Posted by: mommytoo | September 3, 2010

no news = good news

we got home from our long vacation yesterday, and today was a big day.  we dropped off nate at his new school this morning, it went incredibly smoothly.  he had a great day and even napped!  apparently the teacher rocked him to sleep in her arms at nap time — he must have felt very comfortable with her, because he doesn’t sleep for many people, and he doesn’t sleep if he’s uneasy in any way.  i will write more about his new school another time, the switch has been a big deal in our family.

after we dropped off nate, we went for an ultrasound.  it was strange, almost eerie, going for our 20 week scan.  if i hadn’t had the bleeding several weeks ago, i wouldn’t have had an earlier ultrasound, and this is when we would have learned about the hand.  anyway, the ultrasound was fine.  they don’t see anything unusual besides the hand.  the ultrasound took a while, because one of the doctors did it and they just aren’t as experienced as the tech would have been.  which is fine, but it can be stressful, holding your breath and waiting to see and hear everything while they basically dig around my abdomen.  at the very end, they got some shots of both hands, baby was sort of grasping them together.  they really can’t see exactly what is going on — possibly thumb, possibly forefinger, possibly both… and the other fingers are even less clear.

once that was done, we still had a few hours till the next appointment.  d did some work in a coffee shop while i took the bus to center city to look for maternity clothes.  i tried on lots, didn’t buy any, but am finally feeling ready.  i’ve got a belly that is big enough that even i admit i look pregnant, not just chubby.  after seeing pictures of myself on the beach in a two-piece, i was kind of shocked.

so i go back to west philly, and after lunch we went to the children’s hospital, where they did a fetal echocardiogram.  the hospital is really comfortable and pleasant (i’ve seen my share, between work and life).  the echo was less stressful, mostly because we had a feeling it was going to be good news.  still, it took a while to get all the views, i had to turn onto my side a few times and even spend a few minutes on my belly, to get him moved around.  afterwards, we sat down with the cardiologist and he told us what we basically knew — the heart looks fine, the amnio looks fine, the whole body except the hand looks fine.  which is great, but the mystery remains.  if this is all we ever see, that’s great, but since there’s a limit to what we can find out in utero, it’s just a matter of waiting.

i don’t consider myself to be a very patient person, and i think this is one of the many lessons i’m going to learn throughout baby’s life.  sometimes you just have to wait and see, and find some way to be at peace with that.  i keep finding more things to learn, more areas of growth, in this situation.  a lot of the time, i’m not that interested in growing, i’d rather just have a baby with all his fingers, and learn my life lessons another way.  still, i remain grateful for what appears to be a healthy baby (as much as anyone ever can tell), and being at the children’s hospital today was a good reminder.

Posted by: mommytoo | August 28, 2010


we are on vacation, and i’m too tired to blog.  just wanted to post a quick update.

the news from the amnio is all good.  it is definitely a boy, and he looks perfectly healthy.  we’re relieved and thrilled and we are almost done jumping through the hoops that one has to jump through to confirm that a baby is okay.

my other update is that today is halfway through the pregnancy!  20 weeks down, 20 weeks (or somewhere thereabout) to go.  it seems that my belly kind of “popped” in the last week or so — i suddenly look really different, even to me!

Posted by: mommytoo | August 20, 2010

vacation state of mind

we got great news a couple of days ago — my amnio is all clear!  it’s what we were expecting, so i was surprised to find myself feeling so relieved after we got the final results.  on tuesday we learned that they were almost finished reading the results, and that everything looked good so far (that usually doesn’t change, because an abnormality in one cell will usually show in all cells, since they replicate themselves).  i was relieved, but then the next day, when i called again and heard everything still looked good, now that they were finished, i felt totally different.  i feel like i’ve been tense for the last 3 weeks, like i’ve had constant adrenaline pumping and didn’t even realize it.

the best news was that they aren’t recommending any further testing, beyond the ultrasound (which i would have anyway) and echocardiogram in 2 weeks.  i’m relieved.  i am guessing i’ll have an extra ultrasound in the 3rd trimester some time, depending on what they see at 20 weeks.  but i think d and i are both ready to get this pregnancy back to normal, back to what appears to be a healthy little boy.  very little — something like half a pound.

and now, a vent.  i hope that’s okay.  it is a very weird experience to be constantly hungry and have a stomach so much smaller than you are used to.  i have a big appetite when i’m not pregnant, and i love eating.  since week 3 or 4 i’ve been constantly hungry, but in the last few weeks there just isn’t enough room.  i’m starving, then i eat a small serving, and i’m miserably full.  you know, that feeling that you can’t wait for time to creep by, for your food to digest.  it’s with almost every meal, and i don’t even think i’m eating that much!  i’m not gaining that much weight, so i’m not concerned about that.  it’s really just uncomfortable.  and more recently, i have terrible heartburn, sometimes just from drinking water!

but if it kills me (or keeps me running to the bathroom every 3o minutes), i will drink water water water, because today, for the first time, my feet look downright chubby.  i haven’t had any swelling really, but i’m out of my normal routine being on vacation, and sometimes that makes it hard to remember to hydrate.

one last thing — being pregnant is weird.  i can’t explain exactly what it is, but every night i just feel… ugh.  sluggish, that’s the only word i can think of.  it is kind of awesome having a spouse who completely understands!  i don’t remember her having the same complaints — she had a really difficult first trimester but seemed fine after that — but she also didn’t have a toddler.  and she also, bless her, never begrudges anyone some whining.

enough about that.  baby is moving a lot these days, which is an intense feeling!  i can’t wait for d to be able to feel him, but i’m also trying to appreciate this phase.  for a little while longer, it is just me and him.  what a privilege.

Posted by: mommytoo | August 13, 2010

friday night

d is seeing a movie with a friend, nate is sleeping upstairs.  we had a fun mama/kid night — we ate “green noodles” (pesto) in front of the tv with curious george making us laugh.  then we made a collage out of pictures i’d cut out of magazines (cars, animals, ice cream).  after reading his book about the baby in mama’s belly, he went to sleep wtihout too much fuss.  lately he doesn’t go to sleep for me, so i was relieved.  i thought i’d watch a movie myself, and thought slumdog millionaire would be a feel-good choice.  my mistake — where did i get the misconception it was a feel-good movie?  feeling particularly sensitive these days, even without the extra emotions i’m experiencing, aren’t all women about 100 times more sensitive when they’re pregnant?

i’m working the next three days, which i’ve been trying to avoid lately.  i’m easily exhausted in the last 17 weeks or so!  but it should be worth it, because after that we’re going away for a couple of weeks.  on tuesday we’re heading for new england, coming back home right before labor day.  the day after we come back i have an ultrasound and an echocardiogram (for the babe, not me).  we’ll have the amnio results well before then, so we won’t spend our vacation on anxiety overload.

nate calls the baby by name now, and wants to know what he’s doing all the time.  i talked to him from work the other day, and he wanted to know if the baby was working, too.  he thinks the baby wants ice cream, and attempted to give share through my belly.  he still doesn’t quite get what a “brother” is, but he’ll get there…

Posted by: mommytoo | August 8, 2010

reality bites

as i write, i’m debating whether i’m going to publish this post.  i write a lot of personal stuff on here, but there are some issues i’m not sure about.  blogging is a funny thing — some of my friends read, including people i rarely see and those i see frequently.  strangers, too, obviously, and somehow that can be easier.

several weeks ago i had some spotting/bleeding and went to the emergency room 2 separate times.  both times they established that everything was fine, baby measuring perfectly, great heartbeat.  the 2nd time, they told me i had something called a subchorionic hemorrhage, which in and of itself is benign, but can cause vaginal bleeding, which always has to be attended to, because it could also be caused by a miscarriage, obviously.  stressful.  at the time, i didn’t blog about it because it felt like a big deal.  now, not so much.

i had a follow-up ultrasound last week, to make sure the hemorrhage had cleared up, which it has.  at the same time, they did a full anatomy scan of the baby, who appears to be healthy in every major, important way.  however, he does not have fingers on his right hand.  he has a fully formed thumb, and a perfect left hand.  but on his right, his four fingers are either not there, or perhaps just very underdeveloped (meaning they won’t, obviously, develop).  at the time, the radiologist said that she did not know of – or couldn’t think of – any disease or disorders or syndromes that manifested in missing digits on one hand.  the other day, we met with a genetic counselor, had another full anatomy scan, and met with a big-deal genetics doctor, who did an amniocentesis.  he was very reassuring, and said that from his best guess (which is as good as it gets at this point), this is just a fluke, mostly likely not chromosomal or linked to anything larger.  the heart, kidneys, stomach, gall bladder, bladder, spine, brain, arms, legs, and feet all look healthy and normal.  which is huge.

now we wait.  in 2 weeks we should have the results of the amniocentesis, and in 4 weeks, i’ll have another ultrasound, which should really have been the one where we learned all of this.  if i hadn’t had the bleeding, i wouldn’t have had so many ultrasounds!

obviously, i am feeling a million different things, ranging from devastation to guilt to gratefulness.  at this point, it seems that i have another healthy baby.  this one is going to have a disability that will pose lots of challenges to our whole family.  when i go to sleep at night, that is my bottom line.  but when i wake up in the morning, the first things i think are not so pretty.  my best mantras involve the fact that yes, this child will have a disability, and it’s one everyone will be able to see.  that is a major loss, and really sad, and not easy for anyone.  and millions of kids have disabilities – affecting their bodies, their learning, their emotional well being – that no one can see.  this difference means physical limitations, and that is painful for me right now.  i hate that he will never really have the whole world as a possibility — there are some things, some jobs, for example, he simply won’t be able to do, in a world made for people with 10 fingers.   but what a lucky boy, to have two adoring parents, a wonderful big brother, 5 grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and admirers.

oh, yes.  i said a BOY!  we are having another boy, and although i was wanting a girl, this crisis has put it all into perspective.  WHO CARES what the sex is?  somehow, having lived 34 years as a girl/woman, i believe this difference will be easier for a boy.  i also think nate will love having a brother.

that’s where i am right now.  d and i are both having lots of ups and downs, and sort of taking turns holding each other up.  i am now going to publish this post, having written it a few days ago.

Posted by: mommytoo | July 21, 2010

pure joy at 150 beats per minute

i had my 14 week appointment with the midwife today, and it was wonderful.  weighed in, listened to the heartbeat!!, asked a couple of questions.  then chatted about nate for a few minutes, and we were on our way.  i think it’s really good for me to be in an environment where everything is presumed healthy and normal — i left feeling really light and happy.

the midwife did mention i should be exercising, and i’m really not (other than workdays, when i consider 12 hours of standing and walking to be decent exercise).  i’ve been going to prenatal yoga occasionally, but my schedule is not consistent, and i’d like to go more regularly (and more often).  i’ve never had an easy time with yoga. i find it really hard to “stay on my own mat” — that’s the only way i can explain it.  i am always peeking at other people, looking at the instructor to see if i’m doing the pose just right, etc.   i find it hard to close my eyes, too.  it’s going a little better since i’m pregnant, i feel less of a desire/need to push my flexibility and make the pose perfect.  it’s unusual to find time to do nothing but focus on the growing baby, and it feels like a gift to have that hour and a half to connect.  i can also feel how the poses will help during the end of pregnancy, and during labor.  and i love the beginning of class, when we talk about how we’re feeling, anything unusual that’s happened, and the experience of being pregnant.  if only i didn’t work so many thursdays, when the class takes place!

the most interesting part of the class is the “three minute exercise.”  the instructor has us do a repetitive motion that mimics a mild contraction, and continue for three minutes.  usually it’s pumping our arms in some way.  it’s to help create a strategy that gets us through the discomfort, whether it’s distraction, moving around, a mantra… whatever works.  i’ve noticed that everyone else rocks back and forth, or paces, or something like that.  but what works for me is focusing on one spot outside the window, and standing completely still.  it’s giving me some early insight into what kind of atmosphere might work during labor.  i’ve got plenty of time to think about it, and learn more about what will work for us.

here’s a glimpse of the most wonderful part of being pregnant, literally from my point of view..

Posted by: mommytoo | July 18, 2010

barefoot and 14 weeks

it is HOT.  this weekend i am wearing real maternity dresses for the first time, and i have to say, i kind of love it.  at the end of every day i complain to d “my belly is so heavy.”  i just feel tired of carrying it, especially because it’s hard to really just relax and let my belly… um, relax.  i think i sort of hold my belly in all the time, without realizing it?  the last week or so, people who know i’m pregnant are starting to comment “you look pregnant!”  which is a compliment, and nice to hear, but still sort of a strange experience.  in so far as it’s strange to have anyone commenting on your body!

this is the only non-work weekend of the summer that we’re home.  and we’re spending it the way you should spend a summer weekend — seeing friends,hanging around the neighborhood, napping.  this afternoon we went to the pool nearby and ended up having dinner there, which was so great.  the heat makes it difficult to be outside, and nate’s not feeling well.  he has been sick the last couple of days, with a fever — at one point almost 104.  he actually didn’t have a fever today, but he hasn’t really slept (and so neither have we) in a few nights.  sometimes when he’s sick, he doesn’t really get any symptoms except a fever.  and the stuff that goes with that, like crankiness, not sleeping well, not much appetite.  the doctor said it’s just one of those weird viral things, so it will pass, hopefully soon.  last night he could only sleep if he was basically attached to me — laying on my chest was his favorite for a couple of hours.

my oldest friend came to visit this past week, with her one year old daughter.  nate was very interested in “baby,” as he calls most babies (sometimes he adds the name).  he liked copying her crawling, and was concerned that she didn’t wear shoes enough (she’s not really walking yet).  he did not like that she played with his toys, but we worked it out.  mostly he loved her.  when he woke up in the morning and from naps while she was here, the first thing he asked about was the baby, and then he wanted to go straight to the guest room to knock on the door and see “baby doing?”  we saw another baby today, and he was thrilled.  he will be almost 3 by the time he is a big brother, and i hope by then he starts to understand that the baby will stay.  otherwise, there could be a rude awakening.  he recently started looking at baby pictures of himself and saying “nate baby,” he’s not exactly realized in the past that that baby in the pictures was him.

i have lots on my mind about nate, and the baby i’m cooking up, and how our lives are changing and growing.  i keep thinking that a lot of it will be great to blog about, but honestly i’m so tired at the end of the day that it feels impossible to put my thoughts together.  this experience – of being pregnant and preparing to give birth to a second child – is really interesting and wonderful and generally intense.  i think i’m pretty in touch with my feelings in general, and being pregnant heightens that.  maybe that’s part of the reason i’m so damn tired!  it seems like i kind of wear myself out.

Posted by: mommytoo | July 1, 2010

end of an era

in 2 days i will be at the end of my first trimester.  today i went to prenatal yoga for the second time, which is a nice time out on a thursday evening.  it’s so hard to slow my brain — tonight the instructor must have read my mind, because she actually said to stop planning dinner, and that’s what i was doing.

today, for the first time, my belly feels heavy.  i haven’t gained any pounds, but there’s some speculation that “my” body has lost a bit of weight, while the baby has gained a bit (s/he’s the size of a plum!).  my body shape is changing for sure, and today i just don’t feel like holding in my belly when i’m stainding up.  i was standing in front of the fridge getting out stuff for dinner, and i just didn’t feel like i could stand up straight, i wanted to slouch and let my belly hang.

this morning we went to a craft hour at a new place called the cedars house, which is a brand new little gem not far from our house, it’s part of fairmount park.  nate made his first arts and crafts project — of course he draws all the time, but now we have this beautiful piece of art on our mantle:

Posted by: mommytoo | June 28, 2010


from top, left to right: riding a horse (he hated the riding hat but once he agreed to wear it, he loved the riding!); reading the runaway bunny at bubbe and pa’s in nyc; central park zoo with his little friend “téa”; visiting the morris arboretum, a beautiful place with beautiful trains; laying on the baby; at mommy’s 5K, where he decided “nate run.”

Posted by: mommytoo | June 28, 2010

here goes…

hi folks, it’s me… the author of this sadly neglected blog.  i think i’ll just bust out with it — i haven’t been blogging because it’s just too awkward when there’s something so major i am holding back.

we’re having another baby!  i am 11 weeks (and change) pregnant, and we’re so excited.  i’ve actually had a remarkably easy first trimester – very little morning sickness – the hardest part has been how tired i am!  and when i say tired, i mean i had no idea this kind of tired could exist.  i’m kind of perking up now, in the last couple of weeks maybe, and i guess that’s because i’m coming to the end of the first trimester.  other than the “fatigue” (what an understatement), my major symptom is hunger.  if i don’t eat every couple of hours, i am a wreck.

meanwhile, there is so much more going on with nate that i haven’t been blogging about, because it has felt so weird, talking/writing around the biggest thing in my life right now.  nate is talking talking talking, and has us laughing non-stop.  a few months ago he removed the word “yes” from his vocabulary (it was pronounced “hey” anyway), and he has not reinstated it.  he does nod and repeat what you say, if he means yes, but i find it pretty funny that he won’t actually use the word.

it’s hot hot hot in philadelphia, and so our leisurely afternoons in the playground and the backyard have come to an end.  we do have a kiddie pool, so once i blow it up, maybe we’ll be able to spend time in our tiny yard again.  a friend of d’s gave us a pass to the pool he goes to, so we go there a few times a week, in the late afternoon.  nate is totally unafraid of the water now, which makes both his water-loving moms happy.  other than that, it’s lots of indoor time — he doesn’t know how unbearable it is in the heat, but we do!

in milestone news, nate has been in his own bed for a few weeks now.  usually d puts him down around 8pm, and he wakes up around 1am and then maybe around 4am, and d goes in to nurse him again.  then around 6-something, he usually comes into our bed.  there was one night – the most amazing night ever! – that he slept the whole night.  he went to sleep around 8-something, and slept until 7am.  we kept waking up and looking at each other, checking on him, etc.  what a champ!  i’m sure plenty of two year olds sleep through the night, but it was a BIG deal for us, and i was so happy for d especially, the best sleep she’s gotten in 27 months.  tonight d was thinking about putting him down in our room because her knee is hurting (from all the running she’s been doing!) and she was dreading getting in and out of two beds with side rails (sometimes it’s a whole gymnastics routine).  but when we asked if he wanted to sleep in mommy and mama’s room, he said “nate room.”  lo and behold, d just got downstairs and he’s fast asleep in his own bed.

with the “big kid bed” nate seems to be getting a little more adventurous.  he’s still hesitant sometimes, but i think it’s given him a little swagger that my cautious little boy can benefit from.  i’m really proud.  he’s also excited about the baby in mama’s belly — not that he really gets it, but it’s a start.

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