Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Hurricane "Heroics"

I've been having a lot of people from out of town contact me to make sure we made it through Hurricane Florence okay.  The short answer is, yes, we're just fine.  We had no real damage to the house; no flooding or trees down in the yard and we only lost power for 24 hours. Riding out the storm here in Fayetteville was more of a headache than anything else, and unfortunately the hurricane hit right on my birthday.  So, suffice it to say, turning 32 on Saturday was a bit lackluster, as Will and I were basically stuck in a house with no power all day long. 

Except for that part where we drove over to his office to make sure the building hadn't had any damage.  And we walked in to find the power on, so we got right into the elevator to ride up to the third floor without thinking.  And of course, the elevator got stuck.  And we had to call the fire department to get us out.  And Will's call to the fire department included the line "I guess you should know my wife is pregnant.  She's not at all close to being due, but she is pregnant.  And angry with me.  Just as a forewarning."



About fifteen minutes later, before the firefighters had made their way into the building and up to us, Will had the brilliant idea to pry open the elevator doors, upon which we discovered that we had in fact reached the third floor, and the elevator had simply refused to open its doors. So we hurried out, ran down the stairs to meet the firefighters, and apologized profusely for having caused them such a headache.

So let that be a lesson us all -- even if the power is on in a building, it doesn't necessarily mean the elevator is safe to ride during a storm.

Monday, September 17, 2018

First Trimester Update


How far along: 13 weeks

Baby Size: A peach

Weight gain: 5 pounds at my last appointment

Maternity clothes:  So far I'm loving the maternity pants.  Might be wearing those even after I deliver! As for the tops, I'm just sticking with a size larger in tops and mostly flowy ones that help to disguise my growing bump.
Sleep: Sleeping pretty well, but waking up at least once or twice a night to go to the bathroom.

Gender: A sweet little girl!

Movement: Still too early to feel anything just yet.

Best moment this trimester: Getting to see (and later hear) my babe's heart beating during the ultrasound; telling my husband and my family!

Looking forward to: Our 18 week scan!


Food cravings: None yet. 

Anything making you queasy or sick: Yes.  I was fine until mid-way through Week 5, which is when the nausea hit. Until then I'd been eating a keto diet, but all of the sudden all I could manage to eat were carbs. Just the thought of meat and butter made my skin crawl.  There was one night for dinner  right around the beginning of the food aversions where I ordered lobster bisque. Bad idea.  Let's just say this baby is not a seafood fan.

Labor Signs: Way too early just yet! 

What I miss: Sushi. Eating deli meats without having to zap them in the microwave first. Goat cheese. Honestly, I'm not missing the alcohol at all.

Symptoms: Pulling/heaviness in abdomen, mild heartburn, short intense pains around my pelvis (apparently it's a common symptom of ligaments stretching out), thirsty all the time, feeling pretty fatigued during the day, more frequent pee breaks! Oh, and major lower back pain. 

Nursery: We'll need to start talking about how we want to convert the guest room..

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: Excited!

Workouts: Taking a bit of a break.  I'll take a walk around the neighborhood or catch a yoga class on Saturday mornings if I'm feeling up to it, but since I've been feeling so poorly for the past few weeks I've decided to show myself some grace and put the exercise on the backburner.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Gender Catch

I wrote this post before I found out we were having a girl, but reading back on it now I still stand by it all.  There's just something a little sad about knowing which gender you won't be having during a pregnancy.


***
See the source imageEven before I became pregnant, Will and I often talked about our future children and what gender we'd prefer our firstborn be.  Now, of course I'm so blessed to be bringing a child into this world and I will be happy with either gender no matter what.  That being said, I think it's perfectly human to prefer one gender over the other.  Will and I both have the same slight preferance for our first child, but it's easy to see that there are pros and cons to either one.

With a boy, Will could have a golfing buddy. Boys tend to be more resilient, yet destructive. In a way it does seem like they're easier to raise during the early years. They are less likely to absorb the nuances of a situation the way a girl does. And they say there's no relationship like that of a mother and her son.

However, the cons with a son come later in life.  As the saying goes, "A son is a son until he gets a wife; a daughter is a daughter for life". From my own experiences I do believe that to be true.  I know men who still dote on their parents, but they're not the natural caregivers for aging parents that daughters are.

With a daughter, you have a built-in doll.  There are so many precious outfits and accessories for little girls these days, and they seem to have so much fun enjoying the "finer things" of life even from a very young age. But girls are highly maleable, and are often products of their environments.  Women are so much more likely to retain information and baggage from their experiences, which creates a more challenging upbringing. 

Not to mention the fact that girls are more likely to be catty and vicious with one another once they reach middle school.  Boys may be more prone to physical fights, but the more damaging emotional and verbal exchanges often happen with females. Teenage girls also seem to be more prone to dramatic tantrums, while boys are self-taught to repress their frustrations. Later in a girl's life, when she's busy planning a wedding or giving birth to her first child, she's much more likely to involve her mother in these experiences than a male would with his mother.


Even if we do end up with the gender we prefer, there are some characteristics of the other gender that I'd mourn.  Hearing the results of the gender test almost put to bed a whole litany of "what-ifs" that we pregnant women run through on a daily basis.  "If it's a girl, we'll get to decorate the nursery in pastels" or "If it's a boy, we'll have to buy him a little plastic golf bag to match my husband's". When the knowledge bubbles up to the surface, you're able to move forward with certainty, but there's always going to be that one part of you that mourns what you don't have.


Either way, that's not to say that I won't have a child of the opposite gender in the years to come.  But there's something innately special about that firstborn, that first child that teaches you how to be a parent. We'll be perfectly happy with a healthy child, no matter the gender.  And it's totally okay to have a moment of sadness for the gender that never was..

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Big Announcement

Alright, guys.  Things are getting real around here!  As of today I'm officially 13 weeks pregnant! Will and I could not be more thrilled to be introducing a little girl to our family in early March! 

We had decided long ago to start trying to expand our family once we hit our one year anniversary, but as it turns out we ended up getting started a month early. I was a bridesmaid in my cousin's wedding on May 5th, and then again in my brother's wedding on May 19th. With all the commotion and excitement leading up to those two events, Will and I decided to keep all things baby on the backburner until after we'd gotten through both weddings.

In the meantime, I poured a great deal of time and energy into researching fertility and began taking supplements to help our chances from the outset.  More specifically I got off of birth control in January to regulate my cycles and around the same time began taking prenatal vitamins, N-acetyl-cysteine, and CoQ10 to improve egg quality and promote fertility. After further research, I also added daily supplements of Vitamin D, selenium (in the form of two Brazil Nuts per day), and iodine. In recent months I've gone in for my yearly gynocologist checkup, an endocrinologist checkup (I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, which can negatively impact fertility and thyroid levels) and several weeks ago had my routine six-month dental cleaning (also a big factor in fertility, which was somewhat surprising to me).

The first cycle we began trying, my ovulation window actually fell during the week between the two weddings, but we decided to go for it anyway.  During my brother's wedding weekend, which took place during the first dreaded "two-week-wait", I ended up monitoring my alcohol intake big time just in case we'd been successful. Interestingly enough, I was full of symptoms during that time -- waking up with nausea, feeling strange cramps in my lower abdomen, experiencing wild mood swings, etc. All that being said, a week later my period appeared. From that point on I began worrying myself silly. I knew good and well that most people DON'T get pregnant the first time they try, but in my mind I was convinced that we'd failed because there was something medically wrong with us.

Now, I'm not one to do the "sit and wait" type of thing, so I decided to turn up the volume on my fertility preparation routine for Cycle #2.  I discovered fertility tea, a blend of red raspberry leaves, red clover, peppermint, and nettles, which I began drinking that at the end of my period through ovulation. I also began using an accupressure mat for 20 minutes every evening on my abdomen to increase blood flow to the reproductive system. After ovulation, I cut up a whole pineapple into five equal parts and ate one section per morning to help with implantation. Now this round I had absolutely no symptoms except for a slight heaviness/pulling in my abdomen, so I'd convinced myself that this cycle was also a bust.

Last Saturday morning I picked up a pack of pregnancy tests at Costco, telling myself that I would wait another few days to begin testing.  However, once I got home, I decided I couldn't wait. I took the first test, but nothing appeared.  I went off to my yoga class, leaving the test on the bathroom counter and trying my best to forget about it. 

By the time I got home, I set about gathering towels around the house to put in the wash, and when I walked back into the bathroom I found myself staring again at the pregnancy test from earlier that morning.  Barely -- JUST BARELY -- I could make out what seemed to be a second line.  I'd read in multiple places that the sign of a second line, no matter how faint, indicated pregnancy.  At that moment I burst into tears.  I spent the rest of the day cleaning the house, trying to busy myself until my husband got home.  When he walked in that evening, I could barely hold it together. All the cute ways I'd come up with to tell him he was going to be a father just sort of fell out of my mind, and I blurted it out before he could even sit down. In true Will fashion, he beamed with pride and told me he knew it wouldn't take us long.

So, here we are, 13 weeks filled with nausea/fatigue/back pain later.. and we've (hopefully) made it through the worst of it! I hear the second trimester is much better than the first, so I'm looking forward to more energy and less nausea as this little one continues to grow!

Friday, July 27, 2018

My Brother’s Wedding

My younger brother got married to the love of his life a few months ago, and we could not have had a better time celebrating. From the bridal luncheon to the rehearsal dinner to the getting-ready, the ceremony and the reception, the entire weekend was a blast. 


Frank has been dating Betty for over six years, and she's honestly the best sister-in-law I could ask for. Had it been up to me to venture out and find a woman for my brother to spend the rest of his life with, I don't think I could have done a better job. The two of them suit each other perfectly, and I'm just so glad to finally be able to call Betty family!


Y'all will have to excuse the picture of me crying.  There are more of them out there than I'd like, but to be fair it was just such a lovely and emotional celebration for me. 










Thursday, July 26, 2018

Back From Vacay



Well, here we are, with another vacation in the books.  As some of you may remember, each year my mom and her sister rent a house for a week at Figure Eight Island.  This is usually my favorite week of the year, because I love catching up with my family members and being able to unwind on the beach, far away from anything work-related. 


This year was no exception.  My cousin, Jack and his wife had their first baby in February this year, so I was looking foward to seeing them and meeting my new niece! Unfortunately, Jack's wife had to work and couldn't make it on the trip, but Jack brough the baby along for the entire week, so we had plenty of opportunities to get baby snuggles with Miss Evelyn. She was incredibly good the whole time, hardly ever crying, and was even up for spending her naptime under a tent on the beach.




On the last night of the trip, we were able to get a picture of the whole group. From left to right that's Will, me, my parents, my brother and his new wife Betty, my Uncle Rhode with Baby Evelyn, Aunt Hayden and my cousin Jack.



I love these trips and the memories they bring. I'm hoping in the couple of years my future children will have the privilege of participating in this tradition and will enjoy spending time with the family as much as I always have.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

January Highs and Lows

Here we are, in 2018.  It's hard to believe time has been going by so quickly!  I have to admit to you guys that January is really my least favorite month. The weather is too cold and dreary, and everyone seems to be struggling to get back into the regular swing of things after the chaos of the holidays has died down. So, just to round our bases, let's recap (in quick fashion) on the holiday celebrations.

As usual, my parents threw their annual family Christmas party at their house on December 23rd. As is our tradition, the cousins (and their spouses) in attendance took the obligatory staircase picture.  We're missing several members of the family here, but that seems to be more and more common as we get older and families expand, making it a little more difficult to travel to these events.

Most of the cousins and their spouses

My brother, his fiancĂ© Betty, Will and I all stayed with my parents until Christmas morning, when we all hit the road to celebrate the holiday with other sides of the family. Will and I went to his dad's house for brunch, then headed home for a quick nap before joining his mom's side of the family at her house for dinner that evening.


Beau and his best buddy Boomer (my parents' dog) in Raleigh.

All in all, the holidays were wonderful, but I can't say I'm not glad to have them over and done with. You forget how much work goes into shopping for gifts, cooking, decorating the house, etc. until the season is upon you yet again. Now, I'm just glad to be able to sort of wash my hands of it until next year. Don't get me wrong -- I love Christmas and everything it stands for.  But today the whole thing really just seems like such a huge production, don't you think?



Will and me with his dad and stepmom on Christmas morning.

Let's fast-forward to the New Year. Over the past few years I haven't really been one for resolutions, so I guess I decided to make up for it this year by instituting three big ones -- I started the HCG diet (with homeopathic drops, not the true injections), threw my hat in the ring for Dry January (no booze whatsoever) and decided to make January a "fiscal month" where I stop the relentless spending (I'm looking at you, Amazon) and allocate money towards gas, groceries and bills ONLY.  So far I'm doing really well with all three of these -- I've definitely lost weight on this diet (although I'd be worried if I didn't, because it's essentially 500 calories per day of nothing but vegetables and lean protein), I haven't had a drop of alcohol, and I've only bought one thing on Amazon (a baby shower gift for my cousin and his wife). So that in itself is reason to celebrate, seeing as how the month is almost halfway over!

Ground turkey and cauliflower rice with steamed asparagus.

Oh, and we got snow a couple weeks ago. Not quite even an inch, but it was enough to shut the whole city of Fayetteville down, which is typical.  Either way, I enjoyed the scenery.  And we're due for another storm tonight, so I'm sort of looking forward to that. Maybe after this snow storm we can finish up this winter business and head right into spring.  I do love snow, but I'm ready for the warm weather to reappear. 


I say that now, but it really is so much fun to watch the dogs out in the snow.  They're not quite sure what to make of it, but they sure do have a great time running around like lunatics in it.


Ok, so I guess that's really all I have for now.  I'll round up some of my favorite HCG recipes soon and share them with you guys.  The 500 calorie days last for 24 days total, and I'm on day 16.  So I'm almost there, you guys! Keep your fingers crossed for me!