My new reality

Saturday, May 29, 2010: Me at 24 Weeks:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010:

This week would have marked 26 weeks. The start of my Third Trimester. But I’m guessing you’ve noticed that the belly doesn’t really look like I’m 6 Months along. And that would be because I am no longer the pregnant lady.

I’m a Mommy.

My daughter, Abigail Jenifer Francis, was born at 1:30pm on June 2nd, 2010. She came into the world 16 weeks early, and weighed in at 1 lbs, 8oz and 12 3/4 inches long. She is classified as a “Micro Preemie.”

I can’t really describe to any of you what that actually means to me right now. While I know in my heart that I became a Mom the moment I learned I was pregnant, my head is just not ready for my new reality. For the last 6 months, I’ve been so obsessed with “September 18th” that “June 2nd” won’t stick. I find myself double checking the date, making sure I’ve gotten it right. So much so, that after she was born, I realized I didn’t even know the date! I had to ask – what is the date today? And when the reply of  “6-2-10” came back at me, it just didn’t compute.

Truth be told, it still doesn’t. Tomorrow, Abby turns 2 weeks old. But it is difficult to continue to grasp the concept of a June Baby, especially when we don’t work with her “age” like that in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). We work with her age as if she was still inside me. They don’t say “2 weeks.” They say 26 and 4, which means 26 weeks and 4 days gestation. Had today gone “as planned” I would have been settling into the home stretch of my pregnancy, knowing that I had entered my third trimester. Today, I would have been at work, answering phones, inputting orders, and playing with Pup. Today, I would have gone to my Pre-Natal Yoga class to help with the back pain that my pregnancy was causing. I would have had some sort of weird craving just before dinner was ready, and I would have enjoyed several half-hour intervals of “Peep” kicking me.

Never, in a million years, would I have imagined how different today would actually be. Just under 4 Months early, my daily schedule is now completely based on the two most important things in my life – visiting Abby in the NICU and pumping breast milk. I wake up just before 9am (which isn’t actually sleeping in… it is necessary recuperation from what I keep forgetting was “major” surgery). The first thing I do after potty/teeth brushing is pump. And every three hours after that, I pump again. Feeding Abby breast milk is THE one thing I can do to help her along the road to recovery and coming home to us. I can’t help her breathe better. I can’t regulate her heart rate for her. I can’t keep her warm anymore. But I can give her the nutrients and immunity she needs to survive. So pumping that “liquid gold,” as the nurses call it, is the focus of my day. And we visit Abby twice a day. Once in the afternoon, and once in the late evening to say goodnight to her before coming home and heading to bed. 2 visits are about all she can handle at the moment, but those two visits are spent bonding as best we can with our tiny baby girl, and Anthony and I cherish those visits as if our lives depended on it.

Our life right now is just so different. Things that parents are SUPPOSED to take for granted are serious milestones for us. For example, most parents don’t even think about the “when” of all the little things that just happen naturally during those first 24 hours – “When” can we see her open her eyes? (One of them opened just 2 days ago, and the other is still fused shut). “When” can we hear her cry? (We heard her tiny cry for the very first time, 9 days after she was born.) “When” can we hold her? (At two weeks old, I’ve never held my daughter in my arms. And another week or so will pass before I do.) Little things that people would never imagine having to do are reality for us – like asking the doctor how her daily blood draw went, or getting  briefings on her stats/meds/conditions every time we see her, or scrubbing in like a surgeon EVERY TIME we visit her… I swear to you, the underside of my nails have never been this clean! We have to sanitize our hands any time we even accidentally touch something outside of her “house.” Like the other day – Anthony absent-mindedly put his hand in his jeans pocket… and then had to re-sanitize before he could touch her again. I think the worst part of it all is that I am her mother, and I have to ask someone else how my own daughter is doing every day because I don’t know for myself.

And the fear factor! Oh, Lord, give me strength. I can’t even begin to tell you the kind of fear level I can handle now. While she is just the most precious and adorable thing I have ever laid eyes on, it is so scary to see all these wires stuck to her, and some even stuck IN her to keep her alive. It is scary to have tubes stuck down your baby’s throat just so she can breathe. It is so scary to hear the alarms go off whenever her oxygen level or heart rate drop. It is scary to watch her struggle to breathe, or to have a nurse literally push you out of the way to bring your daughter back from a “crash.” I’ve cried more tears in the last two weeks than I have in the last several years combined. My emotions are high and my energy is low. And if it weren’t for the strength I draw from my family, close friends, and (most intensely) my amazingly strong husband, I would probably be curled up in a ball in a corner somewhere and the crazy police might have to take me away in a straight jacket. No Joke.

I feel obligated to stop there and tell you that, overall, Abby’s story is a highly positive one. I don’t want to sound like everything is negative, because the progress she has made in just two weeks is utterly astounding. She is much stronger than even the Doctors expected her to be, and they are consistently happy with her daily progress. But that is just it – that is the overall picture. It is the day-in, day-out that is so hard. We call her our “Tiny Dancer” because she is doing this sort of dance where she takes 2 steps forward and then one step back. She does this little dance several times a day. While it is great that she is eating and digesting almost 2 full ounces of breast milk a day, she is having more heart rate problems than she was having last week. While it is great that she is off the ventilator, she stops breathing when she falls into a deep sleep and they have to wake her up to get her to breathe again… so going back on the ventilator is a real possibility. And as long as she continues to need that breathing help or has heart rate dips, we can’t hold her. She has to stay in her little “house” for her safety. All of these back and forth movements are totally normal for a baby her size – technically at 26 weeks, they shouldn’t be able to breathe on their own AT ALL so the fact that she has been off of a ventilator for 5 days is simply a miracle. But the reality is that her life is still fragile and still in danger. And that is a very hard reality to face.

In just 2 weeks, several babies have already come in to the NICU and gone home. And while I am so happy that these babies are healthy, I am so jealous of these mothers that get to be wheeled out holding their little ones that are younger than my little one. I was visiting Abby just a few days after she was born, and a baby came in that needed observation. This baby was 4 weeks early and only weighed about 6 pounds. The mom came in and couldn’t believe how small her little girl was. And in any other situation, I would have agreed!!! But as I stood in my corner with my small hand cradling Abby’s whole body, I couldn’t help but think, “Lady – you have no idea what small is.” So, of course, I am thankful for the ability to keep my mouth shut. 😉

Abby is still the smallest baby in the NICU. But she already has a following! The nurses love her. And while I know that I think she is just adorable, it is nice to hear that others think she is cute as a button, too. Her doctors like her progress and we have every reason to believe that we will get to bring our little girl home by her original due date. So yea – this is my new reality. I have a beautiful baby girl, who is living in a “womb with a view” and fighting hard to come home to me. To us. And my days from now until then are centered around her care, just as if she was still inside me. So while it is totally different from how I envisioned it, my third trimester is going to come and go, and come September, I will be bringing home my healthy and happy Abigail. And in the end, that is all I can hope for.

-Jen

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Baby Francis, No longer “round” produce!

Tuesday, May 18th, 2009

Ok, ok, ok… I’m a MAJOR slacker. There are lots of excuses as to why I haven’t blogged for almost THREE weeks, none of which really qualify. I could tell you I’ve been super tired, and super busy, or that our internet at home went down… but three weeks? Yea, that is just slackage on my part. Sorry.

Ok, so going back to week 20!!! (Oy. That is encroaching on a month ago!) Can you believe it? That was the halfway point! Wooo hoo!!! We are officially on the downward slope! And here is my 20 week picture:

Yea – that belly is starting to get in the way!!! But I’m loving every moment of it (even when I’m cranky).

Week 20 brought a fun new twist to Peep’s updates. At the halfway point, we stop measuring Peep in the “round” sense (until now, we’ve been measuring crown to rump) and start measuring in the “length” sense (crown to feet). So round produce comparisons are out, making way for “long” produce. Week 20 was a banana. 😉

Week 21 was a great week! It marked my very first Mother’s Day celebration:

My parents took me, Anthony, and my sister to Mother’s Day Brunch at the Ronald Reagan Library. See those pink tables down there? Yup! We ate a lovely brunch under the wings of Air Force One. Then, we got to tour the plane, and the rest of the museum. It was great!!! We saw a replica of the Oval Office as Reagan had known it, and a HUGE replica in miniature of the White House as it stands today (complete with pictures of the Obama family and even a mini version of their dog). It was so cool! The model was scaled 1 inch = 1 foot, and it was seriously something to see.

It was so neat to spend the day with my Mom. It really was a special day. And Anthony did his part, too. Some people don’t think that it was an “actual” mother’s day for me, as Peep isn’t here yet. But my mother (and several of my family and friends) believe that I am most certainly a mother already, thankyouverymuch! And Anthony wanted me to know he thinks so, too. He asked me one day about a week before  if I cared if he and his brother, Paul, “went to the comic book store without me.” Oh – no, I don’t care. I’d prefer to stay home! So he went – and little did I know that it was not the comic book store that was their destination, but rather, the Hallmark store where they got my first Mother’s day card, as well as Elissa’s Mother’s Day cards. Too cute! And THEN!!! On Mother’s day, Anthony got up really early, got dressed, and left the house. I was still asleep! I never knew he was gone! He came back from his little trip to Trader Joe’s with flowers for me and flowers for my mom. They were waiting for me on the table when I woke up! Oh – and the icing on the cake was my very own copy of Season Three of the Tudors! Woot! Very cool Mother’s day gift!!! I felt so special and so loved! No wonder Mom’s like this day so much!

Anywho – at 21 Weeks, Peep is the length of a Carrot (about 10 and a half inches long!) That is a HUGE leap from that tiny little lentil bean we started out as! And at that size, I am no longer feeling “flutters.” No people, we have moved on to FULL FLEDGED KICKING!!! As in, if I’m staring at my belly long enough, I can actually see where Peep is kicking me. Peep has also become rather predictable. I can guarantee you that at around 2pm and 11pm EVERYDAY I will start getting kicked and punched for a good half hour. Also, when I want to sit and relax and watch some TV (so essentially, when I’ve stopped moving and rocking Peep to sleep) I’ll get a good kick or two to remind me Peep is still there. As if I could forget!

The best story I have so far is the second time Anthony got to feel Peep move. The first time, he “thinks” he felt peep move. So when people asked, “have you felt the baby move yet?” his reply was “sort of.” Well not this time! It was around 11pm (as usual) and Peep had started to do the nightly Martial Arts routine. Anthony leaned down to rest his head on the top of my belly. I asked if he could feel anything and he said no. Sad face. And I realized, well duh! You are on the top of my belly! And Peep is somewhere near the bottom. So Anthony rested his head a little lower on my belly, and less than 5 seconds after Anthony’s head was rested comfortably, *WHAM!* Peep kicked me pretty hard, right were Anthony’s head was. He looked up at me with this look like, “was that it?” and I asked, “Did you feel that???!” He smiled and nodded his head. Yup, the kid isn’t even here yet, and has already kicked Daddy in the face. It was funny, and a great feeling!!

Now, we are in week 22. And our produce comparison once again has me turning to Wikipedia. (I don’t have a picture yet – taking it tomorrow, on my 27th birthday!) At 22 weeks Peep is 11 inches long and weighs in at a WHOLE POUND!!! That equates to the size of a “spaghetti squash.” I don’t know what that is… So I looked it up.

According to Wiki: The spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo) (also called vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash, spaghetti marrow (in the UK), squaghetti , gold string melon (金糸瓜 (kinshi uri) in Japanese) or fish fin melon (魚翅瓜/鱼翅瓜 (yú chì guā)) in Chinese) is an oblong seed-bearing variety of winter squash. The fruit can range either from ivory to yellow or orange in color or green with white streaks. Its center contains many large seeds. Its flesh is bright yellow, and orange or white for the latter variety. When raw, the flesh is solid and similar to other raw squash; when cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or strands like spaghetti or cooked shark’s fin.

Here is a picture:

Ummm… guys? That thing is big.

Other updates include eyes! While they haven’t landed on a color yet, they are there! And they can see…the back of the sealed eyelids…but still! oh! And teeth buds! Those are in place now too. Peep pretty much looks today like what he/she will look like on the day peep is born. Just at one pound instead of 7-9 pounds.

Wow. 7-9 pounds of baby. I’ve gained a whopping 5 pounds at this point and feel “big.” I mean, I know I’m tiny and I have a LOOOOOONG way to go. But I’ve never weighed more than 120 lbs before. As I write this, I weigh about 122 lbs. And I’ve got anywhere from 15-20 left to go! I mean, where on earth am I (of all people) going to put that? No idea. I know my body will make room. And I know I’ll gain whatever it is I’m supposed to gain… just thinking that it doesn’t have the room to fit!!! I am not afraid of the gain, at all! I’m actually kind of excited about it. But I already look like a swallowed a basketball. I’m thinking come September, I will look like I swallowed a Yoga Balance Ball. Hahaha. That vision is just hilarious to me.

But I digress. Everything is looking great! The Doctors did another ultrasound! And at 20 weeks, Peep weighed in at 14 ounces. I asked what “average” was for 20 weeks. And the tech looked at me and said, “14 ounces.” Hahaha. I’ll take that as a good sign. They said everything looks great! When we get our scanner up and running again, I’ll post those pictures. Until then, consider yourself up-to-date!! Woot!!!

-Jen

Baby Francis, the Heirloom Tomato

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Sorry folks – Anthony and I promise to get better about the pictures we promised! But we forgot again this weekend. Time just got away from us! We were too busy having fun re-organizing our little apartment, and playing with our niece, Laila. We got to take her swimming and everything! OH – and she knows that Peep “lives” in my tummy. She will come looking for Peep, lift up my shirt, poke my belly button and say, “Hi Peep!” Sometimes she waves at my tummy, too. *sigh* It is just too cute.

Anywho – Ok, wiki time. Because, to me, “tomato” is a step back from “bell pepper.” Right? I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tomato bigger than a bell pepper – unless it was on steroids! But it specifically said “Heirloom” tomatoes – and truth be told, I have no idea what that is. So, here we go – lesson for the day:

Wikipedia says: An heirloom tomato (also called heritage tomato in the UK) is an open-pollinated (non-hybrid) heirloom cultivar of tomato. Heirloom tomatoes have become increasingly popular and more readily available in recent years.

Picture:

Ok, so I guess some of those really big ones can be bigger than a bell pepper. So, I’ll buy it. But I want a better comparison next week! 😉

So this week marks 19 weeks. That means that in just 3 days, we will be at the half way mark of our journey. Can you believe it???? HALF WAY!!! It’s gone by so fast.

Peep’s updates include hair!!! And not just peach fuzz. Peep is starting to sprout hair on the top of her head. And the brain under that hair is developing! He is developing smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. The most important of which, is hearing! Story time!

So, this week, everything has been telling us that it is possible that Peep can start to hear us. So we decided to try. Anthony and I went to Target to buy some headphones (we only had ipod earbuds around the house!) that stretch and flex. Then, Anthony set up his sound system in the livingroom (as opposed to the office) where I could easily hook up his computer and access our Itunes list. We sat on the couch together and got ready to play music for Peep for the first time. I told Anthony to pick the first set to play, and got all giddy and happy when I heard what was coming over the headphones. Anthony picked our song, “Everything” by Michael Buble (which we did our first dance to at our wedding) as the first piece of music for Peep to hear. Again, *sigh*. I love him.

We continued on with that particular album, and the best things started to happen! During the slow songs, I couldn’t feel much. Not all that exciting. But the uptempo songs helped me realize that Peep can, in fact, hear just fine! During “World on a String” Peep started kicking me. And not just these little flutters I’ve been having. No, no – full on kicking. Thud. Thud. Thud. I grabbed Anthony’s hand, placed it on my tummy where I could feel the little thuds, and Anthony could faintly feel them, too!!! He got this big goofy grin on his face and I was just so happy. It’s official! We’ve both felt the baby move. It was awesome.

We plan on alternating between reading to the baby and playing music before bed as often as we can. Anthony doesn’t want to play music daily, as he fears too much noise might hurt Peep’s ears. I smiled and agreed – not because I believe that, but because Daddy has only a few opinions, so I take them seriously when they appear. And I think alternating between music and our actual voices is a good way to go. Any suggestions for music to play? I’m going to ask my dad to put together something, as he is the music guru!

That is really it for now. It’s been an eventful week and it isn’t even half over yet! Can’t wait to see what the next couple of days bring!!!

-Jen

Baby Francis, From an Avocado to a Bell Pepper

Ok, so my bog neglect is officially over. And in this “make-up” blog, I am covering weeks 16, 17, and 18 (my current week). So here is the pic from week 16 – Easter Sunday:

Shout out and thanks go to my Mom, who found and bought me my adorable Easter Dress. It was so comfy. I look forward to wearing it ALL summer.

Week 16 was a milestone for us. While Peep was growing to the size of an avocado and learning the ability to wiggle and squirm with the best of them, I developed a new ability, too! The ability to feel the baby move. Yup! On Friday, April 9th (16 Weeks, 6 days), while sitting at my desk at work, I felt it – what the experts call a “flutter.” I still have yet to be kicked, punched, or jabbed really good, but the flutters happen every couple of days!

The first flutter was so startling! There I was, working in Quickbooks, totally alone in the office when I felt something 100% different than anything I’ve felt so far. On the lower part of my tummy, just left of center (my left, so your right?), I felt this…stroke… like what it would feel like if I came up to you and ran one finger gently down your arm… but I felt that INSIDE my tummy. It was as if a hand or a foot was swinging around cart-wheel style and rubbed up against me. It startled me! So much so, that I spoke! Literally said, out loud, while looking at my tummy, “Was that you?” (as if it could have been anyone else?) I couldn’t believe it. I did a little happy dance in my chair, and grabbed my phone – operation text Anthony commenced!

We chatted for a few minutes – he was very happy at the news… now he is just waiting until HE can feel Peep move. He’ll be even happier. I quickly texted my mom after I was done texting with Ant, and she was actually near my office!!! So she dropped what she was doing and drove over to give me a hug. We did another little happy dance and were all smiles. It was awesome.

I felt it again a few days later (Sunday) while Anthony and I were at Disneyland, and I feel something similar every couple of days. Always in a different spot. This particular incidence felt as if Peep’s head bumped up against the very top of my belly. Peep is apparently quite a mover and a shaker! Woot! So cool.

Week 17 brought around a Turnip! What an odd size comparison, huh? But yea – Turnip it is. (Sorry – no photo. We forgot.) Peep’s bones started changing from soft cartilage to hard bone (hence why right around now, we start feeling those kicks and punches! The bones are much stronger in the coming weeks!) Other new developments? Peep can start to sweat. Umm… yay?

Week 17 was highly uneventful. I have no fun baby stories or tales of pregnancy woes… so week 17 is short, sweet, and to the point. We (as in Peep and I) both grew. That’s about it.

And here is Week 18’s photo:

While the week isn’t over, I can already tell you it’s story:

I’M TIRED!

When I started this journey, all those new moms out there (and even several of those seasoned moms, too!) told me that the first trimester would be the “sicks” and the “tireds.” And that my Second Tri would bring more energy and comfort. Well, we got sick part covered just fine in the first tri – but other than a few bouts of fatigue here and there, I still had a lot of energy.

Luckily, the “sicks” have gone down dramatically. But yea – my energy is gone! I’m drained. And to top it all off, I’m not sleeping well – so catch up isn’t happening. I actually had an argument with myself (out loud) this morning on if I was going to get out of bed or not. Once I decided that yes, I would, it took another verbal argument to actually make it happen. (Pregnancy seems to bring out my intrapersonal communication skills, apparently. Talking to myself seems to be increasing ten fold!) I had to pull it together and get through work, without falling asleep at my desk, or being a total zombie. I managed, but I was cranky all day. Poor Anthony took it all with a grain of salt and just steered clear. He’s pretty good at the whole “dealing with crazy Jen” thing. Hahaha. But I know he is looking forward to getting regular Jen back in September. Ish.

Ok – I feel better now that I’ve caught you all up. I’m now going to go upstairs with my sister and watch Glee!!! Yay!!!

-Jen

Baby Francis, comparing Apples to Oranges

Me, at 15 Weeks along. We visited the Santa Barbara Zoo! Beautiful place for pictures.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010)

Um… Folks? How is it POSSIBLY April???? Seriously – just a couple of weeks ago I was telling Anthony, ‘No I don’t think I can drink with you at the Greenia New Year Party because I really think we MIGHT be pregnant.” Hahahaha. April, huh? Wow that came fast.

I’m two weeks into the second Trimester. 15 Weeks along, to be exact. I am feeling SO much better than I was just a few weeks ago. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to feel somewhat normal again. And it is getting harder and harder to hide that bump! Not that I want to, really. I want the whole world to know!

I came across a book not too long ago called “Hot Mama!” (sorry! Don’t know the author! Shame on me!) and I laughed out loud reading it there in the Barnes and Noble baby book section. It was all about how to feel beautiful during your pregnancy. Some of the advice was right on – like don’t be afraid to show off that bump! Don’t cover it with baggy clothes! It is beautiful! And some of it, not so much – like don’t be afraid to let it all hang out…. uh, yea no. While I’m 100% fine with showing off the bump, only hubby and my doc actually get to see the belly for now. No short crop tops for Jen. Maybe a 2 piece bathing suit in late summer, but we’ll see. I’ll make that call later.

I’m taking a leaf from it’s pages, so to speak, and trying to find everything beautiful about what my body is going through. Sure, I could choose to be cynical – “I look fat.” or “My boobs are lopsided.” or “I look tired exhausted.” But we all know I’m really more of a glass-half-full kind of gal. While I have definitely… lets say “filled out” in many areas this teeny tiny woman never really thought possible, I’m proud to say the thoughts of “I look fat” came and went in a matter of about a week. Anthony and I walk twice a week for 45 minutes at a brisk pace to get our heart rates going. Not so much to “lose weight” because we don’t want that for me! But to stay in shape. It will also help me after Peep is here in losing that ever dreaded baby weight. So yea – I’m not fat. I’m just curvy. And my tummy is very round. Hahaha.

Truth be told – my boobs have always been lopsided (TMI, I know – but you are reading MY blog, so get over it). Actually, I don’t know very many women who’s aren’t a little disproportionate. Granted, with the increase in size I’ve experienced, that lopsided-ness is infinitely more pronounced. However, I find incredible joy in the occasional trance I find my hubby in, checkin’ me out when he thinks I don’t notice. (Husbands everywhere – get caught checking out your wife every once in a while. SERIOUS ego booster, and just makes us feel down right gorgeous. Just a thought.)

I’m hoping that my “pregnancy glow” shows through more than the tiredness. I know in my first trimester, that wasn’t so much the case. But now, that glow is pronounced (which is real, folks – if you didn’t know, pregnancy hormones create oils in your hair and skin that literally make us appear shiny) and I look less tired. (I didn’t say I AM less tired – I just don’t have huge bags under my eyes anymore!). I’m basking in the glow. And really enjoying my good hair days! I’m getting more of those than I’m used to!

All in all, I’ve realized my outer beauty in this process is self inflicted. It’s an attitude thing. And boy, do I have a ‘tude! A good one, tho! I’m purposely dressing to feel pretty. I put on a little make-up, I put on jewelry that makes me feel good. Anthony bought me 3 new pairs of shoes (because he has outright forbidden heels for my own safety), and I’m really just all in all feeling MUCH better than I was a few weeks ago. I’m getting to enjoy the ride I’ve been told so much about. Hello Second Trimester! We are going to be good friends.

Belly Shot (because I’m proud of it!):

Ok, on to Peep: 15 weeks shows some discrepancies in fruit-to-size comparisons! One site says Peep is the size of an Orange. The second site says Peep is the size of an Apple. Hahaha, ok, am I the only one to find that ironically funny? Don’t we always say, “You can’t compare apples to oranges” without ever realizing that we actually CAN compare their size? Ok, maybe my preggo brain finds that funnier than you do – but I laughed!

Anywho – Peep’s legs are now longer than the arms. All 4 limbs have working joints. One site says, “Your fetus is squirming and wiggling like crazy down in the womb, though you probably can’t feel the movements just yet.” Hehehehe. Again, probably funnier to me than to any of you – but if you’ve ever seen me do “The Kermit Dance,” THAT is what I see Peep doing in my womb right now, after reading that quote! (For those of you who don’t know, The Kermit Dance is a moment of sheer and utter craziness were I subject myself to strange looks and huge, belly rolling laughs – I mimic the way Kermit The Frog dances/runs away from danger on the Muppet show. The dance is complete with flailing arms, wacky hands, bobbing head, and really just my whole body wiggling around for other people’s entertainment . It’s funny. Embarrassing as all get out. But funny.)

Anywho – Peep can also move amniotic fluid through her nose in a mock breathing motion. Practice, practice!!! Peep can also sense light now, even though his eyes are fused shut at this point. I’m told that if I shine a flashlight at my belly, Peep will more than likely move away from the beam. Hmmmmm. Gonna have to try that one!! (I’ll have to be covert tho – Ant is still freaking out about the Pillsbury Dough Boy poking I do.)

That is all I’ve got for now! Hope everyone is having a great week! I know I am. Happy preparations for Easter!!!

-Jen

Baby Francis, The Lemon

(Thursday, March 25th, 2010)

Thursdays seem to be the day for blogging!

Dude – WHAT a week it has been. I’m tired just thinking about it. And then I remember, “oh yea – I’m tired because I actually did all that.” Hehehe.

So Friday night (Technically still part of week 13, but who’s counting, right?) Anthony and I went to Ant’s cousin, Tiffany’s 30th birthday party. It was so cute and so fun. It was Mad Hatter Tea Party Themed and we had a blast with family and a few friends. Ant’s cousin, Lisa, threw the bash. The decorations and food were phenomenal (as usual). I told Lisa that she is essentially my crack dealer when it comes to strawberries. She lives in Ventura/Oxnard (the strawberry capital of the world or something) and has THE best supplier for fresh strawberries daily. Yup – I ate probably a good 2 pounds of strawberries. No joke.

I opted out of dancing the night away with the girls. As much as I like borderline, I like my bed better. I hear they had fun! I’m glad.

Saturday was pretty packed too! We got up and met with a good friend of my parents named Ted. The last time I saw him, I was about 8 years old. His son, Kevin and I were in a wedding together and DID NOT want to hold hands, but did it anyway for Uncle Bob. We must love him. Anywho – Ted helped us with some financial planning (always a good idea!) for the future and Peep’s future, too. It was great to see him again! And I feel so much more ready to take on our finances this year. That can’t be bad, right?

Had a much needed “girls lunch” with my best pals, Elissa, Beckie, Becky (yes, there are 2 of them), and me. The 4 of us were roomies in college and we are still very close friends. It was great to get away from everything and sit and chat and catch up on everyone’s life. We walked around the mall (which I shouldn’t have done in flip-flops – lesson learned) and tuckered myself out by dinner time.

We had dinner with Ant’s Fam, as his parents were in town. That was… eventful. See, the biggest “issue” with week 14? Pregnancy induced Allergies. Yup – they SUCK. I don’t usually have to deal with allergies. That’s Anthony’s thing. But no – this year, not only do they effect me, the have essentially taken over my life. Bah! Anywho – Dr. David says I can take over the counter claratin. Linda, Ant’s mom, just so happens to have brought Anthony a bottle of that. I’ve only ever taken claratin once or twice in my life, but somehow I don’t remember it being an issue. I forgot that they aren’t coated. I forgot that they dissolve quickly on purpose (to get into your system faster). I forgot that water is really not something I should be using to swallow pills…

Back it up, people – Jen fact #48 – I was 18 and in college before I could properly swallow pills. Yup. I was THAT kid – the one who’s Mom had to crush up pills into powdered dust and put into ice cream just so I’d get whatever meds I needed. And I choked on even the smallest of pills (like sudafed? come on!) whenever my dad tried to “teach” me how to get them down. I don’t know what happened in college that made it so I could suddenly swallow pills, but it made taking my daily vitamin SO much easier.

Criteria for Jen to swallow a pill (Gosh, I’m realizing I’m demanding…): Don’t talk to me. Non-water liquid goes in my mouth first. THEN I pop the pill (I know that sounds backwards, but it works, so whatever). I throw my head back and swallow.

Ok, so – first mistake with the claratin – I used water. Second mistake with claratin was not “knowing” it dissolves that fast. I couldn’t swallow it in the first try, so drank more water with the pill in my mouth and by then it was dissolving. Bleh. It got caught in the back of my throat, and I choked on it. Well, then, of course, I threw it up. Yea – pleasant. And I wasn’t even at home! I was at my Brother-In-Law’s house on their couch. Kudos and props go to my MIL, Linda, and my SIL, Elissa for helping me. Linda was RIGHT there with a towel. Puke didn’t phase her at all – just got in there and helped me catch it all (luckily, it was just water and dissolved claratin, so it wasn’t too big a deal). Elissa was right there to take the water glass out of my hands so I didn’t drop it and knew right when I needed it back to get the taste out of my mouth. Thanks for the help, ladies!

Needless to say I didn’t try again right away. Finally was brave enough to try again before bed. Used orange juice and got it down on the first try. Thank you, Lord! It helped me sleep. Yippie!

Sunday, we had to get up and look nice – we were being received as new members of our church and had to go to an earlier service than normal. Boo on the no sleeping in. Yay on the warm welcome we got! Anthony took me out to Eggs N things for brunch afterward. That was so wonderful (props to my hubby for being willing to take my crazy pregnant self out to eat!). We only waited 5 minutes to be seated (a record) and the service was just as good as the food.

I came home, napped, and got ready for Anthony’s Grandpa’s 80th Birthday Dinner Dance. It was so nice. The whole family dressed up and there was a live trio. Lisa once again supplied me with more strawberries than should be allowed, and we had a great time. While I cannot take ANY credit for actually helping to clean up (I was told to sit in a corner and not get in the way), Anthony and I stayed until almost 10pm for clean up. Anthony did his fair share of the clean up by way of moving chairs and tables and boxes. I did my share by not impeding anyone else’s cleaning. Hahaha. But by 10pm, I was exhausted. I didn’t get to bed until after 11, allergies had sunken back in, and I knew I had to get up early to take Ant to work. Oh, my bed, how we never have enough time together. :0(

This week as been normal. Monday was hectic, as I was helping to get my bosses ready for our big trade show. They have been there since Tuesday, while I hold the fort down here. Allergies have progressively gotten better, but mornings still suck my big toe! Tonight I am out with my mom, looking at rocking chairs for the nursery (among other things) at Babies R Us. I can’t wait! Tomorrow, we have a jam packed evening which includes a trip out to SCV to meet with our wedding photographer and finally get our album! So excited. And then a jam packed weekend, this time around with my family instead of Ant’s usual suspects.

*whew* Like I said – makes me tired just thinking about it. And the allergies just make it that much more… tiring. But I’m getting through it. Suck it up, Jen! Suck it up! (My pregnancy motto).

Well, now that I’ve fully debriefed you on my weekly itinerary (why was I compelled to do that?) I can move onto Peep’s weekly update. Week 14!

This week, Peep can show expressions! All the tiny muscles in Peep’s face can now contract and we may catch a smile or a squint on our next ultrasound. Personally, I”m hoping for more dancing baby, this time around with Peep’s toungue sticking out at the world in jest at having his picture taken before she can consent to it. But you know, a smile would be cool, too. 😉

Peep has reached the size of a lemon and is starting to grow Luango – that is hair that covers the baby’s body for warmth. It will all fall off before birth, but it’s still a cool milestone.

Update on Mom: I have moved from regular pillow to the Snoogle. Anthony has a serious love/hate relationship with that pillow. He calls it my “staple” because that is what he thinks it looks like. For those of you who don’t know, a snoogle is a pregnancy body pillow designed to help support a growing belly and help preggo moms get the sleep they need. Man does this thing work! I love it. But, as Anthony will tell you – it is as big as I am. Meaning that now, every night, our bed consists of 2 people, 1 17 lbs chihuahua, and one giant staple. Hahaha. It’s a little crowded. But I’m sleeping well, so he’s sucking it up.

I had my first real craving yesterday. No, Alyse – I’m sorry – it wasn’t a pickle. If it was, I would have called. Nope. Wanna know what MY first craving was for? Ice Water. Oh but wait – not just ANY ice water. No, no, no. Specifically, McDonalds Ice Water. Yea – weird. Had to have it. Tried to suppliment with arrowhead water and ice from work, and it actually tasted bad. ???? I don’t get it. We ended up eating dinner at McDonalds, but really – I wanted nothing to do with the nuggets or the fries. I drank 4 cups of their pre-chilled ice water and found happiness. Cravings are just weird.

Time for bed, people! I’m exhausuted!

-Jen

Baby Francis, The Peach!

It’s official. I’ve failed!!! For the first time this year, I missed a week of blogging, which technically means I’m not going to meet my blogging goal for the year. And the worst part? I honestly STILL can’t find the motivation to finish last week’s blog. I mean… I will. Because I’m just like that… but between allergies and fatigue, I seriously had to force myself to even start the darn thing, and just couldn’t find it in me to finish on time. So here it is – a little late is better than never. I hope you’ll forgive me, and let this one slide, especially because I didn’t just forget about it. And I promise a better “14 week” blog – lots to tell you on that one!

(Thursday, March 18th)

Guess what, folks? As of today, we are officially 6 months away from our due date.

YAGADA-YAGADA-YAGADA (head shaking, doing a double take). Really? How is that possible? 3+ months – GONE! Seriously, people – we are past the point of no return. This is happening.

While I knew literally THE DAY we conceived, sometimes I think it still hasn’t really sunken in. I mean – one would have thought that it would have “sunk in” when the test read “Pregnant.” Or maybe when the morning sickness set in. Or maybe when the jeans didn’t fit anymore. Or maybe that first picture where the bump was actually showing. But no – I really honestly still have moments where it hasn’t sunken in. Moments were I could swear to you this was all a dream.

But then, Anthony and I got to hear, hands down, THE BEST sound in the whole wide world. (No arguments here, people. It just is.)

We got to hear our baby’s heart beat. *sigh* *tear*

On Tuesday of last week (sorry I haven’t updated you sooner) we saw Dr. Jidali for that super sensitive ultrasound I told you about. Little did we know that we’d be seeing things as cool as this:

(Dr. Jidali calls this “Dancing Baby!”)

And then, there was this really strange sound that was going wooooshwoooshwoooshwoooshwoooshwooosh and the little sound wave was flexing across the screen and the tech goes, “That is your baby’s heartbeat! Clocked in at 156 beats per minute. That’s great!”

I can’t tell you how I felt. There are no words. Anthony and I sat there absolutely awestruck. It gave us more than any of those pictures ever could. It was like the very first tangible thing we have of our child. A heartbeat. A sign of life. An incredible miracle inside me that pulled my husband and I closer together than we’ve ever felt. Anthony squeezed my hand at that moment and I held back a tear. And only then did it actually “sink in.” This is REAL.

I still can’t believe how much time has passed, though. Reality or no reality – how the heck is it the middle of March already? The middle of March marks another milestone for us –  this is the 13th week!  That means I’m officially in my second trimester! Woot! 1/3 of the way done.

Onto the Baby update: Peep is the size of a peach, but other than that, nothing much has changed. All is healthy and good, and our doctors are happy. So we are happy. Sorry the update is so lame – but really, that is all that has changed.

And here is one of Anthony’s favorite Ultrasound pics (He doesn’t like the 3-d Ones, which I call alien Baby. Hahahaha.)

Check out how big Peep’s gotten!!! Craziness.

-Jen