Friday, November 30, 2007

Inchworm: 18 weeks Updates:

Head to bottom, Inchworm is approximately 5 1/2 inches long (about the length of a bell pepper) and weighs almost 7 ounces. Bell peppers are pretty big!
  • The baby is busy flexing arms and legs — which I am noticing more and more.
  • Blood vessels are visible through the thin skin.
  • The ears are now in position and stand out from the head.
  • Myelin (a protective covering) is beginning to form around the nerves, a process that will continue for a year after the baby is born.
  • If we're having a girl, her uterus and Fallopian tubes are formed and in place.
  • If our baby is a boy, his genitals are noticeable, though he may hide them from you during an ultrasound. We will find out in a week!?
My Updates:

I haven't been the slightest sick or nauseous in the past few weeks....hoping that is over with completely. No feet or hands swelling. Oh, and I have gained a whopping 4lbs.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Baby Beats (18 weeks)

I went to my 18-week prenatal appointment today and as promised, I captured audio with my cell phone (the audio will open in a new window as a Quicktime file).


You can hear us discussing the beats. The first noise is softer, that was my beat - then it gets really loud as she found the baby's beats. As you hear the baby's beats more prominently you can notice interruptions in the beat like someone is hitting the microphone - THAT is the baby moving. We started discussing it because she was surprised that I couldn't feel it. If you turn the volume up you can hear her asking if I felt it or not. I started to tell her that I can feel the flutter-bubbles of the movement but wasn't sure if I'd actually felt the baby move with my hand. This has helped me better understand what I am feeling and what is obviously a movement or not. I have concluded that I have been feeling the baby move around...more and more as the bubble gets bigger. She also mentioned that because I had worked out a lot pre-pregnancy, my abs could hinder my hand being able to feel a kick or whatnot right now.

I love the nurse, Christine, she likes to spend the time and give you that excitement about having a baby. When I told her I wanted to record the heartbeat audio she was all for it and made sure we got a good clip. I apologized for taking up her time and she said,"nonsense, it's not every day you're having a baby!" - I really like the office and attitude of the people there.

Interesting info from my discussion with the Dr:

episiotomy is not as recommended as it use to be. Latest studies recommend letting you rip (ouch!) rather than jumping at the chance to slice you up. The dr. explained that this was because there is a much greater chance of muscle tissue and nerve damage as opposed to tearing which naturally decides to rip the weakest areas instead of the dr doing a direct cut through everything. She did say that sometimes it is still necessary if it's just not working w/out ripping you completely in half. *lol* She even said it is hard for her to sit back and let it rip (so to say) than immediately make an incision. ok, I know it's gross for you guys that know what I'm talking about.... but interesting all the same.

I was considering a water-birth but my office doesn't offer it, so no big deal I'll go without, it was just a thought.
The Dr noted that there is a higher chance for infections and such due to swimming in your stuff post birth. haha. gross.

All grossness aside, everything checked out OK and we're set to fly out Sunday for Europe. By the way, everyone has one more week to place their votes on the gender-poll and the score is ACTUALLY 9 (girls) vs. 6 (boys) as Fiona has not been able to place her vote for some odd reason. You have 1-week from Monday. Robyn finds out this coming Monday. yippee!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Inchworm: 17 weeks

Inchworm weighs about 5 ounces now, and is around 5 inches long — about the size of a large onion or turnip. updates:

  • The umbilical cord, the baby's lifeline to the placenta, is growing stronger and thicker.
  • She/He Can move its joints, and skeleton — until now, rubbery cartilage — is starting to harden into bone. A newborn's skeleton has 300 parts (a combination of bone and cartilage). As the child grows, some of these parts harden and fuse together. By the time your baby reaches adulthood, it'll have just 206 bones.
My Updates:

I don't have much to report. I completely blanked on getting a belly-shot for the blog with Robyn and I together. I will try to remember for this Thursday as we will be doing yoga.

I find it cute that when I'm laying in bed on my side for a bit and then roll onto my back, the baby sits way higher and is quite prominent. I like to feel it's little body when it does this...until it sinks away.

I'm getting really antsy about finding out the gender. I see the poll is 8 (girl) to 6 (boy)! Some people must really want a girl! I find that guessing by heartbeat, morning sickness, how you carry the baby, etc. for gender is nonsense. I get so many contradictions on these theories. Paul swears they will have a girl because of one of these theories... I think it's his paranoia (haha! Just kidding Paul!). They've got a week to find out, we've got two! :) Can't wait! We don't have a preference either way, it's just exciting to know!

I have a Dr appt. this Thursday and this time I'll try to record the heartbeat.

Thanksgiving Blast

I don’t even know where to begin with Thanksgiving this year! As always it was over-the-top with family and activities. *NOTE: To continue and fully enjoy the hilariousness of these images, it is an ABSOLUTE MUST to click on the photos to enlarge the people and funny expressions. ENJOY!

This year we all gathered at the Swartz household (thanks Mike and Heather!). With a house full of gymnastic munchkins (*ahem* the kids: Morgan, Miranda, Sage, Justin and Sabrina), the Swartz’s have a huge playroom/gymnasium built right into the house; very cool and a must for any house of active munchkins (about the size two 4-car garages!).

Thanksgiving Day started off with plenty of food and laughter. This year I contributed by baking 3-pumpkin pies (one was made milk-free with coconut milk instead of condensed milk – very good!), homemade whipped cream to boot, tons of homemade rolls and a vat of whipped honey-butter. Endless amounts of turkey, ham, whipped potatoes, stuffing and gravy came via everyone else!

After food and rolling about a bit the activities exploded. Being too full to do anything else, I believe we started with Gestures [Boys vs. Girls]. As the turkey-drugs wore off, gymnastics took place! The group couldn’t decide between the launch pad and the bar… no one got tired of watching everyone flail through the air from the launch pad (spring-board) onto a pile of foam.

A while later karaoke and the costume bin were discovered. Quite the scene! After a bit of wigs and bad singing and maybe some more gymnastics and stick-fighting on a balancing beam, we played Sardines. Sardines must be played in the dark for it to work. This works like Hide-N-Seek but backwards.

How to play: The person that’s It hides while all the other players count to 60. Everyone looks for It, and each player quietly hides with It when they find him/her. Soon, those who are left realize that they are looking for a hiding place with a lot of people in it.

It is quite hilarious when about 25 or so of us are playing in a big dark house. Half the people have never even been in the house before and the house has a lot of nifty hiding places! One spot ended up in a attic-fort, one was in the master bath…shower! Someone kicked the water faucet on that one ending in wet feet and almost a communal shower. In the last game we all ended up under a bunch of foam pads in the game room. Not the best spot because everyone would come charging into the room stomping on all the early hiders realizing it was people under the pads that was squeaking and not toys!

That night ended at 10:30pm for us… bruised and worn out. Friday consisted of the annual Paintball Wars! Sadly, John did not get to play for the first time in like 6-years. Not to go rubbing it in, but the weather was gorgeous and the turnout very good (15-20 people per team). As a part of the camera crew, we ventured out to see how the game was going. It is quite risky being a part of the camera crew; sometimes you get attacked.

After the forest and players were painted, bruised and completely worn out, we had more turkey, potatoes, ham, gravy and pumpkin pie. Then it was off to the Slick Car Tracks (in Medford) for some more fun! It looked busy upon arriving, but our mob tends to clear out smaller groups upon arrival.

I spent the remainder of the holiday weekend at home tearing apart our home office which was quite the adventure and good for another post. I believe Saturday was another day of paintballing and Pats turkey soup…and/or pizza so I heard.

We hope everyone had as great a holiday as us! ... and of course, there's always room for a turkey leg! (robyn was a starving nome here).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Organizing 2008

I've had a lot of thought in the past couple weeks regarding the fast approaching, but sneaky new year. I can't believe it's going to be 2008 so soon! I remember graduating from High School (1999) and thinking how funny it would be to see 2010, well, not so much now. OK I'm off my topic...

In thinking about the new year I tend to think of questions like,"what will it bring? what will I do this year?" You're either the type of person that gets all gung-ho over great big goals you are going to accomplish or you say you aren't making goals, but secretly you have little hopes and promises to yourself that well, are realistically goals nonetheless. ;)

Regardless of your choice for '08, we can't help it. It's our trained nature to use the timelines we've been given as starting and ending points. I personally think it's healthy human nature to do so otherwise we might go crazy thinking we can't have a "new beginning" here or a "light at the end of the tunnel" there. Some people just want to make it from the beginning of the day to the end to see a new start in tomorrow. Some use the start of a week or month as a fresh moment. I think I'm a weekly-monthly-yearly type. I tend to make too many or too large of goals for myself too.

My point is coming to the fact that I have a constant desire to be that organized person. I discovered Martha Stewart's website on accident the other day (not a huge fan of her personally, but she has good ideas now and then). I was poking around the organization section (under Home Decor) and found more than a few great tips and easy solutions that will work for me in my house. I was so excited about it, I started compiling all the ideas I thought were useful - I can email this to you if you are interested. Let me know or just go to Martha's website and cruise around yourself.

Clutter drives John mad! *lol* He would stuff pots and pans in the dryer if it would get rid of some clutter. Just kidding! I am constantly cleaning, shifting and trying to re-organize the clutter but it seems to never leave me alone! As a person with many hobbies and interests I brought the majority of the clutter into the household spaces - so I need a working solution for it all.

Getting Started!
To get started with decorating or room ideas, there was a neat, simple item I liked that was labeled as a Decorators Pouch, or what I might refer to as an Idea Pouch.

Simply use clear zip pouches that will fit into a large binder. Use one pouch per room. Collect fabric swatches, paint chips, scratched notes you thought about while daydreaming and jotted on a napkin, room re-layout sketches, measurements, supply lists, tools you may need to purchase before starting, etc. and keep them in the pouch.

This method will help you fully visualize a rooms finished decor, layout and you will more easily be able to:
  • price it out as a whole if you want a smartly budgeted room, this way you can either work on sections of the room at a time buying pieces or tools as you can.
  • carry the zip pouch while shopping specifically for the room or project
  • can help focus spur-of-the-moment spending
You can also use this for specific project ideas that will take planning and pieces to purchase. It is not limited to just the rooms in your house. I plan to use a large 3-ring binder to stash my packets in. I will label each pocket accordingly. If you don't want to go out and buy binder pouches, think of using gallon-size freezer bags (try punching holes in them?).

Hope someone finds this useful. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Inchworm: 16 weeks

At 4 1/2 inches long (head to bottom) and 3 1/2 ounces, Inchworm is about the size of an avocado! In the next three weeks, it'll go through a tremendous growth spurt, though, doubling in weight and adding inches to the length.
  • The lower limbs are much more developed now.
  • The head is more erect than it has been.
  • The eyes have moved toward the front of the head.
  • The ears are close to their final position.
  • Some of the more advanced body systems are working, including the circulatory system and urinary tract.
  • The heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day, circulating the total blood volume through the body many times. (By the end of your pregnancy, this will increase to about 190 quarts.)
  • The patterning of the scalp has begun, though hair isn't recognizable yet.
  • Although closed, the eyes are moving (slowly), and we've even started growing toenails!
My Updates:
  • No more blood in my ear. Never heard back from the dr so I'm clueless on that... ? :(
  • I've got "bubbly" in my tummy in the central location of the baby-ball so I'm sure that's my movement signs.
  • Not sick at all.
  • Feet get soooo tired from standing/walking. I wear my crocs around the house when I'm making dinner or doing laundry, etc. Which helps quite a bit. We have wood flooring through most of the living area.
  • I'm loving Oranges and Honey Bunches of Oats cereal :P
  • Robyn and I do Prego-Yoga once a week, it's a lot of fun. Although we are not that great at sticking to the relaxing breathing parts because we chat a lot. heheh.
At our last yoga day, Robyn told me that Limabean (her baby) kicked her hand while she was laying on her back the night before. All I have are bubblies so far. Robyn told me that I would probably not feel anything for a while because my baby was lazy. haha! Simply put, her baby is always very active in her ultrasounds and mine has always been asleep. Mom has told me that I was a really active baby/fetus... we'll see if Inchworm perks up further down the road. I can feel her/his body shifting around and sliding away from my hand when I poke at her/his water bubble.

I can't believe the rate the baby is growing at this point! I've finished all of my maternity clothes shopping last Friday with mom....until I'm too big for those. It has been really easy to find cute jeans at the only maternity store locally, and they all fit perfect! Easier than shopping for normal jeans. I call them "buckets" because I feel like I'm getting into a bucket when I wear them.

Only 3-weeks until we find out what we're having! Make sure you've voted!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Amniocentresis. What is it...

I wanted to post about this because to me it was an eye-opener and important to note. Additionally, I was talking to Robyn about it last week and she had not really done any research on the topic. I wanted any other new moms or those of you planning to get pregnant, to be aware of this decision you get to make.

My Dr. has been mentioning these new tests to me that can detect problems with the baby... for instance, Down Syndrome. We were interested because for one, you can at least prepare emotionally and educate yourself if you are needing to take care of a child in this state.

Simply put, Amniocentresis is the process in which the Dr. collects a sample of the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby (with a huge needle to the tummy!). Aside from all that drama, step one, before you get to the amnio is to have a simple blood test (from the mother) that is not invasive to the baby to determine if there may be something wrong. This screening is NOT 100% either. So in my opinion, if you decide to get the screen done, you should be aware of what there is to follow and be prepared to do the amnio; otherwise doing screening seems kind of pointless.

The most common reason to have an amnio is to determine whether a baby has a genetic disorder or a chromosomal abnormality, such as Down syndrome. (some symptoms can be treated in the womb).

To get your brains rolling, the amnio is invasive to the baby in the womb and there is a 1 in 200 chance of miscarriage. To me, that's a big deal. If currently, there is nothing wrong visibly then I will stick to not doing it. Some women may have to have the amnio for other specific reasons. I have decided not to do the test. Robyn has done the screen but I don't think she'll do the amnio after hearing what I said. Really researching it is a must! A great start to this is at - HERE . There's a lot of varied information and personal comments to from women that have experienced it. Wikipedia also has some more straightforward descriptions about it.

If anyone has had it done I'd love to hear your comments!

Inchworm: 15 weeks

Inchworm now measures about 4 inches long, crown to rump, and weighs in at about 2 1/2 ounces (about the size of an apple). Updates:

  • The baby is busy moving amniotic fluid through its nose and upper respiratory tract, which helps the primitive air sacs in the lungs begin to develop.
  • The legs are growing longer than the arms now, and she/he can move all of her/his joints and limbs.

  • Although the eyelids are still fused shut, the baby can sense light. If I shine a flashlight at my tummy, for instance, the baby’s likely to move away from the beam.
  • There's not much for your baby to taste at this point, but it is forming taste buds.

  • If I was having an ultrasound this week, I might be able to find out whether we’re having a boy or a girl! We of course are waiting until December which was scheduled a bit ago. Hopefully the baby won’t be curled or turned away! That would be disappointing!
My Updates:

I am now an addict of Oranges. None of my cravings seem to turn me into a "crazy pregnant lady" though so I always brush things off as not being a craving...just a food of choice.

I thought this was interesting to note because I seem to have a knock-off symptom of what can happen. Everything regarding the 14-15 week period keeps noting that you can get nosebleeds and not to worry...
"...since hormonal changes and increased blood flow to your mucous membranes. This condition is so common, there's even a name for it: "rhinitis of pregnancy." Some pregnant women also suffer nosebleeds as a result of increased blood volume and blood vessel expansion in the nose."
That said, this morning I had blood in my ear! eek! OK well, before you freak out and give me suggestions it would be good for you to know that (if you don't already) I have a [long] history of ear problems and currently have had a hole in my right eardrum for about a year now. I keep putting off the surgery to get it fixed and may do it next winter if it can wait....that is an entirely different story I can tell at another time if it ever happens. I have promptly emailed the Dr. at OHSU (Portland Oregon) where I started going for new ear treatment last winter. I am hoping to avoid a checkup overall because well, simply put, it's 4-hours away! I'm sure it just has to do with the nose and ear stuff all being connected and well, a hole to boot etc. (cross your fingers).

By the way, a hole in ones eardrum is perfectly fine and it will usually heal itself, but mine do not seem to have that extra little *umph!* to do so and leaves me with getting infections and overall worse hearing than I already have. Oh woe is me. heheh.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tummy VS. Tummy

I know all I've posted recently is "baby this, baby that" but that's all that's been happening really. Aside from work-work-work.... so not to bore everyone with yet another baby-related post, but it is exciting for us!

We took these tummy-shots the day of our shopping trip. Robyn has wanted to post her own tummy-shot first (on her blog) but hasn't had time. In the meantime, our tummies are starting to grow at an amazing rate so I needed to rush to get this one out the door. Will post another double-tummy-shot around Thanksgiving (couple of weeks).

I know most of the blog readers are moms, but I have to say, it is the oddest feeling to have your belly morph into this cute little ball. Knowing what you are growing inside you just seems crazy. I keep thinking of the movie, Alien ... hopefully our baby isn't as crabby as those aliens when they come popping out! ;)

Gobble! Oink! Hee-Haw!

My mom dropped by yesterday and we went to Jack & Jills, a pre-owned baby and maternity boutique in Medford. My mom got a few great items that were definitely worth the buy. Inchworm picked up a few things for herself/himself and then bought daddy a present. Our first baby items purchase!

I must say, Inchworm is such a bargain-shopper! We picked up an Eddie Bauer Front Carrier for $28.00. I almost didn't buy it because I have been wanting to wait until January to buy anything baby-related. I had a feeling that it was too great of a price, and I was right...we checked online later and found the exact model for $80.00! I wanted a manly carrier for John and I plan to eventually get a carrier like Fiona's,
Mei Tai for myself. I am really impressed with all the smart pieces of this carrier though. It has tons of great padding in all the right places and easy in-and-out buckles for both you and baby, plus a back support piece. I of course had to try it on when we got home. We put Mr. Cuddly Bear in a farmer onsie and a knitted hat my mom and I make. He was trying to impersonate Inchworm. (I know I look like a ghost... the camera really washed my skin out!?)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tea, Lunch and Giant Sweets!

This is us [L to R: Mom, Robyn and me] at lunch, tea, and oh man! Dessert with a capital "D"! To be honest, I think dessert here at Country Cottage (in Phoenix, OR) was originally made for giants, but it seems since not many giants come by, us normal-size-people get to try our hand at finishing off insanely huge portions of dessert. It is tradition, at least for the Jentzsch and Ford families, to order a multi-desert choice and share the fare.

We only ordered two items: banana cream pie (Robyn's pick) and Chocolate Cake (my pick). Holy Cow!! We split up more than half of each dessert to take home. We would still be in a coma if we even made an attempt to finish the trays off!

Robyn and I in some of our new garb. What a fun day with the girls!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Inchworm: 14 weeks

Inchworm is stretching out! We have reached "lemon week" (for size) From head to bottom, baby measures 3 1/2 inches — about the size of a lemon — and weighs 1 1/2 ounces.

This week's big developments:

  • The body's growing faster than the head, which now sits upon a more distinct neck.
  • By the end of this week, the arms will have grown to a length that's in proportion to the rest of the body (legs still have some lengthening to do).
  • Baby is starting to develop an ultra-fine, downy covering of hair, called lanugo, all over the body.
  • Inchworm can now squint, frown, grimace, pee, and possibly suck his/her thumb!
  • Thanks to brain impulses, the facial muscles are getting a workout as the tiny features form one expression after another.
  • The kidneys are producing urine, which he releases into the amniotic fluid around him/her— a process he'll keep up until birth. [gross!]
  • The liver starts making bile this week — a sign that it's doing its job right.
  • The spleen starts helping in the production of red blood cells.
  • He/She can grasp, too, and if you're having an ultrasound now, you may even catch him/her sucking the thumb. (very true! I actually hit 14 weeks a couple of days ago... and we caught Inchworm in the act of sucking his/her thumb!)
  • Though I can't feel the tiny punches and kicks yet, Inchworms arms and legs (which now measure about 1/2 inch long) are more flexible and active.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Fat Lumpy Bellies

Today Robyn, Mom and myself went shopping for our first maternity wardrobe. It was quite the adventure! You can really only get things from a few select stores here in Southern Oregon. We got the bulk of the wardrobe at the one maternity shop in the Rogue Valley Mall (I forgot the name).

So this is us with our first changing room session. You might say we grew instant [lumpy] tummy's here. I've heard this can happen when trying on tummy-clothes!

OK so for those of you who aren't catching on, the dressing rooms were equip with a pillow-like tummy with elastic strap that velcros around your waist. Of course we had to run around with our funky looking bellies. It was quite fun to do a Santa Claus type, "ho ho ho!" and make the fake belly bob up and down. hee-hee!

We also went out to lunch/tea at Country Cottage, my mom will follow her post with photos of that. The above pictures were taken with my cell phone camera. You'll have to read my mom's blog for our tea party pictures at lunch. We've also got dual belly pics of Robyn and I (some funny ones in our new pants as well), but I promised Robyn I'd wait until she posted her own belly photos on her blog.

I'm pretty sure we're only a month-ish away from being this big (but not quite as lumpy!). I am curious how big I'll get before we go to Europe. I hate to pee on planes, but with 24 hours of flying (one way) I'm sure I'll have to deal with it more than a few times.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Party On!

This year for Halloween, we had a party at the Swartz's house which includes: Heather, Mike and kids: Morgan, Miranda, Sage, Justin and Sabrina. (Heather is my cousin). It was also Mikes Birthday!

I invited my friend Emily from work, she came as a vampiress. I was dressed as a "frump". We weren't sure if we were going to make it so I never made an effort to plan a costume.... John had also been sick for a week and a half... but we made it! yay!

Ben was in charge of planning the Haunted rooms which turned out to be a blast for the billion kids that showed up. Heather and Mikes house is very spacious so is great for a large gathering. Heather invited 70 or so people (all of whom seemed to show up!). We are planning to do Thanksgiving there this year, it should be a blast!

Randy was some sort of Disco-Pimp... Uncle Mike and Aunty Kathy as farmers.... *lol*

Dad grew some locks, Methias was grumpy and sari was a ghost...? (j/k)

Little do Heather and Mike know, next year we're going to take over their Ginormous play room downstairs to create a VERY scary full fledge haunted house. We will see!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Inchworm: Almost 14 weeks ("polaroids")

I had another prenatal appointment today for Inchworm. They normally just use a Fetal Doppler for hearing a heartbeat....which was amazingly loud, healthy and going strong!

As promised, I convinced the doctor to do one more ultrasound. I really didn't have to convince much, everyone at the Dr's office is very pleasant, always relaxed and in a "no rush" attitude.

She/he seemed to be asleep at first, which was a disappointment because it's easier to see with movement.... then she/he started hiccuping. That was hilarious to watch as the vertebra curled quickly, bending the whole body with each hiccup.

Polaroid #1:
This is a pretty good representation of the head and torso. You can clearly see the bubble of a head (darker areas are the brain/skull), she/he is face down (sideways in my belly) on the big white area, which is the placenta. The vertebra is also quite prominent as it glows bright white and has distinct ridges. Legs and arms are not very visible here.

Polaroid #2:

This one took a little bit of staring to get it right. Click on this small image to see the same one w/out all the lines.

Inchworm is curled on the pillowy placenta facing the "camera", sucking her/his thumb. If you look close enough, you can see she/he is laying on her/his right side, sucking the right hand with a dim left arm on the placenta. Follow the very visible vertebra down to the tiny little legs (one is more prominent).

Polaroid #3:

This is just the last one. It isn't quite as clear as the others... but looks a lot like the top scan. Overall, this was a very exciting appointment for us.

There are arguments that too many ultrasounds will harm the baby (radiation), but I was selfish and wanted pictures for the blog and to be able to show John (and everyone) how baby-like Inchworm is getting. John said that the baby will come out with a tan if I keep asking for them! *lol*