Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! It's been awhile but I promise to do a proper post very soon :) Just couldn't let today pass without wishing all my dear bloggy friends a wonderful holiday with your family and loved ones :) and for all of you celebrating your 1st Christmas as a new family - enjoy your little blessing! God bless!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Elliott's birth story

Hi all!

It's been 17 days since Elliott has joined our family and I have never been as happy and exhausted at the same time as I am now.  The first week went by like a blur - sleep deprivation can really mess with one's mind and I lost count of what day it was, and often times decided to take sleep over eating, when there was time for it.  I'm going to split the post up over a few posts as there is so much to catch up on. 

So let's recap Elliott's birth story in this post. 

I remember the night before Elliott was born, I said to DH as we got ready for bed, "this baby is coming sooner rather than later" as I felt a lot of pressure in the pelvic region that evening. Little did I know that it literally was just around the corner. 

I woke up around 3:30 am for a pee (ended up being a poop too - hmm I wonder) - and as I was climbing back into bed I felt an intense cramp in my lower abdomen, very similar to menstrual cramps but much more powerful.  I thought nothing of it really and went back to bed, only to be woken up 10 mins later with the same wave of cramp.  At that point I tapped my hubby on the shoulder and mumbled "Honey, I don't think you'll be going to work tomorrow" - to which he woke up abruptly and said "you mean today? you mean something's happening?!" 


He immediately jumped out of bed to grab his BB to start the timer/stop watch - while I lay in bed and waiting for the next one.  From that point on until about 4:05 am, the cramps/contractions were coming very regularly, and no longer 10 mins apart but progressively closer and closer.  I got out of bed at this point as I could no longer bear the pain lying down so we continued to do our breathing while I swayed my hips from side to side.  


I decided to hop into the shower to see if the hot water would help (and oh boy did it) but every time a contraction hit I would yell out for DH and he would come running and and breathe with me. Once it was over, he would dash around the house trying to get my bags and everything ready - including calling our midwife to let her know what was happening.  After my shower and blow drying my hair (yes, I did this in between contractions - don't ask - I just needed to!) - things really started pick up and here is where our birth plan kinda went downhill.


My primary midwife was unavailable, as she was out of town at a conference so we got my secondary (which is totally fine, I liked her too) on the phone.  When we told her that my contractions went from 5 mins apart to more like 2 mins apart, she said ok - no time for her to come to our house and instead, to meet her at the hospital asap.  We had originally planned to give birth at the hospital just 5 mins away from us - but the midwife called us back and said that the hospital was understaffed and we had to be re-directed to one 15-20 mins away instead (which I know doesn't sound far, but when your contractions are coming on top of one another - any drive that long seemed like an impossible task) 


At this point I started to panic, that things weren't going 'as planned' and that the contractions shouldn't be this close together, this soon.  DH and I stopped and said a prayer for God to be with us and with our baby - and then off we went. 


My hubby never told me how fast he was driving, but thankfully there was no rush hour traffic that early in the morning (it was about 5 am now) going east on the highway so that was a huge blessing for us, looking back at how close I was.  That car ride was one of the most painful car rides I have ever experienced.  Every contraction my hands would be up against the ceiling of the car and my toes curled up as I tried to breathe through it.  We got to the hospital only to find out that the area we ran into was the wrong one - DH practically threw me into a wheelchair and we dashed to the L&D wing - totally like how you would see in movies.  A nurse was walking the opposite way when she saw us and basically ran with us, directing us to the right area as there were many halls and turns to get there.  I can still hear her saying - turn right here! now left here! now through those doors! lol.


My midwife was already there in the room and was setting up - and DH had to go move our illegally parked car and grab the birth binder, and all of our stuff and to register me, so I was with my midwife alone for a short while.   I threw on the hospital gown and she did a cervical check in a matter of minutes.  I'm sure my face went white when she told me that she could feel the baby's head and that I was about 8-9 cms.  I think I may have whimpered out "so this means no drugs?" in between my increasingly painful contractions. 


My midwife tried to comfort me by telling me that I had been doing a great job and that I had already been through the hardest part - and that everything was going to be fine.  In my head I was thinking are you crazy! I still have to get the baby out of me and I hear that's pretty hard too! 


But no time to think, much less dwell on the fact that there would be no pain relief.  She told me that I could go and sit on the toilet as it might make me feel a bit more comfortable so I spent the rest of the dilation sitting there.  I remember my midwife telling me that it was time and to come off the toilet and get up on the bed - and as I did so (I was on all fours climbing up) I felt a warm gush going down my legs as my water broke.  She told me to lie on my back, slightly on my left side and that we were going to start pushing soon.  DH had come back in the room at this point - (he was with me while I was on the toilet) and was now by my side - I think I may or may have not broken a few capillaries in his left hand but he never let go. 


The midwife then put a hot towel compress right in my perineum area and told me to focus on that spot and just push when my body was telling me to. So I did. I focused on this hot/warm area, and I pushed with every ounce of energy.  It felt like I was trying to pass the largest poop I've every had in my life (thankfully, no poop came out during delivery).  I stopped and caught my breath until the next one. I was told that I was doing great and that the next push to keep doing the same.  And so I did.  With that push, Elliott was crowning and oh boy that ring of fire people talk about, it ain't a joke.  Most mothers say they don't remember the pain, well, they lie - because I still remember it, albeit, it's a bit fuzzy now but still.   I caught my breath again but only for a short moment as the next push feeling came so strongly I just bore down and went for it and the next thing you know, the biggest whoosh feeling of relief and out popped Elliott and he was immediately placed on my chest.  Holding that warm, wet and crying baby was just the most surreal and wonderful feeling in this world.  I cried and kissed DH and we both just looked at each other in amazement at this tiny little being in my arms.  The little bean, little sprout that we had so lovingly seen on all those ultrasounds was finally a realized dream.  Funny enough, we were all so enamored with this baby that no one mentioned whether baby was a boy or girl.  I think the nurse asked us, so do you know what it is? DH peeked under the blanket exclaimed excitedly 'it's a boy!' - I loved that moment and I loved hearing it from him.  


I ended up tearing naturally and needed about 4 stitches - but all in all, both Elliott and I were healthy and after about 2 hrs, we were released to go home. I am over the moon that he is finally here in our arms, and life as we know it will never be the same.  


More posts to come on how we've been adjusting and getting acquainted with one another...but for now, some more pics :) 




Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meet Elliott, a.k.a Sprout

Hi bloggy buddies!  I don't have too much time but I wanted to let you all know that Sprout decided to arrive fast and furious early yesterday morning - I think I went down in history for first time births as the quickest labour and delivery ever - from end to end, less than 3 hours (1.5 hrs of active labour and 14 minutes of pushing) - yes, you heard me!

I'm doing ok and baby Elliott (Sprout's a boy!!) is doing great - I'm copying and pasting the email that we sent to our friends and family yesterday so you can catch up on how it all went down for the meantime.  More to come from my side (you know I want to record every detail)once I get a chance to!  We can't believe he's here and he's ours!  Praise God!! 


Hello everyone,

Our baby decided to join us a bit sooner than expected.   He was born on Oct 26, 2010 @ 6:29am.  After 1.5hrs of active labour.. .and only 15mins of actual pushing...
Can I say my wife is a super star!!!  SuperStar!!!  =)

Wen started feeling some contractions around 3:30am... but thought it was too soon... and dismissed it and went back to sleep... until about 20mins later she said to me... Joe I don't think your going to work today... and which point the contractions started picking up dramatically!

We waited at home till about 4:30... and called our midwife to let her know that the contractions were occurring 1min long.. btw 2min breaks... crazy!!!!  I was like... okay... Joe, game on!!! 

Our midwife called our original hospital, but it was under staffed.. and so we were routed to Ajax... oh crap!!! With the nightmare of stories in that hospital... I thought for sure.. it wasn't going to be pleasant... but off we went...

I took us less than 10mins... while I was driving 140+  but under 220.  =) 

We got there safely... fortunately, it was a quite evening...in the hospital...

By the time we got there, Wen was already 8cm dilated...  She was at the point of no return... aka no drugs.. =(

This is were it was Wen's turn to say... oh crap!!!   But the mid wife meet us there... and said that Wen had gotten through the hardest part...

After leaving Wen with the midwife... I dashed back to the illegally parked car... and got the night bag carry on, pillow, binder, backpack, fruitbag, purse and my wits... I was pretty much a pack mule... and dashed back to register.. .and to catch up with Wen... this probably had taken 15mins...  by the time I returned... Wen was fully dilated... and was ready to start pushing....  15mins later...  Elliott was born healthy, screaming, crying, and with a full head of hair! 

Approx 2hrs later.. .after Mom and baby were assessed to be health, patched up and stable... they asked us if we wanted to go home... we immediately said yes... and now we're chillax'n with our new son...   What a crazy morning... Thank God that Mom, baby and me made it through the quickest 1st birth ever....  

Thank you all for your prayers and support.  We are so grateful and excited to introduce Elliott to you all... 



Monday, October 25, 2010

Letting him in on it

Hope you all had a great weekend ladies! Fall is in full effect here and the colours of the trees are just breath taking! 

So in some developing news - I've been losing my mucus plug this weekend - starting Saturday! I don't believe that means I'll be going into labour this second - but it is a good sign right? I've been in super overdrive mode to get things done and in order - I really can't believe that our baby Sprout is almost here! 

Per my post title today...it's a big step for me. I'm letting my hubby in on my blog.  I mean, he's known about it since Day 1 - but I've always maintained that this would be a place that I keep to myself, at least until now. In the beginning, this blog had helped me get through one of the toughest times of my life.  It was here that I learned more about myself than I thought I ever could.  It was here that I developed friendships with all of you that were going through your own struggles with loss and infertility.  I had known from the beginning that I would share my blog with my hubby, and even though he knows all my inner thoughts and feelings, it's different when it's in writing, does that make sense?  I thought it would be nice for him to start reading it now, as we approach the biggest moment of our lives,  so that he will see this journey, through my eyes. 

So, welcome, my sweet hubby - and happy reading! :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sprout's Nursery

So as I mentioned in today's previous post, Sprout's nursery is all done and I'm so proud of it! My hubby gave me free reign over the design of it and I might be biased but I think it turned out great! 

Before:

During:

And...drumroll....after!





Almost fully baked

Wowwee peeps. Sprout and I will be 37 weeks tomorrow.  37 weeks is considered full-term baby and that means it can be any day now!!  Of course I want Sprout to keep baking so s/he develops more of those cute fat baby rolls I can nom-nom on, but I'm also at a point where I'm feeling all the aches and pains in my body and beginning to feel a lot of pelvic pressure.  Per my midwife appt last Saturday, she said that Sprout's head is very low and engaged so that's good news but not so good for my bladder.  It's like this on/off switch where I can go from zero to oh-mah-gosh-imma-gonna-pee-my pants-NOW. 

Since my last post, we have pretty much checked everything off: the nursery is complete (I'll post pics in a separate post), my bag is packed (exception of toiletries that I can just throw in last min), and all the baby clothes/items are washed, folded and put away. I'll be going into the office one last time tomorrow as I don't think I'll be going in much next week, even though my official last day of work isn't until the 29th.  Just finding it difficult to get around much (my sciatica came back Friday and has been bugging me on and off) and my feet are swelling up a lot faster these days so sitting at a desk all day hasn't helped.  


I'm halfway through my Babywise book so I'm feeling empowered and a bit more prepared - but I know nothing can truly prepare me for this crazy, amazing, life changing experience that is about to happen.  I just pray and cross my fingers that we will be good parents and spiritual guardians of this little blessing - I want all the good in this world for Sprout, and I want him/her to grow up knowing how loved s/he was even before we knew we were pregnant.  This journey of pregnancy is nearing the end for us, and as much as I will miss being pregnant and having Sprout inside, I can't wait for our new chapter to begin as parents.
 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

36 weeks

Hi all, sorry I haven't been blogging as much lately - I blame being tired and feeling just blahzay lately, I've been busy this week training my replacement at work and it's sucked the life out of me - there is so much to teach but not really a lot of time. Physically, I don't know how much bigger my belly and body can get at this point, because some days, I feel like a giant Macy's day parade float.  The swelling and the uncomfortable feelings as Sprout moves around in there have played a toll on me but guess what?  None of that can take away from the fact that we are SO DARN CLOSE to meeting him/her!! 

I had a teeny bit of a freak out this morning when I found out that a girl I used to work with, had her baby yesterday.  She was due on Nov 9, just one day before me.  ONE DAY people.  I know, I know, just because she had her baby, doesn't necessarily mean I will follow the same destiny - but it's a sure possibility that I hadn't really entertained that thought of being early that much because 1)my parents are still in Hong Kong and 2) I need my mommy here when this show gets started (!)  I just hope and pray that they will be back in time (next week) and all of this worrying is for nothing.  

Other than my parents not being here right now,  I also am a tad bit nervous about the approaching birth day because I haven't seen my midwife in a few weeks, mainly due to the fact that I just had the ultrasound last week and I'll see her this weekend instead.  We still haven't really discussed a birth plan or anything and I know it might be useless anyways, but having the conversation with her will ease my mind a bit, I think. 

I've also been asked many many times in the last week whether or not my bags have been packed.  I have not.  and I don't know whether or not this is because I'm sub-consciously thinking I still have plenty of time, so no rush - but then I get to thinking - well what if it happens tomorrow? I just don't know what I really need!  Any suggestions from new / past mommas out there would be appreciated! 


Let's see, what else do we still need to get done -- 


  • We don't have any newborn diapers - that's high on the list to get. I'm thinking of introducing the cloth diapers when baby is around 1-2 months so for now, it will be disposables.

  • I still have to finish some of my reading, namely the Babywise book that some of the ladies here have read and have implemented/in progress of implementing with their babes

  • We still have to wash all the baby clothes - we did a few loads of the sheets and blankets over the weekend so the next is the undershirts and onesies
  • this may be morbid, but hubby and I need to do our Will - we've never had one but many ppl have advised that we get one drawn up especially now that we have another member of the family coming in - I can't even begin to think who will take care of Sprout should we no longer be able to! ;( but it's reality and we've gotta do it, for peace of mind at least 

I think those are the major things still on the to-do list, and now that I look at it, we have accomplished a lot in the past weeks so overall I think we are in good shape...:) It's just been one of those weeks but I am still really really looking forward to all that's to come!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ultrasound /Fibroid update

Week: 35 as of tomorrow (holy crap!)
Current fibroid size: 5 cm (from 4 cm at 28 weeks) 
Position: Posterior
Baby: Head down, past the fibroid already
Final verdict: No need for c-section, high-risk OB said she saw no concern!
Me: Relieved, but now panicky that oh gosh this might really happen the way I imagined it (gulp)

So good news all around! Praise God. I feel a heavy weight lifted off my shoulders once we heard the results right after the ultrasound and I kept saying - so, you mean you don't want to see me again for follow up? Are you sure? LOL. I think I might be slightly addicted to seeing Sprout on the monitor ;) 



The OB left to get the rest of the images from her computer and my hubby came over to me and gave me a big hug - we were both smiling from ear to ear and later on in the car, DH was like - see - told you Sprout would 'attack' that fibroid and move it out of the way! I'm like, um hunny, I don't think it works like that but ok we'll take it! LOL 

Basically the OB explained to us that usually when the fibroid is this small, the baby always wins - so she was like - go, have a healthy rest of the pregnancy and good luck in labour! I felt like I was getting a blessing - go forth and give birth!  I know that this doesn't mean a c-section isn't completely out of the question because as we all know, a birth plan is just that, and it doesn't mean it will happen that way, right? but at least now we know that having a vaginal birth isn't completely out of the question. Thanks for all the positive vibes sent my way.  Now we continue to bake and get Sprout fattened up and before you know it, that big day will finally come.  


Finally. 


:)



p.s. If you haven't already, be sure to pop by Laura's page to see her precious new baby Ella and wish her congrats- she has been such an inspiration to so many of us here in bloggy world - I feel as though I've really gotten to know her this past year with all the encouragement and daily blessings she posts about - whenever I'm feeling down, her words just pick me right up - we should all be so lucky to be thankful every day for those little blessings!  Can't wait to hear how motherhood is going and all that I have to look forward to now that so many of you are on the other side!





Wednesday, September 29, 2010

34 weeks and baby shower update

Hiya peeps! 
Sorry I've been behind in posting but now that my *last* quarterly presentation is over and done with for work - I feel free as a bird and finally not consumed with it! 

So today's marks 34 weeks - whooeee! Every day, every week is a milestone and I am getting more and more excited to meet Sprout (and I'm starting to get really curious as to whether it will be a boy sprout or girl sprout!). Right now, Sprout is hiccupping away and I just want to remember all these special moments and put it in a lil' box so I never forget this feeling of this lil' one inside me. 


Our baby shower was a lot of fun and I think our sisters and my BFF did a great job in pulling it all together.  There were funny games, great food, and lots of great friends and family to share it all with. We were so appreciative that we received alot of items from our registry and in the past few weeks, we've been able to get the rest of the stuff that we needed and I'm starting to feel like the to-do list is shrinking - which is awesome! 


As of yesterday, my feet no longer resemble my own - they're like monster size - which is weird for my normally 5.5 size foot.  Thankfully I can still wear my flats to work and out - but as it gets chillier here, I will have to figure out some way of stuffing them into boots! :) 


This upcoming Sunday is the baby shower for one of my good friends, H, who is due with her baby boy 11 days after me.  It's been great to go through pregnancy together, but she is the one that I mentioned a while back - that her hubby is still a bit shell shocked about becoming parents.  It doesn't seem like he's really come around (although don't get me wrong, he's a good guy - just seems like he has not fully grasped that he will be a father to a little being).  ANYway - I say this not to be judgmental, but the other day at girl's nite, we found out that her hubby will likely not be in the delivery room with her, instead, one of our good friends and her mom.  We were all a bit taken a back but my friend played it off like it was no big deal.  REALLY?  I think that unless it was medically impossible for my DH to be there, than there would be no question he would be in the room!  We asked why and basically it's because 'he's not good with that icky stuff - i.e. moaning, possible screaming, etc' - I was floored. I want my friend to have all the support she needs and if she feels that she'll get it from her mom and our friend that's fine, but something tells me that if he does end up missing his son's birth, this will not be a good start for their new family. Ugh! so frustrated for her!  I know it's none of our business but I just hope things will turn out differently for her, even if she tells us she's ok with it.


With that unfortunate piece of news, I leave you with a few pics from our shower - our good friend N took these pics for us - she is awesome!













 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Some people!

First off, thank you so much for your supportive comments in my last post.  I am scheduled for my next ultrasound and appointment with the high risk OB on Oct 4th so more to update in a few weeks. I realize none of this pregnancy was ever in my hands to begin with - so the birth of Sprout will also be the same, right? 

Oh and the baby shower on Sunday went great! My friend took a lot of pics for us so I'm just waiting on them to share with you.  I didn't cry (thankfully) but I was very overwhelmed at all the love and support from our friends and family that were there. We also got a lot of loot (whoohoo) from our registry and there is still plenty of time (I hope) to get the remainder of the stuff - mainly some key items like the car seat! 

So the title of my post - not about 15 mins ago did I just get back from a quick errand run to the nearby Wa.lmart and I was fuming all the way home as a result of an 'incident' in the parking lot. You see, I had parked in the spots reserved for ppl/mothers with children - I had debated about parking in the spot but it wasn't busy and there were lots of them and I was running in and out.  Plus, at 8 months pregnant and yes another case of 'roids coming on - I needed a close spot - and wait - I am with child afterall! 

Anyhow, you can guess what happened when I was leaving.  The spot I was in was next to a handicap spot and as I was pulling out, a lady and her elderly mother pulled next to the one I had been in.  My windows were down so I could hear her saying loudly (and I know she made sure I heard her) "these spots are reserved for people with CHILDREN Y'Know!"  

I rolled down my window a bit more and said "Actually I'm growing one inside of me thank you very much" and before I could say anymore she just snapped back 'Yah, well WHATEVER" - and proceeded to be-little me even more as she helped her mother out of the car.   I was SO READY to get out of the car and show her what 8 months pregnant looked like but I took a deep breath and just said, exasperated, 'OH C'MON' (trust me, I was ready to let the f and b bomb drop but I refrained) - as I drove away I had all these things that I wanted to turn back and say to her but instead I just fumed all the way home.  Have you ever had that moment where you have the perfect comeback to say to someone, only that it's 10 mins after the fact? It's so frustrating!!

I know I didn't have to justify anything to her but I did feel very hurt that she didn't see pregnant ppl as ppl with children as well. More to the fact that I felt judged that I wasn't a mother yet.  Am I overreacting here?

 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Well whaddaya know

:( 

So I had my bi-weekly midwife appointment yesterday and we reviewed my last ultrasound results again (this time it was with my secondary midwife as my primary was on vacation) - and it turns out that they want me to get a consult with an OB on my fibroid.  I had thought that the fibroid at this juncture was a moot point but I guess not. :(  Since the 18 week ultrasound, it had grown from (I think this was the measurement) 3.7 cm to 3.9cm at 29 weeks.  Now I know that's not a huge fibroid by any means, but it's the position of the darn thing that has my midwives interested and wanting to monitor it more closely. Apparently it's sitting low in my uterus and they want the OB to do another ultrasound, and any other subsequent ultrasounds to make recommendations on whether or not this will pose any issues with Sprout getting into the birth canal and/or if it will cause the baby to move /turn the other way to avoid the fibroid altogether.

I know I said before that my birth plan is basically "get the baby out by any means as long as it means baby is safe and sound" - but I have to admit that when I heard this latest piece of news, I was disheartened.   I had felt the same way when we thought the placenta was going to be an issue, thereby limiting my birthing options, but now that this is getting closer and the fibroid is gradually growing and it's not likely to move - has me a bit down and disappointed in the whole situation.  I feel iike we've gotten so far and so close to the end and then to be smacked with something unexpected.  I trust that God has planned however this baby is to be born and from day 1 it has been in His control, but I still can't help but feel disappointed.  

Please pray for us as we head into this next phase - and whether it be that we face a certain c-section or a pass to go through vaginal birth - I hope that I will come to accept either or as part of the plan, instead of what I had thought it would be like. 

I'll leave you with a pic of me at 32 weeks: (today!) 







 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Catching up

So I've been getting lazy and haven't posted in a while - tsk tsk on me! Let's see - where should I begin?  Hubby came back from his L.A. trip last Tuesday and I was so so happy to have him home.  I was only really 'alone' for two nights while he was gone because my darling little sister came to stay with me and we hung out quite a bit - helps to have someone to talk to and keep company - the house is so eerily quiet - and I'm the type that likes some kind of ambient noise - I guess without hubby in the house, there were no random burps or farts to fill those silent gaps! LOL. Anyhoo, thought I would split up my updates in the following categories as my thoughts are somewhat scattered these days.

Pregnancy Update
Let's see what else happened since the last time I posted. Oh right, how can I forget the lovely situation with hemmorh.oids a few weeks ago.  I mean, really people, I felt like my booty was going to split open - no warning of TMI here, sorry.  It was so painful I winced everytime I got up, sat down, walked, you name it.  I resorted to sitting on a pillow during the work hours,  and just trying to cope the best I could by downing as much water as I could and trying out the whole cotton ball/witch hazel thing (which I don't think really worked).   There was definitely some bleeding involved - and everytime I saw it on the TP or liner, my mind went 'back there' but I knew it wasn't coming from the big V but further back.  I told my midwife about this lovely development and she wrote me a prescription for it next time it happens (lovely) but so far it hasn't made a return in the past few weeks.  I blame my stupid craving for Indian food 3 Saturdays ago.  It all started from there.  *shudder*.


I've also had a bad case of 'baby brain' lately at work.  Last week, I was leading a team call for a marketing campaign we were executing and I completely blanked out on my train of thought and had NO WORDS come to mind when providing my part of the update.  Thankfully my co worker jumped in quickly to help me out! I hear the memory thing never fully comes back - oh great day! lol


Sprout is getting stronger and I can now pretty accurately distinguish between the baby hiccupping and when an arm or a leg is adjusting position.  It is the strangest feeling but I am grateful for every moment I get to share with Sprout while it's still just me and baby for now :) 


32 weeks is coming up Wednesday - that's like, 8 MONTHS! That's just amazing and I continue to give thanks as I'm so blessed to be here. We also start our 4 week pre-natal classes this Wednesday as well - I'm excited for this the most because hubby will finally be able to 'get in' on the action and see what he's in for heheh.


Nursery Update
What else, what else.  Oh! The nursery has a fresh coat of paint now! Hubby spent a few hours on the weekend painting it and I am so happy this part is done because now it's just putting together the crib, my mom is helping me get the cushions on the glider re-upholstered, and we have another piece of furniture coming in that will double as a bench seat and storage underneath.  The rest will be the decorating part of it but I have a good idea of how it will come together and I hope to have some pictures soon to share in about 3-4 weeks or so.

Baby Shower Update
This coming weekend is our family and friends co-ed baby shower and I'm super excited but a bit nervous about how everything will go.  I've dreamed of having a baby shower for a while now, and now that the day is approaching, I just hope that I don't have a breakdown and get too overwhelmed with all the emotions that event will bring.  I'm excited that it will be a co-ed shower because I really want hubby to experience all of this with me.  I had to convince him at first that this was not just exclusively a Mom-to-be thing anymore these days,  and that it will be a lot of fun and not at all too fru fru.  He was more concerned that in his eyes, a shower was a celebration of the hard work a mom-to-be has been through in the past 9 months,  and that as the father-to-be, he hadn't really 'done' anything yet to deserve to be 'celebrated'.  I get his point but at the same time, I feel that because I've been getting showered with attention and all of the focus, I wanted to share that with him because I'm not the only one having a baby here (well, physically I am, but y'all know what I mean) and the shower is really a gathering of our close family and friends to share in our excitement of baby's arrival.  Once he thought about it that way, that it is more a celebration of the baby's pending arrival versus a 'hurray for the mom' party - he was much more open to the co-ed idea.   I've been to a co-ed shower before and it's so much fun, seeing bottle drinking races and fastest diapering races.  Our sisters and my bff have been working hard (I think lol) at organizing this for us and I'm really looking forward to sharing with you how it all goes down this Sunday. 


So I think I'm caught up from my end.  Time to catch up on reading your blogs, friends! 




Your Pregnancy: Week 32
Up until now, you've been seeing your doctor about once a month. Now you'll start seeing her every two weeks, until the final month when you'll kick it up to once a week. We're not suggesting you have "mommy brain" just yet ... but be sure to write down any questions you want to ask her about the delivery. Things are moving rapidly. You're going to want to be as informed as possible.

Your Body
There is something surreal about watching a tiny foot move across your belly (and something uncomfortable about getting jabbed by a tiny elbow in the dead of night). Now that your baby is nice and big and mobile, you'll be getting kicked and prodded in all sorts of unexpected places. Oooof! Did you feel that one in the ribs?

If you're feeling sudden, jerking movements, then your baby probably has the hiccups. Or he could be practicing his routine for So You Think You Can Dance. Changing positions, taking a walk, or drinking a cold glass of water or juice can sometimes get a very active baby to chill with the kidney shots for a while. You could also try telling the baby if he kicks you one more time you're going to come in there and give him a time-out. OK, that won't help ease the discomfort, but mentally it'll make you feel like you're still in control.

Your Baby
Although your baby will still remain active, his days of trying out for Cirque du Soleil are nearly over. About this time your baby will settle into the head-down position in preparation for birth. Other fascinating facts:

Both you and baby are putting on some serious weight at this point. You'll probably gain about a pound a week for the next few weeks, with half of that poundage bulking up baby. He'll likely double his weight in the next eight weeks. Ever wonder what your baby is doing in there these days? He's busy blinking, looking around, grabbing things, making faces, practicing his breathing, peeing and listening to everything around him—pretty much exactly what he'll be doing for the first three months of his life, sans the adoring audience and the flashing camera.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy 30 to us!

This is a "30th" that I definitely want to celebrate. What a huge milestone for us!! Looking back at that last few trimesters (omgosh I can't believe I can actually say that outloud!) - it has been filled with an emotional and physical roller coaster ride.  I can still remember the moment we got a BFP with Sprout and how nervous/scared/happy I was.  How I thought "was this really the One" or would our hearts and spirits be crushed once again. Then, as each week passed us by, my heart opened just a little bit more to the possibilities. 

I recall how happy our families were to hear of the news, everyone jumping up and down and hugs all around in our living room. My mind was still apprehensive but the hope and the light at the end of this dreary tunnel started to get brighter and brighter. What it felt like to see Sprout's heartbeat for the first time. What it feels like now to feel his/her movements getting stronger and stronger.  My belly getting bigger and bigger.

These upcoming 10 weeks will be the homestretch.  I feel like I can see the finish line *just over there* and imagining a real, live, cute, cuddly baby in my arms is becoming more of reality than a dream.  

I would not be here without the support of this team - my bloggy buddies, my prayer army.  If only all women who have gone through loss and trying times can find support through complete strangers as I have, it would make the journey seem less treacherous and more bearable.  I look forward to sharing with you all what these next 10 weeks or so will be like - and I can't wait to share my happily ever after story, finally. 
 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tears, and more tears

I just dropped my hubby off - he's off to LA for 6 days to visit his good friend and also his aunt and uncle (we did our trip together in SF, and then separate 'last' trips - so mine was NYC)  

As we were saying our goodbyes I could feel the tears welling up. He leaned over and rubbed Sprout belly and said 'bye baby' - and I said 'say bye to daddy' - and it was just the last straw.  I turned before my hubby could see me start bawling like a baby (I didn't want him to feel bad for going on this trip!) but all the way on the drive home I couldn't stop.  Just when I thought I was ok I saw a big tree being cut down in my neighbourhood and started crying again. Got a BBM from my hubby on my blackberry and the tears came rushing back.  I know it's only 6 days - why can't I get a grip!! 

tearfully, yours.

Monday, August 30, 2010

belated 29 week post and Ultrasound update

Good morning! 
This is a super belated post for 29 because as of this Wednesday my friends, I am heading into the 30's! It's my 30th week and I'm so happy we're in the homestretch and I'm so proud of Sprout for the progress s/he is making by growing strong and kicking Mama right left and center all the time! 

Here's what happened last week - wait a sec, I can barely what happened a few days ago - let alone a week! LOL Nothing really exciting to report - hubby and I decided to make the switch - in rooms that is. We had always designated the smallest room to be the nursery but when we looked at the crib mattress on the floor, and mentally made note of the furniture coming in - there would have been no room for a rocking chair/glider, and more importantly, no room to 'play' once Sprout gets bigger on the rug that we wanted in the middle of the room. 

So we decided to make the small room the guest room, and the guest room, the nursery and I LOVE that we decided to do that because Sprout's room is going to be so much more roomy (by still cozy) and since I'll be spending a lot of time in there - I won't feel like I'm in a closet! 

Hubby hopped right on it and dissembled the guest bed, furniture, etc. and made the move on Saturday while I read on the porch with some watermelon and plain chips (don't ask). I felt so useless but my sciatic nerve was acting up again this weekend and I was in so much pain, and even if I was fine, hubby would not let me help whatsoever. O-k if you say so :)) 


Saturday morning was also our check up ultrasound to take a look at the placenta situation.  I must admit I hadn't really panicked about this at all, but it was a concern to me nonetheless because I didn't want my choices to be limited when it came to writing my birth plan.  Just a recap, if the placenta hadn't moved or become completely placenta previa, there would be no way I could do a vaginal birth. So it was with a prayerful heart that I went into the ultrasound room - hoping for a change in the situation since the 18 week diagnosis.  


The ultrasound was actually quite long, the technician looked at everything - and I mean everything - including blood flow to the brain, to the organs, measurements of all the organs etc.  She was really nice and talked to me most of the way through - but I hate when they get quiet and I can't see what's happening.  I know they're just focusing on their job but it's torturous! 
Hubby was also sitting quietly behind her and I couldn't see his face so I was just waiting for something! (little did I know that he was video taping the whole appt on his blackberry, b/c he knew I couldn't see a thing LOL - good hubbs!) 


Finally I got to see Sprout when she swung the monitor around at the end - s/he is so big now and definitely looks like a baby you could hold and cuddle - so amazing! The great news is that the marginal placenta is now up and right where is should be - so no issue with a vaginal birth and even the small fibroid I had is non-existent! Praise God! I truly feel so blessed and I can't wait to begin the countdown ladies! 


Here is my sweet baby at 29 wks 3 days: 




 

Friday, August 20, 2010

belated 28 week post

Technically I'm still in the 28th week so not really belated, but I missed posting on Wednesday so here we are! 

So let's see -- Monday y'all know about - the follow up specialist appt -- Tuesday was my regular appointment with my midwife and I got to do the GD test - fun! 

The cold, orange fizzy C-Plus-esque drink was not bad at all - in fact, I found it quite tasty except for the crazy burps I got drinking it in all of 5 minutes.  That wasn't bad.  It was about 5 minutes after downing the drink that I started feeling the room spin and it felt reminiscent of my partying days back in university. Seriously people, I felt intoxicated.  I lay down on the couch in the waiting room and closed my eyes and after a good 10 minutes I started to feel better.  Talk about a sugar rush! 

*p.s. I really hope I pass this test! I DO NOT want to do the 3 hr one - no thanks!!

Anyhoo,  I finally got to meet my primary mw for the first time on Tuesday.  She had been away on vacation for the month of July so I was meeting with my secondary mw during that time.  I was super relieved when we settled right into comfortable conversation and I got a really really good vibe from meeting with her so I'm very excited that I have her as my primary!  

All is good - Sprout apparently is a keener and s/he was head down when she felt and measured me on Tuesday (although, I'm pretty sure at this stage the baby can still flip and move so it's not permanently in ready position yet - am I right about this?) My fundal height is measuring ahead at 30.5 so eeps - I hope I'm not on my way to a big baby here - wouldn't be so fun during L&D! 

I also got the paperwork for my next ultrasound - we want to check in on the placenta situation that they saw back on the 18 week ultrasound so I am praying that it has moved on up and it won't be an issue anymore.  They also want to keep a close eye on a small fibroid that I have but they don't seem concerned about it at all because of it's size at the other ultrasounds.  I am super excited to get to see Sprout again although this time I am considering bringing a large hand mirror so I can see without straining my neck! LOL 

Thanks for all the anniversary wishes! We had a very quiet night at home and I can't wait to get away for the weekend and oh! we're also picking up the crib and mattress over the border on Sunday so that will be exciting - our first nursery purchase!

Have a great weekend ladies! 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

4 years ago today I married my love

My hunny and I exchange cards on special occasions, at the very least. I always look forward to seeing what kind of card my DH picks out for me - he is really good at getting me to tear up or laugh out loud. I remember how the sentiments in last year's cards were filled with  "we've had our share of heartache and tears, but here's to our future", of course, not really knowing if the future would be more sad news or good news. What a difference a year has made as this year's sentiments are lined with what we are looking forward to the next chapter in parenthood, and the hope we have as we expand our family.  

I love my hubby so much and I am so happy that this year is finally one that we can fully celebrate as we have so much to look forward to. We're heading out this weekend for a stay over in Niagara (a surprise present from my parents) and a massage at a spa to boot - can't wait!

This is what came knocking at the door today: 

 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Full circle

I went for my follow up appointment with Dr. L this morning (the auto-immune specialist for recurring mc) - the last time I saw him was when I was around 11 weeks with Sprout and I clearly remember how I felt when he said 'ok kiddo, keep on incubating and I'll see you around 28 weeks'.  I remember feeling a bit nervous to be 'on my own' and also a bit hesitant that I would indeed make it that far to have this next follow up appointment with him.  

What I long way we've come.  As I took the elevator up to the 18th floor offices, I remembered what it felt like those many times I had taken the same route with unanswered questions in my head and about 20 blood tests and multiple ultrasounds ahead of me.  What it felt like to look around the waiting room and wonder where these other women were in their journeys. How long have they been trying?  Have they also been pregnant and had losses before?  Or could they not get pregnant because of egg or sperm issues and/or both? If our eyes made momentary contact it would always be filled with the same look - the despair, the yearning, and the tiredness from all of it. 

I wore a more loose fitting top today to try and make my belly less obvious as I thought it might make someone feel uncomfortable or upsetting.  I told my hubby this and he said - try to think of it as you're giving those women some hope - that one day it will be them in your place.  He's such a great guy. 

All went well with the appointment and I won't be seeing him again until 3 months after the baby is born - I guess to finally close the chapter on my file and call my case a success in his study.  I am to stop the baby aspirin at 33 weeks but that's about it - 'good luck and we'll see you and your baby next year'.  I felt like I just earned a gold star.  As I left and exited the waiting area I looked behind to see the women sitting there either alone or with their spouses - looking down to the ground or holding their hands tightly.  I said a quick prayer for them and wished them well - I was on my way and I sure hope that they don't have to wait long until it was their turn.  

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Just checking"

Hubby has had a lot of 'contact' now with baby Sprout's movements - he's seen my tummy change shape, been kicked in the head while listening, and has felt Sprout tap dance almost every day. 

Last night, as we were saying our goodnites and sweet dreams, hubby kissed my belly to wish Sprout goodnite and placed his hand there for a while to feel him/her move around.  Sprout must've been settled in nicely because there was nothing for a while. Then DH shook my belly and said - hello in there?  and was swiftly met by a 'stop bugging me!' kick from baby, and subsequent kicks and bobbles afterwards.

Hubby laughed and said "ok, ok - just checking to make sure you're still ok!" and rolled off to sleep. 


As I struggled to find a comfy position to sleep in with my army of pillows, I thought to myself, those two words "just checking" - define what all of us here have gone through in our pregnancies after loss.  The multiple pee sticks, the constant blood draws and rising (or not) betas, the torturous evaluation of TP in the first weeks, the monitoring of symptoms, the first heartbeat ultrasound, the anatomy scan, the GD tests, the fundal height measurements -- all of these "just checking" activities have reassured us and our healthcare practitioners that every thing is progressing as they should.  I admit that I've never fully stopped the idea of "just checking" because I know how fragile life can be and at any moment be taken from us - but the reassuring kicks from Sprout have helped minimize those thoughts as the days and weeks pass by. 

I guess I just didn't realize that DH had those "just checkin" moments too and it made me think just how far we have come, but have yet still to go.  Faith in God has kept me strong through this, but at the same time, I wonder: when we we will ever really stop "checking"?


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

NYC recap and heading into 27 weeks

Hi bloggy buddies! 

So I survived the HEAT.WAVE.OF.THE.CENTURY in NYC and I'm back! Seriously though, could it have been any hotter?  I swear there was only one day (the last day of course) where I hadn't soaked through my undergarments or didn't have a heat rash from my thighs rubbing against one another - oh and I did I mention also getting a mild case of hemorrhoids to top it all off?  (we are past the TMI point now ladies - you don't even get a warning LOL)

My sis and I still managed to have fun - she is the best sis in the world for putting up with my pouty faces and constant dabbing of my 'sweat rag' all day as we trudged through Central Park, 5th ave, Chinatown, SOHO and the Pier. It sucked that we didn't get to walk the Brooklyn Bridge because of the extreme heat - but it will be first on my to-do's next time I go there! 

We bought a 7-day subway pass so we could hop on and off with more convenience but the subway tunnels were at least 10 degrees hotter than it was on the surface level on a good day - so suffice to say that the commute underground was by far the worst I felt. Once you get on the train though, it's sweet relief because they blast the AC but the wait on the dingy platforms in muggy, no-wind/no-ventilation conditions just isn't ideal - pregnant or not! So note to self and all you's out there - don't go to NYC in August!

We were lucky we stayed somewhere pretty accessible to everything - so that was one good thing - we also did a lot of shopping but sadly, only my sis scored all the cute and fun clothes and shoes while I picked up mostly accessories and one dress.  The maternity selection was slim pickins but I did manage to buy the cutest lil' outfit for Sprout at H&M - I absolutely love it and can't wait till s/he gets to wear it this fall/winter! The jacket is fuzzy and warm (jersey lined) and the hood has brown/ivory stripes - how cute is that!




At 27 weeks, I'm feeling really great.  I have noticed my feet no longer resemble human parts - but that of a bear or possibly a green fabled character named Shre.k - they're so swollen! My back issues have gone away for now (I attribute it to aqua fit/yoga and the miles we walked last week in NYC) and my belly button area is now fully stretched and it actually looks bruised - but it isn't - weeeird.  Sprout is fully active now and watching my belly change shape (rolling, kicks, rolling kicks) is pretty awesome and mind boggling.  I still find myself talking to Sprout when I'm by myself - so hopefully s/he will know mommy's voice right away when s/he is born into this world.  


One of my good friends' baby shower was this past weekend and it was so much fun seeing how happy she was.  We've gone through a losses together and now that our babies are going to be two months apart, it will be so nice to have someone going through this transition together. 

We have a baby registry set up now! Thought we were going to have more time but our sisters and my BFF are planning our co-ed baby shower and need the guest list as well as the baby registry to be ready by tomorrow since the shower will be in mid-September.  My parents are going to be in Hong.Kong from Sep 25-Oct 25 so we had to push up the potential baby shower dates up so they could be here.  I'm hoping Sprout doesn't arrive 2 weeks early b/c I really want need my Mommy to be there! 

Other than that - I have my next midwife appt next Tuesday when I finally get to meet my Primary (she was on vaca the month of July) - and I'll also be doing my GD test then as well.  I really hope I pass and I'm trying to be good with sweets but I have been craving chocolate and haven't said no to ice cream too much so I hope I am not causing more harm than good! I also placed a call to the hospital where we have chosen to give birth at to set up an appointment to tour the facilities - so stay tuned for that! 
 
Lots of catching up to do on reading your blogs so before I leave you to do that, here are some pics from the trip: 


Back to the beginning.. this is where DH proposed to  me in Central Park
Central Park
Chinatown




Havana Grilled Corn yummmm  


Crumbs Bakery - best cupcakes!
No we didn't eat this one LOL
Wouldn't be NYC without random ppl dressed up on the corner!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Off to the Big Apple and 25 weeks

I love New York. I mean, I really love New York.  My last planned trip this year is with my younger (and only) sister and we are heading out for a week - just the two of us! Last time we took a trip to NYC together was about 2 years ago so it's going to be super fun to travel together again - especially to our favourite city! We've planned everything around must-eat food places (surprise surprise) so I can't wait to share pics of the yummy food I'm about to savour! I think Sprout will be nice and happy :) 

Hubby is also taking a 'solo' trip - at the end of the month he's off to L.A to visit a good friend of his - and after that - no more trips for us! We had a good talk last night about our finances and how we're going to deal with my reduced income when I go on my year-long mat leave.  We feel a bit anxious about it but we know that we can manage and get through it, just like any major milestone in our lives we didn't think we could handle financially (wedding, first house, second house etc) but we did!

I'm a bit past my 25 week post but much like a fellow blogger, I'm starting less and less to focus on what week I'm on and starting to panic a bit at how many weeks are left! DH and I will be doing the baby registry stuff when I get back from my trip - and oh! Our sisters and my bestie are starting to plan our co-ed baby shower!  It's a bit surreal that Sprout will be getting a party in his/her honour - I've been looking forward to this moment in our lives for a while now and it feels great to be able to look at the future in anticipation and excitement. 

In addition to going to aqua fit regularly now, I also tried out prenatal yoga this week and I gotta say, I really enjoyed it!  It was very relaxing and calming, and I got a nice stretch and practiced breathing.  I definitely think I'll be going back!

Gotta start packing now -  Hope you all enjoy your weekends!



This is me in NYC, circa 2005 - the trip that DH proposed to me on:)



And this is the last time I was there with my sis in 2008! 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

24 weeks and a letter to Sprout

Dear Sprout,

You are now 24 weeks and 1 day old in my ute (wow that's 6 months!) - I hope you're liking it in there because I can definitely feel you wiggling and maneuvering around all day making yourself more comfy! 

Mommy and Daddy have been so happy at your progress and growth over these past 24 weeks. At first we weren't so sure if we were ever going to see this day, but you have proven to be the blessing and miracle that God provided us, and we will always be so thankful for being chosen as your parents. 


As you have grown bigger and Mommy's belly has become increasingly rounder, I've been finding myself talking to you a lot during the day - telling you where we're going (like when we went to Aquafit for the first time together) and rubbing and patting the area where I think you're chilling out in just to say I felt 'that' and to keep showing me that you're doing ok in there. Mommy also started reading to you last week and I really think you heard me! It was a Dr. Suess book (Oh Baby, the Places you'll go!) and I could've sworn that you were more active when I was reading than you usually are.  Apparently you can hear now with your cute little ears so I'll be sure to keep reading to you - Daddy said he would be reading to you as well so stay tuned for that! 


It's also been fun playing the remote control game with you.  Maybe one day soon you can kick the thing right off my belly - but for now, seeing it rattle and shake is pretty fun :)  I even got it on my video camera on my blac.kberry so one day when you're old enough - I'll show it to you!


As for your digs after you arrive, Mommy is still working out the plan for the nursery and trying to figure out the best look for the room - I'm sure whatever it is you won't realize what it looks like but I want to make sure that it's serene and peaceful for when we spend our time together in there.  


Everyone is really excited to meet you (especially your grandparents (both sides) - since you're the first grandbaby in the family - I have a feeling you'll be a bit spoiled! We'll make sure to keep you grounded tho - don't you worry!

So baby Sprout, we have 3 more months to go and I can't wait to see how you continue to develop in the coming weeks and months. Thank you for giving us so much joy and hope in our lives - we love you so much and can't wait to hold you in our arms! 

Love,


Mommy







Tuesday, July 20, 2010

That wasn't fun

We had our 3rd wedding this summer this past Saturday - one of my good guy friends finally tied the knot with his gorgeous bride and it was a fabulous affair.  Non-traditional, they held the ceremony and the reception at a posh restaurant in downtown Toronto and it was top notch everything. 

Except whatever I ate, I got food poisoning - or the 48 hr stomach flu, whatever it was, it SUCKED. 

I started having really bad pains as the dance floor opened up (like right under the boobs, above where I think my stomach is now)- and I thought it was the new (and expensive grrr) strapless bra I was wearing - but I soon found out early Sunday morning that it was indeed, not attire-related at all. 

I've been blessed not to have been sick at all this pregnancy. As in, no morning sickness, no head cold, etc etc.  So maybe this was a little bit of my share? 

I had the worst diarrhea ever - and by early Sunday afternoon I was burning up with a fever.  Hubby and I went out to get Gator.ade (to replenish my lost fluids) and lunch - and nothing was settling right in my poor tummy.  I promptly took a 5 hour nap and basically sweated out the fever - but when I woke up I didn't have much of an appetite but I knew I had to keep hydrated and eat something so poor lil' Sprout would still be ok.  I read up on how food poisoning or stomach flu could affect the baby and I was relieved to find out that the baby was protected by the placenta and would not be subject to any nasty bug that my body was trying to flush out. 

I didn't work yesterday, just took the day to recuperate and get my strength back - although I really wanted to go to Aqua fit class last night, I decided against it just in case my stomach started churning in mid-water-bounce.  *shudder - oh the horror* Yah, wouldn't have been pretty.  

I'll leave you with a few pre-food poisoning pics from the wedding: 

my hubbs and I: 
  
My besties 
(the one to my left is 2 weeks behind me):

the beautiful newlyweds:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

23 weeks

Wow 3 posts back to back - whata g'wan?! :) 


Haven't done one of these questionnaire's yet so here we go! 

QUESTIONAIRE

How far along: 23 weeks :)))

Total weight gain/loss: + 10 lbs (i think - we didn't weigh in at my last appt!)

Maternity clothes: Finally bought some maternity bottoms! Tops I'm still doing longer tees/tanks and thankfully it's summer so I'm wearing tons of dresses!
 
Stretch marks: Not. yet. and hopefully never! (ya right). I've been using this really good cream called Naked.Body.Butter from Bliss! (at Seph.ora)

Sleep: Getting to be a bit more uncomfy. I have a body pillow that I'm using but because it's so hot lately it just ends up getting pushed to the side. I usually start and end on my back - which I used to freak out about but not anymore having talked to ppl and midwife - my body will know what to do apparently so I'm trusting that

Best moment last week: Hubby feeling the swift kicks from Sprout - he had felt 'something' a few weeks back but this time there was no question!

Movement: All the time! Yesterday I played the remote control game with Sprout to see if s/he could kick it off my belly -- the remote rattled and shook like a mini earthquake - it was amazing to watch! 
 
Food cravings: Rainer cherries! Got hooked on them in Cali and been searching for them endlessly here in Canada -  Been trying to eat more healthy but I popped open a bags of Lays regular chips the other day so it's up and down :)

Food aversions: None right now - but prepping meat is starting to gross me out - which never did before

Gender: It's a surprise! any bets/guesses?
 
Labor Signs: nope thankfully!

Belly Button in or out: Stretched like it's going through a wind tunnel :( half in and out at this point
 
What I miss: Sushi, smoked salmon, being flexible and nimble

What I am looking forward to: Feeling more movement and starting to plan the nursery!

Milestones: I'm at 23 weeks!