13w6d Babies and puppies, oh my.

I hope this doesn’t come across as creepy for me to admit, but I realized today that I spend a good portion of my spare time looking at pictures of my two favorite things – puppies and babies.  (Creepy?)  J and I cannot wait for Baby Z and Henry to meet (so we can go nuts with the camera).  Holy cuteness overload!

Here are some of my favorite photos of babies and their canine buddies.  Enjoy!


And I think the below scenario would be our dog’s worst nightmare come true:

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13w5d Book Review

I’m a huge bookworm, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that the second that I found out that I was pregnant with Baby Z, I went out to the nearest bookstore and bought the most popular “Bible” for expectant mothers:  What To Expect When You’re Expecting.   I even purchased it in print and in the Kindle version, just in case I needed immediate on-the-go answers.

I haven’t finished reading through the entire book yet, but I’ve read through enough to say a big…

WTF to WTE.

Seriously, What to Expect is quite possibly the worst book that I’ve ever had the misfortune to purchase (twice)!  As a first time Mom, I want practical, informative, factual information from a legitimate and trusted doctor on my pregnancy.  Instead, what I’m finding in WTE is a disorganized, poorly written, condescending, overly-simplistic pile of a horror novel.  I’m not one to scare easily, but I find the way that the author presents every pregnancy scenario with a million things that could be or go wrong to be extremely off-putting and unnecessary.  For example, early on in my pregnancy I looked up pregnancy fatigue – and WTE tells me that while feeling tired can be normal, it can also mean that Baby Z can have severe mental and physical disabilities ranging from sprouting three tails to having a forked tongue.  (Ok, I made up the last two examples, but you get the idea.)

Moreover, there are way too many long-winded and ridiculous sections in the book to drive the former book editor in me NUTS.  There’s a whole section with questions such as, “How do I know if I’m pregnant?” Um, trust me, no one is purchasing a book called What to Expect When You’re Expecting to find out if they’re pregnant.  Even worse, the version that I picked up now contains several “new and improved” section for today’s women, such as a section on…”looking slim when you’re bulking up.” Seriously?!  I didn’t purchase this book for fashion tips.  Just stick to what I need to know – babies and birth, thanks.

Last but not least, when I purchased the book, I didn’t realize that the author, Heidi Murkoff, is NOT a medical professional whatsoever.  Wut.  If I wanted advice about childbirth from a non-medical professional, I would’ve just called my mother.

Side note:  I’m now reading the Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, and already, I’m finding it to be a much more informative, factual, matter-of-fact guide.  At least, that’s this Mom-to-be’s humble opinion.

p.s. I’m always on the hunt for a good read!  If you have any recommendations for books on pregnancy, babies, children’s books…anything and everything – please send them my way!

13w4d Henry

Dear Baby Z,

It struck me last night that I’ve been horribly remiss on this blog by neglecting to introduce you to a very important member of your future family – our dog, Henry.  Although I’ve mentioned Henry before on a few posts, he plays such a major role in our lives that he deserves a special post of his own.  After all, we’re hoping that the two of you will become the very bestest of friends!

The story of our dog starts two years ago, when your Dad and I were vacationing in Chesapeake Bay over Memorial Day weekend; it’s our little annual family tradition to take a road trip each Memorial Day weekend to wherever the wind blows us – and that year, the wind was blowing your Mom towards all-you-can-eat Maryland blue crabs.  We were staying in the quiet, quaint little town of Oxford, Maryland (where reportedly, there are more benches in the town than there are people to sit in them); we had just finished dinner and were strolling down the street towards our bed and breakfast when we saw an elderly couple sitting on a bench (where else?) with the cutest, fluffiest dog that we’ve ever seen.  He was a Coton de Tuléar, a breed that your Dad and I had never heard of at that point, and he took a sudden interest in licking every inch of your Dad’s face.

Afterwards, I slyly looked over at your Dad, who was still dreamy-eyed from his unexpected face bath, and asked him, “Do you want to get one?”

Your Dad never stood a chance.

When we got back to the city, your Mom was on a one-woman mission to find the perfect apartment dog.  First, our future hound had to be no more than 30 pounds (our building restricts dogs to under 35 pounds).  Second, we wanted a dog that did not shed, or shed very minimally, because we weren’t sure if your Dad was allergic to dogs since he’s never owned any growing up.  We figured the less doggy dander, the better.  And lastly, he can’t be too much of a yapper or a guard dog because we lived in an apartment building and we didn’t want our neighbors to complain of barking.  With these restrictions, we ruled out adopting a shelter puppy, which was what we originally wanted to do, because it was more difficult to determine a shelter puppy’s eventual size and temperament.

After weeks and weeks of research, I finally found the perfect breed for us – a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle – or more commonly known as, a cockapoo.  According to several breed websites, cockapoo are smart (like their poodle ancestors), small to medium-sized, affectionate, loving, playful and score low on both the barking and shedding scale.  And best of all, they are HOLY FLUFFY AND ADORABLE.

I won’t bore you with the crazy details of my subsequent search for a reputable cockapoo breeder, but fast forward two months and, on August 22, 2010, Henry the cockapoo puppy joined our family!

Your Dad flew out to Indiana to personally pick our then 9 week old puppy up from the breeder.  This was the two of them at the airport:

In the meantime, your Mom prepared our apartment for our newest arrival.  I laid out blankets in Henry’s crate, hid all our cords and wires from view, elevated anything small and/or breakable to higher shelves, and carefully laid out food and water bowls in the kitchen area.

Come to think of it, this is not unlike what Mommy and Daddy will be doing for you in six months time.

I will never forget the way Henry bounced into our home for the first time.  As soon as your Dad put him on the ground, Henry made a beeline for me down the hallway and jumped all over me as though he’s known me his entire life…and promptly peed all over me.

But it was love at first pee.

Baby Z, it’s only fair to warn you now that our dog is not the best-behaved dog in the history of the land.  Despite the many, many doggy obedience books Mommy has read and puppy training classes he has attended, Henry still pulls on the leash, jumps on strangers, and can’t catch a ball in his mouth to save his life.  He’s also incredibly lazy, a terrible swimmer, a slow runner, and a picky eater.  He gets startled easily for no reason, growls at invisible objects, and hates getting groomed with a deep and abiding passion.

Daddy and I love him dearly.

   

It’s now hard to imagine our lives without Henry in it.  My favorite part of every day is when your Dad comes home from work, and both he and our dog greet each other as though they haven’t seen each other in years.  Henry does a silly paw and tail wagging dance – and your Dad does a human version of basically the same.  Even Mommy doesn’t get that kind of welcome (from Henry or from your father). Geez.

A few people have asked us “what we’re going to do about Henry” when you arrive in this world, and to be honest, your Dad and I are always a little confused when asked this question.  To us, Henry is a part of this family now and always, just like you will be.  When we made the decision to get him, we made an unwavering commitment to his lifetime care.

That said, we really, really hope that you will love our dog just as much as we do.  And of course, Mom and Dad will make sure that you will have lots of time to adjust to each other.  But we’re not worried.  Just look at this face – this is a face that’s super eager to do a paw and tail wagging welcome dance for you, just like we are!

We can’t wait for the two of you to meet for the first time in six months.  Be prepared to pose for a lot, a lot, a lot of photos – your Dad has been preparing his camera for this moment for years.

Love,
Mom

13w3d Pregnancy Announcements

So by now, J and I have told all the essential players the news of our impending arrival (i.e. grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, close friends, etc), but we still haven’t made the news truly public yet.  And by truly public, I mean Facebook public.  I can’t decide whether or not I want to announce our pregnancy on Facebook – what’s the point if all of the important people already know?  J is leaving the decision in my hands – he’s fiercely private online and doesn’t believe in sharing too much information out in cyberspace.  (I obviously have no such problem…hello this baby blog!)

In any case, I’ve been casually browsing Pinterest for ideas on pregnancy announcements, and here are some adorable ones that I love:

 

Love this if Baby Z had a big sister:

And this is my favorite post-pregnancy-hello-baby announcement:

But ultimately, while the above ideas are cute and all, they are definitely not as classy as this one:

What do you think Baby Z, should Mommy get you tattooed on her belly and announce you to the world?

13w2d Baby Body Update

It just occurred to me last night that I really need to start documenting some of the major body changes that’s happening during my pregnancy, since it seems like these days, my body can hardly keep up with the baby.

So here are this week’s baby body stats:

*How far along: 14 weeks.  Finally in my second trimester!

*Weight: 119 pounds.  Um, that’s right.  I’ve gained 11 pounds in the past three months.

*How I’m feeling:  The appendicitis scare on Friday took a lot out of me.  I’ve been completely comatose this weekend and been trying to sneak in zzz’s whenever possible.

*CravingsI’m usually more of a salty than sweet person (ain’t that the truth), but I’ve been craving a lot of Haagen Dazs ice cream lately – specifically, Haagen Dazs chocolate chip cookie dough.  J has been sent on several ice cream runs this week.

*Emotions:  Up and down, usually not both in the same day, thank goodness.  Earlier this week I was pretty chipper, but somewhere in the middle of the week the Mr. Hyde in my surfaced and I’ve been feeling consistently…annoyed.  Poor J.  Poor me.

*Sleep:  Not spectacular.  I’m still waking up at least 4 times a night to hit the bathroom.  I’m really hoping this small bladder issue gets better soon, because I’m tired of rolling (literally) out of bed every two hours.  Even though I’m no longer extremely fatigued during the day as I was a few weeks ago, I am still tired because of all the nighttime potty interruptions.

*Belly thoughts:  I really think my belly “popped” out overnight this week.  I woke up one day and all of the sudden I can definitely see and feel a permanent roundness in my belly that hadn’t been consistently there before.  A more accurate indicator is that I can no longer zip up any of my pre-baby pants – even the ones that used to have some extra room in them.

*Dreams:  I’ve heard that pregnant women can experience vivid dreams, and it’s totally true.  Maybe it’s because I’m waking up more frequently at night, but I definitely remember more dreams now than ever before.  I don’t know what this says about my mental sanity, but my dreams are often unpleasant.  Last night I had a horrible dream that Henry broke away from his leash and jumped over the side of a three story parking lot after a squirrel and I couldn’t get to him in time.  I woke up in tears.  *shudder*

*Thought of the week:  If we have a girl (which I don’t think we will), I really, really hope she doesn’t inherit J’s big nose 😦 Oink.

*Special Moments:  It was my 31st birthday on Monday, and my sweet husband surprised me with a bouquet of roses and a beautiful rose gold ring, and took me out to dinner.  It’s also our little personal tradition to hand write each other a card on our birthdays, and this year, his card made me cry.  Baby Z, I can’t wait to read his special note to us when you are older.

13w1d 2012 London Olympics

Last night was the opening night of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where, for a while earlier this year, J and I actually entertained the thought of going.  J and I love (watching) the Olympics, probably because neither of us are particularly athletic or that into playing sports ourselves.  Between the two of us, I’m probably more athletic than J is – although I can’t truly be too sure of this because I rarely see J play any sports, which is ironic because J is probably the biggest sports buff that I’ve ever met.  Just ask anyone – my husband knows more useless information about basketball, football, baseball, soccer, any and all sports than probably the ESPN announcers.  (*Long suffering sigh*)  Although when I do see J play sports, he is surprisingly spry, so I really have no idea what genes he is passing on to Baby Z.

J and I were actually living in Beijing for a brief time shortly following the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and we did a tour of the Olympic sites, such as the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube.  They were pretty amazing structures  – but then again, the entire Beijing Olympics was a study in extravagance and over-the-top opulence.  Not that we’re complaining – the Beijing Olympics was freaking awesome.

Anyway, as we sat watching a much more muted opening ceremony in London last night, J and I got to talking about what kind of Olympic athlete we’d want Baby Z to be.

Me:  A gymnast?  That’s probably my favorite Olympic sport.
J: No, they sacrifice too much of their bodies for their sport.

J: Baseball player?
Me: Is that even an Olympic sport?  Whatever, no because they’re all fat and on steroids.
J: You’re ridiculous.

J:  Tennis player?
Me: That’s a white people sport. But tennis players are ridiculously good-looking…
J: Because that’s what’s important.

Me: Swimmer?
J: Maybe.  But you’d have to teach him how to swim because I can’t do it.  (note: J is not a good swimmer.)

Me: Figure skater?
J: No. Outfits are too tight. For both the dudes and the chicks.

J: Basketball player?
Me: Good luck with that one, unless we can produce a miracle Jeremy Lin #2.

Me: Ping pong?
J: Over my dead body. Too nerdy.

J: Skiing?
Me: Over my dead body. It’s too dangerous. I’d have a heart-attack just watching him.

Me: Track and field?
J: No offense to our peeps, but our baby would have to black.
Me: Oh my god, that’s so racist.
J: Oh, and calling tennis a white people sport isn’t?
Me: Fine, then I guess our baby better stick with ping pong.

(Silence)

So…Baby Z, looks like you’re not going to become an Olympic athlete, at least not one that your Dad and I can agree on.  Don’t worry, we’ll save a seat for you on the couch with us.

Let the 2012 London Olympics games begin!!  Yay!

13w0d hello second trimester!

Week 14: your baby’s the size of a lemon!

Your adorable little fetus is busy with thumb sucking, toe wiggling, (not so cute but equally amazing) making urine, and breathing amniotic fluid as the liver, kidneys, and spleen continue to develop. Lanugo (thin, downy hair) is growing all over her body for warmth.  (Source: The Bump)

For Mom, the start of the second trimester often means less queasiness and more energy. And you’re probably peeing less and showing more. Certain symptoms may persist (such as heartburn and constipation) and others may pop up for the first time. Don’t be surprised if you’re congested (you may even snore!) or mildly swollen around the ankles and feet. And be prepared for sensitive gums, leg cramps, dizziness, and an increased appetite. Other possible pregnancy symptoms include skin changes, achiness in the lower abdomen, and varicose veins and/or hemorrhoids. All are perfectly normal and temporary — and so are feelings of apprehension, irritability, forgetfulness, and frustration at looking positively plump but not definitively pregnant.  (Source: What to Expect)

Last night was one of the roughest nights I’ve experienced since becoming pregnant.  I felt a sharp pain in my lower right abdomen that persisted throughout the entire night.  Needless to say, I didn’t get very much sleep.  I called my OB’s office in a panic this morning, and was sent directly to the clinic ASAP to check out the pain.  My doctor did an ultrasound of the pained area (while I snuck another peak at Baby Z – he/she looked super cute, as usual), but unfortunately, she couldn’t immediate diagnose what was causing me so much discomfort.

*Side note:  Our doctor asked me to give her my pain level on a scale from 1-10.  1 being that I felt “as fit as can be”, and 10 being that I felt “completely unbearable and it’s end of the world.”  LOL wut.  Ok, so I was obviously not a 1, but definitely not a 10 either.  A 5 seemed too…average, and a 8 seemed high as well if a 10 was considered the end of the world.  Geez.  What kind of messed up scale was this?!  I told her I was at a 6 for pain.  That seems a little above average, right?  I don’t know.

My doctor (and my) biggest fear was that it was appendicitis, since I would need to have immediate surgery.  But I was not experiencing any of other symptoms of appendicitis, such as fever, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite, so we were back at square one. She decided to take some blood to check my white blood cell count (which would be high if I had appendicitis), and sent me immediately to a radiology/ultrasound clinic to get a better look at my abdomen.

One cab ride, two panicked calls to J, and two hours of waiting later, I was finally seen by an ultrasound technician and a radiologist.  They did an ultrasound on my abdomen, and thank god, determined that I did not have appendicitis.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that there is a small cyst on my ovary – which apparently is very, very common among women.  Most likely, this is what may be causing me pain.  Alternatively, it can simply be my ligaments stretching as Baby Z grows.  I’m supposed to keep monitoring my pain level and if it persists, then I’ll have to consult with my doctors again on Monday and reassess.

Sigh.  I feel like pulling a Nancy Kerrigan and crying to the heavens, “WHYYYYY ME?!?”

At least it’s not appendicitis.  At least it’s not appendicitis.