Pregnancy Update #10 plus job search news

I am super lazy just lately, so I'm going to do a bullet post. 😊 Developments and events of interest:
  • I had my first two-week check-up visit with my maternal-fetal medicine doctor. I asked her about the Cereb (Hill) measurement and she said it was totally fine and that, with her pregnancy, she was hoping to measure in the 30th percentile. Ellie's heartbeat was 140-157, which is perfect! I will see her again a week from this Friday, and I need to remember to request the handheld ultrasound!
  • I am finally feeling little Ellie moving around - hallelujah! It's not all the time, but definitely regularly. I feel less of a swish or swipe now and more of a bump or flip; just a bit more solid feeling. Instead of questioning all the time whether it might be digestion or gas, I have a sense of a living being in there moving around - so cool!
  • Finally gaining a little weight! I guess this is the only time in my life when I'll be excited to gain weight, but it reassures me that Ellie is growing and my pregnancy is progressing normally. I think I've gained around six pounds at this point, and I will be 22 weeks tomorrow.
  • I told my Dad what we decided to name her and showed him a couple of the ultrasound pics. He reacted positively and appropriately, so that feels like progress. I know he will love her when she gets here. He better! lol
  • Here is my most recent belly pic. I feel amazed at how dramatically my belly size and how it feels from the outside changes from morning until night. Do those of you who have been pregnant remember that happening? I guess I'm weird, but I prefer when it's inflated and harder (with food and gas I guess lol) later in the day. In general, though, it's getting bigger and harder to hide, even if I wanted to.

Lastly, I have some amazing news on the job front: I finally received news yesterday that I am invited to the final round of interviewing for the Career and Academic Advisor position at the university! Hallelujah! I will be speaking for a half hour over the phone with the big wig advising director at the new building where all the new advisors will be working. The head of the interview committee asked my top three preferences of Flight Paths (we each will be working with students in a specific Flight Path or career/major grouping), as well as a list of references - that seems like a good sign, doesn't it? Everything crossed!

Hope you all are enjoying the start to summer. Our weather has suddenly turned hot as Hades, and we are going to get some fans asap. I much prefer it to rain, though!


Pregnancy Update #9 - Second Trimester Ultrasound

I'm happy to share that our second trimester (18 weeks 4 days) ultrasound went very well, with no unwelcome surprises! All her organs, including her heart (four chambers pumping away - so cool!), looked great and her measurements were all within normal range. She was actually measuring four days ahead! Her arm and leg bones were in the 70+ percentile; wonder if that means she will be tall?

The only measurement that was lower was the, "Cereb (Hill)" measurement, which I think is the diameter of the cerebellum? This one was 18.9mm and fell in the 30th percentile. I looked it up and one site said it's not really used any more. Plus, there were several conversations on pregnancy boards about numbers being low on that measurement, so I don't think it's uncommon? Anyone have more information? The doctor didn't mention it or seem concerned, so I'm thinking it's probably okay. This is one explanation I read: "Mean TCD was 17.32 mm in 14-20 weeks of gestation, 26.63 mm in 21-30 weeks and 40.73mm in 31-40 weeks."

The tech confirmed absolutely that she is a girl. :) I saw the three lines myself before she even told us. We got a great profile picture, which I'll share below, but she wouldn't cooperate for a 3D profile or forward-facing picture. She is so adorable, though, and I am in love. Her little foot is the sweetest, too. The doctor actually asked how often I would like to be seen and suggested every two weeks, when I indicated as often as possible! We won't get another full ultrasound for six weeks, but she said she could do a quick handheld ultrasound if we wanted. Yay!

On the work front, RC is on his third day at the new job today. He is finishing up the video training and looking forward to getting out for the on-the-job training. I received an email from the university thanking me for my patience and lettimg me know they are still working through the process and will let me know soon. I think I should hear this week, as they've mentioned making hiring decisions by the end of May several times. Everything crossed!


Pregnancy and Life Update #8

Our trip to Bend was fun! More fun for me than RC, I think, but oh well. He struggles a bit, it seems, to sleep and feel grounded when he's away from home. I tend to enjoy the break, especially if we are in a beautiful place. RC, Zoey, and I did enjoy getting outside and walking along the river path, with a wonderful hill/mountain view; a view you can enjoy from many places in Bend. Exploring downtown was fun, too, and we ate at a yummy restaurant with great ambiance called, Zydeco.

We stayed at my family's house, which we both found a little over the top in terms of ceiling height in every room - seems like a waste of materials in some rooms to me, honestly - and it was interesting to me that the house lacked warmth and homey touches overall, considering they bought it when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, so they would have a place to get away that was closer to home than Tahoe. But she passed away before they truly and fully settled in and decorated it, so I think maybe the energy kind of stalled out because my Mom and Dad were leading the effort together. I don't think Dad even goes there much, if at all, and likely doesn't want to think about or invest in decorating. That's my theory, but I'm not sure. In any case, it's pretty stark and overly minimalist, but at the same time very nice.

The last day, I took a little hike by myself (RC's knee was bothering him) up a hill in the neighborhood and took these pictures of the mountain views.

In work news, RC finally landed a job! It's a "for now" job at the Eugene Airport working for a consultant company that staffs United Airlines. It's in customer service with a high level of responsibility, as he wanted, and in a couple weeks they are sending him to Chicago for a 3-week training (he gets sent home for weekends). We will likely get some sweet airline travel perks, though I may not use these for a while. Hopefully, his extended family might get some kind of benefit and his sons could use these to visit us.

I had what I feel was a good second interview with the university but am still waiting to hear back. The interview was nine days ago. I may check in on Monday or Tuesday to inquire where they are in the process. I also may have a new career counseling client...I'll hear back on that Monday.

I will end with a pregnancy update, but I will have an even bigger update after our developmental, second-trimester ultrasound on Tuesday. After this long slog through the desert, we are almost there. I'm honestly frustrated at this point that I still can't feel her in a clear and definitive way. If so many other people weren't already feeling their babies in my groups, I may not feel this way, but I just really want that connection with her and the ongoing reassurance it brings.

We have continued to use the home doppler every few days to hear the heartbeat, which is helpful. I wish the feeling would last but it fades within a day or two. I'm pretty sure I'm getting bigger, though, what do you think?

Yesterday, at my nieces t-ball game, when I picked up her little sister to help her onto the monkey bars, I felt a pull in my lower abdomen. Not painful, but I definitely think my time for picking up things over 25 pounds has come to an end for the next few months. I want to be cautious. Overall, I've been feeling good, though, and eating quite a bit. RC brought me home a Cinnabon the other day and it was gone in no time, whole thing, no problem. lol  I'm trying to get my salads and raw carrots in, lots of fruit, but still not feeling myself "drawn," shall we say, to cooked vegetable. Oh well, I think I'm still getting what I need. I've only gained four pounds so far.

In the last couple days, I've started reading books to her, because I read she can hear me now and that if you read certain books to them in utero, they respond more to those books after they are born. Cool, right? Plus, it's a nice bonding time. 💗

One other fun thing I'll share: I'm getting little hairy blonde peach fuzz on my belly. LOL I noticed it when I was doing the home doppler. It sticks straight up and is luckily quite light at this point. Did this happen to anyone else? I've read it's not uncommon and has to do with increased estrogen levels. They say it goes away within 6-months after birth. Honestly, though, this symptom, as with all my others, I can't help but feel excited (or at least neutral) and grateful towards because it's all part of being pregnant and finally becoming a mother. I've been very lucky, so far, and symptoms have not been awful or unmanageable.

I'll post again in a few days with more news and pictures from my ultrasounds.


Pregnancy Update #7

My belly is continuing to grow, and it's getting harder, especially on the sides, which is exciting. Here's my latest bump picture of our baby avocado:

I'm not sharing these broadly or on FB, so you are part of a select few to see this picture. :)

We're in a sixteen day countdown until our next maternal-fetal medicine visit and ultrasound. Our last visit with the obgyn was a few days ago. Pudge's heartbeat was around 138-140, which is lower than before, but I've been reassured it's still great and in the normal range. I know the heartbeat lowers as the baby grows bigger. Today, on the home doppler, her heartbeat was so strong! yay! And seemed to hover in the 140s and occasionally jump into the 150s or dip into 130s. It's such an amazing feeling when it's beating along so strong and steady. I said to RC, "That's our little baby!" 💓

I'm still feeling good overall. Boobs continue to be quite sore and to grow. I will definitely need new bras soon. My neck is stiff from sleeping in the Snoogle pillow, but it totally helps my hips and body comfort, so I'm sticking with it. Did anyone else use a Snoogle and have advice for me to make my neck more comfy? I'm thinking about getting a soft, thin pillow to put over the head section. I'm able to eat a wider variety of food but still mainly getting my veggies from salads and veggies in soups or sauces.

The foods that have been my friends all along include:
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Chicken pot pies for quite a while, but now I'm off of them
  • Pasta, especially with creamy/white sauce, with ground beef or shellfish
  • Potatoes: french fries, tater tots, baked or mashed.
  • THINLY-sliced turkey sandwiches with tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, cranberry if they have it
  • Mexican food: tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas
  • Cheese/dairy in many forms, which is strange because I've been lactose tolerant, yet seem to tolerate it better (and crave it) in pregnancy. I still cough a bit at times but no headaches
  • Salads, especially with apples and cheese in them
  • Spicy chips; both corn chips and potato chips
  • Sheep's milk yogurt - plain to dip my chips in and blackberry for breakfast
  • Spicy nuts: mixed nuts, honey mustard nuts/pretzel mix, almonds
  • Fresh fruit: melon, berries, strawberries, mandarin oranges, bananas
  • Lately, cereal, honey-nut cheerios
  • ICE CREAM in many forms but mainly Blizzards and milkshakes
  • Breakfast breads and pastries, such as waffles, donuts, bear claws, muffins, etc.
  • Almond milk
Aversions (which I normally eat) have included:
  • Salmon, most cooked meat on its own, most of the time
  • Bacon
  • Eggs
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Squash, sweet potato, etc.
  • Many fried foods (excluding potatoes and desserts) 
  • Pizza doesn't sound great
 I'm still a little picky but I guess the aversions have lessened in number and intensity. Now, I'm really wanting a Blizzard! lol

My emotions flair up at times, still, but definitely less. It seems like I'm more apt to feel a wave of sadness and cry once in a while than to become irritated/angry and snap at RC unexpectedly, so that's better for RC. :) I still get super tired and take afternoon naps. I was hoping that would pass, so I could have that 1-2 hours back in the afternoon, but not yet. I'm lucky I don't have a set schedule in the late afternoon right now.

On the work front, my interview with the university went well, and they asked me to be available for a second interview next Friday, this one on Zoom/video. Those can be awkward, in my experience, but I will do my best! If I get this job, it makes me nervous (already!) about being separated from Pudge after maternity leave, down the road. It's also an exciting opportunity, however, and would open doors for us to buy into a cohousing community here, which would fulfill another long-held dream of mine and be great for our family. We have recently met some folks in the community and become associate members ($50/month). Construction starts in the fall on this great property on the river that flows through Eugene. Please send good thoughts!

Tomorrow, we are looking forward to heading out of town to Bend, OR and playing outdoors in the sun for a couple of days, as well as checking out the town, which has grown up a lot since I was last there. But first, GOT tonight! Woo hoo! 😆


Pregnancy Update #6 - amended re gender!

Amendment: Until I received your comments asking about the gender change, I completely forgot I had not posted about that yet! I had written to friends and made FB posts, but I forgot to update my blog! So sorry!

Yeah, based on genetic NIPT testing, it turns out Pudge is a girl. 😬 The best I can figure out, SneakPeek was contaminated or something. RC was in the room and, although it was very clean,  I didn’t bleach the testing surface, so maybe that was enough. It was embarrassing reannouncing to some of my family. But we are so excited that it balances out! After three boys from his previous life, he finally has his girl. And as I’ve shared, I did see myself being mom to a girl, but had adjusted and was really happy with a boy, too. I loved Pudge as a boy, and I love her as a girl.

Sorry for taking you along on our path of confusion. We are now hard at work coming up with girl names after we’d already reached a short list for a boy. But we are happy and excited and are fully in love with our girl now!
Overall, my emotions are a bit less intense the last week or so; yay!

I did burst into tears yesterday when we got back to the car after church due to a build up of emotions from a really sore/seized up neck muscle and just the required focus and attention to listen to the service and while socializing afterwards with a very chatty woman. It still surprises me when it happens, this bursting into tears thing. It's quite a foreign experience and catches me off guard. I will say it provides relief and a release of pent up emotions and stress. RC was quite sweet, asking if I was okay and helping to relieve some of the muscle pain with pressure and massage.

Overall, I'd say I'm less reactive and crabby but still have some extra energy and anxiety circulating. Recently, I have noticed I can become overly focused on my family and their reactions, or more commonly their lack of reactions. For example, my Dad still won't really engage with talking about the pregnancy, though he's not being negative either. I think he's still wrapping his head around it. My sister won't respond to my texts many times and is not inviting us to my niece and nephew's ball games, even though I've asked her to several times.

A couple of days ago, though, I decided that I want and need to focus on my/our own life/lives and moving forward on finding activities and relationships that engage us and make us happy here in Oregon. We need to build our own lives, basically, and worry less about being included in other people's. Does that make sense? It feels right, anyway, even though I doubt I will stop wanting to connect more with my family.

More baby news...We had an Obgyn appointment a few days ago, and the doctor easily heard Pudge's heartbeat nice and loud on the doppler. I was surprised when she told us that the top of the uterus is at least halfway up to my belly button; much higher than I thought it was! We discussed me transferring to the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor after my next appointment on May 1st, and I feel comfortable with that. It just makes sense considering their expertise and availability. They can respond to any issues if, God forbid, they arise.

We also listened to Pudge on our at-home doppler yesterday and I found her hearbeat MUCH more easily. So fun! I love having the option to listen and get reassurance if needed. So far, we are only using it once or twice a week. I can't wait until I can feel her moving in there!

If you have experienced pregnancy, do you remember when you first felt the baby move? I have heard a wide variety of timelines, from 13 or 14 weeks to 16 to 18 weeks. I am 13 weeks four days today, so I know it's still early. As with so many other milestones on this journey, I have to practice my patience. 😄

We are in high gear on the baby name search! Still in expanding and eliminating mode and have not yet arrived at a "short list." We will likely include my birth mom's middle name Lynne, however, regardless what first name we land on. I am having a lot of fun with this process and do a little more research and reflection every day. A name is a big deal, I think, and deserves a lot of thought. :)


Rough Day...and Gratitude

Today is a rough day. I was extremely emotional this morning, overwhelmed and sobbing, triggered by RC being in a bad mood and responding with irritability when I asked what he was journaling about.

Something that might have made me feel somewhat sad and disappointed normally became much more intense and tied up in thoughts that he wasn't happy to see me, he didn't like being around me. My inner child said he was being mean and lacking sympathy and care when he didn't comfort me when I was crying. Ach, what a mess.

Yes, he could have risen to the occasion and been the adult with reason, but he was not in a grounded place or able to do that for whatever reason. And, bottom line, I was the one overreacting and losing it. In any case, he went upstairs and then ended up going out, which was honestly not a bad thing, as I needed space, as well. I know he'll be back later and is likely studying for his big personal trainer certification test on Tuesday (one reason why he's ungrounded).

I ate breakfast and am now resting and watching TV. Pregnancy hormones are no joke. I stopped progesterone and estrogen supplementation 2-3 days ago and thought that might lead to less emotionality, not more, but that has not been the case yet, unfortunately. The rain here in Oregon is unceasing right now, as well, which doesn't help my mood, and also prevents me from getting outside for nice, uplifting spring walks.

I recently read that a key to happiness is thinking of three things for which your grateful, every day, so I will end this downer post with that practice, in hopes it helps. Three things for which I'm grateful:

  1. We heard Pudge's hearbeat on the home doppler for the second time on Friday; music to our ears.
  2. I went to my oldest niece, J's, state book-reading competition (OBOB) yesterday, and it was wonderful to see her having fun and doing something she's passionate about, as well as to connect with my sister and other family members at the event.
  3. Even though I'm currently in some limbo, I'm hopeful about my work situation. I completed three applications for new Career/Academic Advisor positions at the U of O, which correlate with 35 (!) total positions. Needless to say, they are dramatically increasing their advising resources, and my hiring odds simultaneously increase, as well. I also just officially applied and was accepted to a local business networking referral group that meets weekly, and I may have already landed my first client through the group - fingers crossed. I'll find out after a week or so, when she finishes the busy tax season.


Pregnancy Update #5 - Second Ultrasound

We saw Pudge again yesterday! Little guy was wiggling and kicking at times, which was so amazing to see. He arched his back at one point; so cute! And thus begins the era of 1 million things that I think are adorable, and others probably roll their eyes at. 🙄😃 I’m glad to become annoying in that way, though. I welcome it.

Some data points we took away from our appointment:
  • His heart was beating away at 170 bpm. 
  • Nuchal screening came out great: 1.46 and they want it under 3. 
  • They drew blood for the NIPT screening, but we won’t hear back for about 10 days. Then we will know 100% conclusively that we have a little boy, and hopefully get peace of mind that the chances of genetic/developmental issues are low. 
  • They will also test my thyroid level, to my relief.  My OB/GYN was somewhat dismissive about it, saying we didn’t need to test for a while longer, but this high-risk doctor was very on board with testing. She said the required dosage level usually increases by 30% during pregnancy.  
We talked about making our pregnancy announcement after this ultrasound and are coming up with some fun ideas. Hopefully, we can post it later today or tomorrow. I’ve let most of the people I care about know already, but RC has a lot of longer distance friends and acquaintances. I know he likes sharing and celebrating with these folks online. I hope it’s not obnoxious or hurtful to anyone in the trenches of infertility. 

Without further ado, here is the most recent picture of Pudge 😍😍😍: