Saturday, December 29, 2012

23 weeks Italian Style!

We had a very nice Christmas on our own, really enjoyed the peace and quite and doing things at our own pace. You were curious about the menu, so while it was nothing too special I'm happy to share it! On Christmas Eve it is tradition for us at home to have a fish based meal, I cooked tagliatelle with salmon, lemon zest and parsley in cream sauce for lunch which were delicious, I also had prepared tuna steaks marinated in lemon, mint and olive oil, but we ended up having those for dinner instead! I had prepared a delicious mash potato (Italian style, not Irish style, with cream, Parmesan cheese and butter) very rich which went down like a treat even with Oliver who has never been a fan of potatoes. On Christmas day we had home-made lasagne I had pre-prepared and frozen during the weekend, I love making my own ragu sauce (what some may call a Bolognese sauce) as well as the besciamella sauce, with added nutmeg! We have found this local butcher whose mince meat is truly delicious! Then I had made roasted beef in white wine and roast potatoes (or the mash from the previous day!). Finally we had panettone with mascarpone cream I had prepared that morning. We loved it! Oliver opened his presents and though I'm sure didn't quite understand the whole Christmas thing, was really happy.

And now we are in Italy, it's going very very well, Oliver settled in much quicker and is sleeping properly (wakes once, but then sleeps till 9am!), loves his grandparents who are of course doing all they can to make him happy, loves the food (not the same when we go to MIL...) and is eating loads! We went out this morning with my parents for a walk in the city centre and he was really good, walking holding hands or sitting happily in his stroller. His vocabulary is coming along in leaps and bounces, every day he seems to have developed a series of new words overnight! And in both languages! He will be 2 in just 3 days!! I promise a picture galore then!

And today I'm 23 weeks along with Phoenix, woohooo, he's moving plenty, at quite predictable times during the day which is of course nicely reassuring. Imagine I didn't bring the doppler with me, I feel very brave and proud of myself! I bought a couple of things to wear which I badly needed, and also a lovely big handbag I had spotted back in October but had forgotten my credit cards at home! Of course everything already discounted ahead of the official starting date of the sales in January...The weather is sunny and chilly, typical winter in Bologna, with the occasional fog I absolutely adore. Yes, when I'm here I'm thinking how I manage to live in Ireland, I miss the good food so so much, the variety, the taste...I love the shops here, the nice things you can buy at a more than reasonable price, I love the buildings, the archways typical of my city, the buzz etc. But then I know I would hate working in the University here, I would never have what I have career wise and it would be the same for Mike. So we compromise. All going well, I'll be able to spend a lot of time here during my maternity leave, so I'm looking forward to next year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Papaya baby!

22 weeks! Not much to update but I did weigh myself this morning and I'm up 7.5 kg, which I think it's just fine for me and also better than the first time around.

Plenty of movements, even visible from the outside if you are looking at the right time! Phoenix seems to be more active now than Oliver was, or maybe it's my placenta which is high and so less obstructing? In any case, I have not listen to the heartbeat in a while, the fact that it felt to me so much slower than Oliver's was really giving me anxiety and when I talked to a friend of mine who's a midwife, she of course gave out to me a good bit.... she said literally "would you throw away that darn thing? Do you feel movements? Are they becoming stronger? So that's all you need to worry about!" And I listened.

My belly is not particularly big, at least in comparison with other cyber moms, but thankfully the papaya baby is just growing right so this time I won't be worried about the "you look so small!" comments! And you should see my sister...yes I never mentioned this I think, but she is also pregnant, an oops pregnancy totally unplanned and with precautions always taken... yes one of those...what can I tell you, we are the opposite of one another in many aspects, add fertility to the list! She is 28 weeks now and while at the beginning she was really torned about this baby she is now totally in love with the little girls she is carrying. I'll be an aunt! And Oliver will have a cousin about his age (and Phoenix too of course, still finding it a bit difficult to believe we will have two children soon), we will have to do our best to meet up more so that they can get to know each others.

I have finished all my exam marking on friday, really delighted as I had a ton this time around, I can now enjoy the holidays!! I've decided on our Christmas menu, no turkey and ham in our household....I wouldn't even know how to begin to prepare such a meal, just as well I don't particularly like it! We will go for a more Italian tradition, though not my home town as I won't find all I need. But that's ok! Mike's American cousin last summer said that they had invented their own tradition for Christmas and truly love it. So we will give it a go too!

I will check in again I'm sure, but just in case you only happen to stop by and read this post, I wish you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful 2013.

(I can't even begin to imagine how heartbreaking this Christmas is going to be for those families in CT, I couldn't watch any of the news and only read titles on the online papers...we have to enjoy every minute of what we have, hold our loved one close, life can change in a second.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

OB visit yesterday

Yesterday I had my scheduled appointment with Dr. W and the first thing he said when he saw me was "Soooo I hear you were worried about the fluids the last time..." ops...the secretary obviously told him about my phone call! He was very nice about it of course but did state that he would always share any concern even minimal about the pregnancy even if that may cause me anxiety. I know this is the same thing his secretary said, but it was even more reassuring hearing it from the horse's mouth!
He gave me a quick scan, where he showed me the fluids (plenty!) and how everything look just right. I told him that occasionally I feel like a lump on the surface of the uterus, beside my belly button, and I wondered if if was the fibroid they had seen during the surgery for my second ectopic. I don't remember feeling it with Oliver. I wasn't particularly concerned, just curious and in fact there is was, a nice round fibroid, completely external and not problematic at all.
I had two more questions which I didn't dare asking....one was about the heart rate (I actually have stopped checking it) and the fact that it was so much slower than Oliver's at the same gest age. I suspected he would have had me committed for excessive paranoia....and the other was about checking my thyroid levels...I had at some point, a good few years ago, a mildly under-acting thyroid, which was just monitored and was fine since. I had it checked about half way through the first pregnancy and it was fine. But who knows how it is now...and of course I read somewhere that there may be a connection between hypothyroidism and low fetal  heart rate! Ah well...I decided  to leave it be. I may do it when I'm going home during the holidays.
My next appointment is in 4 weeks, and he said we'll be talking about VBAC or planned C-section then. I am completely open and trust his opinion without reservation, as I had a previous C-section, he said induction is not an option so, should I be overdue or in need of an earlier delivery it'll have to be a C-section, but otherwise we can see about a vaginal delivery! It sounds still so far away, I'm not really thinking about it yet.

Another good news I got yesterday is that my new car will arrive in Ireland on the 6th of January! Wohooo! Can't wait now! And we have ordered the big boy(s) bedroom which will arrive at the end of January...so we have to repaint and try to sell our two double-futon beds that are currently there. Lots to do and lots of excitement!
I'll post a few pics of Oliver in the next few days, he doesn't really have the concept of Christmas but he loves the Christmas trees...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

21 weeks (belly pic)

Not much to update since wednesday, so I'm just posting an update on the belly growth!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Phoenix Anatomy Scan

All looks good thank God! None of my fears came true thankfully, the heart has 4 nice chambers and the umbilical cord is not wrapped anywhere! Frontal placenta but high up, looks good. And fluids!! Perfect fluids!! I don't know what I saw the last time but this time there were nice deep pockets and Phoenix's stomach was full and visible, so were the kidneys and the brains! He measures 20w1d instead than 20w4d but this has been his norm all along so I'm delighted with this.No major abnormalities visible which is a relief, I mean, I know there are plenty of conditions which may jut no show up, but I take the good news today. Phoenix is breech so the pics of the profile apparently don't come out good (placenta is shading it) but we did get a few of hands and feet! He was moving around a lot and I could only feel maybe one in ten movements, mostly down low where the feet are.
The tech asked us if we wanted to know the gender and we said no, but that if it was visible we would not have turned away. Neither myself or Mike could make anything out, with Oliver I remember the scan to be very clear, while this one was not as sharply defined so half the time I wasn't actually sure what I was looking at! We will see the OB next wednesday so I look forward to talking to him about the results.

We treated ourselves with a nice meal in town and I feel very happy, Christmas shopping here we come!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

20 down 20 (more or less) to go!


I wanted to thank you for the kind words on my last post, funnily since I wrote it I had a couple of days with plenty of movements (and quite strong I have to say) which made me feel great. Then today not so much. So back into uneasiness (if not anxiety). But today is a good milestone and I took the post I wrote at the same time when i was pregnant with Oliver as it is a nice way to record feelings etc about the pregnancy. So here it goes!

How Far Along: 20 weeks
Total Weight Gain: happy to say I'm up 6kg while with Oliver I was up a whopping 11kg!
Maternity Clothes: yes, can't really wear anything else and my wardrobe is quite limited! (unchanged! as per the original post)
Symptoms: I feel well, I'm not swollen which is a big plus, but I find going up the stairs (with or without holding Oliver) is tiring. My nose is a bit blocked but apparently I am not snoring like the first time around. Occasional headaches. Boobs are one size up (DD) and had to buy new bras. Sex drive is GOOD!
Stretch marks: I have not noticed any new ones!
Sleep: I’m sleeping ok, getting up once or twice to pee and occasionally I may have to get up if Oliver cries but thankfully this is rarer and rarer. Occasionally I have to have a very early night, like I can be in bed by 9pm and it feels great.
Best Moment of the Week: Mike feeling Phoenix moving. We are definitely ahead on this milestone this time around.
Movement: I feel movements every day now, but the frequency can be very very different. I think it's definitely more defined than at the same stage with Oliver, but for the moment afternoon and evenings are the most active times while the morning can be totally quiet.
Food cravings: not really anything in particular, but definitely sweet things of all sorts, preferably chocolate based. (unchanged! as per the original post)

Gender: Don't know! We think we may go for a surprise! Feeling strongly it's another boy!
What I Miss: Nothing at all, I wouldn't trade this for anything.
What I'm Looking Forward To: Honestly? Having Phoenix here with us. Everything in between is a mix of anxiety and what ifs. (unchanged but for the name! as per the original post)
Weekly Wisdom: Let go of things I cannot control.
Milestones: Half way through the pregnancy! Unbelievable, this time around it absolutely flew by.
Emotions: doing well I think, but I am less patient though I'm trying really hard not to be. If I feel anxious about the pregnancy I listen to Phonix heartbeat which is averaging in the mid 130 (Oliver was 150 at this stage).Upcoming Appointments: Anatomy scan on wednesday, please please please let it all look good.

That's it for now, will post a new belly pic to show the growth since week 15!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Back in anxiety lane...

Ah yes...I was doing so well.

All through the first trimester I was totally zen, should I have lost Phoenix it would have been likely a chromosomal issue and I was totally fine with that. Also having Oliver already gave me a very different perspective and I was very much relaxed. You may remember I bled/spotted every week for about 14 weeks, man that's a long time. Yet I wasn't particularly freaking out about it, my attitude was mostly "if it's over I just want to know" followed by "I'm glad all is well". Time just flew by this time, and I remember how looooong every day was with Oliver's pregnancy. I have enjoyed being pregnant so far, I'm proudly patting myself on the back for this, I had promised I would not ruin another pregnancy should I have been so lucky to get pregnant again.

So what has changed? Well there was that poor woman's case I talked about a few posts back. She very likely had an incompetent cervix and that was caused the unavoidable loss of her pregnancy at 17 weeks (and the honorific loss of her own life too). While that made me worrying about the what if that was me, it was more due to the fact that I would not want to lose my life in similar circumstances! I wasn't really worried I could have an incompetent cervix. Sure I didn't dilate at all at 37 weeks after two rounds of inductions, my cervix likes to be shut closed. Ok, I just read it's possible to have an IC for the first time during your second pregnancy, but it's much more unlikely in my case (no vaginal delivery, singleton pregnancy). So I ticked this one off the list of possible-tragedies-out-of-my-control. But as I reach 20 weeks and my anatomy scan is one week away, I can't help feeling yet again anxious. You know it's great when you feel movements, it's so so reassuring, but I didn't document properly how it was at the very beginning with Oliver's movements and so I'm freaking out Phoenix is not moving much. Then I reassure myself as every day the few movements become actually stronger and maybe (just maybe) a bit more frequent, last night Mike felt a kick (or whatever) with his hand! So that must be a good sign that the baby is growing well, right? I'm not even 20 weeks yet, still plenty of room, right? I do tell myself reassuring things all the time, which end with "and in any case, there is NOTHING I could do, should there be something wrong at this stage". That works for a bit. This is associated with the fact that Phoenix heartbeat is definitely slower than Oliver's was. I know I know I know it is totally within normal ranges, I said it myself in the last post. I also find the HB always in the same spot, maybe he just like staying there...Yet I think all these things make me think there is something wrong...I'm going to spell it out what I think it's wrong, maybe doing this will have some sort of therapeutic effect. I for some reason imagine Phoenix wrapped up in the umbilical cord...so wrapped up he can't move much and maybe his blood-flow is reduced...I fear at next week scan we'll be told he has not grown much, that the cord will eventually tight too much and he will die. Or that he had some sort of a cardiac defect. There. I said it. Somehow now the thought (fear) of loosing this baby is as terrible as if it was the first one. I tell myself again this can in fact happen and I can't do anything about it, I am still blessed to have Oliver, and lucky enough to have 4 more penguins in the freezer. And I am ashamed I'm even thinking this, what's the point in worrying when there's no reason to do so? It's ridiculous and just plain stupid. I know. I envy the pregnant teenagers, who have no doubt pregnancy equals baby. Fears is just not part of their experience. Of course I'm also torturing myself reading tragic stories on the web. I wish there was an electric shock through the keyboard any time I type something in google tragedy-related. Maybe that would work.
I will see my psychologist when I'm Italy after Christmas, it is wrong feeling so anxious, I can't be possibly worrying excessively for just about everything, some action must be taken.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Phoenix 19 weeks, Oliver 23 months!

Can you believe I'm nearly half way through this pregnancy? How did it happen? Of course we sadly know plenty can still happen and that till I'll have the little one with me I will never truly relax. Some milestones are getting nearer though, first there is the anatomy scan in 12 days, hopefully that will bring good news. Then viability is only 5 weeks away, though I would not wish to anyone such prematurity of course, but at least it would be a little less scary if something has to be done then for some reason. I was reading through the posts of Oliver's pregnancy and I realised that with him, from about 16-17 weeks I was suffering with significant fluid retention (I was wearing those sexy stockings...). This is thankfully not happening this time and it may be the reason why my weight is also so much more under control. I am up 5kg since the beginning and gaining it regularly in a way makes me feel little Phoenix is growing too. I had mentioned I started feeling movements a while back, a couple of days ago I had plenty of gentle taps throughout the day which again made me really happy and thinking everything is as it should be. Then yesterday I felt almost nothing at all!! Panic. Of course I read everywhere that the baby is still small and may have just turned towards the back and very very normal. Doppler is a life saver. Then I felt a few taps in the afternoon/evening and today I have already felt him. I have no memory of this with Oliver, but I certainly started feeling him too around the same time. On one occasion I felt Pheonix's movement with my hand too! I'm hoping movements will be more regular in the coming days. The heartbeat is on average slower than Oliver's was, Oliver use to be between 140-150 while Phoenix is more between 130-140 (occasionally high 120s), anyway, still well within normal range.

And today my little boy is 23 months old!! One month till his second birthday! He's such a curious child and it feels like every day he has about 5 more words between the two languages! He's always very sweet and loves to give kisses and hugs, but above all he likes when me and Mike kiss. He still sleeps well through the night but in the last week or so he finds it very difficult to fall asleep...he would be in bed for about 8.30 but often we hear him playing the music box for about an hour...then he calls me and when I go up sometimes he wants some water, sometimes a kiss on the head, sometimes the soothing gel for teething...and then we don't hear from him till we pick him up in the morning (could be 9.30 at the weekend!!).

So all is well in our household, no progress on the big boy bedroom, getting a bit frustrated about it to be honest!