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!

Springing into Action (Foxlet 2: 16 Weeks)

Whoosh! And just like that, it’s basically Spring! Feels like it happened quicker than a snap of Thanos’ fingers, but there’s no denying it: it’s mid-March, I’m 16 weeks pregnant (today!), and it’s time to start makin’ some big moves in our life (both figuratively and literally!) But first, a recap of what’s been a-going on over the past few weeks.

Penny and I just returned from another fantastic trip down to the Atlanta area to see my sister and her littles, and we had so much fun! We went to this exhibit called Candytopia, which is as great as it sounds: a giant museum/love letter to candy.

There was free candy in every room, lots of very cool, very impressive candy scultures and art installations, and had super fun, Instagrammable photo opps galore. We had an awesome time!

Candytopia travels from city to city, so right now I think it’s in Atlanta and Minneapolis, and is opening in Dallas soon. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in one of those places!

Outside of our candy-coated field trip, there was just a lot of general fun times spent with my sister, bro-in-law, nieces, and nephew. You know that getting Penny together with her cousin Alex (just three weeks older than her!) is like my whole reason for being, ahaha. “A-leh” is literally one of her favorite words, she says it like 8 times a day.

We’re always sad to have to say goodbye at the end of a trip, but luckily this one will be (particularly) short-lived, as my sister is bravely coming up here with all three kiddos during Mia’s Spring Break in just a couple weeks!

Penny also had her 18-month checkup at the pediatrician just before we left on our trip, and is doing great.

She’s around 27 lbs (got weighed on the big kid scale for the first time!) and 34″ tall, which puts her in the 92nd and 97th percentiles, respectively! At this rate she’ll end up even taller than me when she’s fully grown! (I’m 5’10” and Sean is 6’1″ if anyone was curious.)

And I guess that brings us to our update on how the other little Foxlet is doing, eh? As I mentioned above, I’m 16 weeks pregnant today, and I’m actually (shockingly!) feeling pretty okay! I finally feel like I’ve almost gotten over the string of terrible colds and sinus infections that have plagued since literally Day 1 of this pregnancy (watch, I’m totally gonna wake up sick again tomorrow now that I’ve said that, lol.), and I’m hanging in there.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, my bad pregnancy symptoms like nausea and vomiting have been much less severe this time around (thank GOODNESS), and though I have still been nauseous it seems to have eased up in particular just this past week or so. Huzzah! Food is still kind of hit or miss with me (I have not gained any weight yet), but in general I’m happy not to have spent as much time feeling truly miserable.

I’ve got a bit of heartburn and am still trying to make piece with the skin issues this pregnancy has brought me, but the biggest obstacles I’ve been battling this time are exhaustion and sleep disruption. Which, I know, you’d think that dealing with the former would mean I’d be sleeping better since I’m so tired, right? But sadly, it doesn’t seem that my body understand that, haha. But I’m rallying through and while I maintain my stance that pregnancy is not exactly the best time ever, I remain very grateful that things have been generally more mild this time around.

I think I’ve already felt a few little bubbles and bursts from Foxlet 2 — those first little movements — but it’s nothing super significant yet. I go in for my 16 week checkup on Tuesday, which I normally would be looking forward to but they are monitoring me very closely for preeclampsia this pregnancy (since I developed it late in my pregnancy with Penny), so I have to do one of those super glamorous 24-hour urine collection tests (I’ll do another one later in my pregnancy so they can compare) and get a whole bunch of extra blood drawn. Wheeeee!

At least the weather has been frickin’ beautiful these past couple of days! I’ve been really enjoying getting to spend a bit of time in the sunshine with my little bean. It’s helping me manage my stress levels which are admittedly at a bit of an all-time high as I’m dealing with the last bit of exciting-slash-terrifying news that’s been piling on as of late: we’re moving!

Not far, though. We are in the process of packing up our little house to put on the market, and purchasing my parents’ house in Falls Church! We’ll be living in my old family home, literally half a mile from my brother and sis-in-law (Penny and Marnie will be able to go to the same school!!), while my parents will be downsizing into a condo.

We’re really excited about being able to have more space for our growing family, as well feeling super fortunate to be able to move back to Falls Church City, but of course, there’s the simple fact that moving is a huge PITA even when you’re not pregnant and have a toddler, lol. I just keep looking around and thinking, how do we have so much STUFF?! The timeline feels impending as well since we want to be able to list our house during the prime selling timeframe (which is late April/early May), so I’m already feeling the crunch.

Anyway, I think that pretty much brings us up to date on the major things (and boy, do they feel major!) that have been happening lately. Hope you all have a fantastic weekend, and I’ll try to get back in here with another update before another entire month goes by, heh. Cheers!

Plot Twist!

Oh, hey there!

So I know that I’ve been lacking in the blogging department lately… just haven’t really had a whole lot of energy for tackling the whole write-about-my-life-thing, and it turns out there’s a good reason for that.

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Yep, that’s right, Baby Foxlet #2 is making his or her debut this August! Funnily enough, my due date is Penny’s actual birthday — can’t make this stuff up. Happy birthday, kid! You got one year of solo celebrating and THAT’S IT.

Those of you who followed my pregnancy journey the first time around might remember that it wasn’t exactly a joyful, magical, glowing experience for me. In fact, I was plagued with intense morning sickness (actually all day long) for the first 21 weeks, which then sidled right into debilitating pelvic girdle pain and sciatica, culminating with me developing preeclampsia and having to be induced early at 37 weeks. Fun ride, right?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d do it all over again, exactly the same way, a hundred times over for my wonderful baby girl, but I’m extremely happy to be able to report that so far (knock on wood), my symptoms have been considerably less severe than last time. I’ve still been pretty nauseous all day, but it’s been much more manageable, I’ve been puking far less, and I’ve only lost about 6 pounds as opposed to the 15 I lost in my first trimester last time, haha.

New symptoms unfortunately include having TERRIBLE skin issues this time around, and just being way, way, way more exhausted than last time (hmm, wonder why that could be?)

I have to admit that this blessed event did end up coming as a bit of a surprise, but now that we’ve had some time to wrap our heads around it and not freak out about the logistics of what having a toddler and a newborn will be like, I’m starting to get pretty jazzed. It’s most exciting when I start thinking about Penny as a big sister — I know you can’t really predict these things, but I really do think she’s going to be a good one!

Big sister training is definitely already underway — we got her a baby doll and she’s OBSESSED with it, she carries it around and sits it up in her old Bumbo chair, tries to change its diaper and feed it pizza and flush it down the toilet… okay, so we still have some work to do there.

I’ve been trying to express to her that there’s a baby in mommy’s tummy although every time I tell her that, she just tries to plunge her hand deep into my belly button while yelling “BABY BABY BABY” at the top of her lungs so I’m not quite sure she gets it.

Whether or not she cognitively understands what’s happening, both Penny and Daxter definitely seem to know that something’s changing on a emotional level. Both toddler and doggo have been clingy AF lately, which is not in either of their personalities, lol.

Anyway, that pretty much covers the big news in our lives right now! Lots more big changes are still to come, but after a couple of initial big freakouts in the first few weeks since we found out, I’m trying to remain optimistic about things from here on out. After all, we’ve already managed to successfully keep one tiny human alive for this long, what’s one more? Right? RIGHT?? Heh… oh boy. Words of wisdom and encouragement are DEFINITELY welcome here. But thank you to all of you who already offered your congratulations on social media, y’all are the best. <3

Foxlet: Week 36

First off, I need to thank each and every one of you who has left the most thoughtful and wonderful comments on here, Facebook, and Instagram, and by messaging me directly. You really know how to make a girl (and her bebe!) feel loved and supported, and I’m so grateful for my amazing village. I actually feel a bit sheepish for making such a big deal out of all this when I know that my situation is far from worst-case.

But I mean, hey, I’m a first-time mom, and the fact that things escalated so quickly in such a short amount of time really threw me for a loop. So yes, admittedly I was a bit shaken by this most recent turn of events — finding out that my bp meds aren’t working as well anymore, being sent back to labor & delivery for more testing, and being officially scheduled for my induction (a week from today!). However, with a smidgen of time and, moreso, so many of you guys sharing your own experiences and stories with me, I am feeling a little more level-headed and optimistic.

While it’s still not fun to have the threat of preeclampsia looming over me and while, of course, I would prefer to have been able to carry out the entirety of my pregnancy without a high-risk designation, I know that the odds really are in my favor here. Provided things stay relatively stable between now and next Tuesday, Foxlet will be born at 37 weeks on the dot (give or take 24 hours, most likely), and I recognize that plenty of babies even come at 37 weeks all on their own!

And should we not quite make it to Tuesday… well, I’ve now received both of my betamethasone shots (steroids meant to aid respiratory development) and all signs continue to point to her being perfectly happy all up in my uterus. So even if I end up being sent straight to be induced after my follow-up appointment this afternoon, she should still be in pretty good shape. After all, we’ve made it this far!

Foxlet’s Size: At 36 weeks, the apps say she’s around 6 lbs and the size of a cake, papaya, or 2-liter bottle of soda. Since we have an estimate of her size from last week at 5 lbs, 13 oz, and my baby book says they put on about an ounce per day, we can guesstimate that she’s around 6 lbs 5 ounces now? With a potential 2-pound variant] in either direction, hahahahaha.

Weight: Not that I really care at this point (nothing like medical drama to finally have me stop caring about my weight!) but based on my various weighings at my various doctor’s appointments, I still seem to be fluctuating within 2 – 3 pounds of the same weight I’ve been seeing for the past few weeks. You know, up if I’m weighed after I’ve eaten, down if I’ve just gone to the bathroom, etc. I think overall I’m anywhere from 3 – 5 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight? ::shrug::

Symptoms: Oh god, the sciatica. It sent me back to the doctor’s office last week in tears, but luckily it has somewhat subsided over the past few days from the acute, knee-buckling sharpness to a general ache. I totally credit my mama for this, who had been out of town visiting my new nephew in Atlanta, but quickly put her amazing Chinese massaging hands to use once she came back and has really been helping me with my pain points.

Aside from the pain from that, my main symptoms are shortness of breath, lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, and my newest symptom are these really intense back and neck spasms that I’ve been getting. They are really intense — almost paralyzing — and hurt but not like, in a super-sharp-pain way, but rather in a kind of everything-tightens-up-and-you-can’t-move way. I confirmed at the hospital yesterday that the spasms aren’t contraction-related, so maybe Foxlet just shifted positions and is pressing on a nerve or something… which is maybe why my sciatica is suddenly somewhat relieved but I’ve got these new fun to experience, lol.

Emotions: Highs and lows, my friends. Hiiiiiiighs and lows.

Cravings/Aversions: All the Chick-fil-A and an intense craving for crab legs that I have yet to satisfy because Sean won’t take me to Red Lobster. ::tear::

Sleep: Meh. I’ve been sleeping okay by my standards, but I seem to have lost my magical ability to instantaneously return to sleep after waking. Which isn’t super great when you’re getting up to pee every 3 hours and your husband’s alarm clock goes off at 5. But again, I just look at this as great practice for when Foxlet is actually here, so it’s cool. I think I’m gonna get reeeeeal good at napping.

Purchases: UHHH fracking Carter’s, man! They sent me a catalogue in the mail and since I’m somewhat bedridden of COURSE I flipped through it… whereupon I immediately laid eyes on THESE:

And I swear, I have never gone SO FAST from seeing to buying. So these shoes are now on their merry way to me, along with like four other absolutely unnecessary things. Y’know, ’cause even though her closet is literally overflowing with clothes thanks to the generosity of my sister’s hand-me-downs and gifts from all my awesome friends, and even though I SWORE I wasn’t gonna buy her any more clothes myself because I don’t even know how she’s gonna wear what I already have for her… I mean, c’mon. Can you really blame me?

Looking forward to… dropping off the giant jug of my own pee that I’ve had to literally squirrel away over the past 24 hours so it can be tested. And hey, you can call “TMI!” all you want, but I had absolutely noooooooo concept of what a 24-hour collection was before they handed me that bright orange jug and told me what to do so I figure if nothing else, mentioning it might at least help prepare someone in the future.

NOT looking forward to… I dunno, technically I’m not really looking forward to my induction, I guess. I mean, it’s still a little bit scary, y’know? Having to get all these meds to push me into labor, the looming threat of a C-section (which, of course, is not the worst thing in the world but again, as a concept surgery kinda freaks me out!), etc. But I also kind of am looking forward to it? Because even though it’s not what I planned on originally, once I go into the hospital, I won’t be leaving without my baby. Which is awesome. And terrifying. And wondrous. And ridiculous.

I mean, DUDE. BY THIS TIME NEXT WEEK I MIGHT BE A MOM.

… I can’t believe they’re just gonna like, let me.

Foxlet: Week 27

Woo-hoo! We’ve hit the 27 week mark, people, which means that I’m either in my third trimester or about to hit my third trimester, depending on what resource you’re looking at. Many places state that 28 weeks is the beginning of the third tri, but 40 weeks divided by 3 trimesters is 13.3333333333 (ad infinitum), so it’s really more like 27-and-a-half, so I think we’ll just call it at 27. After all, I certainly *feel* like I’m in my third trimester, and that’s what really counts, right? Ahahaha.

Baby Foxlet is a super active little fetus, constantly pushing, prodding, and moving around inside. I certainly am not worried about having to meet my requirements for kick counts, that’s for sure. I can even see her moving from the outside now! It’s suuuuuuper weird and alien-like and creepy and amazing and awesome. Pretty much like all of pregnancy.

The coolest thing about week 27, in my opinion, is that viability rates shoot way up at this point. If for any reason I were to go into premature labor and Foxlet needed to be delivered now, she’d have a 90% chance of survival! I obviously want her to keep baking for many more weeks to come, of course, but it’s still a bit of weight off my shoulders to know that with every day that passes, she becomes more and more equipped to meet and thrive in the “real world.” Isn’t science awesome??

Foxlet’s Size: At 27 weeks, Foxlet weighs around 2 pounds and is the length of a head of cauliflower, a bottle of sriracha, or (my fave) the size of a fennec fox!

Weight Gained: Another pound up this week, I think? My weight fluctuates by a pound or more every time I step on the sacle, but I think I’m trending upward overall. So about -3 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight now.

Symptoms: Let’s talk about (dun dun dunnnn) stretch marks!

I can’t say I was surprised to find out that I was developing stretch marks during my pregnancy, since I already have some battle scars from my teenage growth spurts (on my boobs) and just from being fat (on my stomach). But even knowing that, I was still hoping in vain that I wouldn’t get any new ones, since I haven’t been rapidly putting on weight and my stomach has been growing at a pretty steady pace this whole time (versus “popping” very suddenly.) Plus, my (obviously much fitter and more petite) sister hasn’t gotten stretch marks with any of her pregnancies.

But oh well, clearly that just isn’t the case for me. I’ve been very liberal with applying lotion and making sure I’m well hydrated and moisturized and stuff, but they say that doesn’t really have anything to do with it — either you’re gonna get ’em, or you’re not (and the majority of pregnant women do get stretch marks of some kind.) So I’m in the majority on this one, but honestly, despite the fact that of course I’d prefer not to develop new trenches in my skin, I’m not really that broken up about it. (Which kinda is the surprising part for someone as vain as myself, ahaha.)

My stretch marks so far are primarily on the main part of my stomach, deepening ones that already existed with little tinges of pinkish purple at the edges (but not like the dark purple “tiger stripes” that some women get — not yet, at least.) All of my previous stretch marks are the faint silvery-white kind, so I’m hoping that’s how these will end up after all this is done as well. That said, I guess I really shouldn’t assume anything since I’ve still got an entire trimester to go!

I’m also newly experiencing swollen feet/ankles if I’ve been on my feet all day or have been traveling. Even the 45-minute plane trip I had to make to North Carolina last week turned my feet into little hippo stumps. On Instagram, several of you guys recommended I pick up some compression socks, so I did just that and have tried to remember to keep my legs elevated when I’m working on my laptop or watching TV.

Oh, and I can’t let a symptoms update go by without mentioning my heartburn, of course. GUFF. THE HEARTBURN. The past few nights in particular have been baaaaad —  my acid reflux tend to act up right before bed, which contributes to me not being able to get to sleep because, well, duh, my throat is on fire. I’m starting to figure out which foods trigger it more than others, but mostly I think it’s just another lovely symptom with which I’m going to need to learn to cope. After all, non-pregnant Gretchen also got heartburn, so the fact that this has been exacerbated can’t come as a surprise to me… I just am most definitely NOT gonna be happy about it.

Emotions: Irritability and general moodiness has been high this past week. I’m just so cranky these days! I had to fly to North Carolina for a super quick work trip last Thursday (like, 24-hours-quick), and while the trip went just fine, the hassle of traveling (delays, swelling, exhaustion) ruined my mood for, like, 4 days straight. Not a completely rational response, I realize, but ::shrug::

Basically, apologies in advance if I seem extra whiny, short-fused, or am just kind of the worst right now.

Cravings/Aversions: I’ve been craving everything fresh and summery lately: watermelon, salads, veggie-tastic sandwiches, etc.

 
I’m not really having specific aversions, but I have picked up on the fact that avocado gives me heartburn (cryyyy), so I’m trying to avoid it… which is hard when avocado is on everything that sounds good to me, and is also delicious! I’m starting to wonder if tomatoes are doing the same since, I’ve been eating quite a lot of them lately and I know they’re quite acidic… I’ll be super sad if that’s the case though, because I’m really digging raw tomatoes right now! Which feels somewhat ironic considering I spent the first 20+ weeks of this pregnancy vomiting into my mouth at the sight or smell of tomato sauce, lol.

Sleep: Well, this is a loaded question today in particular, since last night I had heartburn so bad I swear you could’ve broken into a bank vault with the amount of acid in my throat. Ugh. I had an event for work last night, which went awesomely, but I was wiiiiiiped out when I got home. So, of course, all I want to do is crawl into bed, but my acid reflux kicked into like, super high gear and completely prevented me from being able to fall asleep.

When I finally was able to pass out, it was that terrible kind of sleep where you know you did fall asleep, but it doesn’t feel like you did. Do you know what I’m talking about? Like, logically I know that I didn’t just lay there awake for 5 straight hours, but that’s what it felt like. And then I had to get up insanely early this morning to run an errand… and I have another work event tonight. I’m hoping to be able to take a nap before I have to go do that, or tonight will be particularly interesting…

Purchases: My baby shower is just a couple weeks away, so I’m trying to be good about not acquiring new baby stuff on my own. That said, I totally caved and ordered a couple of things from Target’s latest baby line because they’re just so darned cute, and I feel like Target is constantly running out of stock on things and apparently when it comes to Foxlet I have retail-specific FOMO, lol.

I got a crib sheet, changing pad cover, some gold polka dotted blackout curtains, and the cutest little pillow you ever did see. Can’t wait ’til they arrive and I get to jazz up the nursery even more!

Looking forward to… This weekend, Sean and I are headed off on our babymoon! We’re spending a long weekend at a beautiful B&B in the Shenandoah Valley, and I’m really excited for us to spend some QT together before this little one comes to totally rock our world. 🙂

And finally, in other news: I no longer seem to be the only person in Fox household who’s acting ready for this little one to get here! Sean has been so sweet & loving lately — kissing the belly, talking to her, saying goodbye to both of us when he leaves for work in the morning — and getting excited for the hospital tour and birth class stuff I signed us up for (thanks for all of your advice on this topic from last week, btw!)

Daxter has been super attached to my bump lately as well. Yep, heart officially melted.