The Estrada Family

A Nica-Canadian family, living in Nicaragua and starting a family!

For I know the plans I have for you…

[I was just going through some files on my computer and found this.
It was written on December 2nd, 2014.
Almost exactly a year ago.]

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”     Jeremiah 29:11

I am the kind of person who imagines situations and circumstances a million times over before they actually happen. I make plans and have expectations – which almost always differ from how things actually turn out. Giving my plans over to God has been one of the hardest struggles in my life….and it’s an ongoing, almost constant struggle.

Example: I have always wanted a big family; four kids sounds good to me (And, luckily for me, David is in agreement!). My plan was for my kids to be close together in age. My ideal: no more than 2 years apart. Honestly, I think Bethany was less than 6 months old when I first decided “Ok, I could be ready for another one right now!” But financially we were not in a place where we could have more kids. So we waited.

I was all too aware when the deadline passed and suddenly my kids would be more than 2 years apart. It. was. hard. I had made plans that were not being fulfilled. We decided to set some goals that we needed to reach before we would be ready to have more kids: 1. A car. 2. Better financial stability (David and I were both working “freelance” and at the time David’s business was not doing well.) 3. More space in our house.

Slowly but surely we achieved those goals. We bought a car last year; at the beginning of this year David’s business picked up (to the point where he averaged 12 students a month); and we started to build an addition on our house to give us the space we needed.

Check, check, check. Ok, time to have more kids. Right?

Well, I got pregnant in July… and then miscarried at the beginning of September. I was pregnant again at the end of October, and miscarried again mid November.

“Um, what the heck, God? We had a plan here. We had goals. How is this part of Your plan ‘to prosper and NOT to harm me’? How is this giving me ‘a hope and a future’?”

Do you see the problem here? They were my plans and my goals. Somehow along the way, I left the “big picture/long term” plans up to God, but I decided to take on all the short term planning myself.

And last week, as I sat in front of my computer reading article after article on Recurrent Pregnancy Loss, while trying not to self-diagnose but at the same time totally self-diagnosing, and wondering why this was happening to me, I suddenly had a revelation…

I need to read all of Jeremiah 29. Not just verse 11.

Here’s what i found:

4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God is talking to His people while they are in captivity. They have been taken out of their own land and forced into slavery. I’m sure none of them planned for this to ever happen, but it did! And check out verse 7: It says “seek peace and prosperity in the city to which I have carried you to exile”.

I.e. Don’t wait until you’re through the mess to find peace, find peace and prosper in the midst of the mess.

This is what I hear God saying:

“Hey, guys, clearly this wasn’t the plan you had for your life. (I mean, who plans to be taken captive, right?) I know you’re feeling down about it, but it’s not the end of the world… keep doing life! Build your home, find a spouse, have kids, have grand kids! Make the best of what you have right now in this moment, instead of waiting for something better. Enjoy the place where you are living even though it’s not your real home. And when 70 years have passed, I will bring you back home. Because I have great plans for you!”

So, that was some serious paraphrasing, but I hope you get the point. Just because at this moment in my life I think things aren’t going right or according to my plan, doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a plan. He sees the BIG picture, when we just see little snippets. I know that God is saying to me “I know that this isn’t what you wanted, but keep on going! Stop waiting for something better, and enjoy what you have right now in this moment!”

Does this mean I’ve figured it all out? No. Am I all better? Definitely not. The losses are still fresh and the pain is very real. But am I going to give up? No. I am going to make the best of where I am while I’m here. Because, really, we’re all in exile, aren’t we? This world is not our home, and we are all waiting for the day when God takes us into His Glory.

I am trying daily to remember that God is in control; of the big and the small; of the important and the [seemly] insignificant. I need to stop worrying about infertility, and the age difference of my kids, and focus on living right now. Because, His ultimate plans for our lives are for good, but that doesn’t mean we won’t trip and scrape our knees along the way.

 

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dreams

Just a note before I start writing what I actually WANT to write about: 
If you ask me how I'm doing, the answer most likely is "I don't know". 
Literally my day is filled with such a roller coaster of emotions, I 
don't think I can sum it up in a quick response. In Nicaragua, when 
you ask someone, "¿Cómo estás? ("How are you?), you sometimes get the 
response "Aqui". Which literally translates to "here". I guess that is 
a good way to describe how I'm doing. I'm here. In the middle of it all.
Yesterday was probably one of the most physically painful days of my life. 
I didn't fully realize that by opting to let things happen "naturally" it
meant that I would be signing up for a pain that is a slightly scaled down 
version of labour and delivery. Complete with about 5 hours of escalating 
contractions that quickly progress to being right on top of each other, 
and whole bunch of stuff that you don't want to read about on a family blog.
I don't really know if the physical pain was just adding insult to injury 
(i.e. I already lost my child, now I have to feel like I'm delivering 
it too?) Or if helped to have a physical pain to go with what I was feeling 
emotionally. But either way, today is a slightly better day. My physical 
symptoms of the miscarriage are starting to diminish. And, though 
emotionally I still have a ways to go, I fell like the physical healing 
will help me get back to a somewhat "normal" life. Whatever that is.

Alright, now on to what I came here to say…

dreams

I don’t dream very often. Actually, I probably do, but I don’t remember my dreams very often. But sometimes, not very often, I have very vivid, almost real dreams.

I believe that God speaks to people through dreams. There are so many examples in the bible of God speaking to people through dreams that it would take to too long to list them all here. But I don’t believe that its just something from biblical times; I believe God speaks to people through dreams today.

When I was only 8 weeks pregnant with Bethany (and we still hadn’t told anyone yet), a woman from our church told me that she had a dream where she saw me standing in church holding a baby. She believed that God was telling her to tell me that soon we would be parents. It was such a relief to hear her say that. And I am so thankful that God gave her that message for us.

I had two dreams last week that were so vivid that those few minutes while I was waking up I truly thought they were real. And now, in retrospect, I think God gave me those dreams to help me with closure.

The first dream, about 5 days before the bleeding started, was beautiful. I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. She was perfect. I saw her clearly. Her skin was a little bit lighter than Bethany’s was when she was born. And her eyes were a light, honey brown colour. She didn’t have a a head of thick black hair like Bethany did, but wisps of  light brown hair. In the dream we were sitting on our couch, talking to some people over Skype (who had apparently helped with the delivery…via Skype – that was the only bizarre part of the dream!) and I was nursing my new baby daughter. The part that stands out to me the most was the name. We named her Amberly. I don’t know anyone with that name, I don’t think I have even heard that name before. But it was so vivid. Amberly.

When I woke up I was so hopeful! By that point I already knew about the possibility of a blighted ovum, and I was concerned that we didn’t hear a heartbeat the week before.  I felt like this dream was hope that everything would be ok.

But the next dream, two nights later, was the opposite. I was lying in the ultrasound room in the hospital, and my doctor was checking for a heart beat, David was standing behind her. Then she turned the screen towards me and explained that there was no baby, that the sac was empty, that I was having a miscarriage. In the dream I left the room and just screamed and cried uncontrollably. I woke up feeling out of breath, and extremely confused.

The crazy thing is, that second dream was an exact depiction of what actually happened on Wednesday morning. When we got into the car after leaving the hospital I told David. “I dreamed this. Exactly how it happened.”

Except for the crying. I mean, I cried, I cried hard, but at the same time, as Dra. Aragon told me that the sac was empty and that there was no baby, it was like I had already been prepared for the news.

I don’t know exactly why I had that second dream, but I do think it helped with the impact of the news. It reminds me that God is in control of everything, that he has our days planned out before we are born.

And the first dream? I think God was giving me a few precious minutes with my beautiful little girl. The image of her is forever etched in my memory, and I know I will recognize her one day when I get to heaven. She’s lucky. She got to skip this sometimes crappy, sometimes painful earthly existence and go straight to eternity with Jesus. If it can’t be me holding her in my arms (or my womb) at least I know its Him. Its comforting to know that she is having fun in heaven playing with her cousins.

And of course I looked up the name Amberly yesterday. It comes from the name Amber, and means “beautiful jewel” or a warm honey colour. Having never heard the name before, it fits her pretty perfectly.

I am so thankful that God let me see my baby girl at least once. And, although I am still struggling to get through this and come to terms with why this all happened, it is so nice to be reminded that my God loves me and is carrying me through it all.

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empty

This Friday I would have been 10 weeks.

At 6 weeks I went in to see my doctor because I had some abdominal pain and spotting. An ultrasound showed a tiny sac, just the right size, in the right place. Nothing to worry about. “Come back in two weeks and we’ll check for a heart beat to make sure that everything is ok”.

At 8 weeks I was back. Another ultrasound. The sac was bigger, I was feeling all the right symptoms, but she couldn’t get a heartbeat from a regular abdominal ultrasound. “Thats ok. Some times its hard at just 8 weeks. Come back next week and we will double check.”

I decided to wait an extra week. If the baby needed time to grow, I wanted to give it all the time it needed.

We had out ultrasound scheduled for Thursday. But last night (Tuesday) I started bleeding.

My doctor told me to come in today. She didn’t make me pay for an appointment with her, and she didn’t even make me pay for the ultrasound (because two weeks ago was inconclusive, she didn’t report it to the hospital, and said I could come back with the same receipt).

And there was the sac. Not round like it use to look, but more like a deflating balloon. The edges were no longer defined, they were blurred. And the sac was empty.

My doctor suggested a D&C, but I opted to let everything happen naturally. As long as I don’t run a fever, and the bleeding eventually subsides (in the next week or so) I should be fine. I do have to go back in a few weeks for another ultrasound to make sure nothing got left behind that could potentially cause an infection.

And just like that…it’s over.

I don’t know what else to write. I feel like I’m in a daze, like my head is full of fog. I feel like a huge chunk of my heart was ripped out  today, leaving a big, dark, empty pit in the middle of my chest.

I feel empty.

 

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Pregnancy is scary

So every first time mom is allowed to have at least one panicked drive to the ER in the middle of the night, right?

Here´s my story…

Tuesday afternoon/evening when David finished work he came home and continued working on the ceiling in our bedroom (it´s more than half finished now – yay!). I was watching TV for a while, and sometimes spent time sitting on our bed watching David work and talking. We had an easy dinner (mini-sandwiches on fresh made buns from the local baker…mmm) and then David was back to working/chatting with me. I started to realize that I really hadn´t felt the baby moving. “Hmmm, I probably just wasn´t paying attention”, I thought to myself. “She´ll start moving soon.”

I waited, and waited. Nothing. I laid down on the bed while we were talking, recalling that every time I lay down to go to bed she starts a drum solo against whatever side of my belly that’s touching the bed. Still nothing.  I decided not to panic, clearly she was just resting. I didn´t want fear to take over. I sat, waited, laid down, waited, rolled over, waited. I couldn´t for the life of me feel her moving. I started poking at my belly trying to wake her up (which usually works) and still I didn´t feel anything. Still trying not to panic I decided to just keep waiting. By the time David finished working around 8:30 I decided to tell him about my worry.

“I haven´t really felt her kicking for a while”
“How long?”
“I don´t know, since about 6…”
“She´s probably just sleeping”
I was fighting back tears.

So he started talking to my belly, telling the baby to stop scaring her mother and to start moving. He felt a little push against his hand.

“Did you feel that!?! She moved! See, nothing to be afraid of. Don´t worry”

I felt it, and a few other little movements, but nothing like the usual party that goes on in my belly every day. I explained that to David.

“It´s just not the same as usual”
“Don´t worry, she´s moving! Remember, God gave us this baby, and we know everything is going to be ok.”

[Side note: We had two people last year tell us that God told them, through dreams, that we would have a baby. Back in January 2011 a woman told me that she had a dream in it I was pregnant. She said that God told her I would be pregnant in the next 6 months. 6 months later, I was. Also, when I was 10 weeks pregnant (and we hadn´t told anyone about it yet) a woman in church approached us and said “I don´t know you, but I had a dream about you last night. You were standing here in church holding a baby. I couldn’t see if it was a boy or a girl. I want you to know—if you don´t know already— that soon, you will be parents.” Pretty cool.]

Trying to keep that in mind, I tried to calm myself down. “Ok, she moved” I thought to myself, “I don´t need to worry. Everything will be fine.”

I willed myself to go to sleep. “She´ll start kicking against the bed when I lay down…I just know it.” I tried to convince myself, but once again, she didn’t. I tossed and turned as I half slept, moving my hand around my belly urging myself to feel movement. At one point I jolted awake because I felt a flutter. I frantically poked at my belly trying to get her to start pushing back. I got up to go to the bathroom around midnight. When I got back in bed I felt a flutter, but again, it wasn´t the normal movement I usually feel. Once again, I tried to convince myself that everything was ok. I decided I would call my doctor first thing in the morning if she still wasn’t moving much. I basically didn´t sleep from then until 3 am. I just lay there, waiting for kicks, asking her (sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud) “Please, baby girl, please move.”

By 2:50am I couldn´t take it anymore. I suddenly realized that if I waited until the morning to call the doctor, and something really was wrong, and it was too late, I would NEVER be able to forgive myself for waiting. I tried one more time to get up and go to the bathroom. But when I got back in bed and didn’t immediately feel something I decided to wake up David.

“David… David… DAVID!”
“What?”
“I still can´t feel her moving. Im really worried.”
“What do you want to do? Do you want to go to the hospital?”
“Well, yes.”
“Ok. Let’s go.”

I need to add in here that I´m really glad David never argued with me about going to the hospital. He just got up and got dressed really quickly. I love him.

I sent a quick text to Steph (my sister-in-law/next door neighbour) since we were going to take her car. As David started the car Steph poked her head out her front door. She came over to the car to give me a hug and tell me that she would be praying.

We drove to the hospital. It was the first time in the four years that I´ve known David that I´ve ever asked him to drive faster.

We were one of two cars parked in the ER parking lot. When we walked into the ER most of the lights were off. There was no one there. We finally noticed that the woman at the reception desk was sleeping.  She looked up at us, put her head back down, then finally sprang awake and asked us what we needed. I explained the problem, and then comes the difficulties of living in Nicaragua.

“Are you insured?”
“No.”
“Ok, you have to pay first then.”

She walks us across the hospital to the “Caja” where you have to pay BEFORE you see a doctor. The woman who works in Caja is also asleep. The consult is $35.00 USD. David hand her $50.00.

“You don´t have any smaller bills?”
“No” (in my head: “seriously…just let me see the freaking doctor”)
“I don´t have change… Do you have a credit card?”
“NO”
“…”
“Just give us the change later!” David finally says.

Then she fills out the form. “Full name? Address? Phone number? Age? Emergency contact?”

I point to David “HIM!!” David quickly gives his name and phone number.

Is this all really necessary? We are losing precious time!

She walks us back over to the ER and tells me to sit down at a little nurse’s station. A nurse comes over. Well, I am assuming he really was a nurse. For all I know he was a janitor who put on a white coat. I could have done a better job myself.

“Do you know how much you weigh?” he asks me.

I looked at him like he was crazy. Im pregnant. My weight changes EVERY DAY. And besides that, who gives a crap how much I weigh. I WANT TO KNOW MY BABY IS OK. I get up on the scale, and realize that I have officially passed the number that I secretly wished I would never pass. Ouch.

Then I sit down so he can take my blood pressure. I think I should mentioned here that I have had my blood pressure taken every day for the last two weeks (To monitor potential Pre-eclampsia—it’s been fine so far). I know what it feels like to have my blood pressure taken, and I know when someone is faking it.

He puts the cuff on my arm. No, wait, he put it around my elbow. He pumps up the cuff to MAYBE 115. (I never felt the blood stop flowing) and then quickly lets out the air. Then he writes down on my piece of paper “110/70.” Hey, if you´re going to make it up, be a little more creative! “111/68” would have looked more believable. Rediculous.

So they FINALLY take me over to the doctor.

“What’s the problem?” She asks me.
“Im 37 weeks pregnant, and I haven´t been able to feel my baby move for a while.”
“Since when?”
“Well I started to notice around 6pm…”
“WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG TO COME IN?”
“Well, um.” (Im a little surprised at her reaction), “I…. I didn´t want to worry. I thought that I would feel something eventually. I felt a few little flutters, but it wasn´t like what I usually feel” (In my head: “It’s all my fault, I should have come sooner. I´m a bad person.”)

She asks me a bunch of other questions about my pregnancy. I answered them, but she seems unsatisfied that I didn´t bring in all my paperwork and labs. That wasn´t really what I was thinking about when we ran out of the house an hour ago.

“Ok, lie down on the table. Take off your pants and underwear.”

I walk over to the table, then turn around and realize that the door to her exam room is still open and there are people walking down the halls (including creepy fake-nurse/janitor man). I motioned to David to close the door. (It’s a swinging door that can´t lock.)

“Do you have a gown that I can put on?”

She looks up at me and grumbles, then goes to the cupboard and pulls out a gown and hands it to me. I quickly change into the gown, and lie down on the table. She measures my belly, and without saying anything pulls out a Doppler, squirts gel on it, and starts moving it around my belly. Within a few seconds I hear the sweet sound of my baby girl’s strong heartbeat.

“Thank you Jesus.”

“That’s the heartbeat. Can you hear it? Everything is fine” she says to me.

I start crying.

She puts her hand on my belly, and my darling baby decides use this moment to make her first big movement in 9 hours.

“Can´t you feel that? That’s your baby moving. There is nothing wrong.”
(Im still crying)
“Why are you crying? Everything is fine. Stop crying.
“This is the first time I´ve felt my baby move all night. I was so worried…” I manage to whisper.
“Well you shouldn´t worry. Everything is fine. You probably didn´t sleep all night, did you? If you worry too much you´ll hurt your baby.”

The doctor walks away and sits back at her desk, leaving me with a bunch of gel on my belly. I struggle to sit up, and start getting off the table…still crying. David came over to help me, which was great because I fell off the step stool getting down off the table.

“You need to stop crying and calm down” says the doctor.

But the thing is, I can´t stop crying. Its 4am. I haven´t slept all night. I just found out that my baby is ok. Oh, and on top of all that I have the meanest doctor in the universe belittling me and making me feel like an idiot for even coming in. You try to stop crying!!

She says a few more things, writes on her piece of paper, tells me I can get more tests if I want, and sends me on my way. I clench my jaw and fight back the urge to hit her and call her names. We remember to get our change from “Caja” and head out to the car. I´m still crying as we get in the car and David asks why. I tried to explain how that doctor made me feel in Spanish but I end up just yelling it all out in English with a few choice words in there to describe how I felt about the doctor. Who knows if David actually understood what I said. I think he got the idea.

We arrived home at 5am. I crawled into bed, and baby girl started her drum solo against the mattress. I have never been so happy to be kicked.

The rest of the day she was a little mover. By dinner time on Wednesday she was having a little party in my belly, and I was smiling the whole time. It is incredibly painful when she kicks me in the ribs, but I will cherish every rib shot until she arrives.

One last thing: Im 37 weeks now (full-term!!) That means baby girl can come anytime now! I have an appointment with my own OB next Wednesday, and since she is the head of the OB department, I fully intend on complaining about my awful experience with the OB doctor from HELL.

I do not regret for a second going to the ER. I would do it again in a heartbeat if I thought anything was wrong. But the whole way there I will be praying that I get a different doctor.

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Pregnancy Update

Well, Im 35 weeks pregnant now (I can´t believe how fast time has flown!) and we are quickly approaching the due date! So what had been happening with us lately?

I worked for two weeks in Jinotega translating for two back-to-back medical teams. Translating is a lot more then mental work. We had 2 hour bus rides, rain; we almost got stuck out on the back roads a few times, not to mention all the time I spent on my feet! It’s no wonder my ankles disappeared by the time I was back in Managua!  Those were my last two paying jobs until after the baby is born, so I tried to enjoy them as much as possible! I am glad to be back at home now. I had a lot of nightmares about going into labour in the middle of nowhere in Jinotega and having my baby in the public hospital while David drove the 3 hours to get to me. Thank God that didn´t come true!

While I was gone David got a lot of the furniture we need. The great thing about having such a big family here in Nicaragua (especially when David´s brothers just had baby girls last year) is that there is a lot of baby furniture to be shared! We bought a crib from David´s older brother (They never even used it – Sol, who is now 15 months old, still sleeps in their bed). We also have a bassinet, a swing, a play pen, and possible a pack-n-play on the way.  Of course they are not for us to keep; we have to pass them on to the next family members that are having babies.  (Example: The bassinet and baby swing were given to Ivonne and Nelson over 4 years ago, by Joel and Steph, when Ivonne was pregnant with Doson. Ivonne gave them to Juan and Tania last year for Sol, Juan gave them to Chico and Tatiana for Kelly, and now Chico gave them to us! Steph and Joel´s baby boy is due to arrive April 19th, so if they want, the gift can come full circle almost 4½ years later!)

We bought a dresser that will double as a changing table, but as I tried putting away all the baby clothes, I realized we have way more stuff then what fits in the drawers! We will probably by another dresser sometime next week.

Another big change that has happened is that we made the decision to switch doctors. I was a little worried about making such a big change so late in the game, but we really felt it was necessary. The doctor that we had was pretty good. He had a nice office with his own ultrasound equipment (hence all my 3D pictures every month) but there were a few reasons we decided to make the change:

First, he kept raising his prices. We started out paying C$900 per appointment ($40.00 USD). In December we went to pay, and we were told it was C$1000. Not too much of a price increase, but we weren´t told before hand, so we had to use money that were planning on using later that day. Then Steph (my pregnant sister-in-law) had an appointment in early January, and they were told C$1200!! ($53.00 USD). At that point we were pretty sure they charging us more because of our tell-tale white skin, which means we have access to the “North-American bank” that gives us money whenever we want (see my last blog post – I will never be Nicaraguan). Plus, this doctor was going to charge is $1400.00 to attend the birth. That didn´t include the pediatrician, or the hospital fees. We were looking at a L&D cost of about $2500.00USD. That is A LOT of money in Nicaragua, and much more money that David and I have to spend.

Second, Dr. Rodriguez also had a very “I´m a smart Doctor, you are the stupid patient” approach to doctoring. Personally, I like to know what is happening to me and why.  He told me on more than one occasion that I shouldn´t question him. The day we asked if we could SEE the sex of the baby again (Because David said he didn’t see it the first time and wanted to be sure) Dr. Rodriguez´s response was “It’s not something that YOU can see, it’s something I see, and I tell you”. Nice one, Doc.

And last, he called me fat. More than once. Ok, so I know I´m pregnant, and probably overly sensitive, but I have been careful with my weight gain, and I was quite proud of myself for not getting “all-over fat” so far. In December he told me I had gained all together too much weight, and then tells DAVID that he needs to keep an eye on what Im eating. (I told David that if he tried to tell me NOT to eat a piece of chocolate, I would eat TWO just to spite him.) What finally push me over the edge was when he said “you know you don´t have to eat if you´re not hungry”.

Seriously, do you think I just eat for fun?

I am well within the limits of healthy weight gain for my pregnancy. By the next appointment I hadn´t gain as much weight as the last time (but I didn´t change my eating habits – take THAT Dr Meany) and he seemed to attribute that to my husband’s “control” over my eating. Whatever. I told Steph before my January appointment that if he told me I was fat I was going to respond “You´re fat too, what’s your excuse?” but luckily that didn´t come up in conversation!

So, taking all those factors into account, especially the $$ one, we decided, along with Joel and Steph, to look for a new doctor. I saw some adds for a private hospital in Managua that looked nice (check out the website, here), and noticed that they had quite a few female OBGYN´s on staff (which I prefer), and so last week we swung by while we were in Managua. I made an appointment with one of the doctors there (she is the head of the department) and on Wednesday we had our first appointment with her. She was very nice, knowledgeable (but not condescending), and is MUCH more affordable! We also asked to see the hospital rooms to make sure they are up to my “North-American” standards, and they defiantly are. I am very comfortable there, and plus, it’s a bit closer to home. The appointments no longer include an ultrasound, but I figure I´ve been extra blessed in that area since the beginning of my pregnancy, so I didn´t really mind not having one this week.

On our way to the appointment on Wednesday I pick up my routine test results. Uh-oh! I have protein in my urine. (That is a symptom of Pre-eclampsia). I was a bit worried the doctor would see those results and be ready to take the baby out right then and there! But it was ok. Protein in the urine is ONE symptom, but my blood-pressure is still nice and low at the moment, so I´m ok for now. My doctor has asked that I have my blood pressure taken every day (between Jen Foster, a nurse/missionary who works here in Los Cedros, and the doctor in town, I´ve got that taken care of), and I should come in if my blood pressure goes up, or if I ever have extreme headaches, blurred or spotted vision, or the sound of blood pulsing in my ears. I also need to keep an eye on the swelling in my body. A bit of swollen ankles is pretty normal for any pregnant woman at 35 weeks, but extreme or sudden swelling in my hands, feet or face are signs that we need to get to the hospital. Im taking it easy in the next weeks leading up to baby´s arrival, drinking lots of water, not eating salt, and keeping my feet up!  My pregnancy has been pretty easy-breezy since the beginning, so I´m praying it stays that way, and that I can have a nice, stress-free natural delivery.

That’s all folks! Can´t wait to post pictures of my beautiful baby girl whenever she decides to make her appearance!

I will leave you with my 35 week belly shot.

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So, why cloth diapers?

When I tell people (North American people) that I´m going to use cloth diapers, the majority give me an “ohhhh……” reaction with a little bit of a grimace at the end. I have come to realize that most people’s ideas about cloth diapering are stuck back in the 50´s- just about where mine were – before I did the research.

So I figured I should dedicate a blog post to why I am going to use cloth diapers, as well as clearing up some of the myths about them.

My only past experience with cloth diapering was here in Nicaragua. Cloth diapering in Nicaragua involves using a piece of thin cotton material (like a thin swaddling blanket), folding it up, and pinning in on baby. There is basically zero absorbency, just a bit of poop protection, but even then, you´re bound to get pooped on eventually too. In the first two months after my niece, Sol, was born I was peed on EVERY TIME I held her. I didn´t really mind too much– baby pee has pretty much no smell. But, I was thankful when my sister-in-law finally realized that was people are visiting she should throw a disposable diaper on the girl! Anyway, cloth diapering here is (in my opinion) gross. You wind up changing babies a gazillion times a day, and baby is peeing everywhere! Definitely NOT for me!

But, at the same time, disposable diapers are EXPENSIVE! There is no way that a Nicaraguan can afford to use disposables all the time, they are even more expensive here then they are in North America.

That brings me to a dilemma:

Cloth diapers = gross, but, disposables = too expensive!

So I decided to look online. I know some people in North America use cloth diapers, and I can´t imagine it´s as basic as what people do here. There must be something better. What I imagined was something similar; a piece of cotton material, folded and  pinned on, with a leak proof cover over top. But what I found BLEW MY MIND.

Tons of people have invented cloth diapering SYSTEMS that are (in my opinion) amazing! Snaps or Velcro instead of pins; super absorbent liners; the option to double up on liners if necessary; even disposable LINERS for when you´re out of the house (no carrying around poop-smeared diapers in a smelly plastic bag). There are all-in-ones, two-in-ones, potty-trainers, multiple sizes, one size fits all, and you can mix and match brands!

The icing on the cake were the reviews. I could not find one negative review from someone who had actually TRIED (modern) cloth diapering. (Of course, people who haven´t tried them had negative things to say…but don´t knock ´em ´til you try ´em!) I read reviews from all sorts of people too: People who have their own washer and dryer and wash the diapers at home; people who use a diaper service; people who live in an apartment building and lug their diapers to the common laundry room; people who take their dirty diapers to a laundry mat; and even people who hand wash their diapers. Everyone says that once they find a routine that works for them, it´s easy to maintain.

There are a few added bonuses that I discovered while doing my cloth diaper research. I won’t actually know if these are all true until my little one is here, but I thought they were worth mentioning.

–          No diaper rash: cloth diapering parents report that they don’t need to use diaper rash creams, and their children are basically diaper rash free. This is attributed to the fact that a disposable diaper has a lot MORE absorbency then cloth. That means people leave their babies in disposable diapers for longer, increasing their contact with the dirty diaper, and increasing their susceptibility to diaper rash. I may have to change diapers are few more times a day, but knowing my baby´s bum is protected is a definitely bonus for me.
–          Less over-night blowouts: apparently a frequent disposable diaper complaint is that the longer overnight use causes messy poo-spills and pee-leakage in the morning. Cloth diapers (especially those with removable liners) allow you to increase the absorbency by adding an extra liner for the night time, decreasing the probability of messy mornings.
–          Environmentally Friendly: Lets estimate that the average baby goes through 6 diapers a day, and let´s say they are potty trained at age 3….that´s 6570 diapers going into the landfill PER BABY. We are so concerned these days about recycling paper, plastic, composting, etc, so we should look for ways to cut down on diaper waste too!
–          Savings: The average North-american-disposable-diapering-parent spends up to $1000 a year on disposable diapers. Cloth diapers can cost you between $100 and $500 from birth to potty training. Plus you´ll be saving money because you won’t have to buy diaper rash creams etc. A common argument against cloth diapering is that what you are saving on diapers you will spend on increased water/electricity bills because of the extra washing/drying, but really, the increase is minimal. Especially if – like many websites suggest – you line dry your diapers.

It doesn´t end there either. Makers of cloth diapers have come out with a bunch of products that will help make your cloth diapering experience a good one. Diaper pails with stink-quenching inserts, a diaper sprayer that attaches to your toilet (to clean the messy diaper off before it goes into the pail), cloth baby wipe and wipe solution, wet bags to put your dirty diapers in while you´re out of the house, just to name a few. The possibilities are endless.

After all my research I realized that cloth baby wipes just make sense. If you´ve ever changed a diaper you know how habitual it is to stuff the dirty wipe into the dirty diaper before you throw it in the garbage. A lot of people realized that they still do that, only now they are stuffing a disposable wipe into a cloth diaper, and eventually they have to fish them out. Cloth wipes are just squares of terry cloth or flannel, and they usually cost about a dollar each if you buy them in a store. I decided it would be incredibly easy to make them myself and bought a bunch of flannel from a fabric store. I currently have 10 wipes (double layered) that cost me about $3 to make. I´ll be making some more before the baby comes. Wipes solution is also really easy to make. Just mix 1 ½ tbsp of baby oil with 1 tbsp of baby wash, and 2 cups of boiling water and you can either pour it over the wipes (keeping them wet) or put it in a spray bottle to wet the cloths as you need them. Im not even going to bother working out how much money I´ll be saving by not buying baby wipes.

Companies even make it easy to pick the best diaper for your baby. Most websites offer a “Test pack” that includes a few diapers from a number of different brands, that you can try out for a set amount of time (30 or 60 days, usually). Once you figure out what you like and don´t like, you can send back the stuff you don´t like, and order more of what you like. That was what most people suggest for a first time cloth diaper user. Unfortunately, because we live in Nicaragua, that really wasn´t an option for us. We can´t have things shipped directly to us (no mailing address), so ordering online/returning unwanted products within an allotted amount of times just isn´t feasible. This means we´re going to have to like what we buy. So I was going to do all the research I could before we made any decisions.

I took a lot of things into consideration:

–          Cost: I want to keep costs low.
–          Sizes: Am I going to have to continue buying new sizes as my baby grows? This can pose a problem – what if I buy the smallest size for a newborn baby and my baby is 10+ lbs? I will waste money on diapers I will never use. What do I buy more of: small or large? Every baby is different. The best solution would be a diaper that grows with my baby.
–          Spending a day in Managua: I tried to imagine what it would be like spending my entire Sunday in Managua at church and then at my Mother-in-Law´s house (Our usual Sunday routine). How would cloth diapering work when I´m out of the house all day. I won´t be able to just throw out the dirty diapers, so I want to minimize the amount of crap I have to carry around (literally…haha).
–          Leak proof/blow-out proof:  Like I mentioned before, I´ve been peed on a lot, thanks to cloth diapers. I don´t want to be peed on by my own child, and I really don´t want to have to apologize a million times when she pees on other people. So that means I need something a little more advanced than the typical Nicaraguan cloth diaper.
–          Safety: Honestly, using safety pins scares me. I´ve done it, but Im constantly afraid I´m going to stab the baby in the hip while I´m doing up the diaper, and inevitably (probably because of my fear) the diapers winds up being too loose, which brings us back to the leaking problem. I need a cloth diapers that does not have pins!
–          Durability: I need diapers that are going to last a long time.
–          Ease: Disposable diapers are about as easy as they get. I want my husband, or WHOEVER else to be able to use the diapers, without me having to give a tutorial every time. The easier, the better.
–          Cuteness: Not really the most important factor, but once you start looking for cloth diapers you will realize how cute they are. They come in all sorts of colours and pattern.

While considering all of the above points, I set out to research. There are tons of blogs and websites with information to consider. In the end, I decided on the Flip Diaper System (www.flipdiapers.com). This is why I like them:

–          One size that grows with my baby. I should be able to use these diapers from birth to potty training.
–          Separate covers and liners means I can reuse the covers and just change the liner, or use a disposable liner while Im out of the house.
–          Snaps/Velcro option: We opted for snaps because Velcro tends to stop working over time. There are a lot of snaps so that the diaper can be adjusted to fit almost any baby.
–          Easy! There is nothing complicated about them, so anyone can use them. No excuses hubby!!
–          Cute! You HAVE to go to the website to see all the cute colour options!
–          Cost. We are spending $250 to start off our cloth diapering journey. That will give us 10 coloured covers, and 30 stay-dry liners, which is more than the website actually suggest you´ll need for one child. I figured, since all my diapers are being delivered by generous Americans who are sacrificing suitcase space to bring me the diapers, I should order more then I need, rather than wind up with not enough. Add another $20.00 (approx) for cloth wipes and almost nothing for wipe solution.  Then compare that to the cost of disposable diapers, wipes, rash creams etc.

So that’s it! I would suggest to EVERYONE who is having a baby (or already has one) to at least consider cloth diapering.

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DIY: Do It Yourself

*Note: Please don´t think this post makes me a DIY expert…I´m a rookie when it comes to making my own stuff.

I´ve never really been a DIY-er, but with a baby on the way, a very tight budget, my spare time, and so many CUTE projects, I´m becoming an addict.

It started with searching for baby products that people say are “MUST HAVES”. I came across the Moby Wrap.  It looks like a really cool baby carrier. But the price… way too much for a piece of fabric! So I googled “make your own Moby Wrap” and I found tons of blogs with instructions. It really is just one long piece of fabric that you wrap and tie. So the “Moby” Wrap is the first thing on my list of DIY projects. I figure, if I hate it, at least I can recycle the material to make other things.

So that´s how my search for DIY projects began. Things that I either can´t find in Nicaragua, or are too big/expensive to ask someone to bring for me quickly made it to the top of my list. Like a Nursing Pillow. I would love to have one, but I don´t really want to spend the money on buying one. Especially since anything with the label “baby” or “pregnancy” on it is automatically more expensive (I swear, the Baby product industry is second only to the wedding industry…). So a quick google search and I found some simple instructions for a Nursing Pillow and many variations of a Nursing Cover which I will also be utilizing.

Now all I need is a sewing machine…

Enter: BLESSING.
One day I was making my list of DIY dreams (I called them “dreams” instead of “plans” because I don´t have a sewing machine, and the thought of hand sewing all of these things make me cringe), and in the middle of my list making, I happened to update my facebook status:

“My list of Do It Yourself projects for baby is growing and growing, but I don’t have a sewing machine, so I can’t do any of them!”

Quickly, I received a response from my good friend Tamara, who lives in Leon (She loves Nicaragua, just like I do) offering to host me at her house for a sewing weekend, since she owns “a sewing machine, or two”. Yay! I can actually MAKE some of my DIY dreams come true! (Wow, that´s MUY cheesy). Anyway, we have the weekend planned, and I am VERY excited to finally be able to make and few of these things!

A few hours after my facebook post, I received a message from another friend, Morgan, who lives in the US and came down last November on a medical team. She is already bringing down diapers for me in January, and she offered to also bring me an old sewing machine that she has! Wow, how fantastic is that?! I have wanted a sewing machine for a LONG time- since before David and I moved into our house, actually. We´ve talked about it a bunch of times, but every time we have the money, there is some other project (house, vehicles etc) that we need to put the money towards. I was starting to think that my dream of sewing was never going to happen. And now, in January, I will be able to sew to my heart´s content. (*Sigh….)

So the realization that I will actually have my own sewing machine sparked a new thirst for finding cute baby DIY projects. I can spend hours, no, DAYS looking through DIY blogs.

So now, my dream list has become a lot longer:

-“Moby” Wrap
-Nursing pillow
-Nursing Cover
-Cloth baby wipes (to go with my cloth diapers – yes, I will be cloth diapering, and no, it´s not going to be disgusting…I´ll blog about that another day.)
-Hooded towels
-Baby bibs
-Baby blanket (You know, that special one that she´s going to love for years and years…)
-Cute little Fabric Baby Shoes (kind of like these ones)
-Cute hair bows and head bands

And then there´s all the cute toys I can make:
-Fabric beach balls (I´m thinking of maybe throwing a cat bell in the middle to make it extra entertaining for baby)
-Stuffed fabric turtle
-Crib mobile
…just to name a few…

Looking for projects has become so addictive because most bloggers post links to other blogs. When I find a new blog, I bookmark it, and then I wind up going through those projects next (which will eventually lead me to another linked blog, and the cycle continues!)

Last week I got a bit impatient. I didn´t want to wait another two weeks to do a sewing project, and I especially don´t want to have to wait until January to start! So I found a few projects online that I figured I could do by hand, I found two of my own tank tops that were ripped, and repurposed them for the these projects.

First I chose an easy project that basically just involved cutting and braiding here. All of the sewing I did by hand, and I didn´t have the length that the tutorial suggested, so they turned out to be a little small (only one fits me!) but they turned out great, so I´ll be giving them away to some smaller headed people.

Then I moved onto another project from the same site, the Crushed Fabric Flower. I varied the instructions a little bit, and started off easy by using the hemmed edges of the tank tops that I was re-purposing. Once I got the hang of it I make a few more, and since my niece Sol´s birthday was last week (Nov 1st), I used the elastic (which also came from one of the tanktops), and sewed three of the flowers on to make a cute little head band for her.

Then, on Wednesday I was killing some time browsing online and I came across this site: Make your own baby shoes: 32 FREE DIY Tutorials!!!

Ahhhhhh, I´m in DIY heaven.

So I took a look. About half are crocheted or knits, so those are out, but some of them are super-duper cute, so I started saving patterns to my computer. Then I went home. Instead of cleaning I couldn’t stop thinking about how cute those shoes are. I still have some left over fabric from my hairband/crushed flower experiment… maybe I have enough for a pair of hand sewn test shoes? So I opened up the pdf for these shoes, size the page to actual size, traced the pattern right off my computer screen onto a piece of paper, and then check to see if I have enough fabric. I do!! I decided to go very basic, so I left off the ruffles. I am hand sewing here, and it´s my first try, I didn´t want to make it any more complicated than it had to be.

So at 4pm I started cutting the pattern and tracing it onto the fabric. Quick stop for dinner, and I was back at it while David and I watched TV. I finished sewing the first shoe at about 10pm. When David saw it he said,
“Where´s the other one?”
I showed him the cut fabric, “I haven´t even started it yet!”
“What? It took you THAT long!?! hahahaha”
I laughed too…with a sewing machine (and better scissors) I would have finished the whole project in an hour, but I was so pleased with my work that it doesn´t matter.

 All the fabric needed for one shoe.

Cute Shoes!

Check out the blue soles!

and my sweet hand-sewing job!

I´m not sure what I´m going to do with them. They actually turned out cute enough that I wouldn´t be embarrassed to give them to Kelly (another niece- almost 4 months old). But David thinks we should keep them for our little princess. I figure, I have a whole 4½ more months to make tons of pairs of cute shoes… so I don´t mind giving the first ones away. But at the same time… it’s the FIRST pair of shoes that I made, and I HAND SEWED them…sentimental value?

I think I may even have enough fabric left over (still from those first two tank tops) to make another pair of cute shoes- maybe with a ruffle this time! Who knows… it´s a long wait until January…

And so begins my DIY Adventures. Stay tuned for pictures of all the cute things I make!

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Please sir, I want some more…

Since this is what Im suffering through right now, I feel like it´s appropriate to dedicate a whole blog entry to my hunger.

I had no idea how much pregnancy affects hunger. I mean, I always knew that pregnant women eat more, but it´s how the hunger fluctuates that makes it difficult to keep under control. In the first few weeks hunger meant nausea. If I waited too long to eat, I became nauseous, and eventually I couldn’t eat until the nausea passed. David and I had a bad experience at a restaurant in Leon because of this – there service was horrible and my club sandwich took over an hour. By the 50 minute mark I was feeling pretty sick, and I complained to the waiter (and later, the manager) and told him we were leaving if he didn´t bring it out in the next 10 minutes, and when it came, I took two bites and couldn’t eat anymore. I was SOOOO nauseous. Then I felt stupid asking for it to be packed up after complaining so much (I was pretty rude about it too), so I cried, right there at the table in the restaurant. I did manage to eat the sandwich about an hour later, but it wasn´t the same. Needless to say we probably won’t ever eat there again. Not that I go to Leon much, and there aren´t that many good restaurants there, but that service was bad enough for me to black list it.

So that was my first trimester – eating as soon as I felt even the slightest bit of hunger. Sometimes hunger and nausea feel the same (Steph told me this back in February, and I really didn´t understand it –but it´s true) so the best solution is to eat some crackers and hope it gets better and not worse. Luckily for me it almost always got better.

As I moved into the later part of my first trimester /early second trimester my hunger grew and grew. Suddenly I was able to eat DOUBLE what I would normally eat, and I still didn´t feel full. It was like my stomach doubled in size. David and I went to Burger King with Steph and Joel one night, and I ate a whole Double Whopper AND a large fries, and then I think I munched on some of David´s fries. That is A LOT of food. Although I was eating mammoth portions at each meal, I wasn´t really eating in between meals- that was enough to keep me full through the day.  But as quickly as my hunger came, it was gone again, and I found myself getting full faster, and having to reduce my portions back down to a normal amount.  (Note: this makes in really hard to decide how much food to cook. Sometimes we would have tons of food left over; sometimes I would be scraping the dishes in search of a few more bites of food.)

Recently, my hunger had picked up again, but in a different way. My stomach is the same size- I can´t eat double portions, but now Im hungry ALL the time. I have to eat something almost every hour, if not more often. I think baby´s going through a growth spurt right now. This makes it hard to do much, I have to stop and eat all the time.  It´s also inconvenient timing because we didn´t have time to pick up extra groceries on Sunday, so I have to wait until next Sunday. That means we have to buy extra foods for me here in Los Cedros, which in turn means less selection, and higher prices.

So there it is. I have a food-metabolizing monster in my belly that won’t let me remember what it feels like to be full. I feel likes it’s only going to get worse as she grows bigger – because there will be less space for food, which means eating even more often.

This also gives me a whole new perspective on world hunger. At least when I´m hungry I can find something to eat, or BUY something. What about all those pregnant women that only have enough to eat once or twice a day. Wow.

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It´s a…

Baby!

(You have to read to find out the good news!)

North Americans and Nicaraguans have their fare share of methods for predicting the sex of a baby. From the shape of your belly, to your cravings, to peeing on baking soda (not even kidding…) and a lot of people take these very seriously. Here in Nicaragua it seems like EVERYONE has an opinion. Generally, the people don´t even say “I think you´re having a ___” they just say “It’s a ____.” and then maybe they´ll explain why, but a lot of time they don´t. There are some people who say they “just know”, whatever that means.

Some of the women who work in the children´s home in Jinotega told me that I´m having a boy, when I asked why, they said it was because I have some fat on my hips. My response was,
“Thanks ladies, but I´ve had this fat since I was like, 12 years old, I don´t think the baby did that to me!”
But that didn´t change their minds.

Most of the women in the children´s home in Los Cedros have told me that I´m having a boy too. Many said it was because there are some girls that always want to give me hugs and love spending time with me. Apparently they forgot that the girls loved me BEFORE I was pregnant too.  This method of prediction stems from the idea that if you are having a girl, then girls won’t have anything to do with you, but boys will pay more attention to you (talking about little kids here), but the opposite if you´re having a boy. Somehow kids can “sense” what´s inside you, and apparently they don´t like their own gender.

They also say that if you crave salty foods you´re having a boy, and sweets you´re having a girl. I went through about 3 weeks where I was craving salt like CRAZY. I would make choppy potatoes (Potatoes, cut into small cubes, fried in oil with onion. Mmmmm…) as a snack, and I always felt like I couldn’t taste the salt. Then David would try some and say they were super salty. I also ate a lot of buttery popcorn around that time. Then there were a few weeks when all I wanted was sweets. Maybe the baby still hadn´t made up its mind…

Probably the most hilarious prediction was David´s uncle; while he was, well, a little bit tipsy. Steph and I were both showing the family our ultrasound pictures, and he could not stop saying,
“It’s a boy!!! It’s a boy! Glory to God!”
David showed him the 3D image that he had in him wallet, (posted below) and he came back in the room and said,
“Julia! It’s a boy, for sure!”
I asked him why, thinking he had probably mistaken the umbilical cord for something else… and he said,
“Look!” pointing to the baby´s head.
“Its head?” I said, confused, “Why do you think it’s a boy because of its head?”
“Look at those boys!” he said, pointing to David and his brothers, “They are sooooo smart! And look at the baby´s head! It´s big! It´s going to be a smart boy just like them!”

Big head = boy?

(David´s uncle did change his opinion last week. He decided that because of the way my belly is growing it’s a girl)

After hearing so many boy predictions, I was dead set that it was a girl. Maybe I wanted to prove them wrong, who knows. One day while I was baking cookies with Hayling (who is 8 years old) over at the ministry, even she told me I was going to have a boy. I asked Hilda, the cook, what she thought and she set up a test. She asked me to come and sit down on one of two chairs. I sat down (where I normally sit), and she said “ok, now stand up” She reached down and pulled a spoon out from under the cushion and said “It’s a girl!” and then pulled a fork out from under the other one. Apparently sitting on the spoon means girl. Fork= boy. My baby apparently LED me to the spoon seat. Hey! At least one person thinks it’s a girl. Even if their method is crazy!

I think I should point out that originally we didn´t even want to know the sex. I liked the idea of a surprise, and David was willing to go along with that. But, then we started to realize that a lot of people from North America were asking us what they could bring for the baby, and I decided that I didn´t want a bunch of gender neutral stuff.  We are buying some awesome cloth diapers that comes in cute colours, and I figured I could get away with putting some blue diapers on a girl, but if I buy pink diapers, and it’s a boy, I definitely can´t use them. That put me in a tough spot. Im spending money on the diapers, so I should really get colours that I want, right?

So, yesterday at our appointment we told the doctor that we wanted to know.

So, now I can finally say,

“No, just because my baby has a big head, or I have fat on my hips, or my belly looks a certain way does NOT make it a boy, because…

IT’S A GIRL!!!!!!!!”

We didn´t get any ultrasound pictures that show the sex, but we did see for sure (in 2D and 3D) that it’s a girl. Here are our 21week ultrasound pictures.

Ultraound 21 weeks.

Isn´t my baby girl precious?!?

21 Weeks sleeping baby

One last thing…

Now that you all know its a girl, don´t go asking what we´re going to name her, because we´re NOT GOING TO TELL! We have a few names picked, but we´d like to keep something a surprise until shes ready to meet the world!

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The First 20

Note: This blog was actually written on October 26th, but published on Oct 31st.

I can´t believe I´m half way through this pregnancy. I was so excited to wake up this morning and sigh “ahhh….only 20 more to go” Then it hit me….
ONLY 20 MORE TO GO!!
Holy schmoly! In 20 weeks I´m going to be holding a little baby that is going to rely on ME for everything! (Panic panic panic…) I eventually recovered from the panic, and the excitement slowly returned.

So let’s break down the first 20 weeks…

Nausea
I am one of those extremely lucky women that had little-to-no nausea so far. From about weeks 6 to 8 I had a few morning when I couldn´t get out of bed without eating a cracker, but I haven´t puked, and since week 8 the nausea has basically disappeared! Weirdly enough though, it freaked me out that I wasn’t sick. I didn´t have my first appointment until I was 10 week, and at that point I only heard the heartbeat (which was super cool, by the way), so when the nausea stopped around week 8ish, I was wondering if something was wrong.
When pregnant women are complaining about their morning sickness, the usual response is “That’s good – it means everything is ok” or “The sicker you are, the healthier the baby is”. So, here I am, not sick at all, wondering if my baby is still growing properly! The good news is that’s a BIG FAT LIE. 3 out of 4 pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting in the first trimester (usually weeks 6 through 12), I was just that lucky 1/4 that sailed through!

Sleepy….oh so sleepy…
Holy wow, I had no idea how much energy you body uses to grow a baby! I basically spent my first trimester sleeping. I would be falling asleep on the couch well before  8pm, crawling into bed at 8ish, and sleeping right through until 6am. Then I would nap during the day too!  Now I mostly stay up until 9pm (wowzers!), but sleep is starting to become more and more uncomfortable. And then there´s the peeing!  I´m waking up 2 or 3 times a night to use the bathroom! I hear this will only get worse as the baby gets bigger…

Cravings…
Well, I can honestly say that the cravings haven´t been that bad, and I have developed a theory as to why. There are times when I see something on tv, or I really want to eat something, but it´s never to the point where I SEND David out to get it. I think that’s because I just tell myself it´s not possible! We live a minimum of 30 minutes away from the closest grocery store, and all the little stores around
here (with their very limited selection) are closed after 8pm. So if I see or think of something I want and it´s too far away, or too late, I just have to suck it up and eat something else (usually fruit). This has probably helped me to control my weight gain too…if I had unlimited access to potato chip and chocolate- oh boy, I would look different!

And some other things I´ve learned…

Lesson #1: I DO NOT like when people touch my belly. I never thought I would react this way, but that’s the way I am! I can handle a few people, David, for one, and even my mother-in-law (she always touches my belly when I say goodbye and says a little prayer), but when random friends or acquaintances reach out and touch it, or worse, RUB it…prepare to be karate chopped! My belly´s not even that big yet anyway! Maybe when it gets bigger my opinion will change…probably not though. I will not make that mistake again with my pregnant friends!

Lesson #2: When someone tells you how far along they are, and you think their belly is too big, or too small, keep your comments to yourself! I´ve done it too many times to count…

“Wow, are you sure there’s only ONE in there? Haha…”

Ya….not cool. Pregnant women are already worried about EVERYTHING. Don´t add oversized/undersized baby to the list! If only I could have an ultrasound every day so I could be reassured that my baby is growing normally, but that´s not possible, therefore, stick with “wow, you look great!”

Well, that’s all I can think of to write about right now. So I´ll finish this off with some belly shots, and of course, my ultrasound shots from Week 15.

17 Weeks

20 Weeks

15 Week Ultrasound

15 Week Ultrasound: Heartbeat

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