the flow and figuring it is what it is. At least I have managed to not throw up my prenatal yet, though I gag even just thinking about trying to swallow that pill. And believe you me, pills have never been an issue. But apparently my unborn isn't too fond of them.

So aside from the very typical (and my mom thinks I've got it pretty easy as far as these things go) first trimester symptoms, this whole baby making thing has gone pretty textbook so far. I've been stuck with a rotten, ache-all-over-my-body, throat-burns-like-the-depths-of-hell, congestion-like-New-York-traffic-at-rush-hour type cold all week that I think is just starting to leave me alone and let me be. Fortunately, Benadryl is a Class A (meaning it has been tested and approved for use in all trimesters of pregnancy) drug that I have been taking at night to let me sleep. And I'm fairly certain the house will recover from lack of me doing ANYTHING but laying in bed for the entire week. I actually even ventured out to the store (oh boy!) last night to get some more soup for me and mine, who has also caught this wonderful cold.

Exciting news of the week? Ultrasound TOMORROW! Woohoo! We are so very, very excited to see our sweet little blob of a peanut on a static-y black and white screen. We may be a little over zealous, but come on! This is our BABY! And we're seeing him or her! On a screen! From inside my belly! And apparently another place I'm told they utilize for first trimester ultrasounds... heh. Oh well. Goodbye modesty, hello baby!

And there is reason to celebrate- our little poppyseed is so grown up! The little tyke is now 3/4 of an inch! That is a far, far cry from the little poppyseed he/she was when we first were introduced via that nice pregnancy test!

Alright then, folks. Updates tomorrow I'm sure with news from the ultrasound.