Yes, I am going to give you a pregnancy update at 22-weeks.
This is really happening…
I’ve regretted my lack of keeping a pregnancy journal here on MamaNYC, or providing any sort of ‘real’ pregnancy update posts, but I have an excuse. This has been a really rough pregnancy. I’ve battled daily life and trying to maintain a routine – hah. Let’s just say January cannot come soon enough. I am actually VERY anxious for Christmas – would love to see it come and go, but more importantly: January 26, 2013. This day needs to be here — tomorrow.
I don’t want to scare anyone off that is considering having a baby! I am joking (sort of), but I thought that I would at least write a post marking my HALF WAY POINT in hopes of actually keeping it up until my baby is born in January 2013. We shall see how that goes, but for now I will at least share my first 22-weeks of pregnancy with all of you.
My Wordless Wednesday post today featured a side-by-side sonogram face profile picture of both pregnancies [so far!] at 22-weeks. I couldn’t believe that I was actually writing out 2-2 weeks. Twenty Two? Wasn’t I just 12 weeks? Time is going by very fast (knock on a very large piece of wood), so I knew it was best if I stopped for a few minutes (or, possibly an hour; we’ll see how this post turns out!) to talk about what has been going on so far.
WARNING: This post may contain frightening descriptions and horror stories, but I promise to be gentle and easy! :O) No gore or unnecessary information; I will keep to the basics and do my best to help you understand why this is so rough versus my first pregnancy!
I’M SICK OF BUYING PREGNANCY TESTS!
I have to start this post here because i think its hilarious. I really do.
Let’s rewind back to September 2008. We’ve been "sort of" trying to get pregnant, but nothing too serious. My period is consistently LATE and pregnancy tests are getting really expensive. I turn to Amazon and purchase a big lot of cheap pregnancy test strips - 50 for only $15.00! Woah. This is amazing, especially since I was paying $15.00 for ONE test from the pharmacy in town.
These make it much easier for me to just take a test whenever I want without having to run to the store or feel extreme guilt when it was another false alarm. I buy these strips after 6-7 months of purchasing the expensive in-store tests. Within 10-days of receiving my MUCH cheaper pregnancy tests strips — I am pregnant with my little boy!
Fast-forward to June 3rd of this year (2012). After 7-8 months of trying to get pregnant (and once again spending a LOT of money on pregnancy tests), I woke up at 11:45pm after an hour of sleeping to log onto Amazon and purchase those cheaper pregnancy test strips. I place my order with Amazon, confirm delivery and shipping address, and roll over as I fall back to sleep.
The next day I will discover that I am pregnant with my little girl and cancel my Amazon order. Strange coincidence? I’d say! Something TOLD me that as soon as I placed that order, I would be pregnant. Sure enough, I came up with a positive pregnancy test (purchased at the local pharmacy) no more than 15-hours later! Maybe I should have purchased those tests months ago…?! :O)
I found out that I was pregnant on Monday, June 4th after a very long day filled with nausea, exhaustion, and an inability to function properly. I knew my period was late, but there is something that comes over a womans body and intuitive feelings begin to scream at you, "something isn’t normal". Call it a mothers instinct, woman’s insanity, or just plain illness – I knew there was a good chance that I was pregnant.
We have been trying for another baby [off-and-on] since August/September (2011), so I have been going through the "I am definitely pregnant THIS time" feelings. Every cramp, hunger pain, dizzy spell, or 5-minute late menstrual cycle meant that I was pregnant. Do you know how much money I spent on pregnancy tests? Now that’ll definitely bring on a dizzy spell! And of course I finally completed my purchase for cheaper tests when I had apparently already conceived! Oh well!
That first day really hit me like a ton of bricks. Since I am a stay-at-home mom, I can’t exactly.. pass out and take a nap. It’s not that easy! I have to pray that my son MIGHT want to take a nap, but he’s way past the napping stage at this point. He’s an amazing sleeper and wake up around 11-12 noon each day, so asking him to take a nap is like talking to a wall. The next time he takes a nap will be on the day pigs and cows dance while they are flying.
I’M PREGNANT… and can’t see a doctor?!
The first exciting moment in an expectant mothers life is hearing that she is pregnant. The second round of excitement comes when she attends her very first OB appointment and gets to hear a heartbeat, or see her very tiny little peanut inside of her belly.
See those VERY small two little dots inside of the circle?
That’s my son in September 2008 at my first OB appointment.
He would later turn into this adorable ham:
I didn’t really get to see my daughter THAT small. Why? Well, I couldn’t see a doctor until mid-July 2012 because of my insurance company "accidentally" deleting ME … and my 3-year-old son from their system. "Accidentally"… How does that happen? I could write a novel about that situation, but I won’t. Too many bad memories, fights on the telephone with my insurance, crying, and now we’re stuck with a bill of over $1,000 that I have to PAY out of pocket because of their mistake. Oh, I have to pay that before my child is born, too! (Or else.. what? I don’t even know, but that’s the threat my doctors billing department presented me with. Nice, huh?)
Since we were apparently without insurance since FEBRUARY, I had to wait weeks before I could even see a doctor to make sure everything was okay with my newly discovered pregnancy. I was finally able to catch my first glimpse of my baby 3 weeks later on June 23rd. Clearly, I was much further along than I had thought and didn’t get the small tiny peanut picture that I had gotten with my son (see photo above). She was in there though, and I was very happy to see her first on-screen appearance:
I’M SICK! I’M TIRED! I’M SICK! (Weeks 8-20)
People always told me that I was very lucky with my first pregnancy, but I didn’t have anything to compare those feelings or pains against. My first pregnancy was very easy and the ONLY day that I experienced nausea was the day PRIOR to discovering I was pregnant, so I didn’t even KNOW why I was feeling that way! Once I discovered I was pregnant with my son, I experienced other pregnancy pains, but very little in the first trimester.
This time around – things are very different. My first trimester was filled with long days of nausea, migraines (POUNDING), sciatic nerve pains, dizziness, and lethargic feelings of extreme tiredness and an inability to function. I was literally a walking and talking zombie that just wanted to get through with the day and head back to bed. I had some days of feeling good, but 90% of the time was spent with a cold compress on my head, Motrin, and a pillow.
I didn’t know how this could possibly be! I was managing a very large and demanding e-commerce business during my first pregnancy, which required well over your normal 40-hour work week. I was enrolled full-time in college with anywhere from 14-17 credits going at one time (that’s a lot!). I was a mentor and tutor for undergraduates and peers in my university. I was functioning!
My only concerns and responsibilities during this pregnancy are as a stay-at-home mom and a blogger. I’ve halted my graduate studies for now, paused mentoring and tutoring (8-months ago), and no longer have to deal with the daily 9-5 commute in New York City traffic. Anyone that thinks the job of a stay-at-home mom is easier than working.. guess again!
Migraines weren’t just headaches, or even your normal migraine. My entire head was pounding beyond belief. I couldn’t stand the light, sounds, or movements made around me. Everything irritated me and was felt throughout my entire body. Nothing helped – water, Motrin, cold compress. Sometimes it would alleviate the pain, but not for long. I would have to consistently chug a bottle of water in order to feel a tiny bit of relief. The moment I put the water bottle down, I would return to a pounding migraine. This wasn’t fun.
Nausea and vomiting were also rampant symptoms that I had to deal with on a frequent basis. There isn’t much I can say (or, want to say) on that subject…!
Your entire day is ruined when you feel this way. There isn’t much of anything you can do when you are pregnant and dealing with these sorts of pains or feelings. Sure, I can take medications or do certain things to lessen the pain, but it never goes away. I had always feared life as a pregnant mother and my worst fears have indeed come true!
I suffered from EXTREME exhaustion and laziness when I was pregnant with my son. Since I am also anemic (Thalassemia Minor), I am (almost) always tired and suffer from a need to sleep (…who doesn’t though, right!?). I could sleep for 18-20 hours per day while I was pregnant with my son without actually trying!
There’s something different about the way you can sleep when you’re pregnant. There comes a point (mostly in 3rd trimester) when sleeping becomes painful and difficult, but I am talking about the ability to knock yourself out! I can close my eyes and fall asleep in an instant when I am pregnant, but it usually takes about 10-15 minutes (sometimes longer if I am wound up or stressed) on a "normal" day.
All of these feelings were attributed to my high blood pressure, which I predicted. I was extremely stressed out, always feeling anxious. The anxiety was a killer! I felt overwhelmed by everything and had a feeling my blood pressure was high. Luckily, I have been able to take my pressure to a VERY normal range and feeling a lot better. I’ve kept a watchful eye on my blood pressure since I want to avoid any complications and never want to feel that way again!
IT’S A GIRL!
Before I found out my son was a boy.. sure, I wanted a little girl. Every woman wants a little girl (well, most!) that they can raise and watch as she becomes a duplicate of herself. Pretty pink bows, dresses, hair clips, and dolls; of course I hoped for a girl. However, I would not change my son for the WORLD. Little boys are truly amazing and very interesting (to say the least). My son is my entire world. Having a little boy (first) really gave me an amazing perspective on parenting. He’s rough, tough, and he is a very independent, sweet, and caring little boy. I never anticipated so much fun in raising a boy.
I always wanted a little boy and a little girl. Since our plan is for only two children (but I’ll never say never – you never know!), I was of course hoping for a little girl this time around. My intuition and instincts told me this was a girl and I also turned to a Chinese Gender Prediction Calendar, which was absolutely 110% correct!
I made my "It’s a Girl" announcement here on MamaNYC a few weeks ago (August 28th), but that was actually only a 90% guarantee. I was approximately 17/18 weeks at that point and there were NO signs of male parts. The technician at my sonogram had told me she believed I was having a girl, but reminded me to avoid buying PINK just yet – hold off until the next sonogram appointment. Yesterday (September 18th) we got a CLEAR shot – and a CLEAR guarantee that it is indeed a girl.
Am I excited? VERY.
Whether we were having a boy or a girl does NOT matter to me. All we care about is a healthy, happy, lovable bundle of joy. The gender is just another fun and exciting part of parenthood. Whether we wind up with all girls, all boys, or a variety of both – I think that the end goal is to raise a respected, well-mannered, mature, and successful young man or woman. This is just the beginning and whether we have another child (3rd? We will SEE…), I wouldn’t mind a boy or a girl. Although I had always hoped for one boy and one girl, I wouldn’t ever feel disappointed or saddened by whatever gender(s) I wound up with for my children. That’s the small and unimportant detail of parenthood.
2nd TRIMESTER (Weeks 13-27)
The first trimester is always the easiest, especially since we normally only find out that we are pregnant after 2-months or so! Time sure does fly when you don’t KNOW you are pregnant, but once that idea is set into your mind … time slows down a lot. Hours feel like days and weeks feel like months. I’ve been hoping that this pregnancy will fly by through the holiday season!
My son was born at the end of April (2009), so I basically FLEW through the holidays, but suffered a time stop between January and April. It seemed like I had been pregnant forever and would never meet my baby! Boy, I was wrong, especially since he is now 3.5-years-old and I have NO idea where the time went!
I am starting to feel better, but not much better. Days are getting to be a lot easier and I am actually able to function as a 1/2 human being most of the time! Household responsibilities like cleaning, laundry, and cooking are still a little difficult at times, but I do what I can to get by and manage just fine! Plus, we are moving sometime within the next month. This is stressing me out – big time!
I will actually be discussing this issue in another blog post here on MamaNYC, but I did want to include a little bit of it within this post since it was a part of my pregnancy saga during trimester #2.
Every woman has to undergo a HUGE panel of blood testing once she discovers that she is pregnant. Tests are run for everything from HIV/AIDS through diabetes to find any or every sort of issue going on in your body (blood) that may interfere with a pregnancy. There are approximately a dozen tubes of blood drawn from a pregnant woman and boy is that a fun time!
During my first pregnancy, I was told that we had to make sure my husband was NOT anemic (even though he already KNEW he wasn’t). The form of anemia that I have, Thalassemia Minor, would create birth defects or malformations in our baby if my husband had ANY form of anemia. Since he is indeed NOT anemic – all was okay on that end.
However…my blood tests do show a gray zone area in the results for Fragile X syndrome. We opted for an amnio during my first pregnancy, which was a horrific and painful experience. Don’t worry, I will go into detail in my amnio-specific blog post, but I will tell you it wasn’t something I wanted to ever have to do again.
Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability. It affects about 1 in 4,000 males and 1 in 6,000 to 8,000 females and occurs in all racial and ethnic groups. Children and adults with fragile X syndrome have a number of mental and physical signs and symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Males tend to be more severely affected than females.
The tests came back absolutely perfect for my son and we were able to move on with our lives (and excitement for a new baby). However, I swore to myself that I would never again get an amniocentesis no matter what.
Fast-forward to present day and I am once again confronted by my OB about the gray zone Fragile X results. I’m back and fourth on deciding to do it, not to do it, or how to even make the right decision about this issue.
I’ve decided to skip an amnio during this pregnancy and feel confident that I have made the right choice. I don’t think I would be able to go through with the pain again and concern over the complications that the test itself can bring on for my baby.
Additionally, I spoke with my obstetrician and he advised me that there is very little reason to raise concern over a gray zone result. The odds are so very slim that it is not important for someone in my position to need an amnio. The risks are greater if I do go through with an amniocentesis in ensuring the health and safety of my baby.