Sunday, June 22, 2014

Months One through Four

Somehow - and I just don't know how - I'm already more than four months of the way through this pregnancy journey. I'm so much busier this time around, with a more demanding job and a very demanding toddler, that I don't have as much time to *ahem* navel gaze over myself and my pregnancy. I knew things would be different the second time around, but the differences have been remarkable. For instance:

  • No photos. Seriously, we haven't taken a single "bump photo" this pregnancy. Not one. We've missed every stage from plum, peach, and lemon to orange, avocado, and pear! We seriously confused E about the baby when trying to explain its size according to fruit ("Baby is like a lellow lemon? Daddy, our baby is going to be lellow!"), so I knew we wouldn't repeat the fruit photos. That said, it's crazy (and fairly guilt-inducing) that we haven't snapped so much as a shot. We did get a few photos on vacation recently, so there's something from the early days...
  • No rest. I thought I was tired last time. I talked about being tired a lot. The sheer exhaustion I feel this time, though, is indescribable. The incessant demands of keeping up with a busy, daring, and very cunning 2.5-year-old do not leave much time for me to, you know, rest. Or sit down. Ever. That said, when I rock E before bed at night, she loves nothing more than to snuggle with "our baby," tell it about her day, and singsong sweet nothings to her little brother or sister. My heart nearly bursts multiple times each day with love for my firstborn and the promise of  a lifetime of such delicious sibling moments.
  • No uncontrollable craving for sweets. Last pregnancy I wanted carbs - refined carbs - in any form and as often as possible. Meat, fish, eggs and many vegetables were among the most repulsive foods I could fathom. This time I just want meat and vegetables. My desire for meat is rather indiscriminate. Any meat will do, though red is best. The vegetable craving is more specific, though not in the ingredient so much as the preparation. I want raw, shaved vegetables tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper. Green salads will do, and really green leafy vegetables in any form are just generally a delight to me right now, but my heart lies with my tangy, acidic shaved raw vegetables salads. Also, french fries. I really, really craved french fries during the first trimester. That has calmed down now, thankfully! Here are a few of my favorite meals of late:

So those are a few differences this time around, but some things feel so darn similar: 
  • Hearing the swift and solid heartbeat at my monthly appointments. 
  • Feeling those first wiggly, ticklish movements deep inside, then delighting as they grow stronger and more consistent over time. 
  • Waiting with nervous anticipation at our nuchal translucency test, then feeling relief, joy, and awe (and tears!) at the sight of our perfectly healthy little 13-week-old babe bouncing and squirming away on the ultrasound screen. 
  • Having the ultrasound tech guess at the gender at that same ultrasound and - again - keeping that guess a secret until we know for sure in a few weeks. 
  • Seeing people who haven't heard our news do double-takes when they see me in the hallways at work. 
  • Wincing in anticipation when I step on the scale at the OB (+6 pounds by 17 weeks this go-around). 
  • Snuggling in with my giant u-shaped body pillow every night. 
  • Feeling the familiar ache of my pelvis spreading to make room for the life taking root inside (and shopping for a support belt to hopefully alleviate the worst of the pain I endured last time). 
  • Finding myself resting my hands on or rubbing my burgeoning belly. 
  • Feeling the love and excitement I have for this new life growing every day. Imagining what the future will hold, what our baby will be called, how our lives will be different, the sweet moments and memories we'll make together. 

The magic and anticipation of this time is just as sweet as it was when we were expecting E, and in some ways, even sweeter now that we're sharing this experience with her. We can't wait to know you, Baby B #2!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Here We Go Again!

I read once that you should never apologize in a blog post for a long hiatus from writing. I don't know whether that's true for a 20-month hiatus, but alas, no apologies here... just jumping right back into the swing of things.

R and I decided after E was born that we were a "one and done" family. We were adamant, and not falsely so - we really believed this was the family we were meant to have. The infertility struggles and treatments we endured, my discomfort during the late part of my pregnancy, my extremely challenging labor & delivery, our utter satisfaction with our one perfect and beautiful child... why would we do it all again when we were finally on "the good side" of the journey?

But then E started growing out of her clothes and I cried when boxing them up. I suggested giving them to friends with little girls younger than E, but R resisted... "just in case." When she turned one and rocketed out of the sweet baby phase and into busy, independent toddlerhood, I started to feel an achy longing for a baby in my arms. We talked for months about maybe possibly considering perhaps thinking about having one more child. One more try at pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting a new and different person than E. We talked about what it would mean for the life we had planned as a family of three - the changes and sacrifices it would entail from the tidy little vision we'd crafted. The more we talked, the less we wavered, until one day we both agreed that we wanted to take the leap.

Taking the leap for us, given my PCOS, meant jumping back into the fray with our reproductive endocrinologist and starting fertility treatments again. I blogged the details elsewhere for posterity's sake, so won't go into it here. Suffice it to say we didn't luck out with the first treatment cycle in trying for our second child, as we did with our first, but eventually we ended up with the good news for which we hoped.

Due to the uncertainty of any new pregnancy - but especially those stemming from fertility treatments - we kept the news close to ourselves and waited through several early tests on pins and needles. We've seen the pictures at 6 and 13 weeks, we've passed the tests and heard the heartbeat, and we've made it safely through the risky first trimester and stand here at 14 weeks, 1 day excited, hopeful, and eager for what's to come. Join us, if you'd like, for the road ahead as we journey from life as a family of three to a family of four.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Let them eat (graham) crackers

I think I previously mentioned that R and I made a list of things we wanted to do with E this fall, then scheduled one for every weekend in September & October. Last weekend was to be our Fall Baking weekend, which - in my mind - was to be a shiny, happy day spent making and decorating leaf-shaped sugar cookies for E to take to her daycare teachers. Oh, the sweet naïveté of a new mom. :)

Reality was us spending Saturday with dear friends visiting from out of town, celebrating their son's birthday with a trip to the children's museum, pizza place and train museum. By the time we were home, this was what E looked like:

The reality of Sunday was a leisurely family breakfast, tidying the house, having a quick E photo shoot and getting home from groceries and errands at 3:00. Late afternoonns are not historically E's happiest moments, so I saw my baking dreams slipping away and had to act fast.

I have long wanted to make graham crackers for E, love that the dough comes together in the food processor and knew I could still use my adorable fall cookie cutters, so that was it! I plunked the food processor on the floor so E could watch and we went to town.

E was a fan of the rhythmic whirring of the food processor and an even bigger fan of pulling out the plunger while we were pulsing the dry ingredients, resulting in a flour-dusted kitchen. So fun.

While I rolled and cut out the crackers, E impulsively grabbed a fistful of the sticky dough and examined it closely. I waited for her to taste it, but she opted to instead smear it all over her pants. So fun.

When the crackers went in the oven and it was time to clean up, E threw a huge tantrum over the end of the fun, flinging herself to the ground and crying big, sad tears. So fun.

After dinner that night, E was presented with the honorary first graham cracker to mark the auspicious beginning of her baking apprenticeship. She was a fan and has since enjoyed several during her afternoon snacks at daycare. So fun.

It wad a busy weekend and it may not have been the shimmery, perfect adventure I had in mind, but having a little kitchen companion and seeing her enjoy the fruits of our labor was, indeed, such sweet fun.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

She's Back!

Okay dear family, friends and fans of our little peanut - how about a catch-up blog update?

Mother's Day Recap:

My first Mother's Day was the best! We had such an amazing day together: a morning at church followed by coffee and chocolate croissants at Rustica, a walk around Lake Harriet (complete with E's first time dipping her toes in the water!), lunch at Clancey's, ice cream at Sebastian Joe's, and a photo shoot in the front yard. I was breathless with gratitude and bursting with love for my incredible little family.

Solid Food

Around 5 months old, E discovered the joys of pureed baby food made with love by yours truly. Getting to the point where she actually really loved to eat solids was not a foregone conclusion, though! She fussed and gagged for the first week or two while she was getting the hang of things and most of that early food ended up on her face instead of in her tummy. Now, though, she eats three meals of solids at daycare and one at home in the evening with us and is a very eager and adventurous eater. So cute and fun!

We've actually introduced table food to E as well. At this point (9+ months in), she eats basically everything we do. It's really fun to watch how independent she is when it comes to eating. Being spoon fed is no longer acceptable to her - she insists on feeding herself. We can put food on her tray and sit ourselves at the table to eat and we all enjoy our meal as a family. It makes me so excited for the years of meals around the table in the future.

On the Move:

E has always been a strong, eager-to-move baby, which means she's hit some mobility milestones early. We've already discussed rolling over, but she actually started sitting up on her own at early and at six months old, she took off crawling! For weeks we watched her get onto her hands and knees and rock around like she was going to take off, then one Monday evening (July 16), she just took off like a rocket! It was like she'd known how to do it all along and was hiding it! Here's a video I took of her third or fourth time crawling across the living room floor that evening. R was on his way home from work and it was getting close to her bedtime, so I wanted to make sure to capture the moment!

Now she is lightning fast and interested in *everything* - especially things we don't want her to touch, like the dogs' water bowls, food dishes, computer charging cables, the vacuum cleaner, the volume dial on the entertainment system receiver, the dogs' chew toys, the inevitable tufts of husky fur wafting across our floors, shoes, and so on and so forth.

At nine months old, we really believe it won't be long before she starts walking. She's cruising along all of our furniture and stands independently (i.e., not holding onto anything) quite a lot now. The actual mechanics of walking independently still seem to stump her a bit, but between walking props around the house and the dedication of her daycare teachers, it's just a matter of time before she gets the hang of it. Here's a video of her latest jaunts across the kitchen. :)

Even more so, this child is extremely opinionated and determined. If there's something she wants or has and you move her away from it, try to take it away or distract her, she actually throws little tantrums! She'll stiffen her body and scream in frustration, then go right back to the whatever it is we were trying to divert her from. I see our future so clearly, and I know how very, very diligent we will need to be with her! Here's a video I took a few months ago when E kept playing with the dog bowls. I moved her across the kitchen with some toys while I was making dinner, and this is what happened next.


On May 27 (our anniversary!), R pointed out to me that E had cut her two bottom front teeth! It came as a complete surprise to us, as she hadn't been any more irritable or drooling than usual. Suddenly there were just two little teeth there! Since then, E has been working on cutting teeth like a champ and as of this writing has four on top, three on bottom and two bottom molars! Based on recent behavior (crummy sleep, poking at her ears, chomping on everything and extreme clinginess), we think she may be close to erupting a few more. Her CPNP was shocked to see how many she has through and soon-to-come-through. As with so many things, E just can't wait and do things when she's "supposed to." That's okay. :) She's putting those chompers to good use on things like table food and not-so-good use on things like her Mama. The poor dear has suffered with those molars recently, so we'd all be relieved if she could take a break for a bit!

Tri Fan:

R participated in a few du and triathlons this summer and E was Dad's biggest fan. She gamely strolled, lounged, crawled, waved and clapped during his races, rain or shine. Here's a little photo compilation from a few of Dad's events this year:


We took a few family trips this summer, first to Michigan for Independence Day and then back to Michigan for Labor Day. We enjoyed spending time with family both trips. Here are a few photo highlights.


All at once around 8 months old, E started speaking and signing like she's known how forever. According to my reading, a baby's "words" are any sounds they use consistently to describe a single idea or item. So we consider her first words to be "mmm" and "um num num," which she says whenever she is hungry, wants to eat, or is really enjoying what she's eating. If she's hungry, she scampers over to her highchair, stands up and smacks her hands on the foot rest while saying, "MMMMM. MMMMM." :) Message received.

Her total verbal repertoire now includes:

  • Mmm/num num: happy food-related messages
  • Daw!: dog (always said with an exclamation mark)
  • Da: dad
  • Ma ma ma: mama
  • Uh-oh: uh-oh (said every time she drops something, and occasionally said before she purposely drops things...)
  • Wow!: exclamation of delight and amazement (frequently reserved for squirrels)
  • Moo: what a cow says ("What does a cow say? Does it say moo?" "Moooooooo.")
  • Roar: gleefully said into any echo-y device (paper towel or wooden toy tubes, cups, etc.)
E also signs quite a lot now. Signs she uses include:
  • All done
  • More
  • Eat
  • Milk
  • Water
  • Up
  • Bye-bye/Hi (wave)
It's super fun to be able to converse with E these days and she's always so proud of herself when she's able to get her point across. We just love watching her learn and grow!

Fall Favorites:

Finally for this (outrageously long because it's egregiously late) post, enjoy a few great photos and videos of our super fun baby.

That's it for this post. Now that we're largely caught up, we'll aim to update more frequently going forward! Until next time...

Sunday, May 13, 2012


My first Mother's Day is underway, and it leaves me feeling very emotional (big surprise). Last year, I was early in my pregnancy when Mother's Day rolled around, so it didn't feel very legit to celebrate yet. R and I agreed that we'd celebrate our status as parents once we brought our little peanut safely into the world rather than count our little chick before she was "hatched."

The moment we met.

Well here we are, one year later, and I am a mom. I am E's Mama. I feel with certainty that it is the job I was put on this earth to do and I truly cherish both the privilege and responsibility. She is, without a doubt, my greatest gift, my sweetest joy and my proudest accomplishment. Given our struggle to become parents, today is sweeter than I could have possibly imagined. For me, this first Mother's Day and all that follow will not be a day about me, but about the sweet little girl I have the gift of parenting. She gives me more joy than I could have imagined. I love you, E!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lost in Translation

Big News: we're about to start solid foods with E! She's SO ready to eat, as she constantly stares at and reaches for food that we are eating. The other day she got her hands on a chocolate no-bake cookie I was eating, much to her stick-fingered delight. We bought her some baby spoons and have practiced putting empty spoons in her mouth, which she gleefully opens wide for... this kid is raring for real food! Also, her high chair is assembled and waiting for some real action, not just the toy play time she's engaged in while in there so far.

I told R we needed to buy some Organic Rice Cereal so we could start feeding E this weekend. He said, "Yeah, we should get some fresh stuff, but in a pinch, I think we could use what we have." Puzzled, I asked when we'd purchased rice cereal for the baby and he said, "Oh, there's a box on top of the fridge."

You guys, this is what he intended to feed our baby for her first ever non-milk meal:
In his defense, it is Organic Brown Rice Cereal and it is solid food, but we had to have a talk about the basics of baby food before embarking on this journey. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In a Flash

It's absolutely stunning how quickly things change.

Exactly two weeks ago, E began rolling onto her back during "tummy time." We were so excited! That said, we knew it would likely be quite some time before she successfully rolled from back to front. The books we consulted on developmental milestones suggested that babies roll front to back around 4 months and from back to front around 5 to 6 months, so we expected we'd still have some time.

Yesterday, E reminded us again that she is an individual, not a statistic. I was playing on the floor with her while she wiggled around on her back. I turned away and when I turned back just a few moments later, she was on her tummy, happy as a clam! I couldn't believe it: she is 17 weeks old today and will hit the 4 month mark next week. After capturing this new skill on video over and over yesterday and marveling at the ease with which she now rolls and wiggles around, R and I have realized we might as well throw the "typical" milestones out the window - this girl is going to do things when and how she wants!

On the subject of mobility, I'll go ahead and note it here now: E has started doing a funny little "army crawl" across the floor when there's something in front of her that she really wants. She can't crawl yet, of course, but when on her tummy, she grunts and pushes with her legs while clawing with her arms and manages to inch her way forward in tiny little scoots. It's completely insane. We are realizing that the pediatrician's prediction of early mobility for our strong girl will likely come true. We're trying to enjoy the days of E staying roughly where we leave her because they will undoubtedly be over in a blink. 

All of these new skills and attempts at mobility are sort of blowing my mind, because I cannot get over how fast E is changing. She hasn't even been out in the world for four months yet and she's turning into this independent, funny, engaging little person instead of just the adorable, snuggly little baby we brought home. It's stunning. 

Yesterday, I was snuggling E to sleep for her post-lunch nap with her soft little head nestled under my chin. I kissed her downy black hair and was rocked by this sudden vision of her as a precocious little toddler wobbling toward me with arms outstretched. Just as suddenly, I saw her climbing onto a school bus with little pig tail braids, then holding a science fair ribbon, then kicking a soccer ball. I watched her excitedly jangling new keys while sitting in the driver's seat of a car. I felt my heart constrict while waving at her as we drove away from her college dorm. I saw my dark-haired beauty floating down an aisle on her dad's arm on her wedding day, and then I saw her rocking in a nursery, with her own sweet baby's dark head nestled under her chin. 

Crying then, I hugged her closer and pressed another kiss on her head. What they say about having kids is already proving to be so true: the days are long but the years are short. I recognize how quickly my time with E will go. The tentative little motions toward independence she's now making in the relative safety of our nest will one day lead to her truly spreading her glorious wings and flying off on her own great adventures. 

So yes, change sometimes seems to happen in great, sudden flashes: your baby is lying on her back, you blink, and she's on her tummy. In reality, though, most change happens subtly over time and is only punctuated by big, noticeable leaps forward. I think if we're not careful, that type of change can lull us into complacency and one day we wake up wondering where the time has gone and how we ended up in this new place. 

I guess I'm realizing that things will change in our life with E, sometimes gradually and sometimes overnight, but that doesn't have to be sad. I think my little vision yesterday was a gift. It was a reminder to be ever-present, to soak up the moments and memories that make each day with my girl wonderful and unique. In the end, I want to be able to say, "Yes, time has gone by and things have changed, but I was there for absolutely all of it."