31 Weeks: Live From The Womb

Somebody was squirming too much to get a good portrait, but he is cute while he wiggles live! His arm is across his face for most of the video. My favorite part are his legs, which I feel from the outside frequently : ) Look for the smile at the end!

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30 Weeks: 3D Photos

This week we ventured back to Inner Child Imaging for a 3D ultrasound! [Here’s my recap from our first visit to find out the sex of our baby.] I was a bit concerned about doing this “for recreation” so I asked my doctor about it and she said she would do it – no hesitation. So I felt comfortable with the short extra session.

The biggest difference this time was that I could actually feel all the movements as we watched him move! And my favorite part was being able to put a limb to a movement. Our baby likes my right side a LOT, which I know from his daily movements and position, and this was clear in the U/S as well – he was tucked into a ball on the right side in a deep C shape with his head down and his butt in the air and his legs wiggling just under my right ribs.

In this photo, you can see his head in the upper left corner, followed by his hands, which are crossed in an X, and then his big ole leg in the front of the image. Wrapped in a ball!

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This is my favorite of the images – the clearest of his face. Our images aren’t quite as clear as many of the others on the site, but I guess that’s OK – he was not the most cooperative. Everyone is saying that he has my nose! I think it’s cute he’s rubbing his left eye – and those fingers look all pointed. Sleepy boy.

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The images are not quite as realistic as I thought they would be – meaning they have a fisheye look to them and all of the body parts aren’t really to scale. Because space is tight too, they have to focus through things, so sometimes we were looking through an arm to try to get to the face – it was tricky to see!

Here’s an elbow touching a knee from the side. Face in the upper left again! I love that he’s sleeping against his left forearm in his little ball shape. Makes me claustrophobic!

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I love this image – he is smirking!! But his nose looks huuuuuuge – sort of like a cartoon! I think it’s just the fisheye angle though Smile 

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A nice foot from the bottom. We also got a clear shot of the boy parts!

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It’s not surprising to me at all that his hands were over his face again – because that’s how he was at 17 weeks! He knows his mom is going to take lots of photos of him : )

                                                                17 v. 30 weeks

No Photos Please! Handsonface

And this one is absolutely hilarious if you imagine that his hands – in the upper right corner are really a little orange cat on his shoulder!! So typical that there’s an orange cat keeping him company like El Tigre and Pumpkin – he is certainly our son!

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It was so fun to see him in there live. It find it even more shocking that he’s real seeing him in 3D! It’s hard to imagine that he 3D baby and the one in my stomach are the same. The images are a little weird and spooky, but I can imagine him in real life better. It will be fun to compare him in real life with these images too. It was a fun experience!

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Yes I Want To Eat My Placenta

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22 Weeks: From Head To Toe

Here are all the highlights from our anatomy scan this week! It’s quite amazing how we are able to see parts as small as a nose or fingers from the outside!

Face

I was surprised that the US started with yet another vaginal peek. This time to look at my cervix, which I believe looked normal since there was no concern brought up. I thought I was done with that wand!

Then all the belly goop and poking began!

The first thing the tech said when she put the wand on my lower belly was “This baby is breech!” Of course this panicked me a bit because she said it in such a way that suggested this was a permanent position. No wonder I’ve been feeling kicks down a lot of the time! When I talked to my doctor afterwards, she said there is absolutely no reason to be concerned at this point. I know that babies can turn up to the last few weeks of pregnancy, but I am still worried that he prefers feet down in some way. She said not to worry, but I can’t help but want to do things to encourage him to like the other direction. Hang out in down dog?! I do think he swings his legs around like a pendulum based on the kicks, but I haven’t ever felt any to the ribs…

Love this shot of his legs! So clear and so baby-like!

Leg

Foot

Our tech started the scan by going up the abdomen and spotting the bladder, stomach, kidneys and heart. I have no idea how she could spot these! Ultrasound techs are very talented conceptually/visually. I was so relieved when these major organs looked healthy. I wasn’t too nervous about this ultrasound until the day before when I realized this could be a major turning point if something were to be wrong, but thankfully everything looked great.

Four chambers to the heart! Valves (?) in the right directions –

Heart

His little head! The brain looked normal (she verified that there were spaces in all the right places). I didn’t noticeduntil now that his head is in the 96th percentile for circumference – and that put my estimated due date at August 20-26th! Maybe he won’t be a Labor Day baby after all. Although….let’s hope that head doesn’t cause any troubles coming out either!

Head

The spine is always crazy to see on an US:

Spine

The only animal spine I see regularly is a sardine’s, so this is my sardine baby shot : )

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We found the boy parts!! Since we’d had our earlier elective US, I wasn’t surprised to hear “It’s a boy!” but for some reason this time it brought tears to my eyes?! I didn’t cry the first time – I think just the shock of knowing and letting it settle in. But this time it was even more special.

Boy parts!

Here’s a nice arm stretch – probably poking my stomach right then!

Extended Arm

A little hand. He still likes to put them in front of his face.

Paw

It’s funny to me that women often say when their babies are born “he has 10 fingers and toes!” because we got to actually count them all this day. Guess there could be error though : )

Fingers

**

It was about 20 minutes into the US when I started to feel kind of funny. Clammy, a little nauseous. I wondered if maybe it was just all the belly poking that was making me feel sick. Then I started to break out in a sweat and feel tingly all over. I had felt like this before -  I was going to FAINT! I wondered if I was just nervous and needed to breathe more or it was the poking, but finally I said “Can I sit up for a second?” I really thought I might throw up! The tech told me to roll on my left side right away and within 2 minutes I felt much better.

I had been lying flat on my back with my feet lower than my heart in kind of an arched position and we suspect this was a classic case of vena cava compression. When you’re on your back, the uterus, which for most women and definitely for me, is right-side tilted and it presses on the vena cava, which returns blood back to your heart. Generally if you’re not experiencing symptoms like I did then it’s not a problem, but this is why they say to sleep on your sides and not your back or lie on your back in an exercise class. I hadn’t felt anything like this before, but I was also on a really hard surface. It took me a while to get back to normal though (I kept wanting to lie down again) and it wasn’t the most fun way to experience the ultrasound. Not blaming the doctors office at all – I should have spoken up sooner!

**

Perhaps the most incredible shot is this one of his nose and lips! I think he has my wide nose : ) His little hand is covering his chin. Looks kind of like he has a big white mustache!!

NoseandLips!

I told the tech I was hoping for a nice profile shot and she was nice to try to get one for me (which was difficult in his position), but this one is pretty good! My mom says he looks like a poet or anthropologist like his dad : ) Funny that so many of our family have said he looks like Matt!

Profile

Compared to his 12 week portrait! Growin’ boy!

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We’re hoping to do a final ultrasound at 30 weeks or so to get some of those once-in-a-lifetime 3D photos. And then the big day of a real life shot! I can’t WAIT to meet him!

PREVIOUS 22 WEEK POSTS

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17 Weeks: Surprise Unveiled

If you didn’t figure it out, our secret mission to Richmond this week was for a special ultrasound!

It's A Boy!

When I first heard about 3D ultrasounds, I researched them in my area, hoping to do one in the third trimester for those cool 3D photos. I was surprised to find that they’re not nearly as expensive as I imagined they would be, and also – that they do sex determination for a very reasonable price. That got my mind cranking, and when I realized the “20 week find-out-what-it is” ultrasound at my doctor’s office wouldn’t be until I was nearly 23 weeks, going down just shy of 17 weeks sounded like lots of fun. And we’d find out our surprise a month and a half earlier!

We scheduled an appointment at Inner Child Imaging for their gender determination package of $99. Upon arrival, the owner Dave was there to greet us. He was super nice and escorted us into the imaging room where I sat in a recliner with a nice view of the plasma TV in front of us. You can actually bring a crowd if you’d like, and in the third tri they can make a DVD for you to share as well. I think it’s so cool to have a video you can show your child one day of when he/she was inside of you. I know I’d love to see that of myself – my mom barely even has any photos of her pregnant with me!

We opted for the 2D since it was less expensive and Dave said the baby would look kind of weird in 3D since it didn’t have the fat stores of the third trimester, but he was nice enough to switch to 3D a few times for us and we got several pretty cool photos! They are a bit hard to see because he’s so young, but still neat:

Sucking thumb

Sucking Thumb

His face! [Although kind of obscured by hands!]

Face

Dave had told me to hydrate well and eat something sugary before I got there – to ensure the baby was active. If I hadn’t been so full from lunch, I might have used that as a good excuse for an ice cream (!), but I settled on a piece of hard candy instead. The baby was quite active inside! Matt and I are always most amazed just watching the baby move around in there. So much personality comes to life!

Profile

The baby was sitting on his legs the whole first half of the scan. He had them tucked beneath him. Dave thought he saw a glimpse of what he was looking for in the first few minutes, but said he didn’t want to declare until he was sure. Matt and I both knew then that it was probably a BOY!

A little while later, after I drank some sugary juice and Dave wiggled the baby around a bit until his legs finally stretched out, until he suddenly declared: “YUP! You’re havin’ a boy!” He was sure of what he saw: little boy parts. He has only called the sex wrong on a boy once, and he was very sure this time, so we’re counting on it to be right.

Little legs

From Below

I can’t say that we were shocked – because we obviously knew that there was a 50% chance of boy or girl! But it was so weird to know and imagine a HIM in my head. The baby I had been imagining up until now -was genderless. Flip-flopping between boy and girl constantly. But once we knew, it was almost like I had a new baby to get to know, and it felt a little funny at first. Like he [the baby] knew more than I did. But by the end of the day, after pretty much non-stop thinking about him, he was mine again : ) And cuter than ever!

View from right profile, sitting up, arms wrapped around head: “No more photos, I’m not ready to come out!”

No Photos Please!

After we left the studio, we went shopping! Although we weren’t really hunting for anything in particular. We went to Baby GAP and I decided we should buy him something to celebrate the day when we first “met” him. All the clothes in Baby GAP were adorable!!! Little polo shirts and tons with little bears on the pockets. We decided on this silly knit bear hat – hopefully he can wear it home from the hospital and join his bear brothers!

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We had lots of fun telling our families that evening. Multiple Skype sessions were involved, and we handed Karen the stack of images and put the “It’s a boy!” on the bottom. Everyone was excited to know, but we’re keeping the name zipped tight until he’s born (although we still haven’t even decided).

mom

Lillian even got to get in a few excited meows! She is very excited to be an Aunt Kitty.

Lills

Matt’s dad is a radiologist and his wife, Cheryl, is in the medical field too, so we sent them the ultrasound photos, unlabeled, and had them guess the sex! They did a great job using medical terminology while reading the ultrasound photos over Skype, but it was a little hard to read a still photo 🙂 They were excited to see boy parts!

I know there are strong schools of thought about finding out versus waiting until the baby is born, but I am SO glad we did this. I don’t think it will change much about how we’re proceeding – the nursery colors will stay the same, and I like green and yellow and orange way more than I like pink or blue. But a bond has been created that wasn’t there before, and this makes the name decision much easier!

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12 Weeks: A Second Peek Inside

After what felt like an eternity of waiting, our first official ultrasound finally arrived! This was Matt’s first time seeing the baby in person since he wasn’t able to go with me to my emergency one a month prior. I was excited to see how the baby had grown, but also very excited to see his reaction.

This ultrasound was both vaginal and stomach-ical. The technician had me undress and started with the probe. Inside we found a tiny little baby! One by one, she went through the body parts – stomach, bladder, ribs, spine, hands, feet, heart, brain. They were all there in full!

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Matt and I couldn’t believe how much the baby was moving. We both expected it to move, but I thought it would be more like tiny little jerks or hand movements. But no, the baby was moving like you’d expect a full-term baby to move. Arms up and down, legs kicking and crossing, flips, turns. During my first ultrasound when all you could see was a kidney bean with a flickering heart, I thought “That’s cool.” But this time it was like “THAT IS MY CHILD!” I still can’t believe it grew from a sperm and egg without some scientist telling the cells what to do.

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For the down syndrome test, which we elected to have to get all the knowledge we could, the baby had to be in a specific position: lying on its back in a profile. However, our baby decided to entertain us for a while and went into every position but the desired one! The technician tried all methods of jiggling and shaking me to try to get the baby to settle down on the bottom of my uterus. It was actually quite violent! My grandmother is always telling me “Don’t exercise too much – you’ll jiggle the baby.” She would have been horrified at all the jiggling going on during this appointment : ) But I guess with all the fluid in there, they don’t feel too as much as we do on the outside. Finally, after about 30 minutes of jiggling, the baby spent about 30 seconds in the right position and she quickly snapped the photos she needed, although they were less than ideal.

Check out this crazy photo from above!

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Next came a blood test. Oh how I loathe needles!! I have heightened senses of taste and smell, so maybe my sense of touch is also extra sensitive. Because man that hurt! Matt knows how much I hate needles and reached for my hand to hold. Can I take him to all of my doctor’s appointments from now on?

The last bit of our appointment was meeting with the doctor. He said everything in the ultrasound photos looked great and that I looked great (thanks doc!). My blood pressure was 108/70, which is about 10 points higher on the top and bottom than normal! However, he said it was perfectly low. I asked him about weight gain too – was I on track? He said yes, that he recommends 2 pounds a month on average (which if you multiply that by 10 months, is about 20 pounds : ) ) I’m at about 5 pounds gained, so I’m right on track.

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I felt a little silly bringing this up, but they say women should discuss their birth plans with their doctors early in case there is incompatibility. You definitely want to know sooner rather than later your doctor’s views on childbirth.

So I told him I hoped to have a natural birth and asked “….was he… cool with that?” "[How else are you supposed to ask this question?!]

He told me that about 45% of women in their practice go without epidurals referenced against other hospitals having rates of epidurals closer to 95%. And he said about 20% labor without any meds what-so-ever. (I’m guessing the other 20% have some kind of IV or oral drug?) He also explained that he job was to act on an emergency and deliver a healthy baby rather than dictate how I labor. I felt really good about his responses. He’s very laid back and cool for a doctor, and I like that a lot!

We ended the appointment with a listen to the heartbeat, loud and clear!

OTHER 12 WEEK POSTS

Transitions To Two

Meds + Beds

Kerthump, Part II

Husband Aversions

Diaper Dance

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7 Weeks: A Scare With A Great Ending

Trip to New York

Week 7 started out with a fun visit to New York City!!

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Last week, when I was feeling so sick, I nearly canceled the trip. I couldn’t imagine a 6-hour train ride feeling nauseous nor did I want to be around a bunch of drunk college boys or greasy food.

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But thanks to my medicine cocktail, I felt great by our departure day. We had a wonderful time in the city. We decided to tell all of our close college friends because it would look pretty odd for me to not have a couple of pints of beer all weekend. It was very fun to tell them! We’re the second of our friends to be having a baby, so it’s still new and exciting. I saw a bit of tenderness come out of those boys 🙂

Matt and I had breakfast with our good friend Whitney, who is a few days from her due date! [Note she has since given birth to a beautiful little girl!] It was fun to talk about pregnancy with her and all the excitement shared between us.

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Could you tell my sweet tooth was running wild!? Bring me all the cupcakes in NYC!

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I didn’t stay out very late either night (Matt did!), but I managed to keep my energy up during the trip and felt pretty good. Everyone was checking out my stomach, but there’s really nothing to show yet. My eating habits were pretty normal throughout the weekend – normal meaning I had my old appetite back!

I’m sure this weekend marked the beginning of some old fashioned weight gain because other than some walking and yoga, I did little to counter balance all the great food we ate. Hopefully my body needed it anyways. It was so cold that running outside wasn’t an option and I didn’t feel that tracking down a gym in my condition was worth it. Thanks to Ashley for taking me to yoga though! We had to choose a studio that wasn’t hot yoga, and this was one of the best non-hot classes I’ve done in ages.

That wonderful bagel and cream cheese? Total pregnancy craving. I have been wanting another one ever since!

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crap! A Cramp

Back at home, on Tuesday morning, at 7 weeks, 4 days, I woke up in a strange position in bed. My abdomen tightened into a horrible cramp. I figured it was just the position I had been in and flopped over quickly – only to find it worsening.

I bolted to the bathroom, wondering if I was about to have some kind of sickness and (sorry if this is TMI) while I was on the toilet, I started to faint! I’m a fainter in panicked situations, but over the years my mom has taught my sister and me to lie down on the floor so as not to hit our heads if we do pass out. Luckily I didn’t, but my cramp was worse. This wasn’t waves of cramps – it was like a Charlie horse to my uterus. At least I think it was my uterus.

I laid on the floor, crying, sure I was having a miscarriage. Why else would I have such horrible cramps? The pain was awful and lasted about 10 minutes. At that point, I felt the need to throw up and did so a few times. Something about the tightening of my stomach when I threw up made the cramp lessen a bit.

At this point, I crawled back to my bedroom and retrieved my cell phone, still in a lot of pain. I called Matt and told him to come right away – I needed to go to the emergency room and there was a good chance I was losing the baby. He was baking bread and couldn’t leave and asked if I could wait until 10-11am. I don’t think he understood the severity of my pain.

“NO – this is an EMERGENCY!” I responded. “Can you call your mom for me?”

Karen called me right back and said she’d be on her way. I called my mom then to tell her what was happening. This whole time, I also kept checking to see if I was bleeding, but nothing was there.

Karen arrived a few minutes later to find me covered in sweat on the bathroom floor. By this time, my cramp was still there, but it was much less severe. We decided to call the doctor’s office and page a doctor rather than drive straight to the ER.

One of my practice’s doctors called me back within minutes. His first question asked if I was bleeding. I said no.

“You aren’t having a miscarriage then,” he said.

I wasn’t sure how he knew that, but a wave of relief flew over me. He also asked if my pain was on one side (no it was in the middle, under my bladder) and did I have any history of reproductive problems (no, thank goodness). He suggested I go in for an ultrasound. I was so glad his reaction wasn’t to just wait it out. He said I might have had an ovary follicle burst or that my uterus was stretching and cramping in response to baby growth.

After I hung up I thought, YAY AN ULTRASOUND! Then I remembered that it might not reveal good news.

I had to wait until 1:30pm to go to the office. I was able to shower and was pretty much pain-free by this point. Just sore down there. The technician was friendly and I noticed she typed “check viability” on her computer monitor when I arrived. That was scary.

The ultrasound was vaginal, but luckily I knew this might be the case, so Karen stayed in the waiting room. It didn’t hurt, but it was a lot of poking around in there! Within seconds I saw the baby – a nice white blob in an open cavity. Typical kidney bean!!

Baby KERF - Copy - Copy - Copy (590x417)

Up close you could see that it was a little baby.

BERF

But I knew it was a heartbeat we were after. She took a bunch of measurements, zoomed in and out.

I was holding my breath waiting to see a flicker of motion others had described.

I thought I saw a flash…

Seconds later, I saw the words “measuring fetal heartbeat” and a zigzag graph – I knew a heartbeat had been found! And then: 166 bpm:

Baby KERF - Copy (590x418)

[Note that the gestational age here says 9 weeks, but since I ovulated late and they based that off the last period, it was inaccurate. The measurements had me at 7 weeks, 4 days, which was right on target]

My relief was huge! I smiled. I said “WOW.” A few times. I know many women say this, but I just couldn’t believe there was a baby inside of me. It was this moment that I started to think of myself as two people going through life together.

The doctor came in next and said everything looked great. I was measuring right at 7 weeks, 4 days, so my ovulation calculations had been correct! The baby looked fine, and he had no reason to believe I would miscarry based on the ultrasound’s findings. He did make sure to remind me that “you’re not out of the woods yet” for miscarrying, which of course I knew. His reasoning for my cramp was that the uterus is growing and sometimes likes to remind the body it’s a muscle by shrinking down a little. Humph!

One cool thing is that my father in law is a radiologist and I was able to email him the ultrasound photos to review. His report: everything looks great! He even commented on the amount of fluid present (good), and for some reason that extra tidbit was reassuring.

I’m still not sure what caused my horrible cramp, but a few speculations:

  1. My uterus stretched, then cramped. Regular growth!
  2. Round ligament pain, which is often caused by sharp movements from one position to the next, but isn’t usually had this early.
  3. Constipation. I didn’t feel constipated, but it could have been bowel related. Although nothing like that has ever happened to me before!
  4. The day before in Body Pump we did some lower ab work – could this have irritated my ligaments?

Ironically, the next day my Baby + Bump app said this:

“As your baby grows, your uterus is also expanding. By now your uterus is almost the size of a grapefruit which is why it’s common to feel abdominal cramping or even a tightening or contraction-like pain. Consult your healthcare provider if you notice bleeding following your contractions.”

WHAT!? I guess it is normal after all. Wish I had known this a few days earlier! So here is my PSA:

Warning! You might experience severe cramps during pregnancy!

Here’s the single photo I took at 7 weeks – I wasn’t feeling my hottest then! I don’t think horizontal stripes first thing in the morning was a great choice for wardrobe either… No bump yet!

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