A whole new ballgame

Dear Baby Pacheco,

You’re coming up on 13 weeks along now, and we’re almost out of the first trimester! Before I go any further, I’m happy to report that the second ultrasound to follow-up on your heartbeat went really well. You were a perfectly normal little blob and we could see the little flickering of your heart just fine. 🙂

That time I had Dad & Alex go with me, and they were both so excited to get their first glimpse of you! Alex especially, although at first he thought there were three babies because they gave us three pictures to take home. LOL. He also asked where your eyes were. I explained that right now you are still a seed growing in my tummy, and won’t be a full grown baby with all your body parts until you’re ready to be born. He seemed okay with that answer (for now!).

By the time the date of that second ultrasound came around, honestly I wasn’t too worried about the pregnancy because…. I was SO. VERY. SICK. They call it morning sickness, but for me it was all-day-long sickness. I started to come down with that right after the first ultrasound appointment, around 6-7 weeks along, and thankfully the worst of it lasted just over a month. It took me quite by surprise, as I experienced little to no morning sickness with my first two pregnancies. But this time, there wasn’t much I wanted to eat (or could hold down), and many other sensations like most smells, heat, too much motion, eating too much or not enough, etc. caused me to get sick as well. One night right after this started, Dad was kind of enough to make chicken teriyaki for dinner while I was staying late at work… only to have me start yelling “GET THAT SHIT OUT OF THE HOUSE!” while running to the bathroom moments after walking in the front door. :-X Sorry, Dad! Anyway, the only thing that really helped me was sucking on peppermints and taking vitamin B6 (who knew?). Although the situation is much better now, actually I still get waves of nausea from time to time, but only if I let myself get too hungry.

The only other major symptom I’ve been dealing with is extreme fatigue…. straight up exhaustion really, almost constantly. Pregnancy + mothering two young toddlers would do this to anyone, I think. I sleep as much as I can and try to function as best I can, but have admittedly been a very lazy parent this summer. Not many homecooked meals, not many fun family outings, and too much TV for sure. But I’m sure your brothers will forgive me someday!

At my 10 weeks checkup, they took my blood for the DNA test where they look for issues/anomalies in your DNA that might be cause for concern. They did not find any, but they did find out whether you are a boy or girl….

OH. MY. GOD. Not gonna lie, the main reason we decided to have one more was in the hopes of having a girl. We (mostly I) thought that I would regret not trying one more time and would always wonder what my daughter would be like if I did not. And I did do many of the old wives’ tales that you hear about with regards to conceiving a girl– timing, calcium intake, etc. etc. And with the huge difference in my pregnancy symptoms, I thought there was a good chance that I had a little girl growing in there…. but doubt continued to flicker in the back of my mind, and when I got those test results I honestly was expecting to read “boy.”

But man, I’ve never been so happy to be wrong! Not because I wouldn’t have loved another boy (we did have a name and nursery theme already picked out for either scenario, along with fantasies about dominating 1/3 of a baseball team, LOL)… but now I will not have to wonder what having a daughter would be like. We have YOU, Little Miss Emma! 🙂

As you can see above, we just had another ultrasound today to check nuchal translucency (an indicator of Down’s syndrome)– although the NT piece of it looked normal, the tech noticed what is called a “venous lake,” which on the ultrasound just looks like a dark spot on the placenta. The midwife told us later that it could just be old blood, or maybe a cyst, and that it should resolve on its own. In the meantime, I keep going back for ultrasounds every two weeks until it resolves. She assured me that it’s not a cause for concern at all, just something to keep an eye on. For now, I’m not too worried. I have a lot of trust and faith in God, as well as our doctors.

So I decided it would be fun to tell the boys your big news in a fun way (well really just Alex, as Charlie understands none of this yet), so we did one of those balloon gender reveals for them. Alex is so excited and says he loves you already! He talks to you in my tummy all the time. I know he’s going to be an awesome big brother, and I think Charlie will too once he figures out what is going on.

In the meantime, we’ll keep watching our little baby girl seed grow… preparing and anxiously awaiting your arrival! You are so loved already. It feels like the final piece of our family is finally settling into place. 🙂

All my love,
Mom

Third time’s the charm

Dear Baby Pacheco,

It feels so crazy to be typing that again! There have been so many ups & down these last few years with Alex & Charlie that honestly we were not sure whether or not we would want to have a third baby when the time came. One thing we have always known for sure was that we wanted all of our kids to be relatively close in age if possible, so this spring the time came… and went. I was struggling with depression and had been for almost a year, so at that time I just did not think I could handle another baby. After getting help with that and bringing balance back to my life, Dad and I had a long heart-to-heart about it on the long drive to/from the family reunion in West Virginia over Memorial Day weekend. Lots of discussion and reflection led us to conclude that we really did want one more baby, and given our desire to have kids close in age (and our desire to not have to “start over” with the baby phase long after Alex & Charlie have grown into big kids)… the time was right. I went off the pill a few days later and opted not to track or anything during the first cycle, in order to give my body time to settle back into its normal rhythm. But God had other plans and we got this right around Fourth of July:

We could not believe how quickly it happened! Well Dad could, he has said many times that he has a lot of faith in our baby-making abilities. LOL. Anyway, at that point I was hardly more than 4 weeks along, so there wasn’t much else to do but wait and see how things went. Last Friday (which also happened to be Dad’s birthday!), we went to my first midwife appointment. All was well there, and we scheduled the ultrasound for today. Right around that time (6 weeks or so) morning sickness reared its ugly head, which is a new thing for me as I didn’t deal with that much in my first two pregnancies. I notice it mostly during big meals or when I’m out in the heat. Not throwing up at least, just being hit with intense waves of nausea from time to time.

Dad had to work today, so I went to the ultrasound by myself. It was hard to sleep these last couple of nights, constantly worrying “What if there’s no heartbeat? What if the due date is drastically different from what I thought? What if it’s twins?” Unfortunately, one of those fears turned out to be true:

You are measuring at 6 weeks 4 days, which is right on target based on when I think I ovulated (the pic says 6w6d because that’s based on the last period date)…. but there was no heartbeat. 😦 The ultrasound tech said she thought she saw a flicker but not enough to pick up on the monitor. When she turned the screen to show me, I saw absolutely nothing. With both boys we saw clear “flickers” of the heartbeat at 6w0d. Not to mention this ultrasound picture doesn’t even look like anything discernable, which is very different from how the boys’ first ultrasounds looked. I’m trying not to freak out, and failing miserably. :’-( I go back for another ultrasound next week.

In the meantime, I’m so thankful for all my mama friends out there who I’ve been able to lean on and receive reassurances from. They have told me, and I have read online, that it’s quite common for there not to be a discernible heartbeat this early. I have also heard that some doctors wait to do the first ultrasound until at least 8 weeks for just this reason. So we wait, and go back again next Tuesday for another ultrasound to give you more time to grow. Until then, I will try to relax and constantly repeat to myself the newly pregnant + worried mama mantra: “Right now I am pregnant, and I love my baby.”

All my love,
Mom

The Waiting Game

Dear Baby Pacheco,

I’d been waiting to write because I was hoping to have some big news to share in my letter… I was anticipating finding out at my 12 week appointment whether you’re a boy or girl. I took the blood DNA test at 10 weeks, and was told it would take up to two weeks for the results to come back. I thought surely, they’d have the results by my next appointment….

Well, that appointment came & went– it was on Tuesday, which also happened to be Dad’s birthday. It’s funny, I’m pretty sure we had this same appointment for my first pregnancy on Dad’s birthday as well. So much of this pregnancy has felt like a repeat of my last, with the due dates being almost exactly the same & it “feeling” almost exactly the same. Anyway, although the ultrasound technician had a pretty confident guess based on what she saw on the screen, the test results still weren’t back yet. And now as I write this two days later, I still haven’t heard anything. If I don’t hear something by tomorrow afternoon, I will probably call their office tomorrow & harass some people. :-X   LOL

Despite that bit of disappointment, it was still an enjoyable visit! This was Dad’s first time getting to see you, which is always a momentous occasion as the sight of your little squirmy self on the screen always makes this whole “having a baby” thing feel so much more real. 😉 Both the doctor and the ultrasound tech said that you are looking great, and everything is right on target with the pregnancy so far. For that, we are so grateful. Here are my favorite pictures from the ultrasound:

Baby12weeks4The “full body” shot 🙂 I really liked the ultrasound tech we got this time– she took an extra few minutes to zoom in & show us every body part: the organs, limbs, etc. You are looking wonderfully healthy so far!

Baby12weeks3Five little fingers!!!

Anywho, other than that there isn’t too much to report on. As I said above, this pregnancy has been quite a bit like my first one… which is a good thing, as it means very little morning sickness. I will say that I ruined my perfect streak of no throwing up last week… but I should have known better than to eat Chinese food. For some reason I just can’t handle Chinese food while pregnant. I knew that, but ended up in a situation where I was at a Chinese restaurant last week & had little choice. For awhile I thought I would be okay, but then it hit me pretty hard a few hours later, just as I was about to leave work for the evening. Throwing up in the public bathroom at work is a less-than-pleasant experience, but thankfully no one was around as that would have made it extra mortifying. :-\ Since then (KNOCK ON WOOD, haha), I haven’t had any other issues. And hopefully I won’t from here on out, since we’re moving into second trimester now.

The other thing that’s been different is the alarming rate at which I’m growing. I took this picture a couple weeks ago, also in the bathroom at work LOL (I’ve been woefully awful about taking “official” bump pictures this time around, but quickly took this one to show a friend how there’s already a little bump going on).

IMG_20140611_163134I’ll try to remember to take another one soon. Exhaustion & “preggo brain” have hit me HARD. Unfortunately I think it has just as much to do with the pregnancy itself as with going through it while raising a young toddler. Phew!

That’s pretty much it for now…. I promise that the next time I write you, I’ll have your gender and your name ready to share! 😀 Until then, Little Plum!

All my love,
Mom

No News is Good News

Dear Baby Pacheco,

Hello little olive! That’s this week’s fruit/veggie comparison, at just over 9 weeks along now. Not much has changed, really, since my last letter. I still feel pretty tired and occasionally nauseous, but it seems to be getting better as we near the end of the first trimester. I had my monthly checkup yesterday, and everything went as well as it could have. It’s still too early to hear your heartbeat without an ultrasound, so this visit consisted basically of a blood test, a urine test, and a brief chat with the midwife.

Mostly we discussed how I’d like things to go for this pregnancy, and a couple things to expect over the next few months. One thing I’m really excited about is that this time around we’ll be able to find out if you’re a boy or a girl MUCH sooner… in just a few weeks actually! 🙂 Dad & I have been talking fervently about names. To be honest, for some reason I have a feeling that you’re a girl… but I really will be happy one way or the other, for various reasons.

The other big topic of conversation was the method with which you will enter the world. Because I ended up having a c-section with Alex, things are a little less straight-forward this time around. Although I do have the option to try again for a vaginal birth, it comes with a lot of risks. The other option is to have a scheduled c-section. The one thing I DO know is that I don’t want to go through another induction of labor, if it comes to that. So although I have some thinking to do, should you need to come early for some reason I will most definitely opt for the c-section again.

Besides the checkup, not much else has been going on really. We’re taking a few subtle steps to prepare your big brother for the change, like teaching him about babies (& how to handle them!) as well as gradually moving him out of the crib & into a “big boy” bed. Of course he doesn’t understand yet what’s happening… and I doubt he truly will until you’re born. But I think he’ll be a great big brother to you. 🙂

Anyway, that’s about all for now! Until next time, little one.

All my love,
Mom

Sweet, Sweet Heartbeat

Dear Baby Pacheco,

We’re at just over 7 weeks along now! I’m sure as you’re reading this, you’ll note that I wrote an update every week with Alex… well, as a fellow younger sibling I’m here to tell you that you might as well get used to the fact that the experience of being a second (or more) child is much different from being the first. Parents have been there, done that… & now they’re even busier with multiple kids on their hands. Hence, there will probably be fewer letters for you as weekly is just too much for me these days. My apologies! It’s not that I’m thinking about you any less or love you any less. I’m just SO. FREAKING. EXHAUSTED. I don’t remember feeling quite this tired all the time during my first pregnancy. A little fatigued, sure, but these days I’d stay in bed and sleep pretty much 24/7 if I could. :-X I suppose having to care for a very active toddler doesn’t help the situation!

Anyway, I do wish I’d taken a belly picture sooner because I feel like I’m already starting to show. With Alex you couldn’t tell a difference until about 14 weeks or so & even then it was fairly tame… but they say your body “remembers” the second+ time around, and the muscles are quicker to pop out. I suppose that is true, at least for me so far. Not to mention I still (most unfortunately) have some of the “baby weight” from my first pregnancy… although as I’ve said to my friends, at this point it’s no longer “baby weight,” just plain old “weight.” LOL. Sigh.

The good news is that all those things are signs that you’re doing really well in there! Right now you’re about the size of a blueberry. 🙂 Last week we had your first ultrasound, and I got to see your little fluttering heartbeat. The doctor said everything looked wonderful so far, and you’re measuring right on target for your due date of January 27.

Baby6weeks1

It was so great to finally get a glimpse of you! Up until then I was honestly still in a state of shock & doubt. Now it feels much more real. It’s hard to see much in the ultrasound pictures, but I could see your limbs starting to grow and even where your eyelids are on the actual screen during the ultrasound. Technology is truly amazing! Can’t wait to see more of you, little blueberry. 😉

All my love,
Mom

Here we go again….

Dear Baby Pacheco,

Hello little one! I guess you’re the baby now, and Alex is the big brother. 🙂 Dad & I are so excited that you’re on your way to us! It happened much more quickly than we anticipated, as I’d just gotten off the pill & we weren’t even seriously trying yet. We’d decided to just let the chips fall where they may for awhile & more actively try to get pregnant if we hadn’t conceived by this summer. But I guess you were ready to make this journey! A few days ago, even though it was unlikely as we’d been more or less avoiding my ovulation days, I took a pregnancy test and got this:

SaturdayTwo lines = pregnant! I was shocked, excited and nervous at the same time. This was at 6:30am on a Saturday morning and Dad was still asleep. I shook him awake and shoved the test in his face. “Whazzzat?” was his sleepy reply. When I explained, he just smiled and said “How do you feel?” He was already convinced I was pregnant, as he has a lot of faith in his abilities to knock me up with relatively little effort. As he said when we were trying for our first baby and again this time around, his “sperm is strong.” LOL. Men!

Anyway, by my calculation your due date is either January 26 (the EXACT same as your brother’s) or 27. Either way, you will be almost exactly two years apart. We were shooting to have our kids be somewhere in the range of 2-3 years apart, so we are thrilled. Uncle Jeff & I are almost exactly 2 years apart as well, so it’s an age difference I’m used to. Because it is still VERY early in the pregnancy, I feel just fine– no major symptoms or anything like that. Our first pregnancy appointment with the doctor is scheduled for next week. We haven’t told many people yet, not even your grandparents! So at this point I don’t have much to share except that we are so excited, and you are already so loved… and much anticipated! This is going to be a long 9 months. 😉

All my love,
Mom

 

Growing pains and the munchies

Dear Baby Pacheco,

As of yesterday you are 13 weeks along, and about the size of a peach. Dad & I had some fresh peaches yesterday to celebrate. 🙂 I still am not really showing a whole lot. Most of the “bump” you see in the picture below is my own fat & pregnancy bloating (sigh), but some of it is you too… So I’m going to own it! Haha

While you aren’t exactly visible to the naked eye just yet, I can most definitely feel your presence these days. Most of the time I feel what is a sort of weight or pressure in my lower abdomen, and I’m getting random stabs of pain (but not too bad, don’t worry) in my lower abdomen as well. These are known as “round ligament pains” and are a side effect of the muscles in that area stretching to accommodate your growth. When I press down in the area I can feel a hardness just beneath the surface that I believe is my uterus (where you live 😉 ). Finally being able to notice things like that is so cool!

I’m happy to report that nausea seems to be pretty much gone, and I most definitely have my appetite back. Some days in particular this week I felt constantly hungry. I still haven’t been craving any particular thing all the time, but I do have a couple of craving stories to share. A couple of weeks ago Dad was catching up on this blog, then he turns to me & says “How come you haven’t written about the salt & vinegar chips?!” … and honestly I hadn’t really noticed it, but the last few weeks I’ve picked up bags of salt & vinegar chips every time I go to the store and chomp them down all by myself. Haha. That is probably the one thing that has sounded good to me all the time throughout this whole pregnancy so far. Then more recently, I was at the grocery store & saw the glazed donuts in the bakery… and HAD to have one. However, they weren’t selling individual donuts, so it was a dozen or nothing. Needless to say, I ended up coming home with a dozen donuts. On top of that, Dad is on a diet so I’ve been eating them all by myself. Whoops! I’m going to bring whatever’s left to work on Monday morning to share with my coworkers.

I suppose these stories make it sound like I’m eating nothing but junk, but I swear I’m eating a lot of healthy stuff too. I make sure to have at least one fruit/veggie and one serving of protein at every meal, and I drink several glasses of milk each day. Just as importantly, I’ve gotten into the habit of taking my prenatal vitamin every night before bed. Even as we speak, I am drinking a smoothie made with spinach, pineapple, strawberries & orange juice. Yummy! And now that I’m getting a bit of energy back (really just a little bit so far, hoping more of it comes back soon) I’m able to get in more exercise. I go jogging with Dad a few times a week, and either hit the gym at work or do videos at home a couple times a week also. So you are being well taken care of! 🙂

And I guess that is about all that’s going on with me this week. We did “go public” with the news of your impending arrival on Tuesday as I mentioned in my last post, and it was really heartwarming to see the torrent of love, support and well wishes we received from friends and family when they heard the news. Without a doubt Baby Pacheco, you are VERY VERY loved already… and there are a lot of folks out there who can’t wait for you to make your grand entrance (myself & Dad included of course)! 🙂

All my love,
Mom