Tuesday, December 28, 2010

20 Weeks Pregnant: Halfway!!!!


These past couple of weeks have been absolutely amazing for me. The baby has been getting stronger and stronger, and I LOVE feeling it move. It is just the most incredible thing in the world. I have now been able to watch unidentifiable tiny body parts bulge out of my belly in bumps and waves, and I am in awe. Travis has felt the baby a handful of times, but usually it only moves for a few seconds and then settles down again, so it’s hard to catch it. He gets so excited – he always gasps in surprise when he feels it and then just beams. Usually the baby is more active at night and in the morning when I’m lying awake in bed, and sometimes I feel it when I wake up to roll over in the middle of the night.

Baby and I have both been growing quite a bit lately. From crown to rump, the baby is about 6.5 inches, or 10 from head to toe, and it weighs about 10.5 ounces. At my appointment today, we discovered that I have gained 5.5 pounds in the past four weeks, putting me at 121. I’m finally gaining some weight! Amy also said that my belly is measuring perfectly for 20 weeks (they measure fundal height, which is from the pelvic bone to the top of the uterus). I think I finally look pregnant! I’ve been saying the whole pregnancy that I don’t feel any different, so it’s really fun to feel like a real live pregnant person since I can feel the baby AND see my growing belly. J Also, the baby finally seems like a real live PERSON! It all feels real now.

I’m going to pretty much end the blog here, except to say that we had a wonderful Christmas. It’s been so great to have Travis home with me, and really nice to spend some time with our families. Besides all that, everyone gave us way more than we could ever wish for!! We got tons of practical gifts, money, plus some fun gifts too.

And now, here are some photos of what we’ve been up to lately:

Pensacola! We have lots more pictures on Travis’s phone, so I might post more later if I think of it. Also, as you can see, it was pretty overcast, but we had a great time anyway. It didn’t rain, and it was 60-65 degrees while we were there.

Travis's creepy apocalypse face. :-P This place looked so barren and desolate!

Our car seat, occupied by Raggedy Ann: J

Snow! It started snowing on Christmas Day, and the next day most of the churches in the area cancelled services. So we played outside!

This is Leonard, my favorite of our four cats, who is on my lap as I type this.

Have a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

19 Weeks Pregnant

I have a ton to talk about this week! I’m very sleepy though, so I hope it’s all coherent. J

I’m doing the blog a little earlier than usual because Travis and I are taking a little road trip! Tomorrow morning we’re heading down to Pensacola, Fl., just for kicks. :-P We’ll be back Wednesday night. We’ll be sure to take pictures!

Speaking of kicks, I’m feeling the baby more and more frequently, and the other night I felt it from the outside for the first time! It was very weird. The baby must’ve been doing a flip or something, because it sort of moved across my hand. Later I felt more of an actual kick on my hand. Travis still hasn’t felt it yet. Every time he puts his hand on my belly, the baby gets shy. J

The baby is now about 6 inches long and 7 to 8 ounces. Still not a whole lot new going on in terms of its development, but it’s becoming more and more likely that it can hear us! I’m so excited that one of the first things it will hear is the sound of Christmas music. It was actually moving around quite a bit at my brother Remy’s orchestra concert, and this morning at church while I was playing in the orchestra for the Christmas Oratorio. J

A random tidbit while I’m thinking of it: a week from today I will be 20 weeks (halfway!!!), and a month from today is our ultrasound! Can’t wait for that!!

We bought a couple of things this week that I’m very excited about! First, Travis always checks www.woot.com for their daily deals on random items. One day this week they had a great deal on a car seat! At first glance, I didn’t think I wanted it, just because I wasn’t crazy about the pattern, but after looking into it I realized that it was a Baby Trend, which is pretty much THE best car seat you can buy. It’s got very high safety ratings, plus a lot of cool features, like straps that adjust easily, etc. So, we decided to go ahead and buy it since it was such a great car seat and such an amazing deal ($60 down from $120)!! Then, I read that the cover is totally removable, so I wondered if we could buy a replacement cover that we liked better. Sure enough, someone was selling them on Ebay brand new for $18 (the cover and the canopy together). I even called Baby Trend, and it costs $32 to buy one directly from them. I don’t know where this person on Ebay got theirs from. I thought we could sell the cover that we don’t like, and then maybe we’ll break even on the new cover!

Here’s a photo of the car seat we ordered:

And here’s one of the replacement cover that we ordered from Ebay:

The car seat was delivered yesterday, and I wrapped it and put it next to the Christmas tree so we would have something exciting to open together. J You can see it in my belly shot. By the way, we finally just decorated the house yesterday!!! We got a small tree, but it doesn’t look that tiny in our little house. I like it.

The other fun thing we got was a Droid phone for Travis. He was looking into them since he was due for a new phone, and found them for $80 at AT&T. BUT, when we went in and talked to one of the salesmen, he basically told us that they could give it to us for FREE, if we could find someplace else that offered the same, and hinted that we should check out Radio Shack. He also said that since Travis is a teacher, he can get 15% off our monthly bill! No one ever told us that! Anyway, sure enough, Radio Shack had the same phone for free (with the plan we have), so we got it free from AT&T! I LOVE FREE STUFF! The phone is pretty cool too, because the plan includes some internet, which will be nice to check email and such, and it also has a GPS app., which we plan to use a lot in the next few days.

What else, what else? I finished those bibs JUST in time to deliver them to the teachers who ordered them, and so I’ve made back the money I’ve invested in materials so far. J Lots more teachers said they would probably order one later on, too.

Ok, I think I’ll wrap this up now! I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

18 Weeks Pregnant

I am ready for a break! We have been ridiculously busy lately. We haven’t had a free evening since last Wednesday, and we won’t have another till Friday. Needless to say, my Etsy store is in the same state as it was last week, and I’ve done no work on the bibs themselves either. I have to get the special orders done for Travis’s coworkers by the end of the week since Friday is their last day before Christmas break. Speaking of Christmas, we haven’t even decorated yet, and I’ve been wanting to for weeks. Anyway, this is going to be rather short since I need to work on those bibs.

The baby is now around 5 ½ inches long from crown to rump, and about 6 ½ ounces. This week I have been feeling kicks every day, mostly at night when I’m lying in bed. Baby seems to be a night owl like we are! It’s still not very noticeable, but getting stronger little by little. Can’t wait till Travis can feel it!

I have decided to get a flu shot, but I need to go do it before it’s too late! I think we have also made a decision on the gender question. We will probably find out, as we had planned, at the January 19th ultrasound. Who was I kidding…I just want to know!

I’m finally getting back into my exercise routine after being sick. I’m glad my midwife stays on me about it…I feel guilty every time she asks me if I’ve been exercising! I’m still working on eating better, too. I do seem to be experiencing an increase in my appetite. The other night I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and had some leftover spinach spaghetti that I had made and a glass of milk, but I still wasn’t tired, and by the time I was ready to go back to bed I was hungry again, so I had a bowl of cereal with bananas in it… I still don’t eat a lot in one sitting, but I don’t stay full for long!

We finally had a house showing the other day. I think they ended up putting in an offer on another house, but at least someone looked at it. I have a lot of projects in mind that I haven’t had time for lately. Mainly I just want to organize the entire house and go through stuff to see what we can get rid of. That way if we move, we won’t be moving things we don’t even want.

Oops! I'm proofreading this a day later and realizing that I left out the sentence explaining that the following picture is of our changing table, which my niece Maddie cleaned up for us. :-) Still needs to be sanded, primed, painted... and all of that needs to be done outside, where it's WAY too COLD!

I almost forgot I wanted to show you these cute cupcakes we made to auction off at the Christmas play at Travis's school:
Ok, I better go work on those bibs…if I didn't like making them, this would be a lot of work!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

17 Weeks Pregnant

Sorry I keep doing these late! I almost did it yesterday, but I was sort of grumpy, and I didn’t want that to be the tone of my blog. Now I’m listening to Christmas music, so I’m definitely happy. J

This week (as of this past Sunday) the baby should be just over 5 inches long, crown to rump, and nearly 5 ounces! Bone growth is going to start to slow down soon, but the baby is starting to accumulate some fat this week, so the weight will increase faster than the length. I mentioned a few weeks ago that the baby was starting to grow lanugo (fur), and now it is also forming a covering of vernix, which is a white substance made of skin cells. It protects the skin from the effects of being immersed in fluid for nine months. The eyes are fully functional now, though still fused shut. The facial muscles are developed too, so the baby is capable of all kinds of adorable facial expressions. J

Actual 4-D Ultrasound Photo of a 17 week fetus:

I think the baby can hear now, and I’ll explain why. As you know, I’ve been anxiously awaiting being able to feel it move. As of yesterday, I’m pretty sure I can feel it! I kept feeling things yesterday evening, first when I was sitting at the computer. I told Travis that I couldn’t tell if it was the baby or not, so he asked me if I had ever felt the same thing before, which I don’t think I have. He was so excited, and convinced that it must be the baby. I still wasn’t sure. A little while later I was sitting on the couch, and my stomach rumbled loudly, and then I felt a squirm in a completely different area (just about where the baby seems to be hiding out every time we try to listen to the heartbeat)! My interpretation is that the baby was startled by the sound of my rumbles, and it jumped, which made me jump! I think the mere fact that it was such a strange sensation to me that I was startled is enough to conclude that it was the baby. J I’m so excited! That was definitely the biggest movement I’ve felt so far. If I’m still and paying attention, I can feel little wiggles now and then.

Last week I bought a changing table from someone on Craigslist. It’s not pretty, but I think it will be cute enough after we paint it, put new hardware on it, etc. I’ll take a “before” picture of it before we fix it up. I like it because it has lots of storage. It has four drawers and a cabinet with three shelves. The lady I bought it from said she was able to fit all of the baby’s clothes in it.

I’ve sold four bibs so far! Three of them were custom orders from teachers at Travis’s school, so I still have to make those. Personalizing them with names is proving harder than I thought, without special equipment like a monogramming sewing machine or even die cut letters. I’ve posted two bibs in my Etsy store so far, but I might edit the listings, or totally redo them if I have to, because I don’t think I want to deal with personalizing them. I’ll tell you how to get to my store next week. It isn’t finished yet. I have tons more bibs partially done, so I’ll hopefully have them posted by then, too.

I have a couple more things I could talk about, but I have to go run some errands before my lessons today. Have a good week!

Monday, November 29, 2010

16 Weeks Pregnant

Hello! Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving! Ours was great! We went over to Dad and Jen’s house and brought Travis’s parents and brother with us. It was nice to have members of both of our families there!

I have been sick with a cold since last Monday! I’m finally just about over it, but still coughing some. I had a fever that, as far as I know, got as high as 100.2, and I was a little worried because I read that it’s dangerous for a pregnant woman to have a fever over 101, so I took some Tylenol (that’s all I’m allowed to take as far as a fever reducer) to try to bring it down. Anyway, like I said, I’m doing better now, finally!

Speaking of viruses, at my midwife appointment yesterday, I asked Amy (the midwife) if I should get a flu shot. I was assuming she would just confirm that, yes, I should get one, so I was surprised when she said she is wary of them. She said she comes from a “non-vaccinating” family, though. She wants me to do some research and decide whether I feel that it’s riskier to have the shot or not to have it. Everything I’ve read so far is completely pro-flu shot for pregnant women, so I don’t even know what risks she is referring to. I’ll probably end up getting it.

This week, baby is about 4.5 inches from crown to rump, so if it were lying flat it would probably be about the same length as my hand! I just can’t believe how big it’s getting! I keep looking down at my belly and thinking, “Where did this come from?!” The baby’s ears are completely formed now, so it should be able to hear soon. I asked Rachel (Travis’s sister, who is a nurse) about that, and I think she said that even after the ears are physically formed, the brain connections that allow the baby to process the sounds are not yet in place. (Is that right, Rachel?) It’s been a few weeks since she explained it to me, so I’m not completely sure.

Travis’s mom, Faye, came to the appointment with us yesterday. We managed to get the heartbeat on tape this time! We still need to get the right cord to hook up the camera to the computer, though, so we can upload videos. The baby seems to have a favorite spot right underneath my left artery, so it was still really hard for Amy to get the Doppler pointed at an angle that it would pick up the baby’s little heartbeat over the loud swishing in my artery. It took probably 15 minutes and three different Doppler devices.

Other appointment stuff: my hemoglobin is on the low side of normal, and it normally drops by two points during pregnancy, so I have to try to eat a lot of dark leafy greens. If it drops below where it should be, I’ll have to take some type of supplement. The rest of my blood test stuff looked great! J

Amy said I should be feeling the baby move daily within the next couple of weeks! I thought I might have felt it the other night, but I haven’t felt anything since, so I’m not sure if that was the baby or not.

This week I’ve been busy sewing, sewing, sewing! I didn’t get a ton of time to work on the bibs because, well, I was sick, and I decided to make a set of scrubs for Rachel’s birthday! It took me about two and a half days to complete those…it’s ridiculous how long it takes just to cut out all the pieces!!! Travis and I picked out the fabric together, and I think they turned out really cute!

On to the bibs. Here’s the first one I made:

I think I’m going to hold on to this one because it’s not perfect, and I like it, and it was the first one I did… J

And here are some almost finished ones. I still have to cut out and appliqué an animal onto these, and I have a few more ready to sew together.


Folded over so you can see the backs:

To personalize them, I’m just going to cut letters out of the solid colored flannel fabric and iron them on with “Heat ‘n Bond Ultrahold.” They’d be too hard to sew on, and I don’t have a fancy sewing machine that can do monograms. Anyway, I think these turned out really cute, and I’m going to get more fabric soon! I’m hoping to make my Etsy page tonight!

Monday, November 22, 2010

15 Weeks Pregnant

I feel like this week has flown by! And Thanksgiving really snuck up on me this year. We’re spending it at my dad’s house, and Travis’s parents are coming too!

This week the baby is about 4 inches long and over 2 ounces. The legs are now longer than the arms, and the bones are ossifying. Taste buds are forming, and the ears are almost finished, but the baby probably won’t be able to hear until around 20 to 25 weeks gestation. I’m still just waiting to be able to feel it move!

Travis and I are rethinking whether we want to find out the baby’s gender. We mainly wanted to know so that we could have fun decorating the nursery, but since we might not be doing that anyway, is there a point in finding out? Let us consider the following points:

Reasons to find out:

To get to know the baby better while still in utero

To buy gender specific clothing and other items ahead of time

To only have to worry about coming up with one name

Reasons not to find out:

Part of the fun of the birth of the baby is announcing the gender. If everyone knows already, all you get to tell people is the length, weight, etc.

We plan to buy mostly gender neutral stuff anyway, so we can use it with our next child

We already have two names picked out J

Occasionally, ultrasound techs make mistakes. They’re only human. We wouldn’t want to prepare ourselves for a girl and then find out it’s a boy, or vice versa.

I think that’s all I can come up with at the moment. So it looks like the scale is tipping toward not finding out. We might not decide for sure until closer to the ultrasound date (January 19th).

I have started clearing out the closet in the piano room, but I need to put away all the stuff that’s strewn about the room before my students start arriving at 3:30!

I got my blood test results back already. By the way, when I went back on Wednesday after drinking tons of water for 24 hours, I was worried that she still wouldn’t be able to get any blood out of me because my veins still looked tiny, but luckily she had no trouble. She said, “I knew it was going to work today because I prayed for you!” She was sweet, and she must be good at what she does because I had no lingering soreness like I usually do.

Anyway, as far as I am able to interpret the results, everything looks good! I’m immune to Rubella, I have no diseases (big surprise), and my blood type is O+. The “+” is referring to Rh factor, which, if present in the baby but not in the mother, can cause the mother’s blood to make antibodies against the baby’s blood, which can be fatal to the baby. So I’m glad it’s positive so we won’t have to worry about that! It is a fairly easily treatable problem nowadays, but still…

My students played well in last Thursdays’ recital, but after all the practicing I did to accompany for that voice student with two days’ notice, she came down with the flu that day. Oh well.

My church wants me to play for all sorts of things this month and next, which is fine I guess, but they usually don’t pay me anything. I just have to count it as good experience performing.

I have decided to make some things and set up an Etsy store. I have some ideas for personalizable (Is that a word? I can’t get spell check to leave it alone, no matter how I spell it…) bibs and animal shaped pillows, and eventually maybe a few other things. I’m going to start with the easiest things first so I can build up an inventory fast and start selling. I already made a bib pattern and looked through my fabric to decide what I can use. I only have enough fabric for two or three bibs right now, so I’m planning a trip to the fabric store probably tomorrow. I have everything planned out exactly, I just have to do it. I’m going to see how many bibs I can make in a week, and then have Travis help me set up my Etsy page. I want to do it right away because I think people would buy them as Christmas presents. I think they’ll be really cute!

Way back in one of my pre-pregnancy blog posts, I mentioned that I couldn’t wait to make baby things. That week, I made a diaper bag! I found the pattern on a website called http://www.make-baby-stuff.com/. I love it. It was fun to make, but sort of difficult, and it took a total of about 15 hours. Here are some pictures:



Inside of back outside pocket, with velcro:

Snap Closure:

Inside of bag, with bottle holders and zippered pocket:

Same zipper, shown zipped:

If I can come up with my own pattern that I can put together faster, I might eventually try to sell those, too. I would have to charge something like $65 for it to be worth my time, though.

Lastly, I have been doing better with exercising! I need to make sure I keep at it. I want to keep you guys updated on my progress so you can keep me accountable. Travis actually ran a 5K on Saturday! It was with a program called Girls On The Run. One of his 4th grade students asked him to be her sponsor and running buddy, and she was a fast runner, so he had to keep up! They did really well and I think were among the first ten to finish, out of too many to count!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

14 Weeks Pregnant

Welcome to week 14! Look at my belly! I can see a difference now, can you? I was excited last Thursday when my sister, Laurie, who hadn’t seen me in a couple of weeks, immediately noticed the change. Yay!

Baby is now about 3.5 inches long from crown to rump, and somewhere between 1 and 1 ½ ounces. That seems huge to me! Again, there isn’t much new going on in there since organ development is just about complete, but I’ll tell you about the midwife appointment I had today!

My weight, according to their scale, was 115 pounds, which I think is a good place to be if you’re looking at my pre-pregnancy weight of 111, but at my 10 week appointment I was at 115.5. My midwife concluded that I probably need to start eating and drinking more, which I’m sure is true. Eating is another thing I’m lazy about. As much as I like food, I often don’t eat because I don’t feel like making anything. She gave me a nutritional guidelines handout, and the sample menu on the back includes three meals and three snacks totaling 2200 calories. (Travis has always said I eat like a Hobbit: first and second breakfast, first and second lunch, afternoon tea, etc. etc…) Anyway, I guess it looks doable. Oh, and I need to start exercising again, too! She gave me a few specific exercises to do in addition to just walking or whatever else I want to do.

We brought the video camera to try to record the heartbeat, and she was happy to let us do that, but she couldn’t get the Doppler to pick it up clearly enough to bother. L The problem was that the baby was right underneath one of my arteries, so it was picking up my heartbeat instead of the baby’s. She said it was great that I have such good blood flow in there, though. The other problem was that when she was able to pick up the baby’s heartbeat more clearly, it would move and she would lose it after a couple seconds. That was actually really funny, though, and we were glad the baby was moving around so much. She said it seems like a very active baby, which is great now, but I hope it isn’t a sign of what’s to come in the toddler years! Anyway, we got to hear tons of little thuds, and she told us the heartbeat was about 156, which is good. I can’t wait til I can feel all of that movement! Should only be another month or so!

Earlier today, I went to a place called Accurate Diagnostics to have my prenatal blood tests done. They test for Rh factor and all kinds of other things that pertain to pregnancy. I guess I’ll finally find out what my blood type is! Anyway, I always have a hard time with blood tests because I have tiny veins and low blood pressure. She poked me once with a regular needle and once with a butterfly needle before we collectively decided that I should come back tomorrow and work on being better hydrated in the meantime. I’ve been drinking water all day since then. I hope it helps!!!

I talked to the people at the doctor’s office about that $500 bill. I asked them to break down the charges for me so I would know exactly what I was paying for. After I insisted that I had specifically asked not to have a full panel of blood work done, which was one of the charges, they discovered that because of a type-o on their part, I was overcharged. However, that only takes about $50 off of the bill. I guess the good thing is that they have to re-process it and send it back to the insurance company and everything, so if nothing else, we get some extra time to come up with the money. She also advised me that if I ever want a check-up again, I should give them a specific reason why. Like, even if I just said I was tired all the time or something, then they would bill the insurance company differently and they would probably pay a lot more of the bill. Good to know.

Since we have no way of knowing whether our house is going to sell before the baby arrives, I’ve been thinking a lot about where we would put the baby if we are still here. We really wanted to set up a nursery, but it would have to be in the room where I teach some of my piano lessons, and I really don’t want to move my piano and all of my books and everything downstairs where there really isn’t any room for it all. I guess my current thought is, if we haven’t sold the house yet, we’ll just put a bassinet and a dresser with a changing pad on top in our room until the baby is big enough to need a crib, at which point we will have hopefully sold the house. We can put a lot of the baby’s stuff in the closet in the piano room, which is filled with a bunch of random junk right now. I’m starting to feel the nesting urge to clean it out before we have a bunch of baby things that we need to find a place for. I might start that project this weekend.

Travis and I have been doing better (but not great) with our commitment to better ourselves. At least we’re heading in the right direction. Travis has been doing a little painting and working on a short children’s book that he hopes to publish. It is the cutest book ever (!!!), about two cats and their humans. The title is Maynard and the Quest for Solitude, and he says he hopes to write more (Maynard and the__________). He is also doing better than I am with the exercising.

I have been working on music here and there, though not for an hour a day as planned, and I have posted my music playing services on Craigslist. I did happen to get a $15 gig accompanying for a voice student at this Thursday’s recital (in which I have seven piano students performing). That was pure luck, though. I’m not even on the accompanist list. I had some traumatic accompanying experiences in college. I could never learn the music as fast as they wanted, so eventually people stopped asking me. I had a lot of traumatic college experiences that I wish I could get over.

Sorry, I’ll try to stop being depressing. You know what? I need to thank you all for taking the time to read about my experiences, thoughts, and concerns. Even though I don’t hear back from most of you, I know you’re there, and it means a lot. I would enjoy getting some feedback from you all, though, if you feel like offering it. Most of you have my email address and/or my facebook…

Lastly, my poor dad had an accident on some crazy contraption at work last Thursday and ended up with a broken arm, a broken heel/ankle, and a sore back that is hopefully just temporarily knocked out of whack. He has to be in a wheelchair/in bed for several weeks (like, 12), and all he seems to be worried about is everyone else! He doesn’t want anyone to worry, and he feels bad that he has to rely on other people (mostly Jen) to do things for him. We saw him on Sunday and he was in surprisingly good spirits and seemed optimistic. Today he had surgery on the broken heel/ankle, which apparently went well, but it was still numb when I talked to him after. I just hope the pain will subside soon and that he’ll heal up fast! Anyway, keep him in your thoughts please.

That’s all! Sorry it was such a long one! J

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

13 Weeks Pregnant

Sorry I’m late with this again! There’s a lot going on, and most of it isn’t fun. I’ll start with the baby, though.

There isn’t a lot new going on in there, but…I’M IN MY SECOND TRIMESTER!! The first one flew by. Baby is apparently the length of a Nutter Butter, or about three inches, crown to rump. Vocal cords are forming, and the head is becoming more proportionate to the body. We get to hear the heartbeat again in a week, and I can’t wait!

I still haven’t told my students yet. I planned to last week, but since I’m really not showing yet I decided to wait longer, at least until after next week’s appointment. I can tell that I’m not as thin as I was, but it isn’t obvious to other people. I did get to try out my belly band last weekend. Most of my pants sit kind of low, so I have no trouble buttoning them, but I have one higher-waisted pair of corduroys that I could BARELY fasten sucking in, so I left them undone and used the belly band, which was surprisingly comfortable and stayed put well. Glad I bought them!

I measured my belly and weighed myself, which I plan to do at the end of each trimester. Pre-pregnancy, I was 112 pounds and my waist was 26 inches, though I can't remember if I was measuring my true waist or not. Now I am 113 pounds and the biggest part of my belly is 31 1/2 inches around. I think the lack of weight gain is due to muscle loss. :-(

Now for the not so fun stuff. Bills. Bills, bills, bills. We keep getting medical bills we weren’t expecting. Remember that appointment I had in mid-August? I wanted to just get a physical and get my thyroid gland checked since it had come up low on a previous blood test, and I knew hypothyroidism wouldn’t be good in pregnancy. Well, it cost us $500, which wouldn’t be quite so annoying if it had been worth it, but there was nothing wrong with me. There never is anything wrong with me when I go to the doctor. I swear I’m never going again. I’m going to call them today to see if they can possibly reduce it. I know they’ll let me pay it in increments, but even so, it’s still $500.

Since this was not the first time we’ve received a bill like this, it was sort of the last straw for me. Very upsetting, but very motivating. We need to make more money if we ever want to dig ourselves out of the financial hole we are in. It would be nice if we could sell our house, too, but we have no control over that, which is also very frustrating. I could go on forever about that, but I won’t, because you know what I mean.

So…how can we make more money? We had a long talk about it and told each other, as we have before, that we both have talents we are not utilizing. Travis could be selling paintings, and I could be getting playing gigs. The problem is motivation. We are both lazy. Travis likes to paint, but he says he would rather write a book, which has the potential for a more lucrative outcome, but one that is much less immediate. He has finished paintings that he could sell right now if he made the effort to advertise somehow. It’s also hard to let go of something that you put so much of yourself into. I get that. I adore some of his paintings, but I know someone else would too, and maybe they would pay a good amount of money for them.

Travis’s laziness is more forgivable than mine, though. He has a full-time teaching job that is exhausting. Who can blame him if he doesn’t feel like doing much when he gets home? I’m lazy for no good reason. I’m sort of an all-or-nothing person. If I get up late, which happens a lot, I feel like I’ve wasted half the day already, so I might as well waste the rest of it. I know that’s faulty logic, but I guess that’s just how my brain works. When I get up at a reasonable time, around when Travis leaves for work, I get a lot done. This morning I got up while Travis was in the shower and actually made him a bacon, egg and cheese English muffin to eat in the car. That never happens. Poor Travis usually doesn’t eat anything all day until he gets home, because lazy me doesn’t pack him a lunch either. Anyway, I’ve gotten a lot done this morning: two loads of laundry, tidying up, figured out dinner… can I do this every day? We’ll see.

Travis set a goal for both of us yesterday: we will each spend at least an hour a day either exercising or practicing/painting/somehow bettering ourselves. (Exercising is another thing we’ve been lazy about.) I think I’ll try to spend a half hour exercising (don’t worry, I won’t go overboard) and an hour practicing and/or reacquainting myself with my music history book. I might give myself Wednesdays off since I teach eight lessons on Wednesdays.

I’m going to make myself available for Christmas gigs on Craigslist. I did that last year and got a few (though unfortunately I had to miss one because our steep driveway was covered with ice). Then by the time Christmas is over, maybe I’ll have some other music ready to perform. I could do weddings, but they make me SO nervous! A wedding is the one day in someone’s life you do not want to mess up, and being nervous makes me mess up…so it’s a vicious cycle.

This isn’t JUST about making money, though. I know that if we both stick with doing what we’re doing and nothing more, we’re going to look back someday and be disappointed. We’re just getting by. We want to do more, and be more, and we need to start on that path before we bring a baby into it. So the clock is ticking. Here we go.

Monday, November 1, 2010

12 Weeks Pregnant

Happy Halloween! Travis and I didn’t dress up this year, but maybe we should have since it’s our last just-the-two-of-us Halloween! Oh well. Travis says that the baby dressed up as me. J

On Thursday night we went up to North Carolina to see a Halloween movie with our friends Eric and Valerie. It’s hard to explain what the movie was…it was the guys who used to do Mystery Science Theater 3000, making fun of a horror film made in 1959. It was called Rifftrax Live: House on Haunted Hill. Anyway, it was pretty amusing. Then on Saturday we went to my Dad’s house for a bonfire with his neighbors and a bunch of their friends. It was fun, and nice to meet the neighbors that we hadn’t met yet. Then last night we passed out candy and watched The Exorcist. Last year it was The Shining, which I thought was much scarier. The Exorcist wasn’t that bad, but I did jump once, and the baby probably did too!

The baby is now over two inches long from crown to rump. Here’s a picture of the 12 week rubber fetus that we got from the fair. Sorry it’s blurry!

The baby is starting to grow lanugo (fine hair) all over its body, which will disappear by the time it is born. The intestines, which were protruding into the umbilical cord, are moving back into the abdomen now. It should be moving a lot more now, and has reflexes that would cause it to move away if poked from the outside. It might even be sucking its thumb now! It also might be making breathing movements and swallowing, already preparing itself for life outside the womb.

I guess this is going to be a short blog, because I don’t have much else to talk about this week! I’m excited to be nearing the end of the first trimester, excited to start showing (can you see a difference yet?), and getting ready to share the news with my students and their parents.

Have a great week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

11 Weeks Pregnant

Well, we managed to do the belly shot this week, and I'm doing the blog on time! I should probably start updating on Sundays now, because as I've said, that's really when my weeks change. My Sundays were too busy before because I was accompanying the youth choir at church, which practices on Sunday afternoons, but unfortunately there isn't enough interest from the youth to keep it going right now.

Still no real belly changes yet, but I hear that most women start to notice a change around 12 weeks...so it won't be long! I keep doing belly shots anyway, just to make sure I won't miss the first change. There are definitely times when I feel big, but I think it's just when I'm full. :-)

The baby is about two inches long now, which, according to one of my books as well as one of the websites I go to, is the size of a lime. I always think of a lime as being bigger than that, but my mom thought it sounded about right. To me, two inches is more like the size of a plum or a clementine.

While we're on the subject of the baby's size, it is apparently supposed to double in the next
three weeks! Talk about rapid growth. The head is
starting to uncurl and the neck is straightening out and lengthening. Fingernails are forming, and one of my friends from high school was telling me that fingerprints are also developing! I read that fingerprints are the result of the swishing around of the amniotic fluid, but I'm sort of skeptical of that explanation. First of all, how
could they know that for sure? Secondly, if that were the case, wouldn't we have fingerprint-like grooves all over our entire bodies? Who knows. Also along with the fingernails come hair follicles and tooth buds...and I'm so glad for that, because wouldn't we all look like freaks without teeth, hair, and nails?? It does still have transparent skin, though. Weird.

I had a really nice birthday! Well...my actual birthday was very busy...I worked on cleaning the house in the morning because we were meeting with a new realtor later, and then I taught lessons, and then Travis got home and cleaned some more, and then the realtor came...but we really liked her and have high hopes that she'll do a better job than the last one! Travis bought me some really pretty roses and a balloon, and then took me out to Ruby Tuesday's (I love their salad bar!), and then we rented a movie. Then on Saturday we had a birthday party at my Dad's house, which was so much fun! My sisters and their families came, and my Aunt Holly was down from Pennsylvania. We had a blast together, and everyone totally catered to my food requests...chicken casserole, potato cheese casserole (I'm a casserole girl), broccoli slaw, homemade bread, hello dollies, and pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream! DELICIOUS! I got a necklace I'd been wanting, a couple of Target gift cards, and some cash. :-) My brother and his wife mailed me a whole bunch of maternity clothes (yay!), and Travis got me a cute t-shirt and a book called Getting Ready for Baby: The Ultimate Organizer for the Mom-to-Be, in addition to the owl (whose name is now Mishka). Then yesterday, when we got home from church, Travis's sister Rachel and her husband Jason were sitting in front of our house to surprise me with pumpkins to carve! His mom (Faye) and brother Nathan also came over, and we all made jack-o-lanterns while we enjoyed brownies that Faye made. It was so unexpected and fun! Here's a picture of them, unfortunately unlit because we need to find our tea lights.

Left to right: Nathan's, Jason's, Travis's, Rachel's, mine.

We went to Target last night to use my gift cards, and I got two "Be Bands," which I'd been wanting.

They basically hold up your pants and support your belly, so you can wear non-maternity pants unbuttoned. You can also wear them over maternity pants that are still too big. While we were there, we also looked at baby stuff, which was fun. We looked at this travel system (stroller and car seat) that we are considering, which is a Graco Alano Flip-It. It's called that because the handle flips so you can push it with the baby facing either toward you or facing out. I'm surprised that more strollers don't have that feature. Some do, but most of them are very expensive. Anyway, I would post a photo, but it's so hard to get the photos where I want them in these things that I don't want to mess with it again tonight! :-) Maybe next time. See you then!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

10 Weeks (and 3 days) Pregnant

Sorry for the delay this week! We've been quite busy with lots of things, and I probably could have done the blog on Monday, but I wanted to include a belly shot, which we hadn't done yet, and we STILL haven't done! Ugh. So unless we do it today, there will be no 10 week belly shot. I don't think I'm any bigger, though. My belly seems to fluctuate quite a bit from day to day, and even throughout the day.

I do have exciting news this week: the baby has graduated to fetus-hood! This means that it has lost its tail and has most of the organs and body parts that it will ever have. They just need to grow and mature. Its little kidneys are producing very small amounts of urine already, and if it's a boy, it is producing testosterone! The crown to rump length was about an inch and a half (or a little less) as of Sunday, and its weight was about four grams, or the weight of four paper clips. The other exciting thing about being 10 weeks into this is that I'm already a quarter of the way done! Actually, that's kind of scary!

We had our first midwife appointment yesterday! We filled out some paperwork, got a goody bag, and talked about some of the choices we have to make regarding what tests we want to have done (or not have done), what interventions we are comfortable with surrounding the birth, etc. We are actually very excited about getting the opportunity to make these decisions, since many unnecessary tests and interventions are performed routinely in the world of obstetrics.

We also got to hear the heartbeat for the first time! Yes, we were able to see it at the ultrasound, but it was too early to hear it then. The midwife used a fetal Doppler, which is similar to a sonogram machine because it sends sound waves into the amniotic fluid, which bounce back in the form of swishes and thuds that we hear as the baby's heartbeat. The baby is very low because it of its small size this early in the pregnancy, and it was slightly off center, closer to my right side. The heartbeat was 160 beats per minute this time, so maybe I was wrong when I said that it begins to slow down in the fourth month. I hope that those of you who know more about this stuff than I do will correct me if I give misinformation! I'm just going by what I've read, which is often contradictory. It's hard to know where to look for the most accurate information. We also heard a couple of thuds, which the midwife told us were the baby's movements! I could have listened all day. :-) Oh, another cool thing was that we could hear my heartbeat and the baby's at the same time -- I've never had two heartbeats before!

Last weekend we went to Columbia to see Stephanie and Marcus (my college roommate and her fiance). We had tons of fun! We met them at the state fair, so we got to eat some fair food, ride on the ferris wheel, pet the animals... :-P When we got there, the smells of all of the food booths wafting around and mixing together were making me kind of sick, and they all thought it was funny that I would rather go see the animals and endure the smell of cow manure.

We stopped by the pro-life booth so I could get a free rubber fetus, and when I told them I was pregnant they gave me a little goody bag with stickers and a pamphlet about fetal development. :-) The rubber fetus is a life size detailed 12 week fetus, so it will be neat to look at in a couple of weeks! Anyway, Stephanie and I didn't notice it, but after we left the booth, Travis and Marcus said that the pro-life ladies seemed to think I was a teenager. Oh well. I do worry about people thinking that, because I know I look young. I guess the only people who would think that are people who don't know me, so it doesn't really matter.

Travis gave me one of my birthday presents yesterday because I wasn't feeling well (I had a migraine) and needed a pick-me-up. It is ADORABLE! He said it's for the baby's room, but I'm totally keeping it (just kidding)! He needs a name...any ideas? He's even cuter in person. His feet and beak are more purple. He's my new cuddle buddy. Sorry, Travis. :-)

Be back next week...hopefully on Monday!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

9 Weeks Pregnant

I'm back! And I have belly shots! Travis says he thinks I'm starting to show a bit, and I guess I'm noticing it too. Take a look for yourself:

This week, the baby is looking much more human! He or she is about the size of a green olive now, and is probably moving around! According to the documentary, In The Womb, all movements are totally reflexive right now. I think the brain takes over movements at around 4 months gestation. The heart is also not yet controlled by the brain, which is why the heartbeat is so fast. It will continue to get faster until the brain takes control of it, also around 4 months. The eyes are fully formed, but aren't functioning yet. Eyelids are almost fused now, and will remain shut until 25 weeks or so. All of the organs are present and just need to be refined. Also, fingers are separate now, and toes are only slightly webbed. Yay!

As for me, I'm starting to feel different. I'm finally starting to get the symptoms that most people get by 8 weeks. I'm having plenty of food aversions, especially to ground beef. Blech. I'm picky about what I feel like eating, in general. I can always stomach fruit, and usually vegetables. It's not that other things really make me sick (at least not usually), they just taste terrible sometimes. I'm also more tired now. I'm taking lots of naps and sometimes going to bed at 10:00, which is a very rare occurrence for me. I'm a late night person. Even though my symptoms still aren't that bad, I'm hoping they will abate in a few weeks!

Like most parents-to-be, Travis and I can hardly wait to find out what we're having (I told Travis maybe it'll be a puppy!). There are these gender prediction tests on the market that are called Intelligender, and they are supposed to be able to tell the baby's gender with 80% accuracy after week 10. However, they are pricey (around $30). I would probably be willing to spend that much if it were more accurate, but I see no point in it if we still won't know whether it's a boy or a girl.

So, I looked up other methods of gender prediction online and found the red cabbage test. Basically, you cut up a red cabbage, boil it for 10 minutes, and use the dark purple water as a pH test, which is what Intelligender is. So, yesterday, we bought a small red cabbage (for 52 cents!) and did the test. (Even though Intelligender is supposed to be used after 10 weeks, I read that this test should be done BEFORE 10 weeks. Who knows whether the author knew what they were talking about.) There was plenty of water to play with, so we put some in a each of several Styrofoam cups. First, just to make sure it worked, we added lemon juice to one cup, vinegar to another, and root beer to another. The lemon juice and vinegar immediately turned the water to bright pink. The root beer had no effect, so I guess it was non-acidic.

Here is the cabbage as it was boiling:

Can you tell how dark purple the water is?

Ok, so here's how this is supposed to work: you put the cabbage water in a cup and then add an equal amount of urine (sorry, I know that's gross). If the water turns red/pink, it's a boy, and if it stays purple or turns bluish, it's a girl. Keep in mind, this is not a very accurate test. We just did it for fun.

And...here are the results:

The cup on the right is the one we added root beer to, but I used it as the control since there was no change at all. That's basically what the cabbage water looked like before we added anything. The one on the left is the lemon juice. I didn't add much lemon juice at all, and it immediately changed to pink. The one in the middle is the gender test. On the picture, it looks as bright as the lemon juice, but it was nowhere near the same color in person. It was really halfway between purple and pink. Here's a better picture of it transfered into a jar:

This one shows the color better. I'd say this is inconclusive! It might fall more under the boy category. What do you all think? I feel like it's a girl, but I've heard of plenty of expectant mothers who had a strong feeling that ended up being wrong! My dad thinks it's a girl too, and he says he almost always gets it right. Travis isn't sure. I think he might be leaning toward boy. So who knows! I have added a poll on the sidebar so you can all put in your two cents! Vote away!