Almost Time! (Foxlet 2: 36.75 Weeks)

DUUUUUUUUUUUDE.

This. Life. Is. Crazy.

Here is just a, er, light summary of all the craziness that has been going on lately:

We listed our house last week, have had showings every day since (super fun to keep a home impeccably clean with a toddler, btw), and had a successful open house this past Sunday. No offers yet, but a few folks who seem seriously interested, so fingers are crossed!

We helped my parents move into their new place, and had their house (which we are buying from them) fully painted, floors refinished, new lighting installed, and put in a new stove & range. We are finishing some final work today, tomorrow, and Friday, and then the movers go to work on Saturday! Eep!!

I was sent to the hospital at my 35 week checkup for my blood pressure spiking again, sigh. Luckily, the labs they ran still came back negative for preeclampsia, so they just increased my blood pressure medication dosage, placed me on activity restriction, and are sticking with my scheduled induction date of next Tuesday. However, I have another checkup today (I’m 36 weeks and 5 days now) and I’m not taking anything for granted these days, so we’ll just have to see what happens…!

We celebrated my beautiful niece Marnie’s 1st birthday at the end of July, along with my sister’s birthday from afar (they have the same birthday — and it’s my nephew Alex’s 2nd birthday today!)

And I hosted my largest (and last) Yelp event of the year, a 900+ person banger at the hot new renovated (and locally-focused!) Quarter Market in Ballston Quarter (which was formerly Ballston Common Mall.) The event was awesome, if suuuuper exhausting, and now I’m just trying to tie up loose ends and plan out things for while I’ll be off work, since my maternity leave starts as soon as baby comes!

Soooooooooo yeah. It’s kind of been… a lot. And this honestly doesn’t even cover all of the various lists and items bouncing around in my head that I’m trying to keep track of — where I put all baby stuff I’ll need, which house we’ll actually be living/sleeping in when baby comes home next week (lol), helping Penny deal with all this change and transition (spoiler alert: it’s resulted in a 4-day nap strike and I am exhausted enough already)… and I mean, forget about me actually dedicating time and thought energy to the fact that we are gaining a new member of our family in less than a week’s time!

I was actually doing pretty well with charging ahead through everything just because there were so, so, so many items to tick off on my to-do list, but as things have been getting completed I’ve actually started to feel more overwhelmed. Which is kind of ironic, right? Because you’d think that as I’m able to check things off, I should be feeling better! But, I think it’s more like, I was SO busy and able to stay SO distracted that I didn’t even really realize how quickly time was counting down. And yesterday, when I hit the T-one week countdown, it really just kind of all hit me.

On the one hand, I think it’ll be good once Baby Foxlet is finally here, because it will force me to stop, to let go, to let others handle things (I’m not very good at relinquishing that kind of control.) On the other hand, I feel utterly unprepared for having a newborn again because I’ve basically spent this entire pregnancy trying to do everything OTHER than actually prepare for another child. Also, you know things must be bad when I’m treating the idea of pushing a football through my vagina as me finally getting a break, hahahahaha.

But, as always, I’m trying to keep my chin up and remind myself that this is all just a temporary season, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and in another three or six months this will all feel like a distant, ludicrous dream. After all, no matter what ends up happening with all the other stuff, I’m getting a new baby at the end of all this, and the first one turned out kinda great, so that’s pretty cool.

Still Kickin’ — Literally (Foxlet 2: 31 Weeks)

Why, hello there! In what has now become sadly unsurprising, I’m back in spectacularly late fashion, I’m back with another pregnancy/life/Gretchen update. There’s been a lot going on in these parts lately, so much so that it sometimes feels I’ve barely been able to keep my head above water, let alone come back to document it all on the blog, but I’m gonna try my best to catch up (for those who may still be interested — goodness knows why, lol — and also just for posterity’s sake, heh.)

As of tomorrow I will be 31 weeks pregnant — which means I’ve got a mere 6 weeks to go ’til we get to meet Foxlet 2! (In case you aren’t aware/need a refresher, I have gestational hypertension — high blood pressure that surfaces only when I’m pregnant, so I’m being induced at around 37 weeks.) This pregnancy feels like it has FLOWN by — there really is such a marked difference between going through this all for the first time, and going through it all with a sassy, spunky, never-gonna-let-you-rest toddler along for the ride, lol.

Things were holding very steady with my blood pressure for a while there, and thus I haven’t really had too much to update on the pregnancy front (thankfully!). Unfortunately, it seems like that honeymoon period might be ending, as my BP had clocked in high again at my checkup last week (womp womp.) This may just have been a fluke (I get stressed out just getting my BP checked these days!), but it’s more likely that I’ll need to increase my blood pressure medication dosage in the coming weeks. Which, of course, isn’t a big deal, I just hope that the medication continues to keep it under control until we get to 37 weeks! With everything else that’s going on right now, an earlier delivery, or even bedrest, is not really something I think I can handle.

In the spirit of total honesty, given how early my hypertension condition surfaced (at 20 weeks), my anxiety over early delivery, potentially developing preeclampsia again, or other possible things going wrong with this pregnancy and baby had really been starting to get to me. I began to experience pretty intense anxiety attacks with physical symptoms (heart palpitations, shortness of breath, etc), so under the guidance of both my therapist and my OB, I started taking Zoloft and it’s really been helping me feel more level / less doomsday-y about everything. I definitely still have my moments, but in general I think it’s helping keep my tendency to immediately jump to the worst possible conclusion at least a little under control, so that’s good.

She was unimpressed.

Aaaaaaanyway, I had a growth ultrasound a few weeks ago to make sure that Baby F is still growing as it should be and everything looks good in there (it does!). I have also progressed to going into the OB for weekly blood pressure checks (in addition to checking at home) and NSTs (non-stress tests) where they monitor the baby’s movement, heartrate, etc. In fact, I have another appointment this afternoon!

My other symptoms have mainly just been your typical third-trimester pregnancy pains and issues — pelvic pain, heartburn, needing to pee all the time (lol), and being super-dee-duper exhausted, etc. I’m still feeling very grateful that despite my complication, this pregnancy has been a lot less severe symptom-wise than my pregnancy with Penny was, which probably has been helping me maintain a bit more of a que sera sera attitude about things lately. So hopefully that will continue to be the case even if my BP is up again today. Cross your fingers for me!

In other news, Sean, Penny, and I took a quick little mini-babymoon trip down to VA Beach a couple of weeks ago which was really nice. The weather wasn’t terribly cooperative for a beach trip (overcast and a bit rainy), but it was still just great to get out of town for a little bit and spend some quality time together.

Plus, in what should come as a surprise to no one, my little mermaid water baby absolutely loved the ocean! We, on the other hand, did not love how totally unphased and fearless she was about it — our little daredevil girl kept trying to charge riiiiiight into the tide, lol. So in reality, we actually ended up spending more time at the hotel pool than on the actual beach, but hey, at least we can check that experience off for her, lol.

We also celebrated Father’s Day last weekend with a lovely trip to the National Zoo! It was Penny’s first time at the zoo, and both of our first trip in a looooong while, and was so much fun! Penny really was into seeing the animals, and we even got to meet up with some friends who were visiting from out of town, whose daughter is just a few months younger than Penny.

Bear!

Also on the Penny front, we have unexpectedly began potty training!

I was totally not even thinking about attempting to potty train for a while still (honestly, dealing with two kids in diapers sounds so much easier than dealing with a newborn and having to deal with accidents + rushing my toddler to the bathroom every few hours), but we’re really just following Penny’s lead here. She started out telling us right after she pooped in her diaper, then progressed to telling us right before she had to poop, and now is telling us when she has peed/is peeing as well, constantly pulling on her diaper and yelling “POTTY!” at the top of her lungs.

So we’re just kinda rolling with it!

We’ve had a handful of successes, and while I’m definitely not trying to pressure her, I am trying to be as encouraging as possible. I mean, if she’s ready, she’s ready, right? We have a couple of little pottys placed around the house as well as a potty seat in the bathroom, and we’ll see how it continues to go!

Things have been going well on the work-front as well, not a whole lot new to report there since I think I already mentioned my promotion at the beginning of this quarter in a previous post. I’m just mainly trying to keep afloat with a calendar of fun and exciting events, keeping the Yelp Northern VA community engaged, and getting my ducks in a row before going out on maternity leave in August!

And then finally, we have the last piece of the insanity puzzle: our house move. Things have taken a lot longer than we initially planned to come to a head, but it looks like we are finally moving for reals next month! Because, you know, it’s not enough to be extremely pregnant and have a toddler and be planning out maternity leave and have a senior citizen dog and just, you know, deal with life in general. Nah, let’s throw a move and selling our current home in there as well! 😉

No, in all seriousness, I’m incredibly excited for the chance to move back inside the beltway and bring Penny and this new little one up in the same city I spent so much of my own childhood and youth. Plus, Falls Church just keeps getting better and better! There are lots of new developments in the works and cool new businesses constantly moving in — totally worth the traffic jam that all the construction causes, hehe.

I do think that Penny is starting to become a little bit more aware of all the change and upheaval brewing though, though whether it’s because of me being so noticeably pregnant, or because of the move, or just her toddler sixth-sense, who knows. She’s been clingy AF lately (as has Daxter, as you can see in the pic above, lol), and is definitely going through a very severe “MY MOMMY” phase. Hopefully by the time this baby actually arrives, she’ll remember how much she loves babies in general, because I don’t think her little sibling will be as tolerant of being shoved out of my lap as the dogs are, hahahaha.

And I think that pretty well catches us up! Let me know if you think I missed out on anything, or if there’s anything you’re curious about — I know this was already a lot of post to slog through, so I’m sure I skipped something. And, as always, if you’re craving more insight into my oh-so-interesting (lol) life, feel free to follow me on Instagram where I update much more frequently. See you next time!

To Viability and Beyond! (Foxlet 2: 23.5 Weeks)

Howdy neighbors! Hope everyone is having a great… day? Week? Month? Season? Whichever you choose, I hope things are going well for you! My own isn’t shaping up to be too terrible, though it certainly does keep throwing a few curveballs my way to keep things fresh.

Penny is 20 months old and has firmly entered her bull in a china shop phase — she is a full-blown clumsy toddler, complete with spills and tumbles and our little family’s first real kid accident. As we were walking home from the playground the weekend before last, Penny tripped over her own two feet and landed literally face-first on the sidewalk. Pregnant or not, I don’t think I’ve ever moved so quickly before in my life. I scooped her up and ran her back inside, cleaned up her scratches, and continued to bawl for like 15 minutes (me, not her, of course. My tough girl stopped crying after like, 45 seconds, lol.)

She bumped her forehead in addition to scratching up her right cheek, but thankfully it was nothing worse than that. She didn’t really even mess with it as it was healing. It’s been a little over a week since then, and her face is almost totally healed up. And alas, I’m sure it’s just the first of many injuries for my wild girl — she is absolutely a march-to-her-own-beat kinda lady, always charging off on her own and wanting (well, demanding, really) to do everything herself. And she already got herself a brand new skinned knee (very lightly — phew!) yesterday, lol, sob, cry.

We also celebrated our Harry’s FIFTEENTH birthday a week or so ago! He definitely has been showing his age lately (::tear::), but also still has his moments where you see he’s still got some of that puppy-like spirit. They say that mini schnauzers retain some of their youthfulness right until the very end, and given how our ailing, arthritic old man still has his random bursts of energy, I believe it. We love you, old man!

On the work front, things have been great. As I mentioned in my last post, I was promoted at the beginning of April, and my coworkers & I got to film something for a fun national campaign Yelp is coming out with later this year!

Filming in the city was really fun, but super exhausting — I am totally already at that point in my pregnancy where I’m slowing wayyyy down. I’ll be 24 weeks on Friday, which is kinda exciting because that gestational age is often when the baby is considered officially “viable.” Which I think essentially means that if I were to go into premature labor or need to delivery crazy early due to my gestational hypertension (or if it were to progress into severe preeclampsia — knock on wood!), there’s a reasonable chance that the baby would survive.

Obviously I am hoping, praying, and taking every precaution to ensure that DOESN’T happen and this little bean continues to bake as long as it needs, but I did have a little bit of a scare last weekend with an all-day headache (one of the signs they told me to keep my eye on with regard to preeclampsia), feeling “off,” and even further elevated blood pressure, so I can’t take anything for granted.

Thankfully, everything is fine. My results are still negative for pre-e, baby looks great, and my blood pressure came back down after a couple hours in the hospital. I know it’s way better to be safe than sorry, but it probably goes without saying that I did not miss being sent to the hospital for this kinda thing. -_-

My next OB checkup is next week, and I’m hoping things remain stable and that I’ll get the go-ahead to be able to travel out to the Oregon Coast with my family next month, as my dad’s been planning a little family reunion with my relatives in Oregon for a while, and right now my ability to join is a bit up in the air.

Aside from all of that, things seem to be progressing pretty normally with my pregnancy. I’ve got some pretty bad tailbone pain and every time I sneeze or cough too hard there’s like an 75% chance I either pee a little or throw up in my mouth (PREGNANCY IS A BEAUTIFUL AND GLORIOUS TIME), but I really can’t complain too much because at this point with my first pregnancy I’m pretty sure I still felt like total crap. I have been experiencing some anxiety over all of the “unknown” stuff in my life right now — how my pregnancy will progress, our moving situation, work changes, etc — but I’ve been continuing to see my therapist throughout all of these big transitions and it’s been really helpful just to have that additional outlet to talk through everything.

Anyway, that’s where everything is at right now! Cheers!

Halfway There! (Foxlet 2: 20 Weeks)

Well whaddya know, just like that *Thanos snap* another month has come and gone, so I guess that means it’s time for my now-monthly blog updates (::sob::). I swear, I really do want to be posting more frequently but life is an insane mess these days and my personal blogging has fallen so far off the priority list that it actually depresses me. But hey, instead of dwelling in the doldrums about it, let’s dive right into all that aforementioned insanity, shall we?

LIFE

Jenny and the kiddos came up to visit during Mia’s Spring Break, so we got to spend lots of family time together and even braved the ridonkulous tourist traffic to go see the cherry blossoms in DC! Nothing like having visitors to finally get you to take advantage of the cool stuff that exists in your backyard that you totally ignore on a daily basis, lol.

We also celebrated my birthday a bit early while they were still in town with a giant dual-family dinner… which honestly ended up being kind of a disaster hahahaha.

I don’t know why I thought that 11 adults, 2 kids, 2 toddlers, and a baby out at a restaurant was a good idea in the first place, but I was already skating on thin ice with the entire idea… and then Penny ended up barely napping that day and thus was a total clingy overtired NIGHTMARE the entire time (save for the first 15 minutes when we took these photos lololol).

She only wanted to sit on (not with, ON) me, wanted to run amuck the whole time, was continuously melting down into a puddle of tears and tantrums, and even ended up shimmying out of her diaper right there in the restaurant partway through. I even spilled an entirely full glass of iced tea all over myself trying to wrangle her at one point, lol. At least we were in a semi-private area and at the restaurant really early so it wasn’t too terrible for other diners, but it was… not the best. But hey, I tried! And I learned a valuable lesson too, which is that dinner celebrations like this will either A) take place at home or B) involve a babysitter in the future.

Things went much smoother on my actual birthday the following week, where Sean surprised me by taking me out to one of my favorite sushi spots, Penny was muuuuch better behaved, and our waitress was in complete love with her so it made for a very pleasant evening all in all. And it was a great day in general because I also caught a movie and had lunch with my parents and mother-in-law (who actually shares the same birthday with me!) earlier that day.

Not a bad way to ring in my 31st year!

MOVING

We are still deep in the throes of packing up our stuff, preparing our house to be listed, and moving. Things slowed down a wee bit on that front for a little while, but we’re back on the train and things are starting to chug along again. Just trying to go through all of our crap, living amongst stacks of boxes and piles of stuff, figuring out what to pack up first, what to sell, what to keep but keep accessible, etc, has been one of the biggest things affecting my stress and anxiety lately (let alone getting to the point of actually listing and selling this place, lol) but I’m trying to keep everything in perspective. Trying being the operative word, of course, but just like the process of moving in general, I am a work in progress, heh.

WORK

Things are continuing to chug along at work, too. I actually received a promotion a few weeks ago, so you’re now looking at the Senior Community Director of Yelp here in Northern VA! The parameters of my job aren’t changing much, which is great because I love what I do and want to continue doing exactly that, but it does come with a few added opportunities, responsibilities, and perks so that’s a definite plus. We’ve got a lot of exciting initiatives, campaigns, and fun stuff coming down the pipeline, so now the trick is figuring out the balance between keeping work a top priority, and also not letting it get me even more stressed out given everything else I’ve got going on, haha. (And also starting the painstaking process of planning for my maternity leave!)

PENNY

Penny continues to be just the absolute light of my life. She is 100% a full-blown TODDLER now (see above story about my early birthday dinner, lol), but she’s also got so much personality (she’s FUNNY!), is starting to show imagination and creativity, is starting to actually sit through full books being read to her, reacts to scenes happening in movies (“Oh no!” “Uh oh!!” “Yayyyyy!!”), cheese for the camera, and is just the biggest joy.

She’s still a pretty good eater, although admittedly is starting to get a little pickier. She primarily alternates between great days (she had salad last night!) and good days, with the occasional yogurt-and-chicken-nuggets-only day thrown in there. Her favorite foods are eggs, cherry tomatoes, bananas, yogurt melts, and whatever Mommy is trying to eat.

She’ll be 20 months (!!) in a short 12 days, and I continue to be simply flabbergasted at how the time is flying by. She’s wearing 24 month/2T clothing, weighs around 28 pounds, and is a little over 34″ tall (maybe 34.5? Haven’t measured here since her 18 month appointment but I do think she’s sprouted up a bit since then.) We love our giant girl!

BABY FOXLET

And finally, an update on how Baby Foxlet #2 is doing — which is great! We had our anatomy scan on Monday and everything looks normal, which is the best word you can hear when you’re lying on the table and they’re scrutinizing every little artery and bone and body part. Sean is still holding fast to not wanting to find out the sex of the baby, so we’re still keeping it hush-hush, although I just couldn’t hold out myself (shocking, lol), so I do know myself. Hopefully Sean will crack sooner rather than later so I can announce it though! Any guesses?

Alas, while our little bean’s checkup went hunky-dory, my own 20 week checkup was a bit less golden. I clocked in some high blood pressure, which isn’t great. Some of you may remember my preeclampsia diagnosis with my first pregnancy which involved several blood pressure spikes, being sent to the hospital a couple times, then eventually being put on bedrest and being induced at 37 weeks on the dot.

My doctor prepared me that previous preeclampsia might mean I have an increased chance of getting it again, so while I can’t say I’m surprised that this could potentially be a sign of that, I am just a little worried about it presenting itself so much earlier this time. I know everything happens sooner in subsequent pregnancies than in your first (hello my belly!), but given that I’m 21 weeks tomorrow, it’s just a much longer time to try and manage my blood pressure (if that’s what this is.)

However, there is a chance that it’s just stress-related, or maybe even just a bit of a fluke reading (I swear that just getting my blood pressure checked makes my blood pressure go up because I get so nervous about it now!). And “just” having high blood pressure doesn’t necessarily mean I have or are going to develop pre-e again (gestational hypertension is a thing in and of itself), but they have started me on blood pressure medication and I’m going back next week for another check. Fingers crossed!

And that just about catches us up, I think! Today my goal is to get as much done as I can while also trying to reduce my stress and anxiety levels. I got a pretty good night’s sleep last night for the first time in a loooong time, I have a massage scheduled for later (woot!!), and I’m working guided meditations with my Calm app back into my routine (I was doing really well with that for a while, but it kind of slipped off my radar).

As I’ve been feeling a bit better lately sickness- and energy-wise, I’m trying to work more regular exercise back into my life again as well. I did a yoga class (highly modified, lol) on Tuesday and it was great (though humbling, since folding forward and scrunching my body up isn’t the easiest thing these days), and I’m going on lots more walks outside with Penny since the weather has been so lovely lately. Hopefully it’ll all pay off with lowered (or at least maintained) blood pressure and feeling better in general!

Holiday Hubbub!

Hi and hello there! I hope everyone is having a fantastic lead-in to Christmas week! This month has been a complete and utter whirlwind so far, but in the best possible way! I’ve been staying really busy with work, family, time with friends, and gearing up for our trip to my sister’s for Christmaaaaas!

Somehow despite the craziness that everyone is dealing with, we found time to ring in my brother Ben’s 35th birthday with a little family dinner celebration. Marnie is so flippin’ cute! I can’t wait to see her experience her first Christmas.

Other festive celebrations included getting together with a group of my wonderful mommy friends for a playdate and surprisingly successful cookie decorating party!

Not quite as successful was the attempted group photo of the kiddos, but, hey, at least we get points for trying?

And since we’re doing Christmas with my family again this year, we also had a little mini Christmas dinner with Sean’s family last weekend. We’ll also be seeing them again for Christmas Part II when we get back, but Sean’s mom had a couple of gifts for Penny to open (she still doesn’t really “get” opening gifts, but I had fun opening them! Haha), and we had a damn fine dinner. Plus, the Foxes always have their house decorated so perfectly for the holidays!

It hasn’t all been sunny and positive and fun festive things, though. Unfortunately on Monday Harry had an accident where he tore one of his toenails off, and apparently doggy foot wounds bleed a LOT (it seriously looked like a murder scene), so I totally flipped out and rushed him to the pup ER. Luckily, he’s okay but has to wear the cone of shame for a while so he doesn’t continue to mess with it. My poor old man dog!

But back on the positive side, I also had the opportunity to attend our very first Yelp Holiday Party with the new DC office! My fellow community managers and besties, Mike, Kimberly (and our boss Tara), have always had a little lunch celebration of our own in years past (and we did so again this year), but it is kind of a cool perk of having a “real” office here now that we also get a “real” holiday party!

My final work events are officially done with for the year, so this week has been primarily about wrapping up the year and getting ready (and mentally prepared) for the road trip down to Atlanta! It’s going to be Penny’s longest (by FAR) car trip yet, plus we’re taking all three members of the Schnauzer Squad…. should be an adventure!

 

I asked for tips on how to survive the trip on Instagram, and got some amazing ideas, so THANK YOU if you’re one of the ones who responded. We’re going to try to do it one go (with contingencies and backup plans, lol), so I got a bunch of new toys and books to offer Penny throughout the trip, and we will be loaded up with sooooo many snacks… it’s gonna be fine, right? RIGHT??

Honestly, I’m not even sure why I’m so nervous about the trip. It’s not even like I’ve never made this drive before! I’ve done it with my sister and HER kids (and even her dogs once or twice!), but for some reason now that it’s gonna be with Sean and Penny and my gaggle of high-strung terriers, I’m feeling pretty anxious.

But hey, it’ll all work out, right? I mean, just look at this face! And, of course, I’m really really looking forward to being together with my WHOLE family for Christmas again this year. Bring on the gingerbread house and cookie decorating and present wrapping and eggnog drinking and all the general holiday hubbub! Also, my sister and I are running a 5K on Christmas Eve so, you know, if you’re gonna be sending good thoughts into the universe for our road trip, please add a couple extra ones for that, lollllll cry.

I hope that you all have the very happiest of holidays, a very merry Christmas, and an absolutely wonderful New Year if I don’t make it back for another update before then!