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! ūüėČ

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!

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.

Untitled

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‚Äôs 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‚Ķ¬†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‚Ķ¬†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.