Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bump: Week 23

In just 3 weeks since I last posted a picture, I have gone from looking just a little bit pregnant (or just overly indulgent at Daylight Doughnuts), but still fitting in my own clothes to this...

Very obviously pregnant.

The only thing that I previously owned that still fits me is two pairs of sweat pants.  Not even my old T-shirts can make the distance to completely cover my belly.   I finally had to break down and buy some maternity clothes.  I felt a bit silly spending money on clothes that I will only wear until the end of the year, but walking around with my jeans unbuttoned was just not going to cut it. And there are so many cute maternity clothes now, outfits that are much better than anything I had six years ago.

Oh, and I have raging, esophagus eating heart burn.  Just thought you wanted to know.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Land of 10,000 Lakes and Mosquitoes

One of the many things I enjoy about the small Iowa city we live in is that we are relatively easy distance from several major cities. Within 4-5 hours, we can be in Chicago, Omaha, Minneapolis, or St. Louis.  We decided that each summer, we would visit a different one of the four big cities.  Obviously, we love ChicagoIn Omaha, we pretty much just visited the zoo (but it is an amazing zoo, and worth the trip).

This summer, we had talked about going to St. Louis.  But my vacation was in July, and St. Louis in July didn't exactly sound like fun.  It seems like it might be more of a September trip.  So this summer, we turned our sites north to the Twin Cities.

Unlike the other cities, I wasn't exactly sure what we should go see and do while we were in Minneapolis, other than the Mall of America.  A mall, no matter how awesome, can't make up an entire trip.  So I started Googling and asking friends who had lived or visited.  I think we came up with a pretty good list.

 There was the Sculpture Garden, with the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture. 

There was the Stone Arch Bridge spanning the Mississippi River, with its gorgeous views of downtown.

There was Minnehaha Falls, which was a welcome break from the record setting temperatures that descended on us that week (Seriously, what's the point of living so far north if you can't even get a mild summer out of it?)

And of course, there was the Mall of America - crowded, touristy, ridiculously huge, and actually quite ridiculously awesome! 

My boys hate shopping.  But what is there to hate about about a mall with an amusement park in the middle? (Even if the boys didn't actually want to ride on any of the rides?)

What is there to hate about an entire store devoted to Legos?  Especially when the store has fabulously cool and enormous Lego sculptures on and around it.


What is there to hate about a mall that has an awesome aquarium in it?

After two days in the city, the last day of our Minnesota trip was spent camping.  There was no way I was going to drive all the way to Minnesota and not camp by a lake. 

We found a campground next to a gorgeous, lily lined lake with a beautiful little beach for swimming. 

We ended up being the only people in the campground, since it was midweek.  We raised the tent, made a fire, roasted hotdogs and marshmallows and had a delightful, quiet evening.  A quiet evening disturbed only by the high pitched whine of mosquitoes. We were liberal with the insect repellent, but as we were turning in, I could tell that I was already getting a collection of bites around my feet.

About halfway through the night, my legs became itchier and itchier until I was tossing and turning and not sleeping at all.  I had this sudden thought that despite being safely in our tent, I was still being bitten!  I woke up to find Hubster and the boys both waking up, complaining of the same thing.  We turned on our camping lantern to find the tent full of mosquitoes, happily feasting on our blood. Hubster spent a good hour hunting them all down before we could sleep in peace again.

The next day, I counted 52 mosquito bites on my stomach, legs, and arms.  The boys and Hubster got about a dozen each.  Apparently, I taste delicious.  It was a long, itchy drive back home.

Other than the overabundance of bug bites, we had a delightful time in the land of 10,000 lakes.  Even if we only saw one of them.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Oh Boy

It's official.

Duck is a boy.  And I couldn't be happier about it.  We are all very excited about it.  Even Monkey, who initially said that if that baby wasn't a girl, then he didn't want it.  After all, he already had a brother, and didn't need another one.

I'm relieved in many ways.  I already (kind of) know what to do with boys.  I don't have to wade into the world of Barbies and pink and ballet classes.

I've already painted the nursery, bought fabric for a quilt, and Hubster and I are pretty certain we have settled on a name.

Now, I just need to get through the next 18 weeks.  I'm not wishing away those 18 weeks though (well, except for the persistent nausea, the sleep interrupting leg cramps, and the insidious onset of heart burn).  I'm trying to savor the moments, the planning, the expectation.

I've been wanting this baby for a long time, a very long time (the posts date back to 2009 and 2010). I talked about having a baby all the time for over two years. Hubster and I kept talking that we would do a year of dental school first, see how things worked out, and then try for baby number 3.  But that put me at the end of residency and losing my amazing resident insurance. So early last summer, I stopped my birth control and we official started trying.

The first three months of not getting pregnant didn't really bother me.  Okay, that's not true.  I wanted to get pregnant immediately. But the first three months of not getting pregnant were at least expected.  Even though, after that, I did start to go even more crazy and bought ovulation sticks and meticulous charted everything.  Only to realize two months later that I wasn't ovulating.

My periods were irregular.  I never had a positive ovulation test.  I never had a typical change in basal body temperature. And even though by that point, we had only technically been trying to conceive for 5 months, I started completely freaking out.

Take a person who is slightly neurotic as baseline, give them several years of distracting baby hunger, and then introduce even the slight possibility that there might not be another baby, and you can start to create in your mind the totally irrational, panic ridden person I became.  It took a good friend to grab me by the shoulders, give me a little shake, and tell me that I was being crazy, for me to even start to calm down.  Poor Hubster, during all this time, kept saying that he thought baby-making was supposed to be at least a little bit fun.

In December, armed with several months of menstrual dates and (lack of) ovulation charts, I called my OB/GYN to make an appointment. The first available appointment wasn't until April. I took a deep breath and made the appointment, figuring that by that time, it would have been almost of year of trying, and if I wasn't pregnant by my appointment in April, then they would have to take me seriously.

However, my friend, who also saw the same OB/GYN had an appointment in January that she gave me (the scheduling person must have thought we were both bizarre, trying to get her to change our appointments). So, four negative pregnancy tests and seven months later, I went to my first appointment.  My OB/GYN was wonderful, sympathetic, and didn't think I was completely crazy (which I still can't figure out why that was such a concern of mine).

I went through series of blood draws to check hormone levels. I went through timed ultrasounds to look at my ovaries and the lining of my uterus. 

All of which came of the same conclusion - I was not ovulating.  It could have been a million things: the stress related to residency, the extra weight I had gained since I became pregnant with Monkey.  As my doctor said, "Residency is trying to kill your ovaries." 

We decided to start on progesterone and Clomid.  I started the first round of drugs in February.

I didn't particularly have any hope. I had seen the ultrasounds, with my sleeping ovaries on them.  My doctor and I had gone through everything, about the all the different drugs and technologies that were still available.

During most of this time, when I wasn't being neurotic, I felt incredibly silly. After all, we already had two gorgeous boys.  Expensive fertility treatments seemed like they should be saved for those who had no children.  It hadn't even been a year since we started trying.  I knew couples who had tried for years and years to get pregnant. What was 9 months? Why should I been worked up.  Why should I even care?  But care I did.

On my 30th birthday, in March, I decided I would check.  Just for fun.  As a birthday present to myself.

I nearly fell over when I saw two pink lines.

I took a picture, and sent it to Hubster, who was downstairs cooking breakfast.  About 6 seconds later, I could hear him running up the stairs.  We did a little celebration happy dance together. I walked around with a stupid grin for days afterwards.

Turns out those sleeping ovaries, the ones that residency was trying to off, they just needed a swift kick in the butt.

This whole process was strange to me.  I've always been such a planner.  Both Bug and Monkey were conceived within two months, the timing of moving and major tests and such planned around those dates.  To have the process of when I would have a baby taken away from me (my initial plans of a mid spring baby changed to a Thanksgiving baby) was humbling.

But I am grateful. Even on my sickest, most fatigued days, I remember that I wanted this.  I planned for this.

This little boy is wanted. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Weekend in the City

As far as my boys are concerned, Chicago is the best place on earth. 

Forget Disneyland.  Chicago has everything these boys seem to want.  Hot dogs, museums, fountains, popcorn, pizza, and Lake Michigan, the closest thing to the ocean they know.  When we say we are going to Chicago, the boys get very excited and there is (almost) not a single complaint the entire 4 hour drive.

Due to time constraints, this last trip was not going to include any museums, much to the consternation of Bug ("But Mom, the Field Museum has an exhibit about prehistoric mammals!")

We instead, spent the day walking around Chicago, showing my sister the must-see sites.

There was The Bean...

My boys must always act they they are being squished by everything, especially art.

There was Millennium Park...

There was Buckingham Fountain...

There was the the Chicago Theater sign...

There was the Main Street Bridge...

We ate hot dogs from street vendors.  We ate Garrett's Popcorn.  We ate amazing deep dish pizza.  And we walked about 8 miles that day.  Needless to say, the boys were a little exhausted by the end of the day.

So what better way to finish the weekend than by more walking.  This time through the lovely Chicago Botanical Gardens.  

These gardens were so beautiful, I had to restrain myself from taking a picture of every single flower.

The boys were finally rewarded by going where they wanted to go most...Lake Michigan.  They played in the always surprisingly clear water.  We collected sea glass along the beach.

We love living in our small town, but every now and then, even small town boys need a weekend in the city.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


"Mommy, sing that I'm your sunshine."

As you snuggle against me, all toothpaste breath and chlorine hair, you melt my heart with your 5-year-old request.  Your feet have grass stains on them from chasing fireflies far too late into the evening.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine...

And my darling boy, you are my sunshine.  You are the wiggles and the laughter of this family.  Currently, my favorite thing is your vocabulary.  You have taken to using words like "inappropriate" and "stubborn" and "expensive."  Words that by themselves are normal enough, but used in the correct sentence by a 5 year old are chuckle inducing.

You make me happy, when skies are gray...

You are boundless energy.  Even though a lot of that energy currently has gone into getting the top score on all my iPhone games and developing new food dislikes, such as pickles, ketchup, and mushrooms.  Seriously, what 5 year old boy won't eat ketchup?

You'll never know, dear, how much I love you...

I'll hear you call me from across the house, "Mom!  Mom!  Mom!!"  And when I answer, the only response I get is, "Mom, I love you."  Your spontaneous declarations of love turn whatever day I'm having into a sunshine filled one.

Please don't take my sunshine away.

You snuggle onto your pillow, your floppy stuffed dog under your arm. You hold out your arms to me and I give you a tight bear hug.  You have a smile that warms everyone who sees it.  You have a spark inside of you that is growing bigger each day; I feel it with each hug and sense it with each new independent step you make.  I hug you a little tighter. 

You are indeed, even now, hours past bedtime, my sunshine.

Monday, July 9, 2012

20 Weeks and A Guessing Game

I've counted the last weeks by hours between Zofran doses and by number of Saltine crackers consumed.

The new contents of my bedside table

Lately, I've been counting it by quiet, but firm little kicks against my stomach wall.

The boys have been counting the weeks by the silly names they come up with for their new sibling and the days left until they know if it's a boy or a girl.

Somehow, I have survived the harrowing vomiting and bone marrow deep fatigue to make it to the halfway point.

Seriously, I don't remember the fatigue being this bad with the other two.  Granted, it was six years ago and I wasn't working 50-70 hours a week, but still. Coming home and talking to the nanny and then falling asleep on the floor while talking to her...that's pretty major fatigue.  But even that is improving.  I have actually made it past 9 pm on several occasions.

I'm still wearing my regular clothes (I'm not calling them pre-pregnancy.  The only things I refer to as "pre-pregnancy" are my body and the clothes I wore before Bug...10 years ago).  But I'm getting to the awkward stage where the buttons don't quite meet, the waists are just a little too tight, and people can definitely tell that my body is changing, but they aren't completely sure if it's because I'm pregnant, or because I've over indulged on the breakfast doughnuts.

Yes, I shared a picture of my little bump. Which I can't believe I did.  I'm normally self-conscious about sharing any pictures where I'm not safely hidden behind my two boys. But I'm hoping that I'll look back and be glad that I documented all the changes associated with this baby, both good and bad.

Currently, the most anxiety producing thing (since I've stopped worrying about all the basics, having had an early ultrasound that revealed that my baby does in fact have two arms, two legs, a head, a brain, a stomach, a bladder, and an intact spine) is the matter of gender.

Yes, we are going to find out.  I am way too much of a control freak to not find out.

Everyone assumes that I want a girl, since we already have two boys.  If I'm being completely honest here, the thought of a girl scares me to death.  I'm raising two boys.  I already have all the stuff for boys.  I feel like I know what I'm doing.  Boys are my comfort zone, my worn-in jeans feeling. I would have no idea what to do with a girl.  And I worry that people will assume the whole reason we wanted a third baby was to have a girl, when really it was just the baby I wanted, regardless of gender.  I have spent so much time stressing about what on earth I will do if I find out the baby is a girl.

But there is also a part of me that thinks about dresses and bows and pink and fairy wings and tea parties and prom and weddings. And really, wouldn't a girl be wonderful.  Especially since Monkey has said that he only wants the baby if it's a girl, because he already has a brother.

Our official ultrasound is next week.  Don't think for a moment that I haven't tried to figure this out on my own.  I've been ultrasounding myself every couple days trying to figure out what Duck is.  However, my ultrasound skills are severely lacking in that department. I spend the time instead looking at the tiny little arms and legs and the reassuring flutter of the heart.

So, until next Thursday at noon, any guesses as to the gender of little Duck?