Friday, May 24, 2013

Pregnancy Summary: 20-Week Ultrasound

People say 20 weeks is halfway through, but since I didn't even have symptoms until closer to 8 weeks, I don't celebrate the halfway mark until 24 weeks. :)
I do, however, get ridiculously excited and lose sleep in anticipation over the 20-week ultrasound. I am a visual person, I guess, because I feel much more bonded to my babies after seeing them.

Matthieu, Alexandra and I went to the appointment on the way to the airport on January 25th, 2012--Alexandra and I flew to Utah for a week to go to the temple with my baby bro--not so baby--he's 19. I was afraid to have my bladder squished by the ultrasound wand, so I didn't drink quite enough water for the best view, apparently. And Baby was sleeping, head down, legs crossed most of the time. Not a great show, but there is blurry evidence of cuteness, at least that I can see:

And there was evidence of other stuff, too:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Big Sister of the Baby in Belly

I'm not sure what Alexandra thinks about being a big sister. We didn't talk about the baby much with her until later in pregnancy, when I had a noticeable belly and we started getting things ready. She isn't very interested, but she has felt my belly a few times.

My belly button went flat around 20 weeks, and popped out around 30 weeks. Alexandra thinks it is hilarious! If she sees my bare belly, or if she lifts up my shirt to check it out, she declares "Sun napa on väärinpäin!" [Your belly button is inside out!] and laughs.
Here she is doing just that while I'm taking belly pics at around 21 weeks: 

Before the facebook/general announcement, we sent this picture text to our family in Finland:

She colored on a "Big Sister" crown. It also says June 2013.

At 35 weeks, the baby was protruding limbs and rolling around like usual, so I asked her what she thought the baby was doing. She said he had a toy in there. haha

She has been oddly threatened by one-year-olds lately. She makes out-of-nowhere proclamations that babies can't take her books, or particular toys. She also says that babies are not allowed to hit her. Maybe the young nursery kids swat at her sometimes? This anxiety about her things being taken away does not apply to immobile babies or her peers.

She has had some regressive behaviors like refusing to use the potty and wanting to be carried, but those might just be a developmental phase, and not necessarily linked to the coming sibling.

When we went through her clothes and baby toys in storage, she wanted all of it. She somehow got a newborn-size onesie on! She didn't know what the teething toys are, but she tried to find ways to play with them.

I figure I've been tired and cranky for months, so having the baby out-of-belly won't be a huge adjustment for her. I think she'll think he's as cute as the dolls she likes to play with, and that she'll want to "help" sometimes. At least for a couple of months. We'll see...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What to Say to Get A Pregnant Lady to Punch You In The Face

Since 32 weeks, strangers have stopped dead in their tracks to gawk at me. Like, stare, mouth open, in disbelief, to comment on the shape and size of my body and ask questions about my unborn baby.
My thoughts are in italics.

Outside a movie theater on a cool day in April:
Old Lady: "What does your baby think of this weather?"
Me: "He wishes it were summer!" My uterus is fairly climate-controlled, and he has no concept of weather.
Old Lady: "He must be coming out soon!"
Me: "Not until June. I wish it were summer, too."
Old Lady: "You carry [stretching her arms in front of her belly] OUT."
Me: "Yeah." Good thing she included the gesture, or I wouldn't have understood the way my belly protruded.
[insert conversation about quantity of my children, and the genders and quantity of her own children]

In a Lowe's:
Old Lady, who stopped suddenly and whipped around after passing me: "WOW. You must be due any day now."
"Nope, I've got 8 weeks left." Am I supposed to small-talk with the woman staring at me?
[insert conversation about the gender of my baby, quantity of my children, and how she didn't know the  genders of her children until they were born, and the quantity of her own children]

At a cash register in IKEA: 
Old man who walked past me, then turned around and walked back to me: "You're gonna have that baby on the drive home!"
Me: "Yep!" I guess you never know when a woman will start pre-term labor and deliver in her car on a 35-minute drive.
Me to cashier after man left: "I'm not due for 6 weeks, actually."
The cashier smiled sympathetically: "$4.50."

After a conversation like one of the above occurred 6 times, I vowed to punch in the face the next person to say, "Any day now, hu?" But in the moment, I'm too stunned to do anything but smile weakly and try to remember exactly what they say so that I can elicit either pity or laughs from my friends/family later.

Pregnancy Summary: First Belly Shots and Symptoms

10 Weeks
17 Weeks, 3 Days

I'm grateful to have had a low-symptom, complication-free pregnancy so far. The nausea was not so bad and lasted only through the first trimester, and other discomforts along the way have been minor (nausea, sore breasts, tired back, cramping, occasional insomnia, slightly elevated anxiety, blah blah blah.) The hormonal fluctuations are hard. The biggest challenge is FATIGUE. It has persisted through the whole pregnancy (6 weeks to 36 weeks with no end in sight--though it seemed to lift for a few weeks in the second trimester). Some days, I wake up and I can barely get myself from the bed to the sofa. Other days, I feel energetic and cheerful. How much I sleep or what I eat has little effect on how I'll feel the next day. Dang hormones!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pregnancy Summary: Two Pink Lines

I'm 36 weeks (tomorrow) gestation, so I figured it's about time to write about my pregnancy.
Matthieu and I decided to try for #2 for two or three months, then decided it was unwise and paused for a few months, and then tried again. No backing out after that try! When we found out, we felt thrilled and optimistic about how the issues up in the air (jobs, etc.) would work out.

I actually had a false negative the first time I tested (I had two false negative pregnancy tests with Alexandra). I felt "off" and had some symptoms of pregnancy, but they were the some of the same symptoms I experienced with imbalanced estrogen last summer. I was worried about imbalance again, so on the evening of October 8th, 2012, I tested again to definitively rule out pregnancy, and...ta da! Two lines! I wanted to surprise Matthieu with the news in a fun way, so after our nightly sit-com viewing, I fake-casually asked if he wanted to play a quick game of Scrabble. He doesn't like Scrabble, but he agreed. We took a few turns, and I played terribly, trying to get the tiles to spell PREGNANT. Finally, I just cheated and spelled it out on the board. After a couple seconds of confusion, he said, "Wait, really??" A smile burst across his face and we hugged and kissed.

For the next few weeks, I celebrated by eating the food that was used to describe the size of the baby that week. We told our parents, who were, of course, so excited! I posted the picture compilation of the food-size baby on facebook at around 11 weeks.

My mom was in town the week of Halloween, so she and Alexandra and I went to the doctor on October 31st to "verify" the pregnancy. I requested an sonogram, claiming I didn't know when the conception was. Good calculation was a week and a half ahead of the sonogram measurement. I was bummed, but it's better to find out at the beginning than the end. And I was relieved that everything appeared healthy. One of those white blurbs is my 7-weeks-2-days-old fetus: 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Funny Stuff Alexandra Says: Winter 2012-13

calling Dad on her banaanikannykka (banana cell phone)

"I don't see anyfing," (shrugging, when she doesn't see what is being pointed out to her or can't find something)

"Pwovo Beach E-ort?" (when she wants to go to Provo Beach Resort. I'm so sad we can't go anymore.)

"No, Belle-dog, don't eat me!" (when visiting her cousin's dog)

"Oh! Hi, Buzz Lightyear!" (excitedly, running up to Matthieu at the door when he comes home from work)

"Oh! A monster!" (when pretending to spot a monster in the car, in the stairwell, etc. If you prod for more information, you will usually find that the monster is big, blue, and furry, and ends up being nice. Alternatively, pretend wolves are spotted.)

"[title of any book she is "reading" to herself], by Ewic Carle"

While strumming the guitar, she was singing something about wanting to eat cereal? ... and other hilarious songs about real-time circumstances, in the style of her parents, especially Matthieu

"Here's a book." {Do you want me to read it?} "OK," (like, good idea; I hadn't thought of that, but I'll climb up next to you on the couch since you want me to.)

Reflection 2012

apple juice toast
midnight 2012-13
[I wrote this in early January and forgot about it!]

It’s time for my second annual reflection based on Simple Mom’s “20 Questions for a New Year’s Reflection”. I copied the exact questions here, but go get the free printable from Simple Mom.

These are all answered from my perspective, but I made Matthieu jump in on questions 5, 6, and 7.

1.    What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
telling my husband that I am pregnant

2.    What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
financial fall-out as a result of moving and under-employment

3.    What was an unexpected joy this past year?
forming new friendships, growing others, and reuniting with old friends

4.    What was an unexpected obstacle?
hormonal imbalance causing months of emotional and physical challenges

5.    Pick three words to describe this past year.
Anna: transitions, toddler, compromise
Matthieu:transition, toddler, poor

6.    Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your past year—don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you. (If you’re not married, have fun guessing the answers from other friends and family, or just skip this question.)
Anna: I think Matthieu would describe my 2012 as: fun, discouraging, changes
Matthieu: I think Anna would describe my 2012 as:graduation, career, sexy

7.    Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their past year—again, without asking.
Anna: I think Matthieu would describe his 2012 as: exhausting, exciting, milestones
Matthieu: I think Anna would describe her 2012 as:bootylicious,difficult, delayed

8. What were the best books you read this year?
The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (translated into Finnish), Scripture Stories for Children (LDS from the early 90s), Ten Little Goblins by Pamela Jane Manning, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, Bossypants by Tina Fey, Grandpa Green by Lane Smith, Jade by Taru Mäkinen

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
I don’t like to name friends for fear of leaving someone out, but my Utah County girls know who they are. I always value my relationships with my parents and brothers and sister and all my in-laws. My husband and daughter are sacred to me, and I spent more time (quantity and quality) with Alexandra than anyone this year, lucky me.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
I started reading more.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
I became more empathetic in some ways.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I allowed myself to self-evaluate my spiritual state candidly.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
I grew an avocado-sized baby!

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I got two more nieces; yay!

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
I learned a lot about editing, writing, networking, and blogging, and about my strengths/areas needing improvement in my freelance editing/writing/translating work. I get satisfaction out of organizing my home.

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
I would like to work more (work with more clients and write a good, monetized blog), but my progress is slow and I feel frustrated. I resent, procrastinate, and feel guilty about procrastinating housework.

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Lazy escapism via the interweb.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
reading to Alexandra

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
You can feel joy and sorrow at the same time, and probably will the rest of your life. Fight for the joy to dominate.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes this past year for you.
The ebbs and flows are frustrating, but the river is still moving forward.

I made up an abbreviated version for Alexandra and answered on her behalf.

1. What skills did you practice most this year?
complex sentences, vocabulary, and narration; praying; climbing; hurrying; group play; persuasion; eating with fork and spoon and drinking from regular cups; dressing and undressing self (with a little assistance); all pottying skills (but refusing to use it); beautiful singing voice; memorizing songs and books and sayings; making up words, copying/being copied, tickling and other silliness for humor

2. How big are you?
36” [91.4 cm] (tall enough to ride some “real” rides at the Mall of America amusement park); 30 pounds [13.6 kgs]; hair halfway down back

3. In what ways are you more mature emotionally?
participatory (social) play; expressing frustration, sadness, anticipation, regret, and gratitude; empathy and comforting others; taking/giving/waiting for turns

4. What did you enjoy most about daily life?
reading; watching shows; going to the playground; playing with grandparents, aunts/uncles/relatives, peer-friends and cousin-friends

5. What was most challenging about daily life?
when mom is on the computer for long stretches of time and when dad is at work/school for long hours; trying really hard to do something but not mastering it quickly enough for own high standards

6. What are your catch phrases?
“I’m Woody!” “I’m a princess!” “Give me [  ].” “Can you read it, please?” “I want to [whatever someone else just mentioned]!”and endless talking about anything from goats to commanding dogs to colors to categories of vehicles, etc.

April 2012:

moving out of our apartment of 3 years (we were sad)
October 2012:
Matthieu's 30th birthday party (Big Bang Theory theme)