Penny’s Birth Story

Huzzah! We’ve successfully managed to keep our tiny human alive for over two weeks! Though we are still getting the hang of this whole parenting thing, and the lack of sleep is definitely catching up to us, I didn’t want to wait too much longer to jot down the details of Penny’s birth story lest I forget anything.

So, first off, let me say this: every totally annoying, super cliche thing you’ve ever heard about childbirth and motherhood is 100% accurate: it is incredible, entirely life-altering, and no matter how much I’d read or heard or felt I’d prepared (and truly, I thought I was prepared!), there’s no way I could fully understand it until I, well, went through it. The act of giving birth was, for me, a truly transformative experience. Trite as it sounds, I honestly can’t believe I’d lived my life for 29 years without this little nugget — or that I was so scared of the changes that becoming a mother would bring. Penelope has indeed rocked our world, but in only the best, most positive way.

Now, I’m sure this will come as no shock to those of you who’ve been following my pregnancy, but I don’t tend to hold back the TMI details here when it comes to her birth story. So if you’ve come across this post as my casual Facebook acquaintance and decidedly do NOT want or need to know all about dilation, contractions, and all the other nitty gritty labor details, here’s the tl;dr version:

Much to my surprise (I am the girl who got married in a blizzard, after all), my induction went exactly as planned — smoothly and without complication! I was officially induced at 7 AM on Wednesday, August 30th and at 6:07 PM, Penelope Spencer Fox was born!

For those of you interested in hearing juuuuust a little more (lulz) than that, go ahead and strap yourselves in. Or, you know, scroll and skim through, because this is probably going to be overwrought and overly detailed to the point of serious annoyance.

As we all know, I was diagnosed with pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure) 34 weeks into my pregnancy, which eventually progressed to preeclampsia. As a result, my doctors recommended we induce labor at 37 weeks due to the risks to both baby and myself. The plan was pretty simple: I was to go to the hospital the night before I hit 37 weeks (Tuesday the 29th) to start ripening my cervix (dilating), then would be officially induced the following morning.

Now, knowing the exact date that you’re going to have a baby (and basically picking her birthday!) ahead of time was quite the mind-twist for me. I will say, however, that despite any anxiety I was feeling with regard to my medical issues and the process of induction itself, it was kind of nice in a Type A, love-to-plan kinda way to know exactly when I’d be going into labor, lol.

In fact, my day leading up to going to the hospital ended up being pretty nice! I tried to keep myself busy so that I wouldn’t dwell too much on what was to come, so I went for my final prenatal massage, got a pedicure + my eyebrows waxed, and enjoyed a visit from a friend. I also made sure to take a shower, washed my hair, triple-checked my hospital bag, got in some final extra pre-baby puppy cuddles with Harry & Daxter, and took care of the final items on my work to-do list.

When Sean got home from work around 5 PM, we packed up an overnight bag for him, loaded the dogs into the car, and headed into Falls Church to drop them off at my parents’ house. My doctors all told me to make sure I ate a good meal before checking into the hospital, so I made arrangements for my parents to pick up food from my favorite restaurant, and had dinner with my entire family before heading off to the hospital. I did experience a burst of emotion when Sean and I arrived at my parents’ place, as what was about to happen started to hit me, but I didn’t have too long to fixate on it. After all, we had a very important appointment to keep!

We arrived at Inova Fairfax for our 7:30 PM appointment and checked in at the Labor & Delivery registration desk. We were led to room 123 — same as our wedding date! — and I had a chance to settle in and change into the labor gown I brought from home (it’s this one, if you’re interested!) as the nurses prepped.

A few pokes and prods later, I was set up with a saline-lock IV so that they’d later be able to administer my induction medications and intravenous fluids. Alas, getting an IV is never a fun experience for me, as I have deep, hard-to-find veins. They had to stick me twice, ultimately putting it in on the side of my wrist because there was no other good vein they could find — ouch! I was also set up with fetal + contraction monitors, as well as a blood pressure cuff that went off every 15 minutes.

It took quite a while to get all of that set up, plus I had to answer questions about my medical history and go over what would be happening. My doctor had me set up to receive a drug called Cytotec that would help dilate my cervix in anticipation of being induced, and I was to receive a low dose pill every 3 hours. Unfortunately (don’t say I didn’t warn you about the TMI thing!) I had to receive the pill vaginally — which means exactly what you think it means. Every 3 hours, the nurse would give me a cervical check to see how dilated I was and  then shoved a little pill all up in there — not gonna lie, it was a very uncomfortable process.  I tell you, the cervical checks at the hospital were not nearly as quick or gentle as the ones I had received previously at my OB’s office.

ANYWAY.

The first dose of Cytotec was administered around 9 PM, and I received another two doses at 3 hour intervals — midnight and 3 AM. My nurse disconnected me from my various monitors to try to allow me to get some sleep but, given that I was always waiting for the next, er, rather invasive dosage (not to mention all the general excitement and anticipation), I only ended up getting like two hours worth of sleep in total. Sean was able to conk out though, despite his less-than-stellar sleeping arrangements (a chair that pulled out into what we’ll generously call a “bed”), which was good because I needed at least one of us to be well-rested and level-headed for what was to come!

I didn’t feel much different after the first dose of Cytotec, which made sense because nothing really happened in those first three hours. After I received my second dose, however, I started to feel very mild contractions. They weren’t painful, and it made me happy that it felt like something was happening! These contractions really just felt a lot like Braxton-Hicks at this point, and they continued as I got my third dose, increasing very slightly in intensity as morning came. They were still so mild, though, that in addition to watching lots of Scrubs reruns on my iPad overnight, I was also able to do my makeup as I waited for things to really get kickin’ in the morning. Priorities, y’know? 😉

 
A little before 7 AM, my nurse came back in to check me again and informed me that after all that work the night before, I was at… 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Womp womp. I was kind of discouraged to hear that I had only progressed a single centimeter overnight, but my nurse informed me that it was actually good progress considering my cervix was completely closed and long when we started.

Doctor’s orders were to begin my Pitocin drip at 7 to officially start my induction, so they hooked up my IV and we were off to the races! Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin — the hormone that is released during labor that tells your uterus to contract and your cervix to dilate. Basically, it’s what lets your body know that it’s baby time! And the Pit definitely works, I tell you what. They started me off on a very low dose and increased it every 15 – 30 minutes, and my contractions began ramping up in frequency and intensity almost immediately! While it took 10 hours for that first centimeter, by the time my doctor came in to check on me at 8:30 AM, I’d gone from 1 to 3 cm!

My doctor was happy with how things had been progressing, so she went ahead and broke my water. They use a plastic hook thing that looks alarmingly like a crochet hook, and it was a painless procedure — just made me feel like I was leaking, haha. My doctor suggested that I put in my request for an epidural at this point as well, as breaking the water really tends to increase the intensity and pain of contractions. Plus, it could take upwards of an hour for the anesthesiologist to get to you once you put in the request. I followed her advice and was sooooooo glad that I did, as my contractions ramped up VERY rapidly, to the point where I was now doing the whole comical HEE-HOO-HOO type of breathing and closing my eyes to get through them.

As soon as I got that epi though — sweet, sweet relief! I couldn’t feel a single contraction anymore and it was absolutely fabulous. My mom and mother-in-law arrived at the hospital and I was just happily chatting away with them – that stuff really is magic, ahahaha. The process of getting the epidural wasn’t bad either — the worst pain was from the initial needle poke that you get when they put numbing stuff into your back. I won’t lie, that did hurt (made my eyes well up with tears, and I feel like I have a relatively high pain threshold for needles + shots), but I didn’t feel the epidural needle or catheter going in at all.

The medicine started working within like, 5 minutes, and I seriously felt like a whole new person! You hear a lot of epidural horror stories out there, but I think it worked pretty well on me. No more contraction pain, and it didn’t give me dead legs or make me feel all doped up or anything like that. I felt some numbness at the tops of my thighs but still had full control over my legs and could easily turn from side to side, etc. My only negative side effect was that my skin got quite itchy — which is apparently a very normal, if slightly uncomfortable, reaction.

Once the epidural was in, it was really just a matter of hanging out and waiting for things to progress. The doctor came back in around noon, and I was excited to see how much progress I had made in the four hours since she broke my water. Came to find out I had dilated… a whole whopping centimeter more. 4 cm and 60% effaced, wooooooo. I was, once again, a bit discouraged by this, but my doctor once again reassured me that things were looking good, and told me that labor progresses kind of exponentially. It can be very slow to get those first centimeters, but you can progress very quickly the further along you get. She’d be back to check in on me again in — you guessed it — four more hours.

The hospital provides a peanut ball in each delivery room — basically an exercise ball that’s literally shaped like a peanut — which I also started utilizing at this point. It’s supposed to help open your pelvis, encourage dilation, and help get the baby to slide into position, all of which I was definitely aaaaall for. You keep it between your legs, and I alternated laying on my right and left sides to change up my position. Then I just kept my fingers crossed that things would start moving along a little more quickly — I think I was getting impatient, heh.

I’d now been at the hospital for like 18 hours, and the previous night’s dinner was becoming a distant memory. Now that my contraction pain had dissipated, I could focus on the fact that I was HANGRY, and the hospital-approved consumables of water, popsicles, and jello were simply not cutting it. Now, I’m a big believer in following doctor’s instructions and hospital rules, but I do think it’s total bullhockey that you’re not allowed to eat anything while you’re in labor. As if, you know, pushing a watermelon through a bagel-sized hole doesn’t REQUIRE STRENGTH OR ENERGY OR ANYTHING. So I totally had Sean sneak me bites of Panera mac ‘n’ cheese while the nurses were out of the room, and also plowed through my stash of contraband granola bars while we were waiting around.

At around 3:30 PM, I started feeling a lot of pressure down there, paired with the feeling like I needed to take a biiiiiig ol’ poop. My baby books, the internet, and the hospital nurses had all prepared me for the fact that feeling you have to go to the bathroom is a sign that you’re getting really close. I wasn’t at I’m-gonna-crap-my-pants-immediacy yet, but I let the nurses know, and since the doctor was supposed to be coming back to check on me around 4:30 anyway, we decided to wait for her.

Well, shockingly, patience has never really been my strong suit, and after about 20 minutes of waiting, things started to really feel like they were escalating. I very quickly started to feel some serious downtown pushdowns, so the nurses called the doctor to let her know that things were speeding up. Alas, my doctor still wasn’t able to make it back to me until almost 4:30, which was about the time she was supposed to come back around anyway, lol. She checked me, then had one of the nurses who was new & still in training check me as well (with my permission, of course) to see how much of my cervix she could still feel. Well, turns out it was kind of a trick question, because I was fully dilated to 10 cm and what she was actually feeling was baby’s head!

Despite having held it together really well (especially considering it’s, you know, ME) since checking into the hospital, this was the moment where I promptly started freaking out and crying. After all, I knew what 10 cm meant! And despite having been in the hospital for 20 hours at this point, and in active labor for 9 or 10 hours, it really didn’t feel quite real until that moment.

Alas, I’d have plenty of time to check my emotions, as my doctor informed me that all three of her laboring patients had reached 10 cm at like the same time (ha!), and she had one mom she wanted to deliver before me (she referred to her as her “troublemaker,” so I assume she had some complications.) “Can you wait 20 or 30 minutes?” she asked me, as if A) I had a choice, and B) I had any idea if I would be able to wait or not, lol. I’d never done this before, after all! I nodded meekly and proceeded to turn onto my back… where I stayed basically just trying not to move until the doctor returned almost an HOUR LATER for fear of, like, accidentally sneezing and pooping out my baby. In retrospect, of course, I realize that my rationality may have started escaping me at this point.

I had Sean turn on my delivery playlist (which, sidenote: I received lots of compliments on it from all the nurses and my doctor, so if anyone is interested in putting something similar together, here’s a link! It’s full of super chill music that really helped me remain calm and focused leading up to and during the actual delivery) and after a while, the nurses came in and told me that my doctor was on her way back, and I was allowed to start pushing now!

I gotta say, despite all my prep work, all the research and reading and forum-surfing and obsessing I had done, I still was not prepared for what the actual experience of pushing would be like. I knew that you were supposed to bear down as if you were going #2, but the reality was still just nothing I could have expected. You lie there with your legs held back, do a stomach crunch with your chin to your chest, and push literally as hard as you can for ten seconds at a time, three times in a row — trying to time your pushes with the contractions that you can’t really feel (although I did feel the down-there pressure increase each time I was having a contraction, so I tried my best to go with that.)

I don’t know what I was really thought, if I was expecting that just you got to 10 cm and — whoosh! — suddenly your baby slides on out of you, but it was definitely a lot of work and it was really exhausting both physically and emotionally. I was straight up sobbing for the last five or ten minutes of pushing, partially from the effort I was expending, partially from the pain (the epidural had gotten rid of my contraction pain, but I could still feel a lot of what was happening “down there,” especially as she actually came out — urk!), and, of course, mostly from the sheer emotional weight of it all. I am happy to report, however, that unlike some 80-90% of women giving birth, I did NOT poop on the table as I was pushing — it’s the little victories, y’know?

 
After pushing for about forty minutes, at 6:07 PM on Wednesday, August 30th, amidst huge, heaving sobs, our beautiful daughter was born!

They placed her on my chest immediately for a minute of skin-to-skin contact while Sean cut the cord, and then she was whisked over to the baby scale to take her measurements while I delivered my placenta (didn’t even notice this happening) and my doctor stitched me up (kinda felt it). I had a second-degree tear, which, according to my doctor is pretty normal for first-time deliveries. And as we already know, Penny herself was pretty perfect at 19.75 inches long and 6 pounds, 15 ounces! She was born still covered in vernix, the cream-cheesy-looking substance that protects babies’ skin while in the womb (it is usually gone by the time full-term babies are born), so they also wiped her down a bit and gave our little Penelope Spencer back to us to keep.

We didn’t have her name picked out going into labor, but had a list of our top 5 choices that I was planning on “trying out” on her once she was born. As soon as they placed her on my chest, though, I just knew right away that she was our little Lucky Penny — didn’t even give a second thought to the other names on our list.

Her middle name comes from my paternal grandmother, Gretchen Spencer Powell, who I was named after. I also have an uncle and a cousin Spencer, and the Powell side is big on family names, hehe. She also has a Chinese name that my mother bestowed upon her: 美玲 (Mei Ling). It means “beautiful bell” which is accurate IMO. 😛

And who knows, her name might end up being the most Chinese thing about her, since even though Sean and I are both half-Asian, Penelope popped out with — I’m not kidding — a head full of golden peach-fuzz hair! We, along with our families, our doctor, and all the nurses, were pretty surprised at that one! I mean, even my quarter-Asian niece Mia, who now has light brown locks, was born with black hair, hahaha. Penny’s has already gotten a bit darker though, so we’ll have to see where she ends up! (With her eyes too — she was born with dark grey-blue eyes, like many newborns, and they still haven’t really changed so I can’t wait to see what color they end up either!)

Anyway, after a bit more time getting cleaned up, we were transferred up to our recovery room, where Penelope got to meet our patiently-waiting family members!

And just like that, our lives were changed forever — and immeasurably for the better. I can’t believe Penny’s already been in our lives for over two weeks! It’s also so weird to think that, under “normal” circumstance and had I not been induced early, we wouldn’t even have met her yet, because I already can’t imagine what my life was like without her in it.

And that’s the whooooole story, in far more detail than you were probably expecting or wanting. You already know about the bit of extra drama we experienced upon bringing her home, but otherwise she’s a really great baby. Sleeps well, nurses well, doesn’t cry much — I know all of those things can change in a heartbeat, but for now we’re just grateful to have such a great little girl and are really enjoying getting to know her! Basically, she’s awesome and we feel really fracking lucky that she’s, well, ours.

Foxlet: Week 26 (Glucose Screen Results + Nursery Sneak Peek!)

Aloha! We’re back with another update — and actual things are happening… good and bad lol! Let’s jump in, shall we?

Foxlet’s Size: Foxlet’s just under 2 pounds and about the size of a head of lettuce or package of Oreos.

Weight Gained: My scale ran out of batteries and apparently I have like 6 boxes of AA batteries but nary a single AAA battery in my house, so I’m not really sure where I’m at this week. But I think I might’ve gained another pound or so, which would bring me back up to to -5 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight.

Symptoms: Eh, heartburn, insomnia, SPD, general uncomfortableness… there’s not a whole lot of new stuff going on with me physically. Just some more unfortunate-but-normal stuff, which seems to be pretty much par for the course with me.

Foxlet is SUPER ACTIVE (not sure where she’s getting her athleticism from, because it certainly ain’t her couch-potato mama) and loves twirling around and punching and kicking me to high Heaven. Sean was able to feel her kicking from the outside for the first time last week, which was a really special moment for us. I think the “realness” of this whole thing is finally starting to set in for him — he’s been super sweet about rubbing and talking to my belly, and has been really into discussions about baby names and baby stuff lately too. 🙂

I’m also already deep into nesting mode — my baby shower isn’t for another few weeks, but I haven’t been able to help myself from starting to set up a few things already. Which, I know, is kind of silly because I still have months to go, but I can’t help it! Nesting! The nesting is real!

Our plan is to have her sleep in the bassinet we got in our bedroom for the first however-long and then transition her into her crib in her room downstairs when she’s sleeping “through the night” (whatever that means at the time, lol.) Our bedroom isn’t very big, with two big closets taking up an entire wall, so we just kind of have to make it work by shifting some things around (including Harry & Daxter’s beds, haha.)

Luckily, we don’t really use that one side of the closet that much anyway — it mainly houses Sean’s and my fancier clothing — suits and cocktail dresses and whatnot.

Emotions: Sooooo, as I mentioned last week, I had my 1-hour glucose screening test…

…and I failed with a blood sugar level of 146 (my OB office’s cutoff is 135). Womp wompity womp.

Not gonna lie, I was SUPER bummed out about failing my initial screening. Like, crying on the phone to the poor woman who had to call me with my results. And then crying to Sean about it. And then crying to my sister. This is despite already knowing that lots of women fail the 1-hour test, and many of those who do fail go on to pass the 3-hour test. (Dr. Google says anywhere from one-third to one-half of tested women fail the 1-hour screen, while only 3 – 9% of pregnant women actually have legit gestational diabetes.)

Well, even being aware of all that beforehand, I was still pretty upset when I got the call and am distinctly NOT looking forward to having to do the more invasive tolerance test. ESPECIALLY considering the lab tech who drew my blood last time left me looking like I’d been in some kind of weirdly specific forearm fight:

Le sigh. Anyway, my doctor’s office didn’t make it seem like it was too urgent for me to take my 3-hour glucose tolerance test, so I’m doing it at the end of this month. Basically, I get to drink another super sweet glucose drink (TBH I kind of liked the first one — it tasted kinda like super sweet non-fizzy Fanta), and then they draw my blood 4 times over the course of 3 hours (once at the beginning to establish a baseline, I believe, and then again at hours 1, 2, and 3.)

If my blood sugar is elevated outside of the normal range for 2 of the 3 blood draws, I get officially diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Which means I’ll have to go see an endocrinologist and follow a special diet and have to do those finger prick things and maybe even potentially have to give myself insulin shots! Buuuuuuuut, before I spin out of control (again), I just need to remember that those are all attached to a big “if” at this point.

So for now, I’m going to try to remain hopeful that I’m in the 20-plus percent of women that will go on to pass my 3-hour, and if I do end up having GD, I’ll cross that bridge then. After all, Foxlet’s health is obviously the most important thing here, so of course if those things need to happen, they’re gonna happen. But it doesn’t mean I’m gonna be happy about any of it, lol.

Cravings/Aversions: Been craving lots of sweet things — fruit, desserts, bubble tea. Maybe it’s my mind telling me to get in my sugars while I can, just in case I do end up having to go on a stricter diet, lol. No real aversions right now though, so continued yays there!

Sleep: Sleep is a tricky thing. When I do finally fall asleep, I think I sleep pretty hard. But the actual falling asleep part is really hard. I get uncomfortable staying in one position for too long, but sometimes it hurts to change positions while lying down because of my aforementioned SPD. Plus, my acid reflux means sometimes I need to be laying kind of upright so as not to aggravate my esophagus. I continue to be very grateful that I work from home and don’t have to adhere to a super early alarm clock.

Purchases: I went ahead and ordered a Nanit baby monitor — they’re backordered until August, so I figured I’d go ahead and bite the bullet now. Calling itself the “Tesla of baby monitors,” this monitor is supposed to provide a great quality picture, secure access via your phone, includes temperature + humidity sensors, a special night light that’s not supposed to wake the baby when you go check on her, and white noise/nature sounds functionality as well.

Plus, the “Nanit Insights” feature (an extra subscription) stores video from throughout the night and even compiles a little highlight video for you each morning so you can check on how well the baby did the night before. It has a bunch of sleep analysis features as well that are supposed to let you know how well your baby slept, and help you figure out sleep improvements and whatnot. Which, eh, I’m mildly skeptical of how accurate/scientific that part of it all is, but I’m sure it’ll still be fun and interesting for us, haha.

I was also lucky to receive a couple more baby gifts this week, so in addition to getting her bassinet set up in our own bedroom, I have wasted no time starting to get Foxlet’s room in order as well. Sean’s parents very generously gifted us with our crib and mattress, and I just couldn’t keep myself from setting it up!

Man, talk about making this whole thing feel real! A crib feels VERY REAL, let me tell you.

It’s taking a bit of time to figure out how everything’s going to work in her room, as our house only has two bedrooms, so her room is also our guestroom. So it was already full of furniture that I’m trying to repurpose for the baby as best I can. The main thing is trying to work around the bed, which I’m reluctant to get rid of because I think it’s sure to come in handy after she’s born — whether for actual guests or just for me, haha.

So setting up her room is involving a lot of trial-and-error, shifting things around, and just seeing where things fit (or don’t.) For example, in order to fit the crib in there at all, we have to push the bed pretty far over to one side (it used to be centered in between the two windows). It’s not ideal, but I think it kinda works? I’ll be playing with the layout of everything a lot more, so I guess we’ll see how it all ends up.

So there are still tons of changes to come, of course, along with swapping out a bunch of the current decor, adding new stuff, and performing a general girlification of the room, hehe. But consider this your very first peek at what Foxlet’s nursery will be like!

I also haven’t decided if I like the cranes pulled to the side like curtains (how it is pictured above), or if I want to cut some of the strands so they all hang straight down (the way they used to), but in a way that kinda forms an arch over/around the crib. It’s probably kind of hard to visualize, but… thoughts? If I leave it as it is now, I’ll definitely be putting a decal or some artwork or something on the wall in the middle.

In other news: I’ve put together a rough birth plan document and pre-registered at the hospital (for anyone who’s familiar with the local hospital system, I’ll be delivering at INOVA Fairfax), and am now looking into birth classes for Sean and me to take. Although, I have heard some mixed things about taking birth classes.

Some friends say they really loved theirs and thought it was really valuable, and some have said it didn’t really provide any new information and was kind of a waste of time/money. As someone who is neurotic Google-happy watches a lot of medical tv shows prone to doing tons of research and self-education anyway, I am wondering if I’ll fall into the latter category. I mean, I’ve already read through like 3 baby books, am constantly perusing the BabyCenter forums, and am listening to the Pregnancy Podcast every night before bed soooooo… lol.

I imagine birth classes are one of those things that can’t possibly hurt to do (and might be especially great to get Sean more comfortable with things), but I’d love to hear from you guys on whether you felt taking a birth class was necessary (or, if not necessary, then at least warranted.)

Anyway, that certainly catches us up (and then some!) to what’s been going on lately. See you in week 27!

Foxlet: Weeks 23 – 25

Hihi! Wow, I’m definitely overdue for an update! Time is really starting to fly — I feel like I’m staring down the barrel of my third trimester, and things keep moving more and more quickly. I spent last week in Atlanta with my also-pregnant sister, getting to see my beautiful nieces and going on what we dubbed our #sistermoon!

Basically, we booked ourselves an overnight stay at a fancy spa, ate some fancy meals, and spent some serious QT together. It was pretty great! Of course, the actual pregnancy pampering stuff was only a small part of my visit — I spent the rest of the time partying with my awesome nieces and scaring people away with how white my belly is, ahaha:

 

I also got to attend Mia’s very first dance recital! She was a little rockstar, and I got to experience what it must be like to be a pageant mom by loading up a 4-year-old with makeup and a sock bun.

It was a great trip, though one that ended a little more bittersweetly than usual when I realized that it might be the last time I see my nieces for quite a while! I’ll get to see my sister again in a few weeks when she comes up for my baby shower, but I might not see the girls until Christmas! Which, yes, okay, I realize isn’t really that far away, but given that I’m accustomed to getting to see them pretty much every other month, it certainly feels like eons. Although Sean pointed out that I miiiiiight have a few other things on my mind in the interim anyway, so maybe it really will seem like no time at all, lol.

And speaking of those other things, on with the Foxlet update?

Foxlet’s Size: At 25 weeks (today!), she is apparently the size of a myriad of different fruits: cantaloupe, rutabaga, acorn squash? Take your pick. She’s also apparently the size of a baseball mitt, which seems ginormous!

Weight Gained: I have officially gained another pound, which brings me back up to 7 pounds below my “starting” weight.

Symptoms: The past few weeks have been good on the food/nausea front (thank goodness!) but kind of terrible on the aches & pains front. I’ve been dealing with some pretty harsh SPD, or symphysis pubis dysfunction (also referred to as pelvic girdle pain), which basically means that because my ligaments have gone all loosey goosey to make it easier to, y’now, squeeze a watermelon out of my hoo-haa, the alignment of my pelvis has gotten a little out of whack. It’s very painful to change positions in bed when I’m laying down, and hurts to do things that requires putting weight on one leg (like putting on/taking off pants or getting out of my car.)

I’m also dealing with some heartburn and insomnia, which I’m actually pretty used to since non-pregnant Gretchen had heartburn/acid reflux and don’t really sleep all that well anyway. Both just seem to be popping up a little more frequently is all. Also a symptom lately:

PREGNANCY BRAIN IS SO REAL.

Emotions: LOL, what do you think? After I got back from my trip, I literally cried into Sean’s shirt for like 15 minutes straight over how much I missed him, how I missed the dogs so much, how I wouldn’t see the girls until Christmas… not to mention the fact that every episode of Grey’s Anatomy that I’m rewatching right now turns me into a potential tear-bomb. Basically, if you see me, there’s like a 70% chance I’m either currently crying, just cried, or am about to cry. Just ignore it.

Cravings: Still craving fresh fruit and raw veggies, along with all things sushi-related… le sigh. Cooked rolls are delicious, of course, but they just don’t fill the void that salmon nigiri has left in my life.

Aversions: No real specific or strong aversions have popped back up, so huzzah!

Sleep: As mentioned, I’ve been battling insomnia every few of nights, and have to sleep with like 3849283498 pillows (much to Sean’s delight.) My mom surprise gifted me with a new body pillow though, which I slept with last night and am in looooooorve with.

Purchases: Haven’t made any personal baby-related purchases lately, but I have been extremely fortunate to be the recipient of several gifts lately — including the entire stockpile of baby girl clothes that have lasted my sister through raising two awesome little girls. I brought an entire extra suitcase with me to Atlanta, and was only able to fit like a third of the stuff she’s handing over to me!

I feel super blessed to be able to get so much awesome clothing (granted, much of which I think I bought for Mia & Kira in the first place, lol) and baby stuff. It’s definitely nurturing that nesting feeling, too. I just want to get everything here, put away, and organized in her room. 🙂

In other news: Tomorrow morning I go in for my glucose screening test, which involves me drinking a super sweet drink and then getting my blood drawn an hour later to check and see if I’m at risk for gestational diabetes. Whether or not I could have GD has weighed on me pretty heavily so far this pregnancy, so even though I really hope that I don’t, I’m thinking it’ll be a relief just to know either way. (Well, technically even if I test positive on this screening, it doesn’t necessarily mean I have it for sure, but that I’ll have to undergo an additional, secondary blood test to find out.) So… onward!

 

Foxlet: Week 19

 
Foxlet’s Size: Foxlet is the size of an heirloom tomato according to one app, a mango according to another, and, according to a third, a hot dog! Which feels more than coincidental, considering I’ve eaten a hot dog every day for the past 5 days.

Weight Gained: I think I’ve gained another pound-ish, so I’m slowly edging back up towards my pre-pregnancy weight, yay!

Symptoms: Stiiiiiiiiiill nauseous, but pretty sure it’s continuing to get slowly better, so… yay? (Sigh.) Actual vomiting seems to be down to no more than once a week, and yet, still manages to keep me on my toes (I threw up in the sink while brushing my teeth — a first for me!) My face broke out again a few days ago as well, which is never fun for me.

The main symptom that’s reared its ugly head this past week, however, has been round ligament pain. It’s apparently very normal to feel some pain as Foxlet grows and my uterus expands. Sometimes it feels just kind of like a stretching feeling, and sometimes it’s more of a series of pangs… but the latter is, unfortunately, quite unpleasant. Apparently some women don’t really notice it, but, shockingly, I am not one of those women. On the bright side, it’s a good sign that Foxlet is growing, and is probably dancing/kicking up a storm in there.

I feel like I complain a lot when it comes to my pregnancy symptoms (though in my defense, it does feel like I’m experiencing a disproportionate amount of the bad ones), so to focus on the positive side, my hair seems to be growing faster, and my nails are supah strong!

Emotions: This week I am apparently taking a break from being my usual sobbing, weeping mess, and instead, I’m just crankypants. This past week I’ve been very irritable, and very easily annoyed. I don’t think the nasty weather from the past few days has been helping much… and my crankiness is also probably compounded by the stress of last-minute planning for the huge work event that I have coming up on Friday (my biggest event of the year). Then toss in the fact that I’m not very physically comfortable right now, and here we are. At least I’m cognizant of this being outside of the norm for me? And I like to think I’m relatively aware of when I may be overreacting to small annoyances… although I probably am not really that self-perceptive.

Cravings: Still feeling the call of fresh fruit and raw veggies, which is good, because my other recent pregnancy cravings are decidedly less good for me. Namely, hot dogs with lots o’ mustard, and ham & cheese Hot Pockets. Only that kind of Hot Pocket, though. Bring me a pizza-flavored one and watch in horror as I throw up on your shoes.

Aversions: Pizza, pasta, the dipping sauce that comes with Sean’s mozzarella sticks… red sauce is still 100% banned from my life. Aside from that, most foods are fair game… although my lingering nausea means that I still have a hard time deciding what I want to eat, and am still not eating frequently enough.

Sleep: I’ve stopped taking Unisom to help me fall asleep, and finally feel like I can get to sleep and stay asleep on my own. So, hooray! I also feel like I’m sleeping a good amount of hours, and my Fitbit doesn’t seem to indicate that I’m any more restless than usual. But, that being said, I’ve been staying up kind of late and have also been getting hungry super late at night. So, to make myself less likely to puke first thing in the morning, I’ve been getting out of bed to make myself a midnight snack most nights, lol.

Purchases: My sister gave me a Children’s Place gift card for my birthday and I just couldn’t hold off on spending it any longer, hehe. Behold the cuteness and squee:

Wearing: full-panel maternity jeans/shorts and bodycon maternity dresses pretty much exclusively. And loving it.

Missing… I mainly just miss feeling good. There is always at least a couple of hours each day where I feel pretty awful, whether it’s from feeling nauseous, being hungry, being tired, round ligament pain, or whatever combination of the above. But I count it among my blessings that I haven’t really felt super deprived of anything during this pregnancy so far, so that’s a plus for sure!

Looking Forward to… really feeling Foxlet kick! I think I may have felt her a couple of times now, but each time was like a one-off thing and it’s been really inconsistent. It feels kind of like a bubble popping inside of me? So, could be baby… or could be gas, lol.

Foxlet: Week 14

Ahhhh, week 14! This update is coming at you a bit belatedly due to all the extra vomiting and terribleness that has plagued me for the past few days. Luckily (*knocks on wood*), yesterday seemed to be a turning point where I was able to go the entire day without feeling super nauseous AND was even able to eat an entire Egg McMuffin meal to boot. I can’t even remember the last time I ate anything that you could call an actual “meal” so this is a real boon!

I had an Elite Event last night, too, so it finally gave me an excuse to get out of the house, wear makeup, and not look like a total sorry-for-myself butt. Huzzah!

Foxlet’s Size: Foxlet is currently the size of a nectarine, or a donut!

Weight Gained: Feeling like a broken record, but nothing has changed here. In fact, the few pounds it looked like I had re-gained last week have disappeared again, so I’m back to about 15 pounds down from my pre-pregnancy weight. Who knew that this was the weight-loss solution I’ve been searching for my whole life!

Symptoms: Cross your fingers for me that I really am in the homestretch of my “morning” sickness and nausea! It’s hard to predict, because one day I’ll think that I’m turning a corner, and then the next day I’ll be crouched over my porcelain throne for 25% of the day, but yesterday was my first legitimately good day since, um, week 4. Please, pleeeeeeease let this awful stage of baking this little cinnamon bun be over!

Aside from that, I’ve mainly been experiencing exhaustion, some round ligament pain as my uterus is growing and stretching, and of course…

Emotions: Unsurprisingly, I’m a huge, ridiculous mess when it comes to watching movies these days. I went to see Beauty & the Beast with Ben & Tay and cried sooooo much (also, I loved it!). I mean, like, literally as soon as it transitioned from the Disney intro with the castle into the classic opening theme, I was already a wreck (it was such a seamless transition!).

I also re-watched Moana for the first time since seeing it in the theatres and was destroyed multiple times. God, it’s so good. Like, I’m legitimately getting teary just thinking about it again now.

Cravings: No super strong cravings yet, although last night when I ate my post-event Egg McMuffin, I wanted another one, so I’m going to chalk that up as a kind of craving? Mainly I just want to celebrate that I ate a real thing! And still wanted more! What a novel feeling after the past couple months!

Aversions: Red sauce is still the bane of my existence, and I still have that know-I-should-eat-something-but-just-can’t-fathom-putting-anything-in-my-mouth feeling more often than not. I just stare into my open refrigerator, breathing through my mouth because the smells emanating from the fridge are a little bit much, wracked with indecision.

Sleep: Still vacillating between being a sleep monster and an insomniac. The night before last I went to bed at 9:30 and didn’t get out of bed until… 9:30. And then also took a nap from 2 to 4. The night before that, I could hardly sleep at all.

Wearing: I tried to wear jeans to my Elite Event last night and had to bust out the wide waistband extender, so I think my decision to primarily wear leggings and dresses is still a good one.

Missing… being carnivorous. I guess it’s not really a bad thing, but my meat consumption is way, way down and I do miss the idea of a delicious steak (even if I’m not missing steak itself.)

Looking Forward to… God-willing, being over this nauseous, sad-sack side of pregnancy and hopefully on my way to the whole joyous, glowing, wonderful second-trimester stuff I keep hearing about!