Happy birthday, Dad!

Dear Baby Pacheco,

The last few days were full of events: you were 12 weeks along as of Saturday, Dad had his 27th birthday on Sunday, the entire Pacheco side of the family was here visiting the whole weekend, and we had your NT scan with the ultrasound and blood test today.

12 weeks along = size of a plum! We now have pictoral evidence, but I still can hardly believe it. I look more or less like my normal self… here is my first “belly pic” for the 12 week mark:

Other than a little bloating (and thus having to go back into my “fat pants” for some things), there have been no visible changes to my mid-section so far. But at least this is a good benchmark to go from. Since I am already a big gal to start with, I don’t expect to really start showing for another month or two. The NT scan today was therefore a huge relief, to see that you are indeed healthy and developing properly in there. The nurse measured your heartbeat at 169 beats per minute (“very healthy” she says πŸ™‚ ), and took a TON of pictures/measurements of you from all sorts of angles (all of which she said were “perfect” and “right on target” πŸ™‚ ). Luckily you were extremely compliant and flipping around all over the place so that she could get everything she needed. We got to take most of the pictures home, but I will just show my favorite one here:

This picture doesn’t show it, but we got to see your little arms & legs as well. It’s amazing how much more human-like you look now! Dad says getting to see you was the best birthday present he got. πŸ˜€ The second part of the scan is a blood test, and thank GOODNESS the nurse was able to get my blood drawn on the first try. We should have the blood test results back within a week. But so far everything seems to be great! We could not be more thrilled. πŸ˜€

So now that we’re pretty much past the highest risk of miscarriage (chances are less than 1% now) and you are looking healthy thus far, we can finally begin to relax a bit and just enjoy this experience. We’ll be going “facebook official” tomorrow (which in this day & age is a big deal, but who knows if you’ll even know what facebook is by the time you read this) and just in general we won’t feel the need to keep the pregnancy a secret anymore. It’s been hard not to talk about it, because honestly that is what I’m thinking about 95% of the time. Haha. The other great thing is that I am reaching the end of my first trimester, so the few symptoms I’ve had are fading. I haven’t felt any nausea for the last few days, and the constant fatigue is starting to lighten up a bit. πŸ˜‰ Woohoo!

That’s about it for now… the next couple of weeks should be fairly quiet, no big plans and no doctor’s appointments until my next checkup on July 31. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with something interesting to write about next week. Until then, keep growing little plum!

All my love,
Mom

P.S. — My apologies for the ridiculous amounts of smiley faces in this post… Dad & I are just on Cloud Nine after getting to see you on the ultrasound today. πŸ˜€

Some thoughts from Dad (finally!)

Dear Baby Pacheco,

You are a little over 11 weeks now… the size of a lime. A lime. It really blows my mind that there is a lime-sized baby in my belly (and I think my uterus is almost the size of a grapefruit at this point), yet I look more or less like my normal self. Honestly even though I know it’s normal, I still can’t help but wonder and worry about whether you’re doing okay in there. Last week I had a regular checkup, and was pretty surprised at how little they did. The nurse took a urine sample & checked my blood pressure, then the doctor came in and talked about some optional tests they could do to check for genetic issues such as Down’s syndrome, and tried to hear your heartbeat on the doppler… unfortunately it was too soon to really hear your heartbeat over my own on that little doppler. She said that is totally normal for so early (I was closer to 10 weeks at that point), but I would’ve felt much better if we’d been able to hear it.

After the discussion with the doctor and haggling with our insurance company, we decided to go with the non-invasive nuchal translucency (NT) scan, a combination of ultrasound and blood test that is 90% effective in revealing potential genetic issues. Mostly we just wanted an extra chance to get to see you again! πŸ™‚ This test must be done between 11-13 weeks, so I scheduled it for Monday July 16 (just over 12 weeks)… Dad and I CAN’T WAIT to see you again, and see how much you’ve grown and changed since our last glimpse of you during week 7!

Speaking of Dad, he had expressed some interest to me early on about wanting to contribute to this blog somehow… but he is, as he puts it, “not so good with words.” LOL. So I came up with the idea of interviewing him so that he could tell me his thoughts/feelings/etc. and I could more eloquently get them down for you. Here goes! The questions are written from my perspective in the conversation with him, obviously.

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1. What was the first thing to run through your head when you found out I was pregnant?
Dad says he was extremely excited. I asked him if he was surprised that we were able to get pregnant after only two cycles of trying, and he said “Of course not. My sperm is strong!” HAHAHAHAHA. What a typical man thing to say! πŸ˜‰

2. How has expecting a baby changed your life so far, if at all?
Dad said that the first week or so, he felt the need to be more cautious at work… his job is very physical and can sometimes be a little dangerous. However, he says that feeling faded pretty quickly. Now his sole concern is my safety (and in turn, your safety): he worries a lot about me carrying things, falling down, and the dogs jumping on my belly. I can vouch for this- I remember one time earlier on he got on me for picking up a notebook. I said “seriously?!” Also I asked him whether he worries a lot about something going wrong with the pregnancy, and he said that he tries not to think too much about it… but, as he said, “Mommy is worrying a lot and that makes me worry too. It’s a vicious cycle.” He also said he’s been trying to get in better shape, so that he’ll have an easier time playing with you and chasing you around!

3. What was it like being in the hospital the night of the bleeding incident?
Absolutely terrifying… Dad said he felt so helpless. He added that the worst part was when that crazy ER doctor gave us the option to end the pregnancy since there wasn’t “a viable heartbeat.” Boy did that lady turn out to be wrong! But I agree, that part really made me mad too.

4. How did you feel when you saw the baby on the ultrasound for the first time? The second time?
Dad said it was such a thrill! After what we’d gone through in the ER there was also a huge sense of relief. He was really happy to finally get to see you in there, and it made the pregnancy seem much more real to him. The second ultrasound was a similar experience, and it was also interesting to see how you had changed over the week. Dad was so relieved that you were growing as expected.

5. What are you most looking forward to about being a dad?
Dad says he is really looking forward to teaching you things and sharing our life with you. (His first word when I asked this was actually “science!” Haha) I asked if he had any insecurities about his ability to be a father, and he said he hadn’t really given that much thought. He said in general he’s confident that we’ll be great parents. But his overall approach (with this and, I’ve found, with life) is to adopt a β€œwait and see” philosophy… to deal with the changes and learning curve of becoming parents as best as he can, and address issues as they arise.

6. If you could say anything to the baby right now, what would you say?
“Hang in there, kid.” πŸ˜‰ We both love you so much and can’t wait to meet you!
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That’s about all for now. I will probably wait to post again until after our NT scan so that I’ll be able to tell you all about it right away, share pictures of the ultrasound and finally get around to starting some belly photos (not that there’s anything to see at this point, but I’m hoping I’ll be glad I did them someday). Until then… as Dad put it– hang in there, kid!

All my love,
Mom

Hormones and a crazy week

Dear Baby Pacheco,

You are over 10 weeks along now! My sources say that you are the size of a strawberry. πŸ™‚ Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures yet because the 10 week mark was on Saturday and a lot of craziness went down over the weekend (more about that in a second). But I am definitely a little “bloated” and have gained a pound or so. I don’t really look any more pregnant that I did at the beginning though… just fatter. 😦 Boo!

So last week I learned a couple things about life as a pregnant woman:

(1) morning sickness and my metro commute don’t mix– the heat, the smells of the people around me and the jostling of the train is an awful combination for me. I’m going to start keeping a barf bag in my purse! Luckily so far I have managed not to throw up on anyone. Haha

(2) pregnancy hormones and the DMV also don’t mix– I had to go to the DMV on Friday to register our new (well, new to us) car. The people were extremely rude and unhelpful and turned me away (after sitting in that crowded, smelly and hot waiting area for an hour & a half… again, trying my best not to throw up on someone.) because I didn’t have a document that their website says you don’t need to have. I had this flash of rage, nothing like I’ve ever felt before… I literally saw red spots, snatched my papers back from the DMV person’s hands and stormed out of the building, punching the door on the way out! It was so crazy, I never ever act like that (and don’t take this is an okay for you to do it someday, it was completely unacceptable behavior). I was fuming all the way home and then as soon as I got there & tried to tell Dad about it, I broke down crying and just had to sit there and sob for a few minutes. Crazy lady alert! Ended up getting the paper I needed and going back to the DMV… got a much nicer lady the second time who had me in & out in 15 minutes. Phew! In my anger I also posted an angry rant on Facebook with some bad words in it that got me a call from Grandma involving threats to “wash my mouth out with soap.” πŸ˜‰

Anyway, Grandma and Papa actually came to visit again this weekend to help us finish the shed. Unfortunately right after they got here Friday night we had a huge freak storm that knocked our power out! It was a widespread emergency issue– over a million people in the DC metro area lost their power that night. So Dad & Papa had to work on the shed all day Saturday with no power, in the 100+ degree heat no less! Luckily we were able to spend Saturday night with our friends Kay & Bill, who have a pool and had never lost power. It was a lot of fun and so nice to be able to cool off after the day we’d had! By the time we got back home on Sunday morning our power was back on (thank goodness!) and Dad & Papa were able to finish the shed. Sadly there are still hundreds of thousands of people without power this morning, with another scorcher of a day ahead.

Actually I was supposed to have my next check-up with the OB-GYN today, but they called me right as I was about to leave for the appointment and said that because some of their offices don’t have power, they’re closing all their offices for the day. They rescheduled my appointment for tomorrow. I can’t wait to get that reassurance from the doctor that all is going well with you! I will write again later this week with the results of that check-up. Until then, little strawberry!

All my love,
Mom

I’m down with that

Dear Baby Pacheco,

You are almost 9 weeks along now, about the size of an olive! I love the fruit/veggie size comparison… every week when I go to the grocery store I’ll stop and stare at your current fruit (you’ll remember this past week it was raspberries) for a few minutes and think “WOW, how awesome is that?!” Truly amazing, this little life we’re creating. πŸ™‚

Last week when I spoke of smooth sailing I’m pretty sure I jinxed myself. Tuesday morning I had the most awful nausea, and chalked it up to morning sickness getting worse… but by the afternoon & evening I started to develop a fever, congestion, and other such symptoms. Soon it was evident that I’d somehow come down with the flu, at the end of June for heaven’s sake! Dad was sick with a bit of a cold the previous weekend, but it was not nearly as bad as this. I think what made it even worse for me was that I really didn’t want to take any medications unless absolutely necessary, to protect your health. At the same time, I was terrified of how my being sick was affecting you (especially the fever). By the end of the day on Wednesday I finally broke down and took some Tylenol (which is on my list of approved meds from the doctor) to bring down the fever, and that helped tremendously. Things gradually improved after that, and now I feel almost back to normal. All that’s left today is some congestion. Dad took really great care of me while I was sick, even though he was still getting over his cold as well.

Still I worry a bit about how this week’s events might have harmed you. This early stage of pregnancy is tough that way– you are still so small that I can’t really see or feel anything that would help me confirm that you’re doing well in there. My next appointment is July 2, and I can’t wait for the doctor to confirm you are progressing normally. I have no reason to believe otherwise, so in the mean time I will have faith that you’re trucking along!

This weekend should be a busy one, so I’m really glad that the flu is more or less behind me. Dad & I are going to a baseball game tonight, then Grandma & Papa are coming to visit and help us start building a new shed in the backyard. While they’re down, Grandma & I are going to a concert also. Should be a lot of fun! Until next time, little olive.

All my love,
Mom

One last look

Dear Baby Pacheco,

Today you are 8 weeks along, and the size of a raspberry! Time is really flying by. On Monday we went to the doctor for our follow-up ultrasound to make sure you are developing properly… and everything looked great!

You measured right on schedule, and your heartbeat was nice & strong. Dad & I agree that your heartbeat is one of the sweetest sounds we’ve ever heard. πŸ™‚ It was so cool to see how much you’d changed over the course of just one week as well! You look more like a bean with little stubby appendages now… a tadpole no longer! It is such a blessing and such a miracle. We couldn’t be more thrilled. Unfortunately that is the last time we’ll get to see you until early September when we go to find out whether you’re a boy or a girl. We’ve been tossing name ideas around and at the moment have settled on Jaxon Todd if you’re a boy, and Emma Jean if you’re a girl. But who knows, we may change our minds a million times between now & January.

I’m feeling about the same as I was last week, with bouts of slight nausea that come & go (particularly when I’m hungry), constant exhaustion, and various levels of all the other symptoms I’ve mentioned. A new one to come up is food aversion– even when I’m starving nothing sounds very good to me (especially nothing healthy), so I have to force myself to eat something whenever I get hungry (which is every couple of hours) to keep the nausea away. No particular cravings yet either, sometimes I’ll want a particular thing to eat but nothing has ever sounded good more than once. I’m also making sure to get in some form of exercise for at least a few minutes every day, no matter how exhausted I feel.

And actually that’s about all that’s going on when it comes to the pregnancy! I guess for once no news is good news. Hopefully it will be smoother sailing from here on out. Starting around 10 weeks I’m going to start taking a weekly belly picture so we can watch your progress, although since I already have a bit of a belly just from being fat (:-\) it will probably be quite awhile until the “baby bump” is noticeable. Time will tell!

All my love,
Mom

A scare & a roadtrip

Dear Baby Pacheco,

You are 7 weeks along already! I can’t believe how quickly time is flying by. Last Sunday (the day before our scheduled departure for vacation & just a couple hours after I last wrote you), we had a bit of a scare regarding your health… I started bleeding rather heavily around 10:30 that morning. It tapered off throughout the day, but when it was still spotting around 5 that evening we decided to go to the ER and make sure everything was okay. Dad & I were both absolutely terrified. Here I am in the hospital while they were running a variety of blood & urine tests:

Those tests all came back with positive/normal results, so they sent us to another part of the hospital to get an ultrasound. They wheeled me around in my bed, which is such an odd feeling! Prior to this I’d never actually been in the hospital as a patient before. The ultrasound tech was a very nice lady who measured you at 6 weeks exactly (one day off of what we’d originally thought based on my ovulation), and said that she did not see anything wrong. We got to see you hanging out in there, and the little flickerings which are the start of your heartbeat! It was so exciting! I couldn’t see the screen very well from where I was laying, so I spent most of this time watching Dad’s face. He was staring at you with such awe, smiling and crying tears of joy. It was quite an emotional moment for us both. We were able to take a picture of the ultrasound home with us:

You look like a little tadpole! πŸ™‚ So that is what we’ve been calling you this week: “our little tadpole.” Haha. Anyway, the doctor said that because the heartbeat wasn’t strong enough for them to measure with the machine yet, they wanted us to follow up in a few days for another ultrasound to make sure things are developing as they should, and also to check in at our regular OB-GYN’s office the next day. We delayed leaving the next morning for the follow-up with my OB-GYN, where they took yet another blood & urine sample and did a pelvic exam. My doc said that based on the results of the tests/ultrasound in the ER and her own exam, everything looked great for being so early on. She was very reassuring and said that the bleeding could have been any number of minor things. She told us not to worry & enjoy our vacation, and to keep our original ultrasound appointment for next Monday (June 11th) so that they could check on your progress. After speaking with her Dad & I felt much better about the whole thing…. but let me tell you, that 24 hour span was quite the rollercoaster of emotions!

So then we went on our trip and had an AWESOME time in Atlantic City, New York, and Niagara Falls. Dad & I especially enjoyed Niagara Falls. There was so much to do there & the falls are really beautiful!

Since this was a roadtrip, a lot of time was spent talking in the car about our excitement that you’re on your way, our hopes and dreams for you and discussions about the kind of parents we’d like to be. It was really nice to have that time together to reflect on things like that, & to just enjoy some “us” time away from the hustle & bustle of our daily life. Overall an excellent “babymoon.” We also made our first purchase for you at the Disney store in Atlantic City: a Tigger outfit! Gender neutral of course. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, now we are home safe & sound… resting up for the week ahead and anxiously awaiting our chance to see you again on Monday afternoon. I have started to get nauseous more & more frequently which I’m hoping is a good sign. Usually I can keep it at bay as long as I have at least a little food in my stomach (getting hungry exacerbates it). I’m feeling extremely tired all the time as well. When we weren’t chatting on the road, I was taking a nap! Dad was kind enough to do all the driving.

This post is getting kind of long (well it WAS quite a week, after all)… so I’ll wrap it up. Just know that Dad & I love you SO MUCH. And we all (me, Dad, Grandma, Papa, Nana, Grump, and many other friends and family who love you) are praying for your health and happiness. Keep growing little tadpole! πŸ™‚

All my love,
Mom

Babymooning!

Dear Baby Pacheco,

You are a little over six weeks along today! My trusted sources (the interwebs, haha) say that you’re now the size of a sweet pea. It’s hard to believe that just 2 weeks ago, you were the size of a poppyseed… and 2 weeks from now, you’ll be the size of a raspberry! Time is flying by, but it still seems like an eternity until our sonogram appointment. Dad & I are impatiently waiting for that chance to see you for the first time, and to know that you are safe and healthy in there. The appointment is actually a week from tomorrow, so perhaps “eternity” was a dramatic choice of words. πŸ˜‰ But sometimes it feels that way to me!

Luckily Dad & I have something to take our minds off of the wait over the next week– we are leaving to go on vacation tomorrow! This will be our first real vacation together since our honeymoon 3 years ago. “Babymoon” is a term used to describe a couple’s last hurrah before they become parents, which I think is appropriate here. Our budget is a little tight since we’ve been fixing up the house & saving for your arrival, so we are taking a road trip with stops in Atlantic City, New York, and Niagara Falls. We are both excited to get out & have some adventures together! We are staying with my cousin Gretchen (perhaps you will call her Auntie Gretchen?) while we’re in NYC so we plan to share the news of your impending arrival with her while we’re there. I’ll try to post a few pictures of the trip after we get back.

Other than that, the last week or so has been largely uneventful. Most of my symptoms went away a little over a week ago with one exception (I apologize in advance for yet another bit of TMI): painful gas! Ugh! The last two days or so I’ve also had a couple of brief bouts of nausea. Hoping the morning sickness won’t hit full-force while we’re on the babymoon… Anyway, overall I’ve been feeling pretty good. Sometimes it’s still hard to believe there is a baby growing inside of me. At the same time, Dad & I are constantly elated and giddy at the thought of having you in our arms come January. We love you SO much already, little sweet pea! πŸ™‚

All my love,
Mom