Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Pregnancy Update: 18 weeks

Happy Wednesday! Wednesdays have become one of my favorite days of the week as it's the day that I move into a new week of pregnancy. It's fun to read the pregnancy updates from the various aps that I am using and to hear about the development milestones of the week to come.

I don't want to inundate you guys with pregnancy updates as I know they are not of interest to everyone. So I've decided that I will do a pregnancy update every 4 weeks. Plus I figure that it will be nice to document this experience in case I ever want to walk down memory lane.

Baby size:  The baby is now the size of a bell pepper. He or she is about 5.5 inches long and weighs almost 7 ounces.

Sex of the baby:  I still don't want to find out but Phil still REALLY wants to know the sex. I think I might concede on this and have him find out after our 20 week ultrasound. I'll just have them put the sex in an envelope and he can open it on his own. He is the best secret keeper so I know he won't spill the beans. For some reason, I'm just not that curious about the sex and want to wait to find out on the day of delivery but he feels like he HAS to know as it will help him feel closer to the baby. I know of another couple that did this and it worked out just fine for them.

One of my pet peeves about my decision to not find out is that upon hearing that I don't want to find out the sex, so many people have said they needed to know the sex so they could plan. I am such a type A planner, and I will definitely be doing LOTS to plan and prepare for this baby. However, I feel like most of the preparations you make for a new baby are independent of the sex. Even if we knew the sex, we would have a gender neutral nursery so we could use it for a 2nd child if we have another. Also, since we are looking a new house, we won't decorate a nursery if we don't find a house before the baby arrives because it's a waste of money to decorate a room as a nursery knowing that we'll be selling it soon. Also, besides knowing what color of clothes to buy or how to decorate the nursery, it doesn't seem like there are that many gender-specific decisions to make. Plus, no one in my family has found out the sex of their child, with the exception of my brother's 2nd child - and they were wrong (thought it was a girl and it was a boy!). This is definitely one of those YOU DO YOU decisons.

Symptoms/RA management:  So far I am feeling pretty good. I still feel more tired than usual but that's likely related to not sleeping all that well.

Unfortunately, my RA is still not behaving. After my last flare in September, my rheumatologist decided to keep me on a low dose of steroids for the forseeable future because every time I would go off a course of steroids, I would get a flare. Except I started to get another flare on Monday night, even though I'm on a low dose of steroids.  Le sigh. I've kind of given up hope of being part of the 75% of women whose RA goes into remission during pregnancy. I will see my Rheumatologist tomorrow so it will be good to talk more with her how to keep these stupid flares at bay. I am guessing she'll keep me on a slightly higher dose of steroids since the lower dose I am on isn't working. I am so frustrated right now. And being in pain just really, really sucks.

Recent/upcoming appointments: I had a prenatal appointment on Monday and it went well. The baby's heartbeat was strong at 153 beats/minute! It's really cool to hear the heartbeat as it makes it all feel more real. My next big appointment is an appointment at a perinatal clinic (clinic that works with higher risk pregnancies). I was referred to this clinic since I have had so much trouble with my RA and have been on steroids for most of the pregnancy, which isn't ideal. We have 2.5 hours of appointments including an 80 minute level II ultrasound with a perinatal doctor. I will feel so much better about being on steroids after the ultrasound as they'll be able to confirm that the steroids haven't impacted the baby's development. The dose I am on *shouldn't* impact the baby but I'll feel better once that is confirmed with images!

Sleep:  Sleep has been a challenge. I'm not a great sleeper in the first place and pregnancy has just made it harder since I still get up 2-4 times a night to use the bathroom. I know of a lot of women who slept 9+ hours a night when they were pregnant; I am lucky if I get 8 hours a night, even on weekend nights. I usually have to take a nap each day of the weekend as I still feel so tired. I can't say I've felt a second trimester 'burst of energy' but maybe that is still coming? I know the steroid use does not help with my sleep issues so I might just have to accept that I'm not going to get as much sleep as I'd like while pregnant.

Cravings and favorite foods: I have been eating a lot of pickles. I love pickles and always eat quite a bit of them but I've been eating even more during pregnancy!

Exercise:  I've pretty much just been going for walks and try to get in 10k steps a day but that doesn't happen every day depending on how I feel. My RA has prevented me from being as active as I would like to be, but it's out of my hands and I have to listen to my body and take it easy.

Recent baby prep/decisions:  I started a registry on Amazon but have kept it private for now. I'm really really trying to not over-register. Phil is a minimalist and I do not like to have a cluttered house so we are really thinking about every thing that people say you 'have to have.'

Another recent decision I made was to change OB practices. I started going to a new practice when we found out we were expecting. An OB friend had recommended it as her good friend from residency practices there. But it turns out her friend is having a baby in December so she'll be out for all of my third trimester. I was already kind of frustrated with this practice because they were running behind by 30-45+ minutes for every appointment. And when I was having bleeding from the SCH, it took them 2 days to get back to me when I called with a question. So the combination of all of those factors led me to decide to go back to the OB practice I used to go to. I always had a great experience at my previous OB practice and they deliver at the hospital we want to deliver at so it was an easy decision to change.

Lastly, we also decided to sign up for Bradley classes which is a series of classes that prepares you for the labor and deliver process. I have 2 friends that did Bradley classes and they both thought they were valuable. The class meets once a week for 2 hours for 10 weeks so it's quite the commitment but I think it will be good for us. I'm hoping we can go out to dinner before every 2-3 classes to make it more of a "date night."

Mood: My anxiety has greatly improved since the first trimester. August was really bad since I had 4 flares that month but now that my flares are happening less often, I'm feeling better about things. I still worry about the steroid use, but I trust my Rheumatologist and know that she is recommending the lowest risk treatment for both me and the baby.

Maternity clothes:  After not showing for the first 16 weeks, I've started to show which has been fun and exciting. My bump is pretty small but it's kind of low so my regular work pants don't fit anymore. I tried wearing a belly band but my pants didn't feel secure enough. It's not that they would have fallen off or anything like that - I just didn't like how the belly band fit. Maybe I needed a smaller size?  Who knows. Luckily I've been able to score some inexpensive maternity clothes at Gap, Old Navy, Pink Blush, and a local maternity thrift shop. I also ordered some pants and shirts from Loft - I had no idea they had maternity clothes!

I went through my closet last weekend and packed up all the pre-pregnancy clothes. It's much easier to pick out an outfit each morning when I am only looking at what fits/feels comfortable.

Before picture - you can't tell in this picture but my clothes extended to each wall of the closet. I know it looks like I have a lot of clothes, but we have 4 seasons here and I don't pack away out-of-season clothes so this is 100% of what I own and wear.

After picture. Less options but more clarity about what my options are.
Reading:  My friend picked up a copy of "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" from a little free library in her neighborhood. The book suggests that the mom read it before she's in the fog of the newborn days so I am slowly working my way through it and then Phil will read it next. The author says that the dad needs to be involved in sleep training and I can totally see why that is the case so it will be good for both of us to understand the techniques recommended by the author, who is a pediatrician with many years of experience.


Amber said...

I discovered there are so many things you don’t need right away! Or at all... one thing I would suggest, and we bought it later, was a moti N detect lamp with very low light. You will be going into baby’s room during the night over the first year and you never want them to fully wake up. However, you need to be able to see a little bit!

I’m glad you got some maternity clothes! They make all the difference!

Amber said...

That should said motion. Not moti N. 🙄

Jeanie said...

It all sounds good, Lisa, except the RA. Smart girl on cleaning the closet with the old clothes. I don't mind these baby updates -- keep 'em coming. It's fun to join you on your journey.

Charbelle said...

okay, I love updates! I feel like I get to be a part of everything even though I'm several hundred miles away! I'm so glad that the maternity clothes are working out so well! I have to swap wardrobes soon since the fall temps are actually arriving in NC. I think it's awesome that you are able to reach a compromise about baby boy/baby girl. You know Phil won't say a word so that helps a lot I know. I hate that your RA has been so complicated :( I'm so sorry! I have one of my close friends here who found out right before my wedding that she's expecting again and she had SERIOUS issues with the OB practice and she too had to switch. It's infuriating when they don't get back to you in a timely manner and/or brush off significant concerns. I'm glad that you are back where you are well taken care of!

missris said...

I love reading pregnancy updates and living vicariously, so I say the more the better! :) I think that if we have kids (and that's a big if) we may find out the gender but then not tell anyone. I cannot STAND the over-pink-ification of baby girl stuff and I'm very pink averse (I just don't care for the color) myself so I think it would drive me crazy if well meaning friends and family got us a bunch of very gendered baby stuff. Plus then we couldn't use it for a second child of another gender, which is so inefficient. That's just my own personal pet peeve--I realize most people don't feel this way!

Megan said...

Re: Baby are SO SMART to keep your baby wish list small...I found that I didn't need nearly as much as all of the websites recommend. Go for good quality on the things that are important to you and wait to buy the other things until you need might find you actually don't need them at all! Also consider putting together a list of things you wouldn't mind to have used and send it to your friends with kids, you never know what they might have in the attic that you can borrow. Finally, try to find a USED stroller through local mom buy/sell facebook groups. The really good ones are SO expensive and you can easily find a great jogger for at least 25-50% off retail (My BOB revolution was only $200 compared to over $400 retail. So many moms *think* they will totally use it all the time...and they don't so there are always some out there (and I think you'll put a sturdy jogging stroller though a lot of use with your active lifestyle so its a worthwhile investment!)

And YEAY for a Bradley class--or any birth class for that matter! We did a Bradley class and were really happy that we did. I think, regardless of they type of birth you want, its SO SO SO important to have a big picture of what a birth could look like. I had my "plan" in my head but my husband and I also were able to talk through other scenarios and what we would want to happen if my plan didn't work out. Knowledge is power!

Side note: If you are planning on an "intervention free birth", YOU CAN DO IT! I went into the hospital knowing that is what my goal was and its totally do-able if thats what you want. Training for a birth is like training for a race (and the Bradley class will show you what to do!). When you get to the big day, it likely won't go exactly how you want but rely on your training (and your body), and do your thing. And just like a race, in the middle, you might think, I'll never do this again but as soon as you get to the finish line/baby, you forget all the pain and are engulfed in joy and endorphins in the moment <3.

Leigh said...

I did the same with my clothes. It was just too frustrating looking at them and knowing it wouldn’t work, so I had mainly maternity clothes in my closet and sweaters as those always fit. Glad you are happy with your OB. I would be frustrated too if they were always running that far behind. In terms of sleep training and the dad being involved- yes, yes, yes! I couldn’t have done it on my own, and it’s been so worth it with both of our kids (Gabe falls asleep on his own within 5-10 mins of when we put him down now)

Marlys said...

I will never tire of these posts so keep them coming! It is exciting to look forward to being a "new grandma" again!
Back in our day, we took Lamaze classes and they were very helpful as we went cold fish for the first baby and that was tough.
Pregnancy clothes are so fashionable now and I love them!
I'm glad you are back with your old OB as it sounds like the right decision.

Shoshanah said...

So many things to say! First I wonder who you know where the dad knew the gender but the mom didn't. :)

I will say people have such opinions about not finding out, even strangers. Why does it matter to the girl checking me out at the grocery store what gender our baby is?!?

We didn't actually take Bradley classes, but I did read several books on it. I was able to have a natural birth both times and am really, really happy with how it turned out. So many people will tell you you're crazy when you want to go natural but if that's what you want you can definitely make it happen!

Carolina John said...

So glad the anxiety has relieved itself! I know the RA flares don't help, but once you get to the point where "can I do this" turns into "I can't wait to do this" it gets really exciting. You're going to be great.

Amber said...

Ugh so annoying those stupid RA flares are still rearing their ugly heads but I really hope that staying on a lower dose of steroids helps going forward! I am glad you are feeling better than you did in August at least. My old coworker gifted me that sleep book at my shower and I am excited to dive into reading it, she said it was "life changing" for them!

katielookingforward said...

It sounds like you have an awesome set of doctors. I wish the RA flares would dissipate for you. And I love that you are waiting to be surprised for the sex!

Stephany said...

I'm a childless weirdo who LOVES reading pregnancy updates (I used to solely read pregnancy/IVF blogs when I first started blogging, ha), so I love these kinds of posts! Maybe because it's so different from my stage of life and something I'm probably never going to go through, so it's fun to read about for me!

I'm am sorry your RA is still acting a fool. I hope your appointments with your rheumatologist + the perinatal doc will help you get the RA under control AND feel good that your drugs aren't affecting the baby's development.

I'm probably someone who would have to find out the sex of the baby, but I wish I was someone who could wait! I think it would be such a fun surprise. You do you, girl!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Haha, I am like Stephany above, childless, but I too love the pregnancy updates. The size of a bell pepper already - wow! So exciting!! So sorry to hear that your RA is still acting up, and that you're not getting great sleeps.

It's so funny how adamant some people are about finding out the sex. I would definitely not want to know. But yeah, it's definitely a you-do-you decision.

I have heard from so many people that they didn't use half of what they bought/received for their baby, so it's definitely a good idea to start with a bit, and you can always buy stuff as you need it.

San said...

Also childless, but loving pregnancy updates. Keep them coming.
It's interesting that Phil NEEDS to find out the sex of the baby while you want to wait.... I can see reasons for both sides and don't know how I would feel in your situation.

I am sorry you're still dealing with RA flares... :(

Haha, aren't pickles a pregnancy-craving food? I should be always pregnant then, because I LOVE pickles! :)