Sunday, December 28, 2014

On Sleep Deprivation as a New Mommy of Two

Big brother loved his baby brother from the moment they met.
What were my first few weeks as a Mommy of two like? Well, they involved permanently bloodshot eyes, wild hair, and an inability to make coherent sentences. I feel like people passing me on my rare trips out of the house probably thought I looked like a druggie. These trips were very rare considering the fact that lifting the stroller or wearing my then 6-7 something pounder actually made my belly ache. It didn't help that it is flu season and my pediatrician mother and Facebook feed bombarded me with seemingly endless stories of sick babies.  I would wince every time I heard a sniffle or a sneeze, ready to bolt back home. (Speaking of which, is my throat a little sore or am I imagining it??)  Most times I was too tired to feel the need to leave the house anyway.

On our way home from the hospital.
My little one seemed intent on only sleeping during the day and my two year old refused to nap, making their schedules perfectly opposite (coincidence?  I think not ;). And in the middle of that somewhere my body was trying to recover from pregnancy and giving birth, not to mention spending an immense amount of energy on breastfeeding.  My emotions were spinning from shifting hormones combined with feeling an enormous amount of pressure to learn how to fill my new role as Mommy to two.  I was trying my best to ignore the fact that our house was in shambles around me.  I mostly just felt like there wasn't enough of me to go around in general. 

Adjusting to life with two littles is not easy. Sleep deprivation with one baby was hard but a newborn combined with a possibly jealous toddler who seemed to decide to become as difficult as possible the day you came home from the hospital? It was rough. 

I will be transparent with everyone. The sleep deprivation was real. Real to the point that I sometimes worried it was dangerous. Falling asleep holding the baby was my greatest fear. One that fed endless nightmares. Perhaps hormone changes and new mother protectiveness fed the nightmares too, but extreme sleep deprivation was the major culprit in my opinion. Exhaustion seems to lengthen that space in time between sleeping and waking. A space in which my body is awake but my brain is still dreaming. A hypnopompic state is the official term.

A rare moment of sleep... I can't help but stare.
In this state, nightmares become real. And I hallucinated.  My recurring hallucination in the weeks after we brought my youngest home centered around my recurring nightmare in which I fell asleep holding him. I woke up terrified that he had suffocated in my arms or next to me in the bed.  I have a stuffed dog I sleep with and I would wake up cradling him, terrified and frantic. I was convinced he was the baby and I would attempt to arouse him (unsuccessfully of course).  One night, my husband awoke too and heard me freaking out. He told me the baby was fine and that what I was holding wasn't the baby.  My nightmare felt so real that I argued back, angrily since he never even checked to see. "How do you know?!" I insisted before my brain slowly shook off the fog of sleep and I found my crying infant (which is what had awakened me in the first place) safe in his bassinet.

I love walks with my boys!
Thankfully, this low point passed as Coen's sleep stretched out from one hour (yes, he only slept an hour at a time many nights!) to now sometimes as much as 3 and a half hour windows.  The holidays were also nice because having family here meant naps for me and help with the kids and daily tasks.  My body has healed a lot in the past month as well.  But, most importantly, my toddler seems to have adjusted back to his normal sweet self that sleeps and eats and isn't a holy terror all day.  

My precious angel.  
Don't get me wrong though! I'm so grateful for my beautiful healthy children and supportive family. I don't know how I'd have survived without my husband giving me naps and pep talks those early weeks. I've done a lot of cuddling and breathing in that precious newborn scent. I know that these days of tinyhood are all too few and I'm soaking them up much more intensely this time around.

We are finding our balance and a new normal now. And, today, after snuggling down with my 2 year old for his bedtime song and cuddling my almost 5 week old who passed out at my breast, I breathe in his sweet milky scent and can't help but think, "this is heaven."

There is no one I would rather be than these boys' Mommy. I'm blessed beyond words. Now, it's off to bed before my sleep window closes and the fun/chaos starts all over again!

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Second Birth Story

Let me start by saying, I'm pretty much as unlikely a candidate to choose a home birth as they come but after my delivery this time and fighting pushy nurses and doctors for hours while in labor, I can see why some mothers choose that route. I had the delivery I wanted but it took a lot of standing up for myself and my (reasonable and educated) desires.  If it weren't for my medical training, I might have given into some of the bullying and had a very different outcome.

So to my story... The Tuesday before Thanksgiving was my ideal day for our second little guy to arrive. My doctor was on call and my best friend was staying with us so she could to watch my 2 year old son.  In hopes of convincing the little guy to come that day, I had my membranes stripped Monday afternoon.  My husband was able to be there and took me walking afterward.  (I am convinced this is key for stripping to work.)  My Captain husband went Army on me and we walked a lot.  First all around the hospital (about 2 miles) then, after dinner, every inch of our neighborhood.  My back and pelvis ached by the end of it (not unusual at this point in my pregnancy).

39 weeks and after a lot of walking
My best friend and her husband came over that night and we stayed up until about midnight. I never went to bed because I began having contractions 2-3 minutes apart. I was excited that they were so close together since I'd heard that second babies come faster. Thankfully, I had no idea this statistic did not apply to me. 

I told the hubby to sleep a little.  I laid down for maybe 2 minutes then paced and packed.  I woke him up at 1:30AM. We walked some more but the contractions were getting more intense so, for fear of waiting too long (my OB had strongly recommended I not stay at home as long as I did with my first delivery if I wanted an epidural), we headed to the hospital around 3AM, leaving my son asleep in his bed with my friends watching the monitor. (Best scenario ever! I had spent so much time worrying over having to drop him off somewhere in the middle of the night.)

On the drive is when it got a little weird. Walking kept my contractions at 2-3 minutes; sitting they slipped to 4-6. Still hospital worthy according to my OB but I worried about them spacing out more and stopping.  I was ready at this point and my mom was already on her way. We stopped and walked two more times in random parking lots just in case.  Besides, I like to walk when I'm in labor. Everything inside me is antsy and pushes me to keep moving.

At the hospital, they hooked me up to the monitors and confirmed that my contractions were strong and regular.  They insisted I lay in bed to be monitored for 2 hours before I could follow the "intermittent monitoring" order my OB had written on the chart.  (This was her promise that I would be allowed to walk so that I wouldn't wait so long to come to the hospital.)

Things went a little differently after those two hours than I had pictured.  Two different residents checked me 2 hours apart and both said I was 3cm dilated (one told us "3, almost 4" but must have reported 3 to the attending).  First, I was disappointed that I was only 3 or 4cm dilated because I had been 5cm with my first son at this level of pain and intensity of contractions (which is when I decided to go to the hospital with him too), but the biggest disappointment came from the medical team.  Based on "no change" in my cervix, it was decided somehow that I wasn't in labor (huh?!) and that they would send me home.  Now here's the kicker... a nurse told me that I would be sent home unless I agreed to have them start a Pitocin drip.

(I need to take a moment to say that Pitocin is a topic I will blog about one of these days because I feel very strongly about it.  Studies are there saying that Pitocin is very overused and associated with significant risk and that it should only be used when medically necessary. Yet the overuse continues and I've heard so many stories of less than ideal outcomes... But this is too big a topic to do justice to it here, so stay tuned for more on this later.)

I refused both the Pitocin and going home after listening to the attending physician monologue about how cervical checks are very subjective (he actually compared it to reaching into a wet sock) but never once checked me himself.  He also based his reasoning that I wasn't in active labor on the fact that I was talking to him (between contractions, hello!) and that I didn't "look in pain enough."  He never addressed our concerns about the obvious contractions on the monitor (that had been at less than 5 minutes apart for 5 hours at this point) or listened to my husband and mom say that I am in pain even if I don't fit his stereotype of pain reactions.  Nor did he give any credence to the fact that I had been in labor before and knew what it felt like (and he hadn't and couldn't! though I held back from saying this to him).

You can imagine how furious that man made me.

Perhaps I would have believed him that I wasn't in labor if this was my first child.  And perhaps I would've agreed to Pitocin if I was post-term or if I had much less knowledge on the subject but to me, his approach was all wrong.  If I wasn't in labor (which I knew I was), starting Pitocin = induction, something I didn't want unless absolutely necessary (because of the risks).  And if I was in labor, the monitor clearly showed strong, regular contractions and I didn't need a drug meant to induce contractions.  As long as the baby is happy, there is no time table, within reason and when membranes are intact, for the baby to be born once contractions start.

My doctor came and saved the day (thank goodness!) not too long afterward.  She checked me and declared that I was 4cm dilated and had been 2cm the evening before in her office and that although slow that was progress.  She stripped my membranes again and things really took off.  I was ready for an epidural (because of how much my pain increased) at 5cm not too long after that.

My nurse (a new one and a great one!) was surprised when I asked for the epidural.  Somehow, without ever being asked, it was decided that I didn't want an epidural.  In fact, she seemed concerned that I wanted to go home (what?! They were the ones trying to send me away! Hand-over between the night nurse and day nurse obviously failed).  She also thought I had not had regular prenatal care and was therefore missing lab work that was required in order to receive an epidural.  Thankfully, all of that was cleared up fairly quickly and after a quick refusal of the resident anesthesiologist, the attending gave me a perfect epidural.

Interestingly, the epidural revved up my contractions even more (the opposite of my last delivery).  Eventually, my doctor said I was completely dilated, and my nurse told me to let her know when it was "baby time."  I did and she called for my doctor and told me she'd be there in 5 minutes.  I remember saying "that is way too long! It's baby time!"  He was about to be born.  I convinced the nurse to check me just in case and after that, she somehow quickly procured my doctor.  I have video after my son was born and you can hear the nurse telling my OB "I didn't know she was THAT close." ;)

 And, long story short, after nearly 18 hours of labor (more than with my first son!), my healthy, squalling, beautiful 6lb 13oz son was born with just 2 pushes and no tears. The bed was never disassembled into stirrups (there wasn't time) so he was within my reach (and view) the whole time and came straight to my arms.  He nursed a few minutes later and I held him skin to skin until I couldn't handle not knowing his weight any longer.

The beginning was long but the ending was perfect.

 I could've done without the battling in between but otherwise, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Baby #2 Bumpdate: the Eighth Month

I am full term and feeling it.  I am getting eager to meet this new little guy, although I still want him to at least wait until next week.  I don't feel quite ready yet.  But, as I sit here and think, other than being completely packed (which is hard to do because I don't want to pack away clothes and not wear them for weeks), we are pretty much good to go.  Maybe not feeling ready is just a sign that he's not quite ready yet either.  I guess we will see.

At any rate, the car seat base is installed, his bag is packed, Liam's big brother presents are packed, my bag is mostly packed, the bassinet sheets are washed and it is ready in our master bedroom along with his newborn clothes and diapers... we even brought the swing downstairs tonight.  I've had all the discussions about what I want in different scenarios with my OB as well.  All that is left now is waiting and trying to rest and spend as much one-on-one time with Liam as possible.

How far along today: 37 weeks + 4 days

Baby size:  At 37 weeks, baby should be about the size of a winter melon, 19-22 inches long and 6.5 lbs.  At 34 weeks, Coen was approximately 5lbs and 3oz (as much as 5lbs was the What to Expect estimate) so he may be just a bit bigger. Despite that, my fundal height at the last appointment was 3cm smaller than gestational age and 1cm less than the previous week's visit so we are thinking baby has dropped (which I could already tell). 

Trimester: Third trimester is tough but we are almost there!

Gender: As I announced in my Gender Reveal Post, it's a BOY!  

Name: This little guy's name will be Coen Gabor.  See my What's in a Name Post to see how we chose this name and why it is so special to us.

Movement: I think it is getting kind of tight in there.  This baby boy seems to prefer jabbing an elbow, knee or foot out versus wiggling around like he used to.  Sometimes I can feel him try to stretch out by kicking my ribs and shifting his head even further down onto my bladder.

Contractions: The Braxton-Hicks have sure been picking up lately.  Today, I felt like every time I bent over (which of course is pretty often because of big brother), I had a contraction.  They seem to be accomplishing a little at least.  I was almost 2cm and 40% effaced yesterday.  I know this means pretty much nothing but it's good to know that progress is being made none-the-less.

Cravings: Bagel bites and Halloween candy.  The first is such a horrible craving but I can't shake it.  It is ever present and very strong.  I just try not to give in too much or like today balance it with a plate of fruits and veggies first.  The second is a craving of convenience.  Here's to hoping all the candy is gone soon!

Aversions: What are those?  Just give me food and lots of it!  

The Not So Fun Pregnancy Stuff:  I had a lot of muscle cramps this month that I just couldn't figure out what to do about.  My athlete husband recommended I may be low on electrolytes so I tried Gatorade and bananas with little improvement.  I did however learn that my prenatal has absolutely no potassium in it so I realize that adding these foods was a good thing either way.  I asked my OB and she had no idea and just recommended I continue my vitamin and what I was already trying.  My mother finally suggested I may be low on calcium when I described how the spasms were worsening to the point of my muscles contracting when I tried to stretch my limbs out first thing in the morning and my finger did something similar while I was cooking one night.  I started supplementing and focusing on more dairy intake and I am happy to say that the spasms are gone.  The prenatal I take only fulfills 12% of daily value for calcium so this makes sense. I wanted to share my story in hopes that if someone else is having this issue they try this sooner!  (And here's to hoping my teeth survived the time it took us to figure this out!)

Coen has dropped in the last week or so so sleep has gotten a little better.  I still wake up in pain (mostly my ribs and upper back) or having to pee at least 3 times a night but that is much better than before.  I haven't actually had to get up before morning just because the pain was so bad that I couldn't sleep any longer regardless of how exhausted I was like I was doing before.  Still, by the end of the day, I am utterly and completely exhausted every single day (though I am sure my toddler has a lot to do with this!).

Most exciting moments:  Our 34 week ultrasound was the high point of this month.  We were told the wonderful news that the amniotic fluid was normal once more at an AFI of 13.2.  I also got to see Coen's face on 3D, which is always fun.  The quality of the picture reassured me the fluid would be fine before I even read the report.  Coen even gave us a little smirk and opened his eyes!  It was incredible!

What I'm most looking forward to:  Coen's birthday is pretty much the biggest thing coming up now.  His due date is less than 3 weeks away!  I'm kind of hoping he decides to come a few days early but if he's like his big brother, it may be more like a few days late.  It would be a huge thing to be thankful for for sure though if he made it by Thanksgiving.  We have a variety of plans (thanks to some wonderful family and friends) for what to do with big brother on the big day based on when little brother decides to make his grand entry into the world.  Hopefully, we are covered for any day he decides now!

Big Brother: Big brother turned two this month!  He had a blast at his Elmo party.  He also loved Boo at the Zoo (he danced for over an hour) and was in heaven on Halloween night.  I'm actually having trouble explaining to him that Halloween is over.  I started trying to focus on doing some Thanksgiving crafts with him so that the coming holiday seems more fun to him.  I don't know what it was about Halloween but maybe it was promised candy and that everything was orange (his favorite color) but he was (and is) obsessed with that holiday.

I'm eager to see how he adjusts to being a big brother.  He has a teenage mutant ninja turtle pillow pet to give Coen.  He has one in orange and we got Coen a blue one from Liam since Liam loves his so much.  Liam is getting a build-a-bear Michaelangelo (that he actually built with Mommy and Daddy this month) and a recorded story book read to him by Mommy to keep him company while we are in the hospital, and a big brother book and pin.  I am most excited about seeing what he thinks of what must seem like a mythical baby to him when he is no longer a concept in Mommy's belly and can be touched and seen.  And how long it'll be until he tells me to give him "back" like he did a friend's baby we saw last week ;).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Baby #2 Bumpdate: the 7th month

The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy with a blur of doctor's appointments and fall plans with the family.  This month is my oldest son's birthday month so we have a few traditions.  Boo at the Zoo, trick-or-treating, a visit to the local pumpkin patch, pumpkin carving  painting, and his 2nd birthday party are definites. We're also finally adding a new tradition of apple picking.

As for how I'm feeling lately...the dreaded rib pain is back.  I had that really bad with Liam and I've been hoping I'd avoid it this time since second babies tend to sit lower.  No such luck.  Laying down seems to be the worst.  The tech at our 31 week ultrasound made me feel better though when she said she couldn't visualize the baby's spine because his back was "jammed under" my rib cage. No joke!  That's exactly what it feels like.  At least baby boy is head down and ready for his birthday as far as that goes.

How far along today: 33 weeks + 3 days

Baby size:  At 33 weeks, baby should be about the size of a honeydew, 19 inches long and 4.5 lbs.  At 31 weeks, Coen was 3lbs and 12oz (3.2lbs was the What to Expect estimate) so he may be just a bit bigger. Despite that, my fundal height at the last appointment was 2cm smaller than gestational age, which is what got us the 31 week ultrasound in the first place. 

Trimester: Oh third trimester, you are a tough one... You're making me anxious to have this baby boy here even though it is WAY too early still.  

Gender: As I announced in my Gender Reveal Post, it's a BOY!  

Name: This little guy's name will be Coen Gabor.  See my What's in a Name Post to see how we chose this name and why it is so special to us.

Movement: This baby boy moves A LOT!  The ultrasound made him move, me getting up at night because of Liam or to go to the bathroom wakes him up and he becomes crazy active (not helping with trying to go back to sleep), and I've noticed a few loud noises will start up his crazy antics too.

Cravings: Chocolate chip cookies and sour candy.  Although, I really just like to eat, especially carbs of all kinds (and especially sweets unfortunately).  Thank goodness I passed that 3 hour glucose tolerance test!

Aversions: What are those?  Just give me food and lots of it!  

The Not So Fun Pregnancy Stuff:  
The weather is FINALLY starting to cool down! But not fast enough.  Highs are in the mid-80s (which feels like high 90s to me) still! This is a huge thing for me since we are still having to run our AC pretty hard on warm days to keep me from feeling like I am melting into a puddle.  Shorts and tank tops are often what I wear while I dress my toddler in long sleeves and pants on cooler days.  I'm pretty sure some people think I'm nuts but I just feel so hot that jeans sound horrible most days.  The forecast for the coming 10 days looks promising for more chill in the air though!

Sleep has been very rough lately.  This is probably my biggest struggle in the past few weeks.  Liam had a rough few weeks.  I also just wake up in pain a lot.  My back and neck bother me but the rib pain I meantioned earlier is the worst.  I just feel bruised, like I've been in a car accident and can't lay on my ribs.  Unfortunately, any way I lay puts pressure on my rib cage.  I desperately googled ways to relieve it and have come up with a survival routine.  I take a shower and stretch before bed.  I try to avoid laying down until the moment we are going to sleep then try to take as much pressure off with my body pillow as possible.  This has seemed to work a few nights.  I'm also anxiously awaiting him to "drop."  That was promised as relief online, but since Liam never did drop, I'm worried that'll be true this time too.  But honestly, all my research mostly just let me know that the rib pain is likely here until delivery day.  Delivering is the only cure.  (Yikes...I have 6 weeks and change til my due date and Liam was late...)

Sciatica is like a ninja.  It comes out of nowhere but strong and hard.  One minute I'm scrubbing the bathroom and the next I can't even walk up the stairs or put any weight on one of my legs (usually the left one).

Most exciting moments:  Getting a 31 week ultrasound!  I was a little disappointed that Coen wouldn't cooperate and show us his face but the little blurry, melty looking tidbits that I did get to see made me happy and I can't truly be disappointed when he looks perfectly healthy. 

Worst moment: The day after our ultrasound, I had an OB visit and found out that Coen's amniotic fluid is measuring "low normal".  In fact, after a little research I discovered that at 8.9, for his gestational age, he was 0.1 away from "low" (5th percentile) not just "low normal."  I have another ultrasound next week to follow the fluid levels.  Coen looks perfectly healthy but if the fluid becomes too low, I will have to be admitted to the hospital for bed rest and IV fluids.  I worry that we will have to induce early and it is still REALLY early.  For now, I'm just trying to drink lots of water and not worry too much since it won't change anything.

What I'm most looking forward to: I'm looking forward to all the fun October activities we have planned and the hubs finally having some time off this month to do all of them with us.  We really need some time together to have fun, finish the house, and relax before we become a family of four in a month and a half.  I'm also looking forward to seeing Coen's sweet face again next week.  Ultrasounds could never get old to me!

Big Brother: Liam is turning 2 in 2 weeks!  That is crazy.  We are planning a little Elmo birthday party for him at home.  He is majorly into Elmo right now.  He could watch Elmo videos we rent from the library all day if we let him.  That and the YouTube videos for Choo Choo Soul's "Alphabet" and "All Aboard" songs as well as the Mickey Mouse Club House intro song. 

He had two weeks of waking up a lot of nights but hopefully this has passed (it has been over a week since the last time now).  He refuses to nap some days so that routine somehow got messed up too.  Hopefully this will be a short phase since Mommy is exhausted.

Liam's latest obsession is Halloween so I've made some effort to decorate the house a little for Halloween and do some crafts that follow the theme as well.  His enthusiasm is very rewarding.  He exclaims "Ham-a-meen!" and adds "craft" or "art" or "disz (decoration in Hungarian)" and repeats it so excitedly that I'm starting to love Halloween stuff too :).

We've been working on getting Coen's room organized and Liam loves that.  He likes pointing out socks and clothes.  And he exclaims "Kutch-Ko!" when we head toward his room.  He points out daily that "Kutch-Ko" is in my belly.  He also identifies baby things like cribs in the store with his baby brother's name. We had a play date with a little boy who has a baby sister and I tried to use her to explain that Coen would be a baby like that very soon.   I'm not sure how much he understands but he seems excited for now. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Baby #2 Bumpdate: 5th and 6th month

I know, I know.  I've pretty much completely disappeared for the last few months but we've been busy settling into our new home and going on some long-overdue vacations.  At any rate, I am also overdue for a bumpdate so here goes a combination one for months 5 and 6.  Hopefully, I'll be back in the groove next month.

I'm now into my 3rd trimester and starting to feel it.  Back pain, especially in my upper back and shoulders, has been the bane of my existence this last week or so. Bending over is a task that I already try to avoid as often as possible because of my back but also because Coen is in the way :).  My energy never was very high last trimester, but that's to be expected chasing a very energetic almost-two-year old (Eeek! I can't believe he will be two in less than two months!) around.  And now that third trimester has started, I just feel exhausted pretty much constantly.

Coen continues to be more energetic than his brother was.  He's already woken me up from a sound sleep (and if you know me, that takes some effort!) with his kicking.  Daddy felt him for sure a few weeks ago and was like "what is he doing in there?!"  I wish I could peek in and see because I'm wondering the same thing!  He seems to be practicing for some sport that hasn't been invented yet.

How far along today: 29 weeks + 2 days

Baby size:  At 29 weeks, baby was the size of a small cabbage, approximately 17 inches long and 2.9 lbs.  At his last ultrasound 
(21 weeks), he was starting to drop percentiles, just like his brother did and I am no longer measuring a week ahead, but more like a week behind.  At my 26 week visit, I was already a cm behind on fundal height, which is still considered normal, especially for a second pregnancy.  I'm hoping for an extra ultrasound after my next appointment (like I got with Liam at about 30 weeks).

Trimester: Let the fun begin.  Third trimester is here.  

Gender: As I announced in my Gender Reveal Post, it's a BOY!  

Name: This little guy's name will be Coen Gabor.  See my What's in a Name Post to see how we chose this name and why it is so special to us.

Movement: I'm past the stage of "I think I felt him!" I have no doubts that my little man is moving around.  It feels as if my whole stomach shifts at times or that he's focusing on punching/kicking his way out in one chosen area.  I love sitting and watching my belly move.  So far, he hasn't chosen to lay on one side over the other like Liam did (thankfully!).  Coen prefers to kick and wiggle.  The adorable hiccups have started, and boy does it feel strange to have your belly twitch rhythmically!  And the rhythm feels so much faster than I remembered.

Cravings: Peanut butter and bananas.  This sums up the last two months.  I have made countless peanut butter banana shakes and the hubby has picked up bananas for me on his way home from work when we ran out. The boys in my house do not share my love for these shakes.  But oh well, more for me and Coen ;).

I also went through a happy week of wolfing down muscadines.  There was a week or two of a carrot frenzy (my boys may have gotten tired of carrots to go with every meal) and Barberitos seems to call my name more often than it should.

Aversions: I have to think pretty hard to come up with aversions.  I'm pretty much an eating machine these days, but I did attempt to use up a can of corn from our pantry the other night and I couldn't eat more than a bite.  I understand why it sat there so long now.  Canned corn tastes weird to me and somehow my pregnant taste buds weren't having it at all.  Interestingly enough, overly sweet desserts make me feel sick.  This is strange because that is SO not me.  (Don't worry, chocolate cake doesn't count as overly sweet!)

The Not So Fun Pregnancy Stuff: Oh the emotions!  I have a lot of mood swings and considering we have a few major decisions coming up and in the works, that has NOT been helping.

I FEEL SO HOT!  Summer is my favorite season and has been as long as I can remember.  I love how pretty fall is but I always feel sad when the weather starts to cool down.  However, this year, I'm in a rush to have that happen.  Georgia is hot still.  We're seeing days in the high 90s with high humidity and I feel like I have an internal space heater on at all times.  Nights are the worst and we've slowly been creeping down on the thermostat and up on the ceiling fan speed (the latter of which my husband is VERY happy about).  He actually commented that he wakes up cold in the mornings (that's saying something if you know him!)

Sleep is getting harder as getting comfortable gets harder.  I don't know what I would do without the body pillow the hubs got me for our anniversary. I use it to prop myself up so I can somewhat sleep in my happy position still--on my belly.  Falling asleep seems to be less of a struggle now because of exhaustion, but staying asleep is another matter.  Some nights I feel like I get up to pee every 2 hours at least.  Sometimes I wake up just from back pain (which seems to be whenever I inadvertently roll onto my back and more and more frequently, in general, lately).  Other times, my little wiggle worm rouses me (the first time was at 23 weeks when he was attacking my belly button from the inside.  This sensation was accompanied by a horrible nightmare of someone punching me repeatedly in my belly button).  And of course, Liam has his rough nights every once in a while.

So far, sciatica has been at bay.  There are times when I get up from bed or from sitting for an extended period of time (when does that happen?!) and I feel a shot of pain down one leg (or both) but after a few steps, it seems to go away and this has only happened a handful of times so far so I can't complain.  Sciatica was my nemesis last pregnancy so it doesn't seem bad in comparison.

Worst moment: I failed my 1 hour glucose tolerance test.  My sugar was 143 (yep, cut off is 140).  With Liam, it was about 70 so I more than just a little freaked out.  I scoured the risk factor list and found that I meet exactly 0 of these so...I jumped to the most logical conclusion (OK, not exactly) but I decided I must be developing Type I diabetes and pregnancy was just unmasking it somehow.  After suffering (and I do mean SUFFERING) through the 3 hour test with my toddler, though, I am happy to report that my glucose was once again LOW at every single testing point.  The nurse says she has no idea what happened with my first test.  I'm just thankful to be back on the low side.  It's silly but I had to have one last piece of chocolate cake the night before my test when my fasting began.  And while I would have no problem sticking to the diabetic diet because I know how important it is, I am SO SO thankful that I don't have to give up my sweets.

Most exciting momentsThe hubs finally feeling Coen move around about two weeks ago was memorable.  I remember him having a lot of trouble sensing Liam's movements and how much it frustrated both of us.  Liam seemed to stop moving completely whenever he sensed a hand on my belly so it took more weeks and more patience for the hubs to finally feel him.  Coen thankfully is not so shy and I treasure sharing our baby boy with his Daddy so early on.

I hate to be a medical nerd but the milestone of hitting 24 weeks was huge to me.  My baby is viable!  He still needs to take his time of course.  We are in no rush for him to come yet, but if he did, he'd be welcomed to the NICU where his chances of survival are now (at almost 30 weeks) good.  Now that's a milestone to be excited about!

What I'm most looking forward to:  The next big things coming up for us are in October.  I'm looking forward to apple picking sometime in mid-October and Liam's two year old birthday at the end of the month. I'm pretty excited about his party. Of course Halloween comes right after that. We have a tradition of going to Boo at the Zoo and hopefully we will get to trick-or-treat as a family.  Fall with its cooler weather is probably the biggest thing I'm excited about right now though (and hopefully the first thing to happen!).

Big Brother: Big brother seems to be in the know about baby brother but it's hard to tell how much he understands.  He calls Coen "Kutch-Ko" and happily announces that Coen's room is "Kutch-Ko" and points to my belly and says "Kutch-Ko".  He also has a fascination with a library book we got two weeks ago called "Ellen and Penguin and the New Baby" (we had to recheck it today).  He begs for us to read "Baby" at least twice a day. The story is about a little girl with a new baby brother and how she views and comes to accept the changes the baby brings to her family.  He points to the baby in the book and says "Kutch-Ko" and "baby" and I explain that he will have a baby brother like that too.  I'm sure Coen will still come as a shock, but I'm hoping preparing him this way will help some.

In the whirlwind of a beautiful summer of two beach vacations and a trip alone with my better half, the weeks flew by.  Big brother is now completely transitioned to his big boy bed (even naps!) and has no desire to sleep in his baby crib because he's a "big boy!" like "Elmo" (who is his newest obsession along with the book "Elmo Loves You" that we also read multiple times a day every day). The only thing left in order to finish his big boy room is to take the crib out (which is just of matter of Daddy finding time to disassemble it now).

Liam has grown so much and is so tall!  Nagyi and Papi took us to Starbucks last weekend and as I looked at him sitting on his own chair, sipping his own hot chocolate, I had a realization that he really is a big boy now.  We even ended up having to turn his carseat to forward-facing this week because he is simply too tall to be rear-facing despite being well below the weight limit and me wanting to make it to that magical two years that the AAP recommends.  But that's parenting: changing plans from what you imagine as best to what actually works best for your child.  This is a lesson I've learned very well over the last two years.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Moving on up... to a Big Boy Bed!

One of the decisions that comes with having a second baby so close to the first is whether you will invest in a second crib or transition the older child to a big kid bed.  We quickly decided on the second choice since Liam will have just turned 2 when our second son is born and the transition would be inevitable at some point a year or so after that.  We wanted to start the transition well before baby brother would arrive, but we decided to wait until after we had settled somewhat into our new house and Liam had adjusted to the new environment before springing more changes on him.

Meanwhile, I started searching for the "perfect big boy bed."  I read online articles and asked people I knew their opinions on twin vs toddler beds for almost 2 year olds.  This decision seemed a lot harder to me because both sides seemed to have pros and cons so I went back and forth on what was "best" for us.  On the one hand, a toddler bed seemed to be most crib-like.  In fact, Liam could keep the same mattress he was already using.  Many people said kids, especially younger ones like him, feel more secure because of the familiar mattress, size, and the close rails.  I liked that they are so low to the ground and have rails (though most of the rails seemed inadequate to me, leaving plenty of room to fall out).  We also really wanted his new bed to be something fun, which seemed to be something easily doable with a toddler bed.  I wanted this transition to be exciting and all about him being a "big boy" and nothing to do with little brother being on the way. As for the pros associated with a twin bed... we could buy a mattress that he could use possibly until his college days.  I also liked the thought of being able to cuddle before bedtime and read stories in his bed (I'm already dreading when we move the rocking chair out of his room). But I wanted all of the pros.  I didn't want to choose between the two.

I waited and waited.  Searched and searched.  Nothing felt right so I couldn't make up my mind.  Then one day, I was looking at a car bed and realized that it came in a twin-sized version.  The mattress could be lowered quite a bit, creating side rails all around.  Aha!  My "perfect" big boy bed.  It was fun and cute, low to the ground, had rails to keep him from falling out, had a long-term mattress size, and we could lay in the bed with him!  I even managed to find two on Craigslist, but one was sold.  That left one but the price was too high for us.  My husband haggled a bit then my mother-in-law and I went to see it that same day.  I fell in love even more when I saw it for the first time.  We couldn't wait to set it up the next day when my hubby was off work.

Immediately after we set up his bed.  He was so happy!
We spent his day off shopping for a mattress and bedding.  I loved seeing my husband so excited about the bed.  He actually picked the bedding (and therefore the theme for Liam's room).  When we set it up, my son went crazy with excitement.  He kept yelling "kai! kai! kai!".  (This is his word for car, one of his absolute favorite things.)

My hubby wanted to start trying to put him to bed in it that night so that he could be home on the first night (his firefighter schedule has 24 hour shifts).  Of course using the bed the same day you set it up is not the recommended method and I really understand why now.  I suggest leaving the new bed up and letting the child get used to it.  Despite Liam adoring his new bed and laying down in it immediately after we set it up and saying "night night" over and over, he was WAY too excited to sleep in it.  I've honestly never seen him so hyper.

We did our usual bedtime routine with reading in the rocking chair then listening to his bedtime song, and me singing to him (except I snuggled with him in the big bed for the last two parts).  But he could not settle down.  He jumped, he climbed, he stared into his night light pillow pet, he kicked the side of the bed, he pointed out things in the room and wiggled. I was very grateful we had decided to leave the crib in his room as well.  That first night, I moved him to his crib where he immediately fell asleep.

First night he fell asleep alone in his new bed
Parenting is often filled with trial and error.  And that is what happened with this transition.  Getting him to sleep in the big bed at night was my first goal.  He's always been a great night time sleeper but a horrible napper so it made sense to start with the easier transition first.  Each night I tried the same thing.  He would get calmer each day but as soon as I got up, he freaked out.  He'd climb out of bed and stand at his door sobbing.  The newness of the bed was just too much I guess.  He seemed scared to be alone in it, but he was too excited to fall asleep as long as I was in the bed with him. On the fifth night, his daddy cuddled with him in the bed for about an hour.  Daddy fell asleep.  But Liam fell asleep too!  A huge step forward!  After that, we had no trouble getting him to sleep alone in it at night.  Something in his brain must have clicked in place.  I'm not sure exactly why but that's all it took.  The next night and every night since then, he falls asleep alone in the car bed. We do our routine.  I lay with him a few minutes then I get up, tuck him in, tell him to have beautiful dreams, and I leave. He lays in bed and rubs the tie of his Michaelangelo pillow pet and falls asleep.

The next hurdle was getting him to sleep THROUGH the night.  The first night, he woke up at 2AM.  The hubs and I decided that for a while we would just put him in the crib if he woke up at night.  I wasn't keen on the idea of getting in his bed in the wee hours because I feel like a walking zombie and I know I would immediately fall asleep.  Just when we were thinking it might be time to lay him back in the car bed soon, he slept in it until 8:30AM one day.  And he's slept through the night in the car bed ever since then.  I guess he just had to get used to the new environment so he could be reassured when he opened his eyes and drift back to dreamland during those natural middle-of-the-night partial wakings that we all have.

The last and biggest hurdle was napping.  Like I said, he was never a good napper.  Not even when he was a tiny baby.  He pretty much never napped at daycare and when he was tiny, we had to use his swing or take him on a walk.  Since I've been home though, I've gotten him on a fairly good routine. It's not perfect since errands have run into nap time many a time, but nap time follows an hour or so after lunch.  He sometimes cries a bit or chatters but falls asleep well in his crib.  The big boy bed was just too much freedom though.  Without the confinement, he couldn't bring himself to lay down (which is what he needs to fall asleep).  He would get up and play in his room or chatter to me if I was laying with him.

One day I decided to try the method that worked at night.  I snuggled with him over an hour but to no avail.  (Some of the highlights of this mommy torture: me falling into stage 1 sleep about 50 times to be woken up by a jab or kick or wiggling, Liam picking his nose for the first time, kicking the bed, naming everything in the room including doors and stars, and my favorite was the headbutt he gave me that reduced him to sobbing from exhaustion and pain.)  I decided that this method could not work for me.  I was too frustrated and could not see the point in wearing myself out that much for a short break.

First nap in his car bed.
We switched gears (thankfully to a method that works).  I started reading Liam one story then laying him in the bed for nap time.  I had a talk with him each day informing him that he had 3 chances to sleep in the big boy bed (he very obviously prefers sleeping in the car).  If he got up a third time from his bed, he would be put in his crib.  Nap time would happen either way.  It was up to him to choose where he would sleep.  I stuck to my word.  No anger or frustration on my part just consistency (which is why I ditched the previous method...I couldn't meet this most important requirement).  It didn't work the first 3 days but I kept trying anyway.  It was at least a method I could deal with.  Nap time wasn't post-poned forever and I had a reasonable limit so I didn't feel frustrated beyond belief.

Today, it worked!  My big boy is sleeping in his car.  He stayed after the first warning and I am on cloud 9!  I've gone from being sad about this change to being quite ready for it.  Moving the crib out of his room and into his baby brother's is the final piece to completing his amazing Cars themed big boy room.  It is also the final touch needed for the nursery.  And we are close now.  I am one proud Mama.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What's in a Name?

Picking a name for your unborn child seems to be a perfect embodiment of marriage itself: two minds have to become one.  Two individuals from two different families and backgrounds with different life experiences, preferences, and memories have to come together to pick two important words.  Words that will be the first impression many people get of the child their union created for the rest of his or her life.

Like last pregnancy, my husband and I had many names one of us liked or loved and the other person hated.  Sometimes a negative memory was to blame.  Other times, our preferences just seemed to be polar opposite.

But name-picking is a beautiful process.  And having two equally sharing parties that differ in opinions are invaluable for this new little person.  And... I honestly really enjoy the search and the many discussions.  I've learned so much about my husband in the process.

All that being said, we are ready to announce baby boy #2's name! His name will be....

Coen Gabor

I want to give you some background on both his name and big brother's too since I didn't have a blog back when he was born.

Let's start with big brother.  His name is Liam Allan.

Allan is a family name on my husband's side.  My husband's middle name is Allan.  His father's middle name is Allan and so was his late grandfather's.  I love that the tradition to pass on names in his family focuses on middle names.  It gives history without taking away individuality.  I decided during my pregnancy with Liam that I wanted to start a similar tradition with all of our kids' names someday.

Liam is a name I fell in love with during a rotation I did in my medical school's daycare.  The cutest little 10 month old there was named Liam.  He was so lovable that it made me love his name. I also loved that I had never met anyone else with that name.  As an added bonus, my husband's father is William Allan (but he goes by the name Allan).  The fact that Liam is a form of William gave it a family name perspective but still kept its uniqueness because it wasn't a carbon copy family first name.  I was excited when the grandparents all seemed to like it immediately as well.

Since my name is Jennifer (the number one name from 1970-1984 in this country), ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to name my kids less common names so that they wouldn't be dubbed "so-and-so-first-initial" in their classrooms.  Liam was ranked #15 in 2011. This is the number we were faced with when we were choosing his name.  We hesitated a little over the name because of its high rank, but that was its first year in the top 25 and only the second year in the top 40 so it didn't seem too popular.  Of course,  it ended up rising to #6 in his birth year.  Fast-forward to last year and it's now #2.  I hope he doesn't end up feeling like his name is too common because to me it still feels unique.  It fits him perfectly and I love it even more than I did when we chose it.

Now for baby brother Coen Gabor.

Gabor is the family name for him.  It is my father's name and was also my late grandfather's name.  It is a name that appears often in my family.  I have a cousin and a second cousin with the name too.  For this reason and because people always seemed to butcher the pronunciation for my Dad, we decided to use it as a middle name.  It also continues the tradition we started in our own family with Liam by giving him the family name as a middle name.

Coen is a name we were introduced to because of a friend in my husband's Army unit.  He has a son Liam's age that is named Cohen.  When I heard the name, I fell in love with it. I was unaware of their chosen spelling but my husband and I both imagined it spelled Coen.  We are both drawn to short names and as I said earlier, unique ones.  I have yet to meet another Coen.  I did a lot of reading about the name and found that Coen is a shortened version of the Dutch name Coenraad.  Just like Liam is short for William.  Once again, it just feels perfect for our little guy.

And the meanings are perfect too.  Liam means "protector".  What a great name for a big brother!  It also fits his sweet personality so well.  He is already so protective of his mama!  And the one time he's been with a smaller baby, he was so gentle and sweet with her.  Coen means "brave".  Little brothers can always use a healthy dose of bravery ;).  Being the little guy can be tough!

I'll leave you with a sneak peak of Coen's nursery (though the color in the picture does not do the real-life version justice) and the new addition to our kids' growth chart.  Nesting is in full force.  I can't wait to share more nursery pictures and pictures of Liam's big boy room as we finish up.  I also plan to do a 21 month update on Liam and a 5th month bumpdate... soon :).


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Baby #2 Bumpdate: The Fourth Month

This last month has been a crazy one!  We moved to a new house, Liam and I traveled to Hungary with my mom to see family, the hubby was away at annual training, and he came back to firefighting with lots of overtime and starting a second job for the summer.  I'm looking forward to the two vacations we have coming up: one is a long-overdue hubby-and-me romantic getaway and the other is a family vacation.  We haven't been out alone together for longer than few hours since Liam was born (and rarely at that) so it will be very refreshing to have five whole days together, a much needed time to catch-up and regroup as we get ready for more big changes ahead for our little family.

Second trimester is treating me more kindly, thankfully.  I'm in the second trimester bliss of little-to-no symptoms.  I read a post on Facebook the other day that described the trimesters of pregnancy as:
1. Sick and tired
2. Aww...the baby is kicking!
3. Get this baby outta me!!!

This seems to sum my thoughts up pretty perfectly.  I'm in the happy "the baby is kicking" stage :).  I guess I'm not alone in this being my favorite trimester.  If only my energy were higher... Moving boxes and unpacking and painting and especially toddler chasing/wrangling/toting  is exhausting! 

How far along today: 19 weeks + 2 days

Baby size:  At 19 weeks, baby was the size of a mango, approximately 6 inches long and 0.5 lbs.  This little one seems to be measuring a week ahead so far, though.

Trimester: Second trimester bliss.  Other than the continued lack of energy, I'm definitely in the sweet spot of pregnancy.  I'm not so big as to be uncomfortable, starting to show more (though people still seem to have no idea I'm pregnant until I tell them), and able to eat A LOT (which is a blessing and a curse).

Gender: As I announced in my Gender Reveal Post, it's a BOY!  I'm excited that Liam will have a little brother close in age.  I always wanted a sister near my age when I was a kid.  I hope Liam enjoys his "built-in best friend" and that the boys are close their entire lives.

Name: We have a name!  Almost...  We were 100% sure about it then I started to hesitate (it's always me that's unsure, of course).  Probably just goes along with being so emotional, hormonal and, well, pregnant.  I will do a post announcing the name as soon as we are sure for sure :).

Movement: I started feeling very distinct movement when I lay down at night at 15 weeks (it was 17 weeks with Liam so that was exciting!).  By 16 weeks, I could feel baby boy moving when I was sitting still during the day too.  The first daytime movement I felt was actually on the airplane home from Hungary.  Those twinges from tiny limbs grazing my uterus as well as the sensation of him tumbling was so wonderful to finally feel! And they are getting stronger every week.  It feels like anything from what I would describe as something akin to muscle twitches to little pokes.  I'm loving it! (Although he seems to be most active at night...which is not helping my insomnia troubles. But I do get some special time to think about and bond with this newest little man in my life.)

Cravings: Oh man, can I eat!  And I am very easily influenced by pictures and people talking about food.  It's like something clicks in my brain and it says "I gotta have THAT!"  But as far as specific things that are frequent cravings: sour candy is still a big thing, the newest is honey butter, grapefruits, white peaches, fruit in general, and chocolate cake.

Aversions: These seem to have toned down a lot.  Some seafood (not all types like during first trimester) still seems to turn on my gag reflex and I can't swallow.  It's a lot less extreme now though because the smell alone doesn't bother me as much.  

Some cleaning products make me sneeze and my eyes water that never bothered me before.  I wasn't even using them.  I was in the next room so it seemed kind of dramatic and definitely out of the norm for me.

The Not So Fun Pregnancy Stuff: Thankfully the daily nausea is a thing of the past now.  My morning sickness went away at 14 weeks (lasting just one week longer than with Liam). I do get a wave of nausea randomly sometimes but it's so much weaker and lasts such a short time that I'll go ahead and say it is not morning sickness anymore.  I haven't needed Zofran since 14 weeks.  Unfortunately, I did still have morning sickness while we were moving so there were some unhappy times spent over the toilet.  I think sheer exhaustion makes morning sickness worse.  It faded once life settled down a little.

I'm really thirsty during the day and night and I seem to get dehydrated easily, but it is summer in the South.  Braxton-Hicks are often my warning that I'm low on my fluid intake (my OB taught me to heed this during my first pregnancy).  I also pay attention to urine color (sorry for the TMI) thanks to my Soldier/firefighter husband's training.  But sometimes I still don't drink enough and end up feeling faint.  I've learned that it's just time to sit down and drink lots of water and it'll fade.

I still cry really easily. I'm not sure that'll change anytime soon, but my poor hubby sometimes is very confused when happy things make me sob...

Insomnia is a big struggle right now.  I'm not big yet but it still seems hard to get comfortable at night.  My breasts are sore and I like to lay on my stomach but my uterus is starting to feel like I'm laying on a hard ball.  My brain also won't slow down!  There is too much to think about and in the stillness, all the thoughts come rushing in. Figuring out exactly how to expand our cloth diaper stash as well as how to set up the two rooms for the boys has been a recent obsession.

Most exciting moments: Feeling those first tumbling movements and tiny twitch-like sensations of little man brushing the inside of my uterus have to rank as the #1 most exciting moments.  I remember laying awake trying to decide if what I felt was the baby for sure until one night there was no doubt!  I treasure those moments of stillness so much.  I try and picture what the little guy is doing, talk to him if I'm alone, and try to feel him with my hand from the outside.

Finding out the gender for sure was also exciting!  It was so different than with Liam.  We found out that baby #2 was likely a boy for the first time at 12 weeks + 3 days!  I wasn't even really ready to know.  With Liam, I was dying of impatience by the time we found out at 17 weeks.  However, since it was so early this time, it wasn't for sure and we waited before we got completely set on the gender.  My OB confirmed that it is a boy at my 17 week check up.  It took her about 10 seconds to find his "goods".  She tried to see Liam's gender too around 16 weeks but he was always curled up in a ball with his ankles crossed, hands on thighs.  Baby boy #2 likes to "let it all hang out" it seems.  We're already prepared for a completely different personality with this little guy.  It's amazing how different he's acted than his big brother already!

What I'm most looking forward to: I can't wait to settle on a name and share it with everyone!  I'm also really looking forward to the anatomy ultrasound that we'll have at 21 weeks.  I'm hoping to hear the best and most important news: that this little guy is perfectly healthy!  It'll be nice to see him in action again and see how much he's grown.  I'm also curious if he's still measuring big (even my uterus measured a week bigger at my last appointment!).  It surprises me because Liam always measured small and neither the hubs nor I are exactly big people.

I'm also really looking forward to having the hubby feel this little guy moving around.  He's so much more active than Liam was so I'm hoping that he will be able to feel the kicks sooner.  Liam is our stubborn one.  He would stop moving as soon as his Daddy put his hand on my belly.  It was very frustrating.  The hubs felt a hard knob of a foot or bottom or skull but not really much kicking.

Big Brother: Liam really enjoyed himself in Hungary with my cousins' kids.  There were 7 kids, with the youngest being only a year older than Liam.  There was a lot of competitiveness but they also had a lot of fun. His vocabulary really started taking off while we were there so he picked up a lot of Hungarian words (and even a few German ones).  It's so fun to hear him talk.  He repeats everything we say now though so we have to be careful!  

I've explained to him that there is a baby in my tummy.  I think I may have confused him though because he proudly points to his, mine, or even his dad's belly button and announces "baba" (baby in Hungarian).  We're still working on explaining the concept that the baby is only in my belly ;).

Our plans for his big boy room are shaping up.  We're going with a space/Mickey Mouse theme.  I've already ordered his curtains, bought a planet projection night light, and he has a fan that matches the theme.  We've decided to go with a toddler bed and it will probably be a Mickey Mouse one.  I'm hoping he is excited about his new room and fun new bed and that he transitions smoothly.  I'm pretty nervous about the freedom to roam that he will have and worry that he will develop sleep problems.

Liam has grown up so much in the last few months I can barely keep up!  I'm trying to get in extra cuddles and rocking before he doesn't want those things at all anymore and before little brother arrives and we all have to find our new norm.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gender Reveal

We are excited to announce that.... 
It's a BOY! 

This winter, our family is growing by two feet... two more little boy feet! Bring on the hand-me-downs and rough and rowdy brotherly play!

Liam doesn't know what to think about his baby brother yet.  I love his face in this picture.  He looks like "What is this?! These are too small for me! Where is the impostor???"

We are very excited that Liam is going to have a little brother!  I can't wait to see this new little guy's personality and how Liam adjusts to being a big brother.  I am looking forward to seeing our boys grow up playing together.  I always wished for a sister with when I was a little girl.  I hope that Liam finds the camaraderie and closeness I longed for back then, in his little brother.  I pray that they will be close friends their entire lives.  As one mom whose blog I read tells her boys, "having a brother is like having a built in best friend for life."  I will be reminding my boys of this often. 

We had a fun photo shoot today with Daddy (he's home from annual training!).  Here's my favorite picture: me and my little men. 

 This Mama is one blessed woman to be surrounded by all these handsome guys who love on me.  I am officially a "boy mom" double time :).

Thursday, June 19, 2014

It's a... 12 Gender Predictions for Baby #2

One experience common to pregnant women is an intense yearning to know whether their little one is a boy or girl.  Some people choose to find out by elective ultrasound, others wait for their anatomy scan, and still others prefer to keep the surprise until birth.  But every mother wonders.  And from this wondering has developed many many methods for guessing baby's gender.  Guessing being the key word.

Here are a few that I tried this go-around.  These are just for fun!  Especially the old wives' tales are not meant to be taken seriously.  I quite enjoyed putting this together and hope you enjoy the results.  The hands-on ones in particular made me feel like a kid again experimenting in my bathroom with my best friend.  From wives' tales and seemingly silly stuff to somewhat more scientific guesses, here's how baby #2 ranked on each.  (You can find the first 9 at this link: wives tales)

1.  How are you carrying?  
Low means boy; high means girl.  Showing mostly in the front suggests you're carrying a boy; expanding horizontally is a girl.

As with my first pregnancy, I can't really tell this early about carrying low or high since my uterus hasn't even reached my belly button yet (that's a 20 week milestone).  I carried Liam very high but had no idea about that until well after we already knew his gender (and strangers continually insisted he was a girl as a result).

I can say that I do seem to be carrying out front, though.  At any rate, I haven't seemed to round out anywhere else (yet).  So, based on this... BOY!

2.  Break outs
Little girls are said to steal their mothers' beauty so skin blemishes are a sign of a baby girl.

Well, for me, hormonal changes always give me acne.  Same with baby boy #1.  But, based on this... GIRL!

3.  Swinging ring
This is one of the kind of silly ones but you are supposed to tie your wedding ring on a string and hold it over your belly.  Swinging back and forth means girl.  Circle means boy.  So...GIRL!

4. Baking soda potty time
Baking soda + pee.  Fizzles = boy.  Not = girl.  So... BOY!

5.  Baby's heart rate
Under 140 bpm (some sources say 150) is supposed to be a boy.  Higher is a girl.

This little one has been consistently in the high 160s (as was Liam until way late into my pregnancy).  But based on this... GIRL! 

6.  Cravings
Salty and sour mean boy.  Sweet means girl.

Unfortunately, I crave both.  I've always been a sweet tooth though so that seems to be winning out...GIRL!

7. Chinese Gender Prediction
Based on your age at conception and the month of conception (using the Chinese lunar months), there is an ancient Chinese gender prediction calendar.  You can try and calculate yours here: Chinese Gender Predictor Tool.

Liam's said girl.  This time it says... BOY! 

8. Sympathy weight
If your husband is packing on the pounds with you, it's supposed to mean girl.

My husband watches his weight and is an avid runner. With Liam, he lost a bunch of weight (which I hated of course ;). He's stayed steady with his weight so far (it'd be hard not to since he's at Army training this month).  So... BOY!

9. Morning sickness
Morning sickness is supposed to mean girl.  

I had morning sickness with both of my pregnancies but it was definitely worse this go around so... GIRL!

10.  Mood swings
Mood swings are supposed to mean a baby girl since you have extra female hormones in your bloodstream.  OK, based on this it's definitely (just ask my husband)...GIRL!

11. Skull theory
I've had a bit more trouble understanding this one but the basic idea is that boys and girls have differently shaped skulls.  It's based off of the differences that grown men and women have in their skulls (which, it doesn't take much thought to realize that these changes are strongly influenced by hormones at puberty and may be absent in fetuses as a result).  But, here's a comparison.
Link to skull picture
From what I've read, the science isn't really there but here are the basic differences I could find that fetuses are supposed to show.  Males are supposed to have a more sloping or flat forehead while females' are more rounded.  Males also have a more blocky jaw and maybe a bigger occiput? (This is where it gets hard for me to see differences in the examples but if you want to try your guessing skills here's a link to a quiz: skull theory quiz slideshow.)

Here is our 12 weeks +2 days ultrasound of baby #2.

The forehead seems rounded to me (definitely not flat or sloping).  However, I can't really tell about the jaw or back of the head.  Feel free to correct me if you're a skull theory expert but based on the forehead I say... GIRL! 

12.  The angle of the dangle (AKA Nub Theory)
This is my grand finale because it has the most scientific basis.  In fact, a quick search of PubMed led me to believe that this guess can be more than 90% accurate (in perfect research scenarios with proper training and good equipment).  The theory claims that based on a side shot of the genital tubercle (lovingly known by many as the "nub"), you can tell girl vs. boy based on the angle it forms with the spine.  30 degrees or greater (pointing toward the head) means boy and parallel to spine means girl.

Angle of the dangle picture source

The basic concept is based on developmental biology and the progression of the indeterminate genital tubercle to penis or clitoris.  The penis elongates and moves upward.  Therefore, boy guesses are thought to be more accurate as girl guesses could be wrong if the ultrasound was simply a little too early.

Liam's nub was completely girly.  Here is baby #2's nub.... 

That, my friends, couldn't look more boyish if it tried.  So... we are thinking BOY!

We can't wait to see if this last one is accurate.  It's pretty crazy that I feel like we found out the gender at 12 weeks, but, like they say, we aren't going to paint the nursery yet. Anything this early is a guess, educated and scientific or not (my ultrasound tech didn't even want to look for said nub).

I'm really loving the 50/50 split between boy and girl predictions overall, though.  Liam's were all girl predictions (other than the hubby's lack of sympathy weight...which if that's what we're waiting on, we'll never have a girl).  It's fun to see that every pregnancy is different, even if the gender is the same.

Stay tuned to see if baby #2 ends up being baby boy #2!