Getting busy

Dear Alex,

I am super late writing to you this week, and now you’re really closer to 22 1/2 weeks along, over the size of a papaya! I’ve had a lot going on both at home & work over the past several days… Nana and Grump came to visit this past weekend. Nana & I spent Saturday working on your nursery, while Dad & Grump did some much-needed organizing out in the shed. Overall a very fun and productive weekend. Your nursery is turning out really well so far! Since we’re so close to finishing up the decorating, I think I’ll wait to write & post pictures about it.

Then on Monday morning I went back to the doctor’s office for the follow-up ultrasound to check on your stomach. It went really well, and you were very cooperative– the doctor was able to get the shots she needed almost as soon as she put the wand on my belly. She explained the issue to me much more clearly than the nurse did on the phone a couple weeks ago: apparently by this point in the pregnancy you are practicing eating/digesting by swallowing fluid & then peeing it out… they like to get a picture of the fluid in the stomach to confirm that you are doing this properly. However, if they don’t time the scan just right (i.e. if you’ve just peed out all the fluid), then the stomach will be empty. Rather than making us wait until you had swallowed more fluid, they opted to just have us come back another time. Luckily this morning you had plenty of fluid in your stomach & the doc said everything looked great. She did another quick check of the heart (heartbeat was nice & strong) and brain, took a couple of pictures for me to take home, and we were good to go! It went very quickly. Here is my favorite shot:

These skeletal face shots always crack me up! Apparently you weren’t interested in getting a picture of your profile taken– you wanted to look right at the camera. 😉 And I love that your little hand with all 5 fingers is so clear in this picture! Needless to say, Dad & I are both overjoyed and extremely relieved that you are healthy and seem to be doing very well in there.

The rest of this week has been chock-full of big meetings at work, all over town. During one of these meetings I had my first instance of a stranger asking me “when are you due?” It was an older lady and before I could answer she followed up with “pretty soon?” … which makes me think I must look huge, haha. You be the judge:

Another acquaintance at work that I see every day but don’t actually chat with much (she’s an administrative assistant for another team) came running up to me this afternoon too and, while gesturing towards my belly, was like “how did I not notice this before?!” And I definitely feel bigger… getting a lot more aches & pains associated with the growing belly, and am more easily worn out (but still not as bad as my first trimester!). So I guess while I’ve been busy with home & work stuff, you’ve been busy growing like a weed! And I can feel that you are very busy with all the squiggling around you’re doing in there. It is so neat to feel so many of your movements throughout the day, and they are definitely getting stronger, but still not quite strong enough for Dad to feel from the outside yet.

Well, I think that’s enough for this week. Until next time, keep growing little man! 🙂

All my love,

Vague Messages

Dear Alex (!),

It is so cool to finally get to address these letters to you, specifically, by name. You are over 21 weeks along now, and the size of a pomegranate according to my sources… honestly the fruit size comparison is getting confusing to me. Last week you were a banana, & I think a banana is longer than a pomegranate? At least you are big enough now that I have an easier time envisioning your size without the fruit comparison (approximately 10.5 inches long & 12.7 ounces, if you were wondering ;-)). It’s funny, I’m supposed to be getting to the point where you’re growing more rapidly, but I feel like my belly size hasn’t changed that much in the last couple of weeks:

One thing that has been a big development, though, is the frequency and distinctiveness of your movements. I feel you move much more often now (although some days are more active than others), your movements are more clearly “pokes” compared to the “flutters” they once were, and I can predict times when I’m most likely to feel movement. For example, I find that you almost always move around a little bit right after I eat or pee– it’s like you’re celebrating the occasion (yay nourishment! yay relief of bladder squishing me!). Haha. I also tend to feel you more late at night or when I’ve been sitting still for awhile. Perhaps it’s just that when I’m up and moving around, my focus is elsewhere so I don’t notice the movement as much. The other night we had our first little “interaction” of sorts: I would poke my belly, and within a second or two you would poke me back in the same spot. It only lasted a few “turns” but it was still so neat! 🙂 Dad is still anxiously awaiting the day when he can finally feel your movements from the outside, but for now he really enjoys me telling him about it.

Last Thursday, a few days after the anatomy scan, I came home from work to find a message on the answering machine from the OB-GYN’s office. It just said “please call us, we need to schedule you for a sonogram.” …. I was so confused, since we’d just done that a few days prior. My immediate conclusion was that something must be wrong and that was why they wanted to take another look at it. Of course by then their office was closed for the day, so I had to wait one terribly anxious night to find out what their message meant. This also happened to be a night that Dad was in class, so I was here agonizing over it all by myself. Pregnant lady hormones were in full swing & I had a complete meltdown, alternately sobbing and praying aloud that you are alright in there. Eventually I was able to calm down with the help of the ladies in my online birth month club, who pointed out that it was much more likely that some of the pictures didn’t come out clear enough & for the reviewing doctor’s liking. For some reason this possibility hadn’t dawned on me, I guess my mind just jumped to the worst-case scenario.

Anyway, once I was able to get a hold of the OB-GYN office the next morning, the nurse told me that (and she was just reading the notes of the reviewing doctor, so she wasn’t super detailed) it appeared in the pictures that your stomach wasn’t full enough (?). She said that however, because all of the other organs looked good and measured correctly, they think it’s just that the stomach pictures didn’t turn out well. She assured me that they think everything is fine and it is nothing to worry about, but they want to get better pictures of your stomach to be on the safe side. Dad made the point later that the one time during the anatomy scan that the doctor was having trouble getting pictures, it was when she was trying to get the stomach pictures… she had me flip on my side, jiggle my belly, etc. to try to get you in a better position to take them, but I guess she wasn’t able to get what they needed after all. So I will be going back & getting to see your handsome self again exactly 1 week from today! Dad unfortunately won’t be able to go this time since he has to work, but hopefully I can bring home some pictures to show him. I’m so happy at that we’ll get another peak at you in there, but the reasoning behind it makes me a bit nervous. I hope it really is just the picture quality issue, and that everything is okay with your little tummy!

Well, that’s probably enough for this week. I will be sure to wait until after next Monday’s appointment to write again so that I can include the results of this second scan (assuming they’re able to give me a definitive answer right away). Until then, little man… we love you so much! Keep growing strong in there! 🙂

All my love,

Half Baked (It’s a…)

Dear Baby Pacheco,

This week you’ve reached a huge milestone– 20 weeks is the halfway point! I can’t believe we are already over halfway through this pregnancy. It didn’t feel this way during the first trimester, but now the time is truly flying by. Not that I’m complaining really… pregnancy has been an interesting experience & these past few months have been some of the best of my life, but the endgame is having you in our arms come January. Dad & I were talking quite a bit this week about how we can’t wait to meet you “IRL” (in real life). 😉 Especially after seeing your sweet face on the 3D ultrasound last week and starting to feel you move around more often, I think we both are starting to feel a stronger connection to you as a little person, as our child who will be here in just a few short months. Earlier this week Dad & I were laying in bed together in the middle of the night. We both happened to be awake even though it was around 3am, and Dad reached over to hold me in his arms (despite the Snoogle, haha)… as we were laying there quietly together, I felt you move & thought about how it was really the three of us there, our little family all curled up together. It brought on such a strong wave of joy, love, & gratitude that, as cheesy as it sounds, I was brought to tears. You are such a blessing to us already! 🙂

Today we went to the OB-GYN for your “anatomy scan,” an ultrasound where they take lots of measurements to make sure all of your organs & such are developing properly. All went well & it was wonderful to see you again (although I must admit I’m spoiled after getting the 3D ultrasound, haha), and the ultrasound tech for this scan confirmed what we’d heard last week…

You are a boy! 😀 😀 😀 Dad & I were both very excited to hear this! Of course we would have been happy either way; the important thing is that you’re healthy & growing well in there… but I think Dad is especially tickled to have a son, and has been fantasizing about all the cool father-son things he wants to do with you someday. We are going to name you Alexander Todd (Todd is after Papa of course), and will call you Alex for short. It is so nice to finally have a concrete name to call you, instead of just “baby” or whatever fruit you are that week (for the record, this week you are the size of a banana!). Haha. I think this is another thing that has really strengthened our connection with you over the last week or so.

So now that we know you’re a boy, we can start preparing more for your arrival! We bought your nursery set & plan to paint the nursery a light blue next weekend when Nana & Grump come to visit (Nana loves painting so she’s going to help us with that). Dad & I also made a special piece of “art” to put above your crib:

We’re hoping to finish decorating the nursery over the next couple of months, before I get so big that I don’t feel like doing much. We also finished up our registry this week. I think the baby shower is going to be in early November, which will be here before we know it! The other big thing we did this week is start searching in earnest for a good childcare provider, since we’ll have to have someone watch you after I go back to work next May/June. Right now we are leaning towards a daycare center very close to our house– we took a tour there on Friday & were pretty impressed with them. They book up quickly though, so we’ll need to make a final choice within the next couple of weeks.

And that’s about it around here, although really it’s quite alot… we’ve had a very exciting couple of weeks! One more thing I want to share before I go though, as promised last week:

* Photos from the 3D ultrasound:
* Video from the 3D ultrasound session:

You can see on the video the moment where the tech points out that you are a boy. She said to us “imagine that you’re changing a diaper” to give us an idea of the point-of-view we were seeing, and as soon as she said that it was pretty obvious to me that there was something sticking out between your legs! 😉 The lights were off in the room to help us see the screen more clearly, so unfortunately I didn’t get to see Dad’s reaction when he first found out… but he was squeezing my foot the whole rest of the session, so I could tell how excited he was! Here is a photo from our anatomy scan today as well:

These pictures will probably be the last we get of you until after you’re born, unless something comes up that requires them to check on how you’re doing in there, so we will certainly treasure them during this last half of the pregnancy as we impatiently wait for your arrival. 😉 You are so handsome and perfect, and we love you so much! We really couldn’t be any happier or more proud of you. Keep growing, little Alex!

All my love,

What the heck is a Snoogle?!

Dear Baby Pacheco,

I think at this point I can’t really say anymore that I don’t “feel pregnant.” You are 19 weeks along (the size of a MANGO– wow!), and although I don’t feel nausea or things like that anymore the changes to my shape are taking their toll:

Hopefully at this point when people see me they realize I’m pregnant, haha. Exercise is getting harder because I don’t have the freedom of movement I used to & tire more easily, but I still try to shoot for 30 minutes of some sort of activity every day. The real struggle for me, however, has been sleep. I’ve never been the sort of person that sleeps soundly throughout the night anyway, but this not being allowed to sleep on my back stuff has been killing me! This week I finally broke down and invested in one of those “pregnancy pillows” that sort of forces you to sleep on your side. It’s called the Snoogle:

It definitely helps keep me on my side and is pretty cozy, but of course it takes some getting used to. Poor Dad doesn’t get as much room on his side of the bed anymore, but he’s been very sweet about giving me all the space I need. This is probably TMI (especially to read about your parents so my apologies in advance), but one pitfall with the Snoogle is that it really inhibits cuddling & such with the person in bed next to you. Again, poor Dad! :-X LOL.

I also feel what I’m much more confident is you moving around in there on a regular basis. Some movements are more obvious than others (i.e. clear “pokes”), but most of the time it feels like a soft fluttering in my lower abdomen. It comes & goes every few hours, I’d say I feel it at least 3 times a day & sometimes in the middle of the night. Dad keeps putting his hand on my belly in the hopes that he’ll feel something… I can’t wait to see the look on his face when he finally does! 🙂 My guess is it won’t happen for another few weeks or so.

So this week we ended up with a 3-day holiday weekend & nothing to do, so on a whim we decided to go to one of those 3D ultrasound places and get a little peek at how you’re doing & what you look like these days. Not only had we not seen you in 7 weeks, but the 3D images let us see so much more detail! We even got to take home over 50 images and a DVD of the whole session. This was my favorite 3D image:

You have such a sweet, adorable little face! One of the BEST things (and the reason I’m not sharing more of the pics/video) about the session was that we were able to find out your gender, clear as day! 😀 😀 We’re waiting until our anatomy scan with the OB-GYN to confirm before we post it online, but the technician was absolutely certain and after comparing our pictures with other examples online, there is not a doubt in my & Dad’s minds either. So exciting! That will be the biggest topic of next week’s post, I think.

And that’s a good place to leave off. They say when it comes to things like this, always leave them wanting more… I think I accomplished that this week! 😉 Until next time, little mango!

All my love,