In case you haven't heard, Joe and I are extremely excited to tell everyone that we are expecting our first baby! Yep! We're due in May.
I've been writing weekly updates via email, but will now switch to the blog.
So, here goes for week 11:
We are coming down to the final week of our third month, which means the first trimester is drawing to a close. The baby is now the size of a medium tomato! Male or female sexual characteristics are now starting to show (but we'll wait and be surprised).
My earlier nausea is winding down, thankfully! I'm so happy to see vegetables back on my plate & Joe and I even cooked together last weekend without me getting sick to my stomach from the smells. I just have to remember to eat frequently in order to keep from getting nauseas. I don't really have a visible baby bump yet, but my clothes are getting tighter.
Updates from earlier weeks down below...
Week 9: There is some big news for week 9: We are now into our 3rd month of pregnancy, which means the risk of miscarriages is decreased. Phew! (There are still a couple weeks left in the first trimester, though.) The other big thing is that this week the baby graduated from being an "embryo" to being a "fetus"! S/he is a little bigger than a pistachio now, growing rapidly each week (s/he will go from 1.5 inches long at 8 weeks to 3 inches long at 12 weeks). The baby's organs are all formed, though they will continue to grow and develop during the rest of the time s/he is in the womb. The teeth are beginning to form. Over the next few week's, the baby's intestines, previously part of the umbilical cord, now move into the abdominal cavity and become covered with skin. Over the few weeks, the external genitalia will begin to differentiate clearly into a male or female. While an ultrasound by the end of the 3rd month would reveal whether we are having a boy or a girl, we are going to wait and be surprised. The baby is now kicking and swallowing. S/he is starting to look like a little person, and act like one, too.
Week 9 has been a good one for me. I've been much less nauseas and eating more of a variety of food, though as close as I've gotten to cooking is canned soup and quesadillas (broccoli soup was a cause for celebration after only wanting cereal and white food for awhile!). It is the cooking smells that get to me. That and the energy it takes to cook. But maybe I'll be able to do some light things soon. I have been able to take a break from wearing the bracelets that help with the nausea, which has been nice. They weren't a nuisance, but they did leave bruises on my wrists. And I've had more energy this week. I was able to go to the gym a couple times, take walks and go to yoga class.
We decided on our midwives -- they will be Kate Bowland and Roxanne Cummings from Nurse Midwives of . Both have over 30 years of experience catching babies at home. So the way it works with them, is that we will switch off our prenatals between seeing either Kate or Roxanne so that we are comfortable with whomever ends up being at our birth (they will bring as assistant with them also). Between them, they do 3-6 births each month. I haven't decided yet if I'll have a doula. Doulas are less necessary in home births because the midwives are always present. Right now I'm thinking that I'll rent a tub for a water birth (or for at least laboring in the water in case birthing in it doesn't feel right to me when we get down to it). Both Kate & Roxanne are comfortable with water births.
You now officially have the go-ahead if you'd like to tell people about our pregnancy. This weekend I told my immediate family, and Joe told some of his friends and co-workers. I'm planning to tell my boss & coworkers within the next week. Once I've done that, these weekly updates will appear on the blog instead of in emails.
We both are anxious to begin talking to our bosses and HR people about maternity/paternity leave. We also need to sit down with our finances and see how much leave we can afford. My fingers are crossed that I'll be able to be home for 12-16 weeks (on half pay). Joe should be able to get 6 weeks of paid leave (half pay), but we think he qualifies for an additional 10 weeks of unpaid leave. We are hoping we can work right up till when the baby arrives so as to have more time at home with him or her.
We are talking about names. We have a list going of ones we like. Every once in awhile a new one gets added, or an older one looses its appeal. And of course we both have a couple names the other doesn't like so much...
Week 8: Two months pregnant! Just a few more weeks till we're out of the woods & we'll start telling everyone. I wish I could tell some of my coworkers -- I've been pretty inexplicably moody this week!
Our little one has been really busy growing and growing. S/he is about the size off a little toe now. I can really tell that a lot is going on because I've been so tired this last week. We are talking 8 hours of sleep at night, plus a nap in my car at lunch, plus another nap after work! It reminds me of having Mono!
The baby is now floating in his/her amniotic sac, trying out gentle kicking -- though nothing I can feel yet (not for several weeks till it gets crowded in there). The heart is pumping blood now. The brain already shows through skin as thin as waxed paper, revealing every tiny branching blood vessel beneath. The eyes are covered in an intact skin, which will eventually split to become eyelids. The limbs are elongating, with elbows and knees beginning to form. The baby's face is developing. S/he has a little nose tip and a tongue. During this week, s/he will start to open his/her mouth. The lower jaw is taking shape with muscles that will enable the baby to suck and chew. The baby can hear now, too (!), though the ears haven't yet started to mold into their correct position.
I'm still dealing with a lot of nausea. I have good days and bad days. My friend Christina gave me some bracelets that have been really helping, though. They have buttons that press a pressure point on my wrist that helps to relieve the nausea. I wear the bracelets all the time except when I'm in the shower! For awhile I was beating myself up about what I was eating -- now I'm just going along with whatever sounds good to my stomach. I look forward to the days when cooking dinner sounds like fun again!
Physically I look the same, though I can feel my uterus growing harder & bigger. It is nothing anyone else would notice yet, though, and when I lay down I can't tell anymore. This week, though, Joe & I will take a picture together, and start taking one each month so we can see how my belly takes shape. :)
We haven't yet decided on which midwife to go with. It is such a hard decision! We need to go ahead and make a decision though as they prefer for prenatal visits to begin around week 10.
That's all from Lil' Stearns! :)
Week 7: Seven weeks pregnant now. While that doesn't sound very far along, lots have been going on.
Our little one is now about the size of a lima bean, but more in the shape of a baby than before. S/he has nostrils, lips, and tongue, and even the buds of tiny teeth. His or her heart has four chambers now! The limb buds have grown into arms and legs, and the hands and feet are developing ridges that will soon grow into fingers and toes. The digestive tract and pancreas are beginning to grow, even.
Meanwhile, Joe and I are interviewing home birth midwives. We met one yesterday, Roxanne Cummings, and we met another today, Cindy Bacon. Both have been catching babies for 30 years -- even before it was legal. Both are mothers. Both believe strongly in the power of women to birth their babies and the sanctity of family. Both also believe strongly that hospitals exist for a reason and when home births aren't appropriate or become unsafe, then we are very lucky to have very good hospitals and doctors here in.
Women who birth at home have to be healthy with healthy babies. The midwives will rule out women who have a history of high blood pressure (or develop high blood pressure in pregnancy), pre-existing diabetes (gestational diabetes is ok), twins, babies who are breach, or women who live in homes the midwives feel aren't conducive for a safe birth.
We really liked both Roxanne and Cindy a lot. It turns out Cindy knows the midwives in Fairfax who helped bring Zomina into the world, which was neat to learn! Roxanne has this amazing presence about her, a really gentle vibe. And Roxanne offers a childbirth/parenting class that I think Joe and I will take even if we don't hire her as our midwife... Cindy is going to Scotland just 10 days after our baby is due for an International Midwifery Conference. Ordinarily she wouldn't entertain the idea of being our midwife because of the poor timing, but it turns out I already know her back-up partner from my doula work. She is a woman I've admired for years and have tremendous respect for. The truth is, I'd be honored to have her at my birth.
So we have a really hard decision to make. We need to make it by week 10. I expect we'll make it this weekend though.
In the meantime, I'm going to cancel my appointment for the ultra-sound to confirm the pregnancy at the regular ob-gyn. The midwives said it isn't necessary. Also, they told us the name of a doctor in town who is very sympathetic to homebirth --- if we have to transport to the hospital, she'd be the ideal doctor to have. If we see her during the course of the pregnancy for an ultra-sound or some other test, then she'll agree to be on call for us if we need to come to the hospital for the birth. Incidentally, I just learned tonight that she was my acupuncturist's doctor at her son's birth just 8 weeks ago. Kate spoke very highly of her.
So, I'm feeling very good about both the midwives and the doctor. And about my littlebean's progress. :) I'm still having nausea every day, but it is hard to be put out by it since it is such a positive sign of healthy pregnancy. My sense of smell these days is off the charts. Sometimes it contributes to the nausea, but it is also kind of fun in a strange super-hero-power kind of way. I am Super Smell Girl! ;) Other than being tired, no other symptoms to report.
Week 6: “We” are 6 weeks pregnant now the way that pregnancy is counted (it’s really only been 4 weeks since actual conception, but they count it from the beginning of the cycle). Our zygote is now an embryo! There is a neck and a head with rudimentary eyes and ears, a brain, and a heart (only two chambers right now)! There is a bloodstream and a digestive system, kidneys and a liver, and tiny buds which will become the arms and legs!
Our little one is roughly the size of a coffee bean, and
because it is developing from the head down, roughly resembles a tiny sea
horse (big head and tail).
While s/he is doing all that, I’ve become increasingly tired and the nausea has arrived. So far no actual puking, but some nice gagging. I’m trying to control that by experimenting with food. So far Kombucha has been the best cure. Sometimes the nausea comes on just from thinking about food. For example, I’m remembering last night’s pregnancy-celebration dinner at Avanti. It was delicious last night, but right now my body wants nothing to do with it!
A couple weeks ago when I first found out I was pregnant, I called the OB-GYN for an appointment (as much as I know about birth, I realized I was pretty clueless about first steps in pregnancy). They didn’t want to see me till closer to 9 weeks pregnant, so I have an appointment with them on October 17th. That is just to confirm the pregnancy via ultra-sound. My first actual pre-natal with the nurse midwife isn’t till . I was told to expect both appointments to be about 10 minutes.
However, since I want to have a homebirth anyway, I went ahead and started calling local midwives (not the “nurse midwives” who work in hospitals). I was worried about them getting booked up for a May/June delivery. The two I called were happy to meet Joe and I right away (apparently they are willing to take my word that I’m pregnant!). One even already had us watch a home birth video. So, those appointments are next week – one is Tuesday and the other is Wednesday. We were told to expect them to be 60-90 minutes (and they are free since these are for the purpose of deciding if we all want to work together!).
I don’t know if I’ll need to keep seeing the OB-GYN also. We’ll find out all of this next week.
And that’s all from me and the tadpole. Much love to you all!