Once you pop, you can’t stop

Well, I’ve finally pooched out and started to look pregnant, just as you’d imagine someone in their second trimester for the second time in two years ought to. I still haven’t been approached and asked when I’m due, but neither have I been glared at for using the Stork Parking at the mall (although that could be because I also have a babe-in-arms with me when I use it!). It happened sometime just after I hit 16 weeks and I couldn’t be happier. The regulars at the gym who used to glance at me and wonder why I was getting so fat despite working out every day are finally beginning to realize that it’s not because I eat a lot of pizza and chips. I do eat a lot of pizza and chips, of course, but you’ve got to get those 300 extra calories somewhere, am I right? And really, there’s no better way than with a bag of Doritos Cool Ranch.

The baby has also started bouncing around a lot, but usually when I eat junk food. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t eat Doritos every day and most of the time I try to keep it healthy with whole grains and fruits, but let’s just say the baby likes tuxedo truffle mousse cake. If I should be worried, say, about not feeling much in the way of movement, I have only to dig into a slice of cake. Within 10 minutes, the baby will be bouncing and kicking away.

And without further ado, here are the 17-week belly shots:

Girlie girl

For a long time, I joked that Maddi was a two-year-old boy in a baby girl’s body. Her hobbies included destroying things, getting into stuff, and head-butting the other babies in her playgroup. Even her toys of choice, cars and balls, were action-oriented. But now, she is turning into a bit of a girlie girl.

I didn’t really expect her to enjoy the dress-up box we gave her and Kaija until she was 2 or 3. But surprisingly, she enjoys this new amusement even more than her sister does. When she sees the Hawaiian leis we got at the local dollar store, she points and squeals until I have no choice but to place one over her head — which is always bowed expectantly by the time the lei reaches her. She particularly loves a fuchsia satin purse encrusted with rhinestones, which I found at a post-holiday sale. She daintily places the purse on her shoulder and toddles around with her arm up so as to hold it in place while she goes about her “business.”

Another activity she enjoys is picking flowers in our front yard. Even as a colicky wee thing, she always calmed down when I pulled out the sling and took her out in the warm sunshine. Between the ribbons of the memory board on her wall are wedged the first flowers we ever picked together, when she was just a few months old. Now, when we look out the front window, Maddi will point at the front yard and I’ll ask her if she wants to go pick some flowers. The question is always answered with enthusiastic nodding and squealing, and she will point out each flower she wants me to pick for her. She usually wants to show her bouquet off to Daddy, and if Chris is lucky, she will generously bestow on him her chubby fistful of manhandled posies.

Unfortunately her girliness does not extend to hair ornamentation. No sooner do I get one ponytail in and begin work on the next, than the first ponytail is destroyed by Little Miss Grabbyhands. And when I put a barrette in her hair, heaven forbid that we should pass a mirror and she should spot the offending clip. She will proceed to claw at her head angrily until the hated barrette — hitherto unnoticed — has been removed from her bangs.

Nevertheless, I’ve been persisting with the barrettes and bobby pins and now she sits still for the most part while they’re being clipped on. Now that she’s got a bit of hair on her head, she looks less like the little round-headed man from Monopoly and more like a wee girl.

In other news, she is walking fairly well now. At first, she would only toddle around at the gym’s daycare, where there were big kids to show off for. At home, it was all about crawling. But soon, she realized that walking with something in one hand was far more efficient than crawling while clutching an object, and got a little practice in while carrying things across the room. Pretty soon, she decided this walking thing wasn’t so bad after all, and she will walk to people or things if they’re not more than five or 10 steps away. She still resorts to crawling when she’s excited or wants to get somewhere fast, but slowly and surely she’s becoming a toddler!

On the word front, she has continued with the girlie-girl theme. Her favorite new words are “fowver” (flower) and “puuhh” (purse). Other new words include “truck,” “what” and “poopoo” — the latter of which is used at some point every few days to tell me she needs to poop. I ask her if she wants to poopoo on the potty, she nods excitedly, sits on the toilet and giggles and kicks, then tries to leap off and poops two minutes later after I diaper her. But even though she hasn’t figured out exactly when that poopoo is coming, we’re still counting “poopoo” as a word. That brings us to 55 words thus far. More will doubtless follow in the coming weeks, as she has been trying lately to say “butterfly” per her fixation on her decor and the protagonist of her favorite book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

And here is a snap of Maddi and Mommy at the beach last weekend, playing it safe in the shade!

Abs of steel

There are things to be said for having babies — even when you put the wonder and beauty of the actual baby aside. Before I had Maddi, I was in terrible shape. I weighed about 10 pounds more than my ideal weight and hadn’t seen the inside of a gym in at least six months. After I had Maddi, I was in even worse shape — such bad shape, in fact, that I had no option but to go to the gym so I could fit into my prepregnancy clothes without looking like link sausage. Body-conscious tops, it seems, only work if you don’t have a tummy roll.

After several months of hitting the gym three to five times a week, I ended up weighing 12 pounds less than my prepregnancy weight and having better tummy muscles than before — something that is especially evident now. At 15 weeks pregnant with Maddi, people were unafraid to ask when I was due. At 15 weeks pregnant with The Bump (not-so-aptly named thus far!), not a single query has been made as to whether or not I’m pregnant. Even now, only those ubiquitous body-conscious tops have been put in storage — I fit in every single pair of pants I own!

Sure, there is a definite pouch in my abdomen. My tummy sticks out well past my hipbones at this point. But I could still be mistaken for someone who’s simply had a bit too much Krispy Kreme. Between my near-symptomless pregnancy and the fact that I haven’t developed the slight waddle that appeared sometime around 13 weeks with Maddi, and my nearly flat stomach, it is often difficult for me to remember I’m even pregnant.

The baby hasn’t been moving around as much as Maddi did, so there’s hope yet that we won’t be living in a house of insanity. I feel him (or her) mostly in the evening when I’m resting after dinner. It’s very odd, not feeling particularly pregnant at 15 weeks. However, I must say it is nice having a variety of pants to wear without elastic or spandex in them.

Today was my OB checkup, and I have gained two and a half pounds, which doesn’t sound like much until you consider that it’s eight and a half pounds more than I gained in the first trimester with Maddi. There are things to be said for not feeling sick all the time!

My fundal height was 18 cm, which at this point means I’m measuring at 18 weeks — a bit ahead of where I am. Dr. Goncalves had to move the Doppler around a long time before he found a heartbeat. I’m not saying the old wives’ tale is true, but if it is, then we are definitely having a boy since the heart rate was a low 132. Chris is still thinking pink, of course!

And here, without further ado, are the 15 week belly pics:

Time flies when you have more than one

With Maddi, the first trimester lasted an eternity. Yes, this could be because I spent most of it trying to avoid the scent and sight of food and sleeping 18 hours a day. But it was also because I had nothing but time.

Now, I’m short on time. Instead of worrying constantly about the baby, I’m worried that I forget to worry constantly about the baby. Not only have I done this before, and am having a much more comfortable pregnancy, but I’m so busy chasing a certain nap-hating toddler around the house that it’s hard to find time to catch my breath and feel for kicks.

Somehow, I’ve entered the second trimester without really even trying. Good things do come to those who wait, although this pregnancy has been so easy (save for the bleeding and reduced activity) that I’m not sure what I’m waiting for. After we heard the heartbeat at 10 weeks, the chances of miscarriage were much slimmer than they had been, and that was a great load off my mind. As far as my personal physical comfort, I can’t imagine a pregnancy getting much better than this! There were times when I was carrying Maddi when I thought, “Boy, am I a whiny wuss!” But you know what? This is exactly what, long ago, I expected pregnancy would be like. A little barfing, a little fatigue, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I think I’ve thrown up fewer than 10 times this pregnancy and I only need an hour or two more sleep a night (and my starting requirement was a five- or six-hour sleep, so it’s not bad at all!).

As for the baby, all its parts are fully formed by now. Its chances of being carried to term are greatly improved over the period in the first few months where I was bleeding. And many people are finding out at 14 weeks along exactly what color to paint the nursery. (Unfortunately, we have to wait a bit longer for that here in B.C.)

As busy as I am with Maddi (and currently Kaija), I am still looking forward to getting the nursery ready for baby. If it’s a girl, she’s all set. Maddi’s pink and purple butterfly theme will do just fine when she moves to her big-girl room, and Daddy has even purchased the baby a pretty pastel onesie. If it’s a boy, we’ll need to cover the pink trim on the crib and gather an awful lot of non-pink clothing. Daddy is pretty convinced it’s not a boy, but I’ve been scouring the Web’s selection of baby-boy wear just to be on the safe side.

I can feel our little wiggler pretty regularly after meals and when I’m resting at night. So far as I can tell, this will be another active one like Maddi. I only hope we will still be welcome in playgroup with two crazy babies!

Saturday (and Friday and Sunday) night fever

After never having been to the doctor for anything more serious than grabbing her ear or falling over from a sitting position (neither of which came to anything), Maddi ended up spending two days of the last seven in the ER.

After her MMR shot, which was administered a month late because of scheduling (or rather lack thereof) issues, our wee one seemed “off” but otherwise fine. A week and a half later, I took her to one of our local portrait studios to have her 1-year-old picture taken (again, scheduling issues!). Normally, Maddi loves to have her picture taken and is delighted to bestow smiles and coquettish looks upon perfect strangers. We have ample photographic evidence that this baby is not camera shy.

So it should have clued me in to the fact that something was wrong when we could not get a single, solitary shot of Maddi doing anything other than crying and trying to crawl back to Mommy. But I just chalked it up to her needing a nap. I’d noticed she was hot, but chalked that up to her right top molar, which was roughly plowing through her angry red gum tissue.

But over the next 24 hours, it became apparent that it wasn’t an issue of teething at all. The standard dose of Tylenol failed to soothe our suddenly fussy little girl, and not only was she avoiding chewy food, but just about all food and drink save applesauce.

Her temperature gradually got higher and higher, until it hit 104 on Monday. Chris and I raced to the emergency room, where Maddi was quickly given a bed and some blood tests to rule out infection. Ultimately, she turned out to be OK. Her fever came down after a larger dose of Tylenol than we’d been giving her (the dosage instructions on the box are needlessly conservative) and her bloodwork and urinalysis came back fine. The conclusion was that she had either a virus or a bad reaction to the MMR shot. Either way, we were to bring the fever down with Tylenol and lukewarm baths.

Her fever broke after the ER visit and all seemed fine, but then on Thursday, we were in the ER again. Maddi had continued to eat perhaps 300 grams of applesauce a day and push her sippy cup away no matter what drink was offered. The result was three pee diapers in a 24-hour period. I could have waited for it to get more serious before taking her in, I suppose, but then again we’re talking about a person who took a baby in because said baby fell backward from sitting and hit her head hard on the floor.

Again we went to emergency and again, Maddi was swiftly admitted. Unlike her previous visit, she had nothing to offer for the urine collection bag, so blood tests were required. She had gobs of the dermal analgesic EMLA applied to the insides of her elbows for blood draws and the tops of her hands for IV insertion, if needed. Stick-on patches of clear plastic were appied over the EMLA, which kept the wee one occupied during the long hours as she tried every which way to remove them.

Finally, the results of the blood test came back — she was slightly dehydrated, but not enough to require intravenous fluids. The ER doc gave me a pair of syringes with which to force water down Maddi’s reluctant throat, and we were discharged. Having eaten nothing all day and operating on three hours’ sleep (and similar amounts for the last several nights), I drove home and plopped Maddi in her high chair for some applesauce, only to notice that the adhesive patches over the EMLA on her hands were still on.

And then, as I removed them, I realized with horror that during the 20-minute car ride, she had chewed entirely through one of the patches and apparently slurped up every last bit of the analgesic. I called the hospital, got the name of the analgesic, and was connected to emergency where their ever-so-bright operator told me that because EMLA is topical and absorbs from the skin into the bloodstream, it should be as harmless inside as out. Which would be true … if the GI tract were covered in skin and not the gastric mucosa, which is far more efficient at absorbing medications than is the dermis. Just to be sure, I checked online, where nearly every source I read said that EMLA, and I quote, “can be toxic if ingested.” Gee, thanks, ER lady. Guesses based on faulty science are the perfect way to deal with babies swallowing controlled medications.

So I called poison control, as any thinking person might do if their baby had swallowed a fair amount of lidocaine, and what do you know? Even based on her small dose, which the operator thought was probably not enough to harm her (but only after asking me how much was applied and how long it had been on her skin), Maddi had to be watched from 4:30 until 6 p.m. to make sure she didn’t exhibit any symptoms like twitching or turning blue around the mouth. I was also told, ironically, not to give her anything to eat or drink that evening except for water, because her stomach was likely numb.

And that’s how I got 10 years taken off my lifespan in the course of a few days.

Other than that, Maddi’s doing fine. She’s almost back to normal now, except for needing an extra nap and a watchful eye on her fluids. She’s walking a little more every day, although she still exhibits no desire to give up crawling until she can run. And she’s got even more words under her belt.

Recent words include “get,” “bread” (a very frequently used word now!), “car,” “bear” (said in an ever-so-cute growling voice!), and “bubbles.” She also finally says “baseball” independently when she sees a game on the TV in Chris’ office. If she doesn’t know the name of what she wants, she points and says “dat.” All told, she speaks 50 words now — not counting the ones I seem to invariably forget. About two weeks ago, she put together her first absolutely undisputable three-word sentence: “Bye-bye, Nana car.” Up until now, I’ve thought I’ve heard things such as “I’m gonna read” and “Go see Daddy” but questioned my sanity; however, this sentence was so clear there was no mistaking my ears.

In a followup to last post, Maddi is still on soy milk. Since she doesn’t like it as much as cow’s milk and thus doesn’t drink much of it, it’s not clear whether she was vomiting because of an allergy or because of overindulgence, but what is clear is that she hasn’t been barfing up soy milk. We’ll retry milk in a few months, but in the meanwhile, the only dairy she’s getting is cheese and yogurt, which have never bothered her.

And here is Maddi earlier this week, enjoying her first trip to the lakeshore with Mommy and big sister Kaija.