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You aren’t going to hear from me for awhile.  August looks to be a very busy month with several trips and lots of extended working hours to make up for the time that I will be away, so that I can take a long maternity leave without guilt.

Lately, my days have been filled with reading up on potty training, searching for baby names, renewed pregnancy exhaustion, and in general, getting very little else accomplished.  My mind just has not been focused on reality.  I realized yesterday, after scheduling two different appointments at times when I had conflicts, that I need some real organization in my life.

So, while Bear sat in the front of the cart crying about the Shrek Band-aids that she had seen a few aisles back and that she desperately wanted, I searched for the perfect wall calendar for my kitchen.  I finally settled on two dry-erase calendars with notes sections and a small pocket organizer for my purse.

In the past, I have attempted various other organizational methods.  My mind loves the thought of order and organization.  My life, however, does not seem to lend itself to such, and I seem to lack the patience and follow-through to actually stick with any one method of staying organized.

But, I’ll try again.  I felt so good nailing the calendars to the back of my basement door, which opens to the kitchen and is always open.  Then, I began gleefully adding appointments and dates to my calendars.  When my husband came home from work last night, he didn’t even acknowledge my new system.  However, later in the evening, under his birth date, he wrote:  Gifts: (1) dinosaur (live), (2) winning lottery ticket, and (3) desert island for said dinosaur.  I’m glad to see that he is participating!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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For weeks now, Bear has been telling friends and strangers alike that she is getting a baby sister.  It started with a text from daycare.  Bear is getting a baby sister?  At the time, they didn’t know that I was pregnant.  To the cashier at the grocery store, I’m getting a baby sister.  To the entire music class, I’m getting a baby sister.

Each time, person who Bear has shared the news with will look at me and say, Oh, you’re having a girl?  I should just nod, but instead, I feel compelled to explain that maybe we are or maybe we aren’t.  It seems that Bear’s baby sister is a manifestation of wishful thinking.

We’ve been wondering how we might explain to Bear that there is no baby sister, if in fact, we are having a boy.  Lately, we’ve been reminding her that we don’t yet know if she’s getting a baby sister or a baby brother.  Today, on the way to the doctor’s office, after cautiously correcting her, Bear yelled at me from the backseat, NO!  Baby Sister!

Maybe Bear knew something that we didn’t, because she is getting a baby sister!

We are so excited!  I have always wanted a sister – especially now as an adult without my mom – I would love to have the bond with another female.  I am so happy that my daughter will get that opportunity!

I finally gave in to the reality that pregnancy is changing my body, and yesterday, I pulled most of the regular clothes out of my drawers to make room for maternity wear.  At work, I have been rotating several stretchy dresses, and at home, I have been getting by with a pair of maternity shorts that I bought at Target, stretchy tank tops, and two dressier regular tops that are big enough for my growing belly.  But, I am getting tired of those two tops.

So, I found myself deep in the recesses of our basement, where I uncovered my maternity clothes from Bear’s pregnancy that have sat in darkness for the better part of two years.  How I hated those clothes at the end of that last pregnancy!  Since I was pregnant through the fall and winter, everything was black or gray and sweater-like.  By the time Bear was born in early May, I was sweating myself to death.  Even after Bear was born and I still had that six-months-pregnant shape, I refused to put them back on.  However, my ill feelings toward those clothes have dulled in the past two years, and opening the box yesterday was like saying “hello” to old friends. 

From that lot, I pulled out two short-sleeved dresses and the one – yes, only one – short-sleeved maternity shirt that I allowed myself to purchase before Bear came.  I carried those upstairs, along with the rest, but put the winter wear on a bottom shelf.

Since long shopping trips are not much fun with a toddler in tow, I have been ordering clothes online.  The UPS man must think that I have won the lottery with the number of boxes that he has been delivering to my house lately, but in reality, I send most of the clothes back.  Maternity clothes that are both comfortable and cute are really few and far between.

I also cashed in my credit card reward points for a Gap gift card in hopes that I could fund my new maternity wardrobe that way, but I realized that $100 does not go very far when you need to buy a pair of Gap work pants and a pair of jeans.  Sadly, I made it through the last pregnancy with a pair of Target work pants (that didn’t make it to this one) and a pair of Gap work pants that were not comfortable at all.  I also have a pair of Gap maternity jeans that are in great shape, except these too were horribly uncomfortable near the end of my pregnancy.  This time, I ordered a size up with a full panel in both.  Fortunately, they do not look ridiculously big, and they seem comfortable.  I think that they’ll last until the end.

Now, if only I could find a pair of khaki maternity shorts that do not look like something my Grandma would wear, I would be set for this pregnancy.  Then, I could stop guiltily spending money on clothing that I will only wear for the next six months and then maybe never again after that!

This post was written a week ago, but my computer problems were not as resolved as I thought.

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I’m back in business!  Our computer problem was not caused by a virus.  On the contrary, it was caused by too much security! A very helpful IT guru named Gunnar determined that we had too many security programs running at once, and they were so effective that our computer would not even function.  That is certainly one way to keep viruses away!

In the spirit of offering a quick update, I am almost out of my first trimester.  I’ve been doing lots of sleeping, eating, and throwing up.  In other words, this seems like a completely normal pregnancy, and so far, an easier one than my first.

I am knocking on wood as I write those words, though, because yesterday, I received a call at work from Bear’s daycare to say that several children had been sent home with suspected Fifth Disease, and they were concerned about Bear’s bright red cheeks.

That morning, she woke up with cheeks that were flaming red, but not hot to the touch.  I thought that she must have been hot at night, and I took off her sleeper and dressed her in cooler clothes for daycare, but still, the color did not fade.  I mentioned her cheeks to her teacher as I dropped her off, and I told her that I thought that the color was related to an irritation from another child’s sunscreen that I was fairly certain Bear was wearing when I picked her up the day before.  Along with Bear’s food allergies, she also has eczema, and several times this winter, she developed a bright spot on her cheek after being exposed to something her skin didn’t like.  Considering that Bear was wearing someone else’s pants and her diaper was on backwards when I picked her up the day before, it didn’t seem like a stretch to think that someone had applied the wrong sunscreen.

However, the call from daycare that afternoon concerned me.  If other children also had a rash, then Bear very well could have Fifth Disease.  Although Fifth Disease is a common and fairly mild illness, it can cause complications with a fetus in pregnancy.  As my doctor put it to me this morning, “the good thing about getting Fifth Disease early in pregnancy is that either you go on to have a perfectly normal pregnancy or you don’t.”  I must have given her a look with that remark, and she explained that the alternative is a rough pregnancy with complications to the fetus.  I wanted to ask what was good about the “you don’t” alternative, but I decided to keep my mouth shut.

Regardless, by the time I picked up Bear, she looked completely normal.  Her cheeks were not red at all.  If it weren’t for the signs warning parents about a “viral rash” going around the building and the city, I wouldn’t be concerned at all.

This morning, I had blood drawn to see if I am immune to Fifth Disease, meaning that I have had it previously.  If I am immune, then I have nothing to worry about.  If I am not, we’ll learn from the test if I have recently become infected, and if not, we’ll test again in a few weeks to be certain.  Hopefully, I’ll just be immune.  I’d rather not learn what could possibly be good about my doctor’s “you don’t” comment.

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Update:  I am still waiting for those test results!

We think.  Our home computer is no longer functioning, which creates a whole host of problems, probably the least of which is that I cannot update my blog.  I’ll try to keep up with all of my readers’ blogs from work and my phone, but I won’t be posting again on my own until we get our computer fixed.

I had a complete post written about my recent ultrasound, but that will have to wait.  I will say that it confirmed that we do have a baby in there!  And, one with a heart beat too!

Hope all of you are well!

Today’s lunch was fodder for the ongoing food stories that my husband likes to tell about his pregnant wife.   He still talks about the time in my last pregnancy when I mixed peanut butter, bananas and Rice Krispies together in an attempt to satisfy a craving.  It wasn’t very good, and I admitted that the concoction wasn’t quite right.  He thought it was strange.

The only thing that sounded palatable this morning was rice pudding.  So, I set to boiling milk and rice and had another pot cooking eggs for decorating later, when I decided that rice pudding really isn’t a nutritionally balanced meal.  Since it was not going to be ready in time for lunch anyway, I really needed an alternative.

I had made roast on Monday, and the plan had been to eat it again last night, but I just couldn’t stomach it.  Somehow, I convinced myself then that I would be better able to eat it today for lunch, but when lunchtime arrived, I still couldn’t find it in me to eat that meat.

As a young girl, I remember my mom taking leftover roast and grinding it through a Kitchen Aid Mixer attachment to make a wonderful roast beef salad, similar to tuna or chicken salad.  Shortly after I got married, my grandmother gave me the semi-practical gift of a food grinder attachment for my mixer, and amazingly, it survived through Bear’s infancy without me pulling it out to make baby food.  Honestly, I forgot that I had it, but there’s nothing like strange pregnancy cravings to remind you of the obscure kitchen gadgets that have been hidden away in storage for too long.

So, I pulled out my very-own food grinder, found that it was amazingly simple to attach to my mixer, and after microwaving my beef to kill any bacteria, I began stuffing it into the food grinder.  Bear cheered as long ribbons of meat billowed out of the machine.

I’ll be the first to admit.  Ground-up roast beef looks disgusting, and in my last pregnancy, it would have sent me running for the toilet.  But, strangely, the sight didn’t bother me at all today.  I pulled out a brand-new tub of Miracle Whip, since the last one was still in our fridge from Bear’s pregnancy, and chopped up some really great homemade pickles that I bought from a local farmer (as though this ingredient were going to redeem the grossness of my creation).  I mixed them all together and tasted it.  It was pretty close to the roast beef salad that I remembered my mom making.

I would have preferred some of that white, processed fluff that we used to call bread, but I had to make do with a more rustic variety.  Even slathered with Miracle Whip, though, I couldn’t stomach the bread.  So, I heaped a large pile of roast beef sludge onto my plate and ate it happily with a spoon.  Bear seemed to have lost her enthusiasm for the meal, and after a few bites, she scooted it around on her plate with her fingers and then planted the side of her face into it.

I briefly considered taking a picture of it to text to my husband, but I decided to spare him the details.  If only you were so lucky!

The plan for dinner tonight is to make some really good ribbon pasta, but since I have developed a strong aversion to tomato sauce (I can hardly think about it without shuddering), I will probably resort to making Alfredo sauce, which I usually do not like at all.  Alternatively, if I can stomach garlic, I could probably use only olive oil.  I may attempt some asparagus, but there are no promises.  With the rice pudding, it’s going to be a white, and nutritionally unbalanced meal.

And this, folks, is probably why Bear was a huge newborn.  I survived on chicken nuggets for the first 14 weeks of her pregnancy.  I didn’t want to do it again, but I’m in survival-mode.  Can I just promise to eat better in a month or so?

On the day that my morning sickness kicked in, I began spotting red. Ironic, I thought. I finally begin to feel really pregnant, and then I see red. I spotted throughout most of my daughter’s pregnancy and have had five days of implantation bleeding with this one already. So, spotting isn’t unusual for me. But, no matter how many times you see it, that first glimpse of blood during pregnancy is always a heart-stopper.

It was 5:30 in the evening that day, and I had to leave work to pick up my daughter, so I didn’t have time to worry about what I had seen. On the way to the daycare, I had a half-hearted phone conversation with my father. Even if we had that kind of relationship, which we don’t, my husband and I haven’t shared news of the pregnancy with anyone yet, so I wouldn’t have explained why I was so distracted.

I was in a daze by the time I picked up Bear. The teachers in her new classroom had thoughtfully cleaned all her food containers for me, and although this was pointed out to me as I was gathering Bear’s things, the best that I could muster was an “oh.”

My husband wasn’t answering his phone, so I was more or less left alone with my thoughts. Bear seemed content to watch Sesame Street while I sat on the couch and attempted to answer all of my internal questions with Google searches. Just like Google cannot answer the question, “Am I pregnant?” it also couldn’t answer the question, “Is this bad?”

The next morning, the spotting turned brown and then mostly cleared. I called my doctor’s office, just as I did with every other spotting episode throughout my last pregnancy, and as I suspected, a nursed suggested that I have more blood work since I was not yet six weeks along, which is when she said that they started doing ultrasounds. I didn’t tell her that I had several ultrasounds before six weeks with my last pregnancy, because it didn’t really matter. Ultimately, I didn’t think that blood work or an ultrasound would provide any answers other than “looks OK.”

I was already feeling more confident, but I decided that more information is better than less, and went in for more blood work over my lunch hour.

The next day, I was too busy at work to even contemplate calling in for my tests results. I was hastily preparing for a client, when my doctor’s office called.

“Your numbers look awesome,” Amber, my favorite nurse mused. “Your beta is over 29,000.”

“Really? Oh, wow.”

She wanted to know if I had an ultrasound scheduled, which I do – two weeks from now. Since I was in my office and had not closed my door, I knew that ears were listening to our conversation. So, it ended, without me asking any questions about the spotting or the beta or anything.

After she hung up, I wondered if I had heard her correctly. Did she say 29,000? Maybe she meant 2,900. Surely, I wrote it down wrong. After all, words are my thing, not numbers.

Since I was so busy, I had no time to contemplate anything other than to appreciate the message that everything is as it should be.

Two weeks from now, we’ll know more.