Halfway There

Cue Bon Jovi lyrics here.

We had our 20 week appointment yesterday. Hard to believe that half of the pregnancy is done. Baby’s vital organs all looked good. We even got to see him/her opening his/her little mouth (and drinking the amniotic fluid–way to be gross, baby). The baby is weighing in at about 13 ounces and is right on track growth wise. For being the 20 week anatomy scan, it was over really quickly, but my doctor had told us previously that he’d already been monitoring things at each monthly appointment. I did ask about the possible sex reveal photo and he assured me that he never gives out pictures that give anything away and that there would be no way to tell if our baby is a boy or girl from the picture he gave us. So there’s that, and we’re back to ‘officially’ not knowing. My mom said she thinks girl bc of how big I appear to be carrying, and I’m starting to sway a bit back to girl, but I’m mostly still thinking boy. Either way, I’m happy it’ll be a surprise and I’m really happy the baby is developing exactly as they should.

Otherwise, things are going pretty okay. I’m feeling more consistent kicking, especially when I’m sitting or laying down. I’ve tried to get J to feel it a couple times, but the baby stops or he just can’t feel it yet. Hopefully in the next 4-5 weeks. I woke up today pretty ill, and puked twice with an upset stomach. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been eating pretty healthy and we went out to dinner last night (our new ritual is to go to Five Guys after our ultrasounds, mainly because J really likes it there and this gives us an excuse to go) and the food just screwed up my stomach? Or if it’s baby related? Either way, I’m not feeling my best today and I didn’t sleep well last night, so I do think I’m going to try to go home a little early this afternoon.

We (I) were hoping to get in one last beach trip before the baby, but it’s starting to look like that may not happen. I have a long weekend in mid-May and was hoping to book something to the south of Italy if possible. I asked my doctor if it would be alright for me to fly at that time (29 weeks) and while he didn’t say no, he did say to make sure everything was refundable. There was some concern about contracting being more normal around 30 weeks and not wanting to exacerbate them. I finally asked if my trip in April should be the last trip and he and J were both like, ‘Yeah probably’. I’m a little bummed because I thought we could get one more in, but I have a personal day saved, so I’m thinking of using it for a long weekend in late April. I just need to convince J of this. We’ll see.

That’s it here. I’d share some pictures of our anatomically perfect child, but after insisting that I didn’t want any leg pictures, we only got some pretty creepy face pictures of the kid, so I think I’ll just keep those tucked in the baby book for now. 😉

16, 17, 18, 19 Weeks (whoops)

We had our 16 week appointment a few weeks ago, and everything looked good! Our baby’s legs are fully formed, we saw the hands a lot clearer, and the kid was moving all over the place. I *think* I finally felt those kicks for the first time last week! The appointments always go so fast though. I spend four weeks counting down until I can see my kid again and then before I know it, I’m back on the street, and the appointment is over. Less than two weeks until the next one, in case you were wondering.

We had a bit of a gender scare at our appointment that sent me into a meltdown for a solid day. We’ve been very clear that we want to wait until birth to find out the sex of the baby. It’s been way more difficult than I thought it would be not to know, but this scare definitely reinforced that I want the surprise. We were having the scan, and I mentioned before, during, and after it that we didn’t want to know the sex. My doctor always gives us pictures after the scan, and he printed them out and handed them to us when it was over. We never look at them until we leave, so as we were walking down the sidewalk, J handed them over to me with this little grin on his face. As I scanned through them, I got to the third picture, which was a shot BETWEEN MY KID’S LEGS. WTF Doc? There is this little straight white line that seems to be poking out, so of course, we both thought it was a penis and that our kid is a boy. I was more taken aback and in shock than anything and initially thought it was even a little amusing that we had this picture. I wasn’t thinking super clearly and sent it to my sister, which in retrospect, I should not have done. She too said she had a ‘good idea’ of what sex my kid was. As the night progressed though, I started to get upset about it. By 4:00am, I woke up J as I sobbed in bed. I ended up getting up and going to the couch because I couldn’t stop crying. I cried at the train station and I cried to my friend and I cried at school while hiding in my closet.

Why was I that upset? A variety of reasons, a few of which I’m not incredibly proud of but I’m human, and I’m a hormonal human, so that happens. For starters, I just really didn’t want to know the sex of the baby. Like I said, I don’t think I even fully realized how much I wanted the surprise until I felt like it had been taken from me. I was incredibly frustrated by it and went down a pity spiral. I kept crying about how hard it had been to get pregnant, this hasn’t been an easy pregnancy, and all I wanted to do was find out my baby’s sex when I met them for the first time. WAS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?? I’m not saying it’s all rational, but it was how I felt.

The second part had to do with the fact that it seemed like I may be having a son. I’ve written a couple posts about how I always imagined a girl and how my gut felt like I had a girl growing. Nearly every old wives tale says girl with my symptoms. The Chinese and Mayan calendar also agree. I’m still having at least one puking episode a week. Everything said girl. For years, I’d always thought I’d have a girl first. I imagined raising this independent, bad-ass girl. I’ve been compiling lists of books of other strong females to read to my little girl as she grows up. I read articles about things not to say to your daughter to cause body image issues. I’ve been preparing for a girl. I have not been preparing for a boy. Seeing the possibility of a penis caused me to have a huge breakdown. A lot of my afternoon the following day was spent searching out articles on gender disappointment (when I wasn’t crying about feeling like a terrible mom for even caring about the baby’s sex). What I found was that I wasn’t upset that my child might have a penis–I was upset about what my mind thought it meant to be a ‘boy mom’. I’d always envisioned having all these ‘girl’ moments with my daughter–weekly phone chats, her confiding in me, becoming close confidants as she grew up, knowing there was someone to rely on as I got older. Stereotypes that I created through my own life. I am close to my mom, talk to her multiple times a week, call her before making any real major decisions, and watch her take care of her family and parents. My perception of raising a boy was that they would eventually leave me for whoever they decided to marry. That I wouldn’t know how to bond with them. That they’d never really call me, or would view it as more of a chore than something they looked forward to. Not all of this is founded by things I’ve witnessed, but much of it is. Look at me. I took my husband far away from his family. Many men I know have ended up following their wives if the wives wished to be closer to family. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I’m just saying it was something I associated with raising a boy that I didn’t even know I did until I really looked at why I was so upset about the possibility of my child being a boy (which, duh, there was always that possibility but I’d never really entertained it). I don’t have to play sports to bond with my son. I can still raise an independent, kind man who respects women’s rights too. It doesn’t have to be reserved for a daughter. He can read the books I’ve been researching as well. I can cultivate a relationship with him so that he won’t dread calling his mom down the road, but will hopefully seek out my advice like I do with my mom, like my brothers also do. There is no guarantee that I’ll have a daughter that will want to talk to me either. These stereotypes I placed on a boy, I had inadvertently placed on my possible daughter too. Expectations of what I thought our relationship would be like and what I thought her personality would be like, which isn’t any more fair to her. I don’t get to choose my children’s personality because it’s what I’ve envisioned. I can raise them the best that I can, provide them with as many opportunities to see the world in multiple ways, and be the best support for them that I can be. They get to choose who they want to be.

It was probably the best worst thing that had happened to me. While I still don’t ‘technically’ know if I am having a son, I feel much more prepared for his arrival if there is a he growing right now. My sister ended up showing the picture to her gynecologist friend who said it wasn’t a conclusive picture–the line could easily be the umbilical cord. The line doesn’t look like most boy nubs at that gestation. I’m back to not knowing. That being said, I’m leaning towards boy pretty heavily and I can honestly say I am totally on board with that. I needed to work through my ‘issues’ with sex and I’m glad I had the chance to do so before he or she was born. I’m now just really excited to meet him/her. I love the names we’ve (mostly) picked out and I can’t wait to start using one of them when that little shrieking bundle gets here.

I’m now 19 weeks and really starting to show. I emailed my doctor yesterday because my belly button really hurt. Who knew that was even a thing?? It’s caused from the stretching the belly button is doing as my belly grows, and I can tell that it’s ‘shallower’ now (the things we notice). It still hurts like a mother to the touch, but all in all, that’s a rather reasonable pain to deal with. I panicked a little last night thinking about how much bigger my belly was going to get (my kid isn’t even a full pound yet!) and wondering how the hell it was going to happen. Good thing they take nine (ten) months to gestate and give the skin some stretching time. I’m back on regular foods and really trying to make sure I get good food in my body for the baby. At the 16 week appointment, I drank orange juice right before it, to make sure the little potato wasn’t sleeping. The kid might as well have been doing back flips in there with all the movement going on, and it really made me realize how impacted the baby is by what I put in my body. Fortunately, I have not thrown up in nine days, which if I make it to tomorrow, will end up tying my longest streak without puking. That alone makes life so much better. I’m still able to sleep on my stomach, but my body has started leaning away from doing that and I’m trying to side sleep more. I’ve got another cold and it’s manifested into this obnoxious cough which is probably more of why I can’t stomach sleep since I’m stuffy and hacking everywhere. I am trying to work out 2-3 times per week now as well. It’s kicking my ass right now and I can’t believe how badly out of shape I am, but better I got back into it now than in 5 months from now. That’s kind of a wrap on how things are physically here. Emotionally, I can cry at any and everything and I’m a bit more needy with J, but otherwise I’m good. I’m usually just pretty excited. I know our world will get turned upside down in not so long but for now I’m just enjoying feeling the baby grow.

Can’t wait to see the little one next week–and also can’t believe we’re almost halfway there!

A Letter to My Nausea

Hey Nausea,

It’s me, M. Remember when you showed up around week 6 of the pregnancy, and I was legitimately thrilled? I gleefully accepted your aversion to most healthy foods. I giggled while I gagged because your very presence made my pregnancy seem more real. I stayed happy with your presence even when you introduced Puking to the mix, around weeks 10 and 11.  I didn’t love this new friend, but I again accepted them into the mix because it reassured me that my baby was indeed growing away. Plus, I figured you and Puking were nearing the end of your stay as the first trimester grew to a close.

We’re 16 weeks in. You’ve stayed around for 10 weeks. Occasionally, you pack your shit and take a 3-5 day vacation, but every time you return, you do so with a fucking vengeance (and with Puking in tow). Listen, I’m grateful for you in that your presence was a positive indicator towards a healthy pregnancy. But it’s been 10 weeks. I’m exhausted. You were supposed to exit the building about two weeks prior. You’ve helped me through a scary first trimester (made scary by my own mind, the kiddo has been as healthy as can be). You provided reassurance when every other symptom just wasn’t enough. I appreciate what you’ve done. But it’s time to move on. Seek shelter elsewhere. This mom is ready for kicks, not bathroom sprints.

It’s been real. We’ve grown close these last 10 weeks, but it’s time for a break. No hard feelings, I just think we should move on. What we’ve got is turning unhealthy. It’s too one-sided. I can’t say I’ll miss you when you’re gone, but I definitely won’t forget you. Now please, pack it up and make this a permanent relocation.

If not, I’m asking for stronger medication to help.

Sincerely yours,



Last night I was lying in bed, chatting with the baby, when it occurred to me that this past month was one full year since we started trying while being monitored. This time last year, I had had my first full month of ultrasounds and blood work. I’d been given my first instructions for timed intercourse. I had my first meltdown over this being the month I might really get pregnant. It freaked me out that by October, I could be a mom. It was the first, and last, month I ovulated independently until I ended up pregnant at the end of October (full circle I suppose). It was the first time I took a pregnancy test really wondering if it would be positive.

That first month was intense. We had a lot of doctor appointments. It was the month that forced me to get past being shy about showing the world my nether regions. It was the month that really introduced me to transvaginal ultrasounds. The first time my veins began to understand their new normal as the blood draws started in full force. The first time I heard that I might have to give myself a shot to force ovulation and not being sure I could handle that. The relief I felt when I didn’t have to (the future would make up for this, but the naivety was nice). The month that I really felt the fear of the reality of being someone’s mom. It was a month of discovery, of really thinking about what I really wanted, which is pretty important when you’re attempting to bring life into the world.

There were a lot of lasts in that first month of trying with a fertility specialist. It was the last time that I wasn’t aware of when my period should come. The last month that I wouldn’t stalk pregnancy test results, eyeing them carefully in different lights to see if maybe that was a second line? The last month that someone wasn’t telling me when to have sex (for awhile anyways). The last month that my weeks weren’t determined by what my cycle day was, and when my appointments were. The last month that didn’t involve a shot of some kind. It would be the last month for 10 months that didn’t involve some kind of heartbreak at the end of each cycle. It was the last month that I was as naive about what it took for me to be a mom.

I’m grateful for this anniversary. A year ago, if I had gotten pregnant on this month of monitoring, I don’t know that I would have the same appreciation for life growing inside me as I do now. Sometimes I wish I could still be so naive and hopeful as I was that month. Future me was in for some tough times. But through it all, starting with that first month, I discovered how strong I could be. How to keep going even when exhausted. That some pain doesn’t go away, but other joys soften it. That first month started a long trek, and I’m glad I trekked it. I don’t love all parts of it, but I’m grateful for the absolute joy it led me to now. I’m grateful for the perspective it gave me, and how it made me realize how badly I wanted to be a mom. I’m grateful for how it brought my husband and I closer together when it could have ripped us apart. I’m grateful for the way his face lights up when he sees our baby because of how hard it all was on him too.

First month me had no idea what the next year had in store. A year later me appreciates the struggle that innocent mom-to-be was embarking on.

How much can change in a year.

14/15 Weeks

There isn’t too much to share right now. Week 14 saw the end of the stomach bug and the first trimester (yay second trimester)! It also marked the beginning of a baby bump….which promptly went away after three days, causing multiple days of panic for me. My rational brain said ‘Don’t be weird, your baby didn’t just disappear because that isn’t possible.’ My irrational brain, who seems much stronger than the rational brain said, ‘Holy shit, you should freak out. Let’s look at all your symptoms–OR LACK THEREOF–and only focus on that.’  Turns out, baby bloat is real, and symptoms fading at 14 weeks is real normal. My kid has an hilarious sense of humor, because after I cried to J last night that I was having a hard time with the lack of symptoms and the mysteriously fading bump, I woke up today with a giant one (which to be fair, was to my relief, but also was mostly bloat). By 11:00am, I had violently thrown up my breakfast and snack which marks the first time that has happened at school and was without appetite for the majority of the day. Kudos kiddo. While it was a miserable day at school, I can’t lie and say I didn’t appreciate the return of symptoms (like, a little. Throwing up isn’t my fav but it is reassuring). When I texted my mom about her misbehaving grand baby, she told me to go ‘plug myself’ with my medicine to feel better. I’ve had 5 solid days free of suppositories, so I’m really trying to avoid going back down that path. A suppository-free life is pretty nice. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

I’m 15 weeks today and have told a couple more people at school and one other person has just asked me if I’m expecting. Fortunately, I am, or I’d of been forced to give my infertility spiel. When I’m bloated, I absolutely look pregnant, and have pulled out my maternity pants because they’re so much more comfortable. The baby is the size of an apple and should be hearing sound this week. I’d say I should start watching my language, but might as well start ’em young. We’re narrowing down names and are set on the girl name. Next week is our next doctor’s appointment, which I am shockingly counting down to. It’s also the last week before a break, which I am equally counting down to. We’re going to Normandy, France with our friends and I’m looking forward to the time away from Belgium! Hopefully the next two weeks go by quickly. 🙂

The Stomach Flu

I’m not one prone to illness very often. I don’t really take sick days, like ever, unless I’m really sick.

I’ve been really sick.

Monday was a regular day at school, but I was dragging by the end of it. As I’m still technically in the first trimester, I chalked it up to baby exhaustion. I came home and napped for over two hours, which is unusual for me these days. When I woke up, I could tell I needed to throw up, but again, that’s kind of common for me the last few weeks. I went downstairs and had a violent puking episode, losing most of my lunch. I thought I was done and called my sister for a catch up. Over the course of our hour and a half conversation, I puked three more times, all violently (like gasping for breath). I also had a really upset tummy in conjunction. By the time I was gearing up for round 5, I realized this might be more than just pregnancy puking. My sister said to monitor it and see what happened. As the night wore on, I was throwing up every 30-40 minutes while also having a very upset tummy. If I tried to drink water, it came up. By 1:30am, I had puked up all the bile in my stomach and was just retching. J started to get worried and wanted to go to the hospital, but I didn’t think I could even get to one. I texted my mom and asked when I should be worried, as this had been going on for nearly 7 hours at this point, and both she and my dad were like, ‘Get to a hospital’. I called the number for my hospital and talked to a doctor who said to ride it out till morning and if I still couldn’t keep anything down, to come in. I stopped throwing up around 2am (I think purely bc there was nothing left) and fell asleep around 6am. I slept until 12:30 which was needed. J went out and got the Belgian Gatorade and popsicles, which I tried to drink and eat. Both came up shortly after. At that point, I called my doctor. He ended up telling me to come in so they could check the baby and make sure I wasn’t dehydrated. It’s a 30 minute cab to the hospital which I was DREADING.

We made it there and my doctor had told me to go to Maternity and that he’d call ahead to tell them I was on my way. He was leaving on vacation (who goes on vacation on a Tuesday?). He did not call ahead and no one knew what to do with me. It took us forever to even find the place we were supposed to go to, which resulted in me being on the verge of tears and then annoyance when I realized he didn’t let them know I was coming. You had one job, dude. They made me pee in a cup to check for dehydration and then did a scan of the baby. When they first did the ultrasound, she couldn’t see the heartbeat and turned the sound on. It was silent and a flat line. I felt my heart also flatline, because the baby also wasn’t moving. It was the longest few seconds, until finally, there it was. A strong heartbeat, as she told us. THANK YOU GOD. The baby was sleeping, which is really disconcerting to see actually. I asked if she wanted to wake it up but she said it wasn’t a big deal. She said the baby looked great, it was measuring fine, and the heartbeat was good. Seeing the baby sleep was just unsettling and I still wish we could have woken it up. I also thought I might have seen a nub for a penis between the legs, but I’m not sure how good I am at reading these things. Really would blow my gut feeling about a girl out of the water, wouldn’t it?

I’ve been out of school since Tuesday, and today I am finally feeling more human. They gave me medicine to help with nausea, and can be used for general pregnancy nausea as well. This has been the most helpful thing I’ve been given as I can tell it works. The negative is that it’s a suppository (like a butt one) and I just don’t understand why so many Belgian medicines I’m given have to go either up my vagina or my butt. Either way, it appears to be working, so I can only hate on it so much. I also got a medicine to cure my infected intestines. This too appears to be working. I’ll go back to work tomorrow, for a day. Probably for the best as my energy is the most lacking part right now. Evidently a lot of people are sick at school, so I probably caught something from the little munchkins.

It’s going to be a long three weeks until the next appointment, so I’m taking all positive thoughts and prayers for our babe. I’ve read stomach bugs don’t really impact them, and that babies tend to sleep a lot in the womb (what else is there to do), so I know it’s all normal. Just a worry wart first time mom. Sorry, kiddo.

Big Sweet Baby

Our baby is BIG! S/he was measuring at 12w6d yesterday! Based on the due date I was given at 6 weeks, I should have been 12w1d. Based on the due date I voluntarily changed to after our 9 week ultrasound, I should have been 12w3d. Either way, we’ve had another growth spurt! The due date still isn’t being changed, but I don’t really care as long as the babe keeps up the growing. Maybe that’s why my throwing up has increased so significantly.  I also have to wonder if the talking and breathing exercises I do each night are making a difference. I’m sure that sounds insane, but ever since I started talking to the baby and doing our breathing (breathe in love; breathe out growth), the baby has measured ahead of the due date the last two appointments. Either way, it was awesome. The baby looks like a baby now. We saw fingers and toes, a nose and mouth, little legs and arms, and a growing brain! It’s so amazing to be able to watch the growth and it makes me so happy every time.

I talked to my doctor about the increasing vomiting and nausea, and in true fashion, he was unconcerned. He said it can happen, but that if my anti-nausea medicine works, to just take it more frequently. DONE. I threw up four times yesterday alone (one of them was after we got off the bus to go to his office. His office is in the ‘fancy’ suburb of Antwerp, and I puked in a bag on the sidewalk on the main street, while standing in the window of someone’s office. I’m sure I made their morning.). The first thing I did this morning was throw up as well. It’s hard but I know it should only last a few more weeks. I’ve already taken my meds twice this morning and it is helping. I was also given a prescription to help with sleep, should I need it. I slept through the night last night, so fingers crossed. When I go to bed later, I’m able to sleep through. Maybe my body thought going to bed at 8pm was a nap. I think my body is just going through all the things right now.

We go back in a month for our week 16 update. I’m at a point where I’m thinking about telling people at work, but I go back and forth on whether or not I’m really ready. It’ll come out eventually, so for now I think I’m good with just a few people knowing.

Despite all the recent sickness, there is nothing that brings me more joy than seeing our baby growing. It is honestly the most magical thing I’ve ever gotten to be a part of. Yesterday I kept looking at the pictures thinking, ‘That’s my son or daughter!’ and it never is any less amazing each time I say it. My son or daughter is growing away in my belly.

Miracles really do happen.

12 Weeks and Slowly Dying

I’m glad tomorrow is my doctor’s appointment because this week has been miserable and it’s only Wednesday. I’m starting to get concerned (shock) that this isn’t normal and could use some reassurance. Also, medicine.

As of Sunday night, I have been experiencing insomnia on top of the ever present nausea and increased vomiting. I woke up Sunday night/Monday morning at 2:30am and NEVER WENT BACK TO SLEEP. I’d gone to bed around 10pm or so, so I got a whopping 4.5 hours of sleep, maybe. I felt like death all day but I made it. Happy first day back. I was falling asleep on the couch by 7:30 that evening, so I went to bed at 8:00pm and was out almost immediately. At 4:00am, my body woke up for the day. Granted, I got around 8 hours of sleep, but I was still tired. I remembered this thing called AMSR that my friend Karli had told me about and listening to that lulled me to sleep for an hour between 5:30 and 6:30am. I was encouraged by the longer stretch and thought I was coming out from under what could also be jet lag. Then I went to bed last night. I was tired early again, but I stayed up until closer to 9:00pm (wild child over here). I woke up at 1:30 in the MORNING. At first I thought, ‘this is great, I have 5 more hours to go!’ until I watched those hours pass without falling back asleep. By 4:00am I was just pissed. I moved downstairs to the couch because I was tired of tossing in bed. No amount of AMSR was working. I put Chopped on TV and ate some food because of course I felt awful too. I tried reading, I turned the TV off, I rolled around on the couch searching for the best position. My body giggled and told me to fuck off. Sometime around 5:30 (again), it gave in and I passed out until my alarm went off at 6:30. I was so insanely tired I couldn’t bring myself to get up and hit snooze. After hitting it twice, my sleep deprived brain decided it was tired of the alarm going off and just shut it all down. I woke up 20 minutes before my train left. I was still so tired that I just didn’t have it in me to care. I showered, got ready as fast as I could, and decided I would take the next train and be a little late to work. The positive of being sleep deprived is that giving any fucks disappears completely.

I’m at work and all I can think about is my couch. I have three more hours to go and I’m meticulously counting down the minutes. I’m insanely nauseous but have been taking the anti-nausea medicine I was given back in week 6. It helps for about an hour and a half, which is incredibly unhelpful as I’m only supposed to take 4 in a 24 hour period. The hour and half that I’m not feeling like gagging or puking is great–I just need to extend it out by 4 hours. My body aches right now, likely from exhaustion and leaning over a toilet praying I don’t toss everything up. I don’t know if the flying back just threw my body and the babe into disaster mode or what but this has been a rough three days. I’m going to bed terrified of spending the majority of the night awake and I don’t know what I’m allowed to take, or if I’m allowed to take anything.

I feel like I must always say this, and so here it is: I am thrilled to be pregnant. Every night I talk to the baby, still. Every night I tell him or her how much I love them and that my only goal is for them to be healthy. If s/he is healthy and growing, I am a much calmer and happier mom-to-be. It turns out, though, that you can be over the moon happy to be a mom and still be sick and exhausted and miserable and not wanting to human.  They can, and do, coexist. I am just hoping that it is all due to a growth spurt and that everything with the baby is fine. I told my mom on Saturday, after throwing my stomach contents up twice, that I was becoming more convinced that I was having a girl and my payback for my teenage years was starting early.

I can’t wait to see our little one tomorrow. I’m happy the first trimester is nearing its end. I’m hoping my doctor can prescribe something to help with the nausea and the insomnia in the meantime. 😉

Weeks 10 and 11

Well we are back from Cleveland. My first time flying unmedicated in at least 5 years went better than I thought it would. I was able to stay calm for the baby even when I wanted to freak out every time we hit turbulence. Fortunately, we didn’t have a lot of that throughout our six flights.

I found that after a pretty nauseated flight home (resulting in my first major throw up session at the airport before take off), my nausea faded upon landing in Cleveland. I have to wonder if it was partly a mind over body situation because I was incredibly nervous about flying in the first trimester. I had been cleared by my doctor, bought compression socks, and gave myself a shot of Clexane to prevent blood clots, but I still worried about being in the air that long. I feel like I was so worried my symptoms would decrease that they did (or maybe the baby knew I had to hold it together for four days and gave me a break? Sure.). This resulted in me immediately scheduling an ultrasound at an imaging place that was reasonably priced. J thought I was losing my mind, but also realized that if I didn’t get the ultrasound done, I would freak out the entire break. We went to the place two days after landing. I’m actually so glad we did because besides easing my anxiety, we saw the baby move a TON. S/he literally flipped in my uterus, and we watched as s/he moved their little arms and kicked their little legs. It was a very active day for the baby and we both were a little in awe by it.

We hadn’t told anyone about the pregnancy since we were waiting until Christmas, but my sister was leaving two days before the holiday, so I decided to tell her ahead of time as I knew I would be telling my brothers early to have them help me with filming my parents reaction. I ended up putting one of our ultrasound pictures in a card that the baby ‘wrote’ to her and gave it to her as she was getting on the road. She was definitely pretty shocked but it was nice to be able to talk to her about the pregnancy. We decided to tell the boys that night as well. J and I went to dinner with my youngest brother and told him then. He asked why I wasn’t drinking so I just said ‘Well, because I’m pregnant’.  He didn’t believe me at first but was really happy for us when he realized we were serious. We came home from dinner and I took an ultrasound picture to my other brother and asked him to look at it. He was initially like ‘why are you showing me this picture?’ until I said that he was looking at my baby. He, too, was shocked but really happy for us.

Christmas morning finally came. I waited until everyone had opened all their gifts. I tied the box for my mom on Dallas’s collar and had her give it to my mom. I ended up just handing my dad his gift and made them open them together. It was a pretty awesome experience. My mom cried and my dad was super happy for us. I’m so glad I got to experience it in person. When my grandparents came over that afternoon, we had them open their gifts in front of family. My grandma screamed, which is what I thought would happen, and my grandpa looked at me and said ‘Are you trying to make me cry?!’ before giving me a big hug. I got teary at both reveals, but I have such a special relationship with my grandparents (we’re naming the baby after my grandpa for the middle name), so it was an emotional experience. I was also so happy to have it all out in the open!

The rest of the break flew by. Mom and I went shopping for maternity clothes, which are AMAZING. Why aren’t all pants maternity pants? They’re so comfortable! I was insanely bloated being back home and those pants made life much more comfortable. About four days before leaving, I started getting really emotional. It really hit me that I wouldn’t see my family again until after I was officially a mom and that freaked me out. I’ve spent so much time wondering if I would ever get pregnant, and then hoping and praying as each week passed with this pregnancy, that I never really considered that I’d be birthing the baby without seeing any of my family for a long time or having their support. I was sad that no one would be around to experience the pregnancy. Yes, I can Skype and send them pictures, but it’s different than actually being there. They’ll never feel the baby kick. They won’t be at the hospital after s/he is born. I had some pretty intense grieving, and it’s something that I continue to grieve. There are plusses and minuses to everything. Moving abroad is giving us our greatest plus with our baby. It is also resulting in a pretty hard minus. That’s the give and take of life, I suppose (deep thoughts).

We flew out on January 3rd which was a super difficult goodbye. I’d already been crying for days, but turns out, I had plenty left (much to J’s dismay). We had a really crowded flight to Chicago and I was squished in the middle seat between two strangers (J and I weren’t sitting by each other). I felt pretty bad upon landing, but so did J. We hadn’t eaten much yet, so we went and had lunch. I was doing fine, but in the middle of the meal, I started to get really hot which is my cue these days that things are probably going to go south pretty quick. I ran off to the bathroom and threw up everything I’d eaten so far that day. Tears were streaming down my face by the time it was all said and done. I felt better afterwards, but I find it so intriguing that this happened both times we were at the airport, coming and going. The flight coming back to Europe was shorter than going, which was nice since I don’t sleep on the plane when medication isn’t involved. The food was terrible on the way back, so I didn’t eat much. When we were about an hour out, they brought around these breakfast wraps. The regular ones were bacon and egg, and as I don’t eat pork, I asked for a vegetarian wrap. I knew they had them because they were in green boxes. I was pretty set on these eggs because I had only eaten rice so far and I was starving. The stewardess came back with a small fruit cup and I was so surprised I didn’t know what to do before she ran off. I literally started crying and told J I wanted eggs and didn’t want a fruit cup. Between that and just being exhausted, I nearly had a full blown meltdown over the fruit cup. I pulled it together, but not by much. So, hormones have definitely kicked in. By the time we got to Brussels and caught a train to Antwerp, we’d been traveling for 18 or so hours and I hadn’t slept at all. I passed out as soon as we got home. My sleep is still really jacked which has made for an unfortunate start to the work week but I’m hoping going back to work will force my body to adjust quicker.

In the meantime, my nausea has grown worse as I’ve gotten closer to 12 weeks, instead of fading like all the baby apps tell you should be happening (but as I do nothing on ‘schedule’, I would expect little else from my child). We went to the phone store on Saturday to get a new SIM card for my upgraded phone. As we stood in line, I started to break out in a sweat and overheat. J kept telling me to go home but I felt bad leaving him to deal with my phone stuff. I stood outside in the cold for awhile before running next door to a Subway and puking in their bathroom. I thought I was done and came back into the store, but within five minutes, the heat waves were back. I went back outside and quickly realized this was not going to end well, ran back inside to tell J I was taking off, and ran home. I ended up having another violent upheaval of everything I’d eaten that day. I didn’t move off the couch the rest of the day or all of Sunday. I only threw up a little on Sunday, which was a stark improvement but I felt awful all day. I’ve said I would take it as long as the baby was growing, and I will, but as the nausea intensifies, it is really hard to be a functioning human right now. Again, as long as s/he is healthy and growing, so be it. I have some anti-nausea medication that didn’t work the first time I took it, but I’m desperate enough to give it another go.

Our next appointment is this Thursday and we’ll do the blood work for genetic screenings. We’re starting to narrow down some names as well, which is exciting! It’s just really exciting to be this far along. We’re so glad that all our family and friends know about the baby now (we told our Nashville crew over NYE). I still pinch myself sometimes that there is an active little child growing (and who really looks like a baby now!). Can’t wait to see the changes this week!





The baby has grown! Based on our last appointment, I should be 8w4d today, but the baby is now measuring 9 weeks, which is closer to what I thought I should be. The baby looks like a baby now. It has a head and a body that you can clearly see. We heard its little heartbeat and it was just as beautiful as it was the first time. This appointment just made everything seem so real. The baby looked wonderful and I left feeling so excited (and nauseous because that is life).

We aren’t going to the fertility clinic anymore, and this was our first time going to my doctor’s private office. We got a little goody bag with some coupons and the cutest little pacifier I’ve ever seen. We also got a book that travels to every appointment and keeps track of all things baby at each appointment. I go back in three weeks and we’ll do the 12 week appointment. They’ll do the genetic testing and blood work in that appointment. We found out today that I am not immune to toxoplasmosis, which mainly means I need to stay away from raw meat. Easy peasy.

So I’m just on cloud nine right now. It’s really just the most amazing thing, and I can’t wait to continue watching our baby grow. We gave our doctor homemade cookies and a card today thanking him for all he’s done for us over the last 12 months, which has been a lot. Our flight is Wednesday, and I’ve got a shot to take for the long flight to help thin my blood. I’ve also got anti-nausea medication that I’m going to start taking. I can’t wait to show everyone the pictures of our little baby!

Nine weeks, y’all! We are so, so proud and happy.