Butterfly twitches

With any pregnancy, it’s nice to have some sort of constant affirmation that you are, indeed, pregnant. With Maddi, that affirmation came in the form of crippling fatigue, unbearable nausea, and — later on — unpredictable vomiting. With this baby, I am only somewhat fatigued, and I could quite possibly make Limburger and sardine sandwiches without the faintest intestinal twitch. So I’ve really been hoping to either find an ultrasound machine on my doorstep with a big red bow on it one morning, or feel some kind of movement from within.

Well, as of eleven weeks and a day, I felt movement. Unlike with Maddi, where I felt movement for close to a month before I became convinced that it really was the baby, I knew right away what I was feeling. More nights than not over the past few weeks, as I’m lying down after dinner, I’ll feel a faint little twitch or nudge, like the edge of a thumb sliding gently against the wall of my abdomen. With Maddi I wasn’t entirely convinced it wasn’t gas until it turned into sharp, bona fide karate kicks, but it hasn’t been so very long since I’ve had a baby in my uterus and I still remember vividly what it feels like. Luckily, I haven’t yet started dreaming of being beaten about the ribs by thugs with baseball bats, but give the baby another 20 weeks and I’m sure I’ll be begging for mercy.

At this point in my last pregnancy, I was wearing a fair bit of maternity and my belly was rather round and protrusive. But this time around, starting nearly 15 pounds lighter and with abs of steel, I have yet to outgrow my prepregnancy jeans and the only time I look even slightly pregnant is when I’m wearing a baggy top or I’ve eaten a sizable meal. There are days when I think I’m finally showing, only to discover the next day that it was water retention and I’m back to just looking like I’ve been eating a few too many Cheet-ohs.

However, while I’m still waiting to break out the maternity pants (maternity shirts are already out since I can’t very well wear my old, form-fitting ones without a washboard stomach!), I at least have my little bean in there, twitching about and reminding me that while I’m still small and have very few symptoms, I’m still pregnant!

And without further ado, here are the week 13 belly pics! I promise I didn’t take any drugs or kill Sharon Tate beforehand; it was just a very, very long day on top of a very long weekend, and you can read all about it in Maddi’s blog if you want more information.

Steppin’ Out

For months, we’ve been saying Maddi is “just about” to walk. And for months, we’ve been eating our words as she continued to walk — and later, run — holding onto furniture or fingers or tall toys, but never independently. Just when we were beginning to suspect our little daughter might be the first bride to crawl down the aisle at her wedding, Maddi finally decided yesterday that she’d be OK with walking.

She’s been thinking about it for ages. Over the past few weeks, she’s hesitated longer and longer when we’ve held our arms out and said “Come to Mommy” or “Go get Daddy” before dropping to her knees and crawling that ever-so-long foot and a half to her parents’ embrace. She’s even taken a step or two on her own when she’s not thinking about it too hard. But it wasn’t until yesterday that she finally made that big step forward.

Really, if we’re going to be technical, it was five big steps forward. And the only reason it wasn’t more was because the thunderous round of applause made our wee one a bit nervous and she reverted to her transportation method of choice.

Maddi chose to make her walking debut at Nana’s house after Sunday brunch, and she had quite the big audience. Not only did both parents witness her first steps, but so did Nana, Auntie Kathy and cousin Becca (and sundry animal friends).

She was in the area just between the dining room table and kitchen entry, and in all the excitement, I forget who pointed out, “Look, she’s walking!” but there she was, taking step after tottering step toward the kitchen table where the grown-ups were playing euchre. She looked quite nervous and surprised, but kept walking until all the attention became a little too intimidating.

However, now that she’s done it once, Maddi has no problem doing it when the fancy strikes her. The daycare operator at the gym informed me today that our little Boo toddled halfway across the playroom with no warning whatsoever. (I had failed to inform her of the new skill because knowing Maddi as I do, I figured it would be another five months before she busted out the walking stuff again.) And later today, she stood up in the middle of the living room, walked over to her ball popper and nonchalantly inserted a ball as if she’d been doing it for weeks.

Chris delayed a much-needed nap to enjoy the toddling cuteness, and he was not disappointed. Although she’s a tricky one and often drops down to crawl for things that are too far away, she took quite a few baby steps — between Mommy and Daddy, toward toys, you name it.

If she keeps up at this rate, I give her no more than two weeks before she’s running wild through the house.

On the verbal front, Maddi continues to add new words to her vocabulary on quite a regular basis. Recent words include “babana” (banana), “good” (often used when asking for bananas), “play,” and “cup.” And tonight, she said “potty” very clearly for the first time. Usually it’s just “pah.” She’s also started working on “bread,” her new favorite finger food. Not counting “bread,” that brings her to 43 words at just a week past 13 months.

In some sad news, while she did great with yogurt and cheese, we’re not so sure about whole milk. She did fine for awhile, but she’s been throwing up for about a week, so today we took her off milk and started soy to see if she does any better. So far, she’s still barfing, so maybe (just maybe!) it has more to do with the fact that our wee one is a complete glutton and fills her belly to bursting before getting down to play. But we’ll keep her on soy for 10 days and see.

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a video of Maddi taking some of her first steps.

To exhaustion

Normally I’m a person of logic and reason. But for some reason, during my month of reduced activity, it failed to occur to me that the reason I was feeling so incredibly great this pregnancy was because I was on reduced activity. Two weeks ago, if you had asked how I was doing, I would have told you I had boundless energy. Well, what I know now is that it’s easy to have boundless energy when you are sitting or lying down 70 percent of your waking day. And when your waking day consists of only 14 hours (thanks to Chris for getting Maddi all those breakfasts!). When you have just come off a full year of sleeping 6 hours a night (or less, for the first three months), chasing after an active baby all day, and doing housework after said baby is in bed, of course you are going to feel energetic on bedrest, no matter what your hormonal situation!

The day after I got off reduced activity, I spent an hour working out, returned home, and did some long-overdue cleaning. Before 5 p.m. (let alone the end of my workday!), I was ready to crawl into bed and die a very rapid and hopefully restful death. The next day was no different, and in fact, the whole week has seen me exhausted by Maddi’s dinnertime.

I’m still not feeling any nausea or peeing very often and for some reason “the girls” have remained their standard size, but now that I’m off reduced activity, the old, familiar fatigue is back and I definitely feel pregnant.

And here I am at 11 weeks, looking almost as tired as I feel (don’t get excited, these pictures were taken after a big meal!):

The beat goes on

There’s a lot of time to think — nay, obsess — about the state of your baby when your ultrasound is at 7 weeks, your next OB appointment is at 10 weeks, and you’re spotting the entire time. At the outset of this pregnancy, I worried that I might not be as attentive with this baby as I was with Maddi when she was a little embryo. That was not to be the case.

Busy though I may be, I’ve spent the past three weeks wondering how my wee friend is doing in there. With Maddi, I always had that reassuring constant nausea and crippling fatigue. With this baby, I’ve had some heartburn and indigestion, and I’m feeling a little tired, but nothing that can’t also be chalked up to stress. I’ve neither gained nor lost weight, and all of my pants — even the skinny ones — still fit. This was definitely not the case when I was pregnant with Maddi, and all but three pairs of pants instantly stopped fitting. It’s hard to believe I’m pregnant sometime when I’ve come to associate pregnancy with pure hormonal misery and bloating.

With the near-lack of symptoms making it impossible for me to know, at any given time, whether I am pregnant or not, it’s made for some panicky times. For instance, I stopped spotting last week, and you would think that’d be reassuring. But no, after seeing pink blood for five weeks, it had become a reassurance knowing that there was still something in my uterus TO bleed. Once the spotting stopped, I began to worry that I had spotted out an entire baby and not realized it. Silly, I know, but these apparently are the thoughts that go through a person’s head between appointments in a high-risk pregnancy.

I also worried, of course, about the paucity of my symptoms. Where, I asked myself, was the life-ruining nausea? Where was the urge to sleep away 18 hours out of the day? Even the frequent need to pee seemed to have resolved itself.

Then, last night, Chris posted the 10-week belly shots. I compared them with the nine-week pictures and was horrified to discover that my tummy was significantly flatter this week. Of course, I had had a large meal before last week’s shots and probably wasn’t standing straight, but my tummy did look mysteriously svelte. Could it be that I had indeed lost the baby?

After a restless sleep and nervous morning, we went to Dr. G’s for the long-awaited 10-week appointment. My heart sank as Dr. Goncalves moved the Doppler around, listening for something, anything but the gurgling of my bowels. After what seemed like an eternity but was probably closer to 15 seconds, we heard an unmistakeable chugging noise. Not only was our baby’s heart still beating, but it was pumping at 182 beats per minute, right within the normal range for a 10-week embryo.

Not only is the baby alive and well, but I’m finally off reduced activity and pelvic rest. Tomorrow I’ll be back at the gym, where Dr. G said I can resume my normal workout regimen. With any luck, baby and I can continue to work out until the very day he or she enters the world. (The bonus is that not only will labor be shorter and less painful, but I will be getting unhurried daily showers!)

Needless to say, I’ve been walking on air since hearing the little one’s reassuring heartbeat. For today, at least, I can stop obsessing and worrying and simply enjoy my comfortable, non-showing pregnancy.

And here they are, those 10-week pictures that had me so worried!

Wordy girl

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but I think a new word out of Maddi is worth a lot more than pictures. I hope everyone else thinks that way too, because we forgot to take pictures this week. It’s hard to hold a camera when you’re chasing down an ever-faster baby.

This past week, Maddi debuted several new words, much to Chris’ and my delight. Although she uses them judiciously and the people in her playgroup have never heard her say anything but “Mama,” it’s becoming hard to count the words in our daughter’s vocabulary.

Last week, she added “Becca,” “Poppa,” and “Kaija,” and other additions since her birthday were “purple” and “ball popper.” This week, after hundreds of word-less bedtimes, she repeated “Night-night” back to Chris and me as we tucked her in. And today, when I opened the cabinet where we keep Maddi’s food (including her beloved applesauce packs), she got very frustrated when I didn’t fetch any consumables for her and pleaded, “Appow-pah?”

She’s been saying “baby” for awhile, but only at our prompting; however, this week Maddi began saying it independently so we’re counting it as a word. That makes 38 so far. We may have 39 soon, as she’s been trying really hard to say “potty” lately.

Having a baby who can express so many things verbally makes life a lot easier — and a lot more amusing. Yesterday, we had the option of bringing Maddi to her weekly playgroup or picking up Nana at the airport. As Maddi enjoyed her breakfast, I asked her if she wanted to go to playgroup and see the babies. She nodded her head up and down excitedly. Then I asked her if she wanted to see Nana. Again, she nodded excitedly. So I asked her, as I often do when we’re choosing a bedtime story, an outfit or a toy, “Do you want to see the babies? Or do you want to see Nana?”

“Nan!!” Maddi squeaked emphatically, flapping her little arms. So that was that.

In addition to actual words, Maddi now makes a new non-word sound. Her fascination with cars and trucks has led her to begin saying “vrrummm” when she rides on her little car or sees a big truck passing us on the street. It really is the cutest thing ever.

In other news, Maddi may be about to wean herself. She is down to nursing only at night (for 5 minutes, at that). But tonight, she kept making the “more” sign even though she clearly had no interest in milk. So I asked her, “Would you like some cow’s milk in your sippy cup?” and got an unequivocal “yes” in the form of furious nodding and smiling. Thus, our little girl grows ever bigger.