Thursday, October 10, 2013

Second trimester recap. It's all downhill from here.

First, I'm feeling awesome. I mean, like, as awesome as you ever feel during pregnancy. Sure, my back aches and my hips feel like they're being beaten with hammers every night, but after the first trimester that's like comparing a bee sting to being hit by a truck.

Except maybe that's a bad example because I'm irrational enough to rather be hit by a truck than stung by a bee. Well that's unsettling. It may be time to look at my priorities.


Taken at about 26 weeks

Thoughts: I'm almost 27 weeks pregnant, which means the second trimester is drawing to a close. This is super weird because on the one hand, I can't wait to meet Baby Girl. On the other hand, I feel totally unprepared. Yes, we've got a crib and a changing table and a diaper bag and a bunch of other things, but what about BURP CLOTHS and BOTTLES and a STROLLER?!? I'm also getting pretty paranoid. I've always thought I'd be a relaxed first time mom, but everyone keeps warning me about having a baby in the winter and how every human in the world is basically just a walking disease waiting to infect my newborn. The doctor recommended that everyone close to baby get their vaccines updated. I'm now going to be that annoying mom that's like, "Sure you can hold her, IF YOU GOT YOUR FLU SHOT."

Symptoms: My nausea is pretty under control, but I do still have a bad day occasionally where I throw up at work. I take a half a Unisom at night along with half a B6 vitamin in the morning and evening and that seems to generally control my nausea. The doctor says this is normal, so I'm not too worried. I'm also starting to ache quite a bit, which means I take lots of baths to soothe my muscles. I'm also experiencing mood swings, meaning I'm annoyed just at everything all the time. Eric will be like, "Hey can you cand me the remote right next to you?" and internally I'm all, "HOW DARE YOU TALK TO ME THAT WAY??" I find myself mentally controlling my reactions to people, because it isn't their fault that everything is unbearably irritating lately.

 I've never had heartburn before but now it's a pretty regular friend, along with gall bladder pain. Which is super, because I didn't know what a gall bladder was before and now I'm an unwilling expert. People are like, "Why are you grimacing?" and I'm all, "Oh, don't worry, just my GALL BLADDER BEING SHOVED INTO MY RIBS." I do also have to say that pregnancy comes with a variety of...strange symptoms. For example, my abs hurt now because they're separating. I mean SEPARATING. If I flex and bend in just the right way, you can see the gap in between them where they used to meet. This is just because baby is busy taking up more and more space and is apparently normal. It's still mildly horrifying.

Movement: This girl is a wiggler. She's constantly rolling, kicking, and punching, and I can tell when she's awake and when she's asleep because if she isn't sleeping, she's practicing karate. I can see it now and it's kind of weird because my whole stomach will roll around in waves. She also likes to stick body parts into me, resulting in an awkward lump that I have to gently pat back in. I've also noticed that she gets the hiccups a few times a day. Also, if I'm resting something on my belly, she'll kick it off. It's pretty cute unless I'm trying to read or use my laptop while lying down. She responds to music and light, and sometimes I'll shine a flashlight on my stomach or play some quiet music through an earbud held up against my stomach, and she'll go nuts. We went to an Imagine Dragons concert the other night and I was really worried because she was so obviously reacting to the loud music, but the doctor said everything would be fine.

Cravings/aversions/eating: I crave weird stuff. Last week I ate a can of olives for dinner every night for like 5 days. I've also had a pomegranate almost every night. Usually I'll get hit HARD by a craving randomly, and not be able to stop thinking about it until I get it. Fortunately my doctor okay'd as much sushi as my little heart desires, so I indulge in that craving sometimes. As far as aversions go, it really comes down to smells. Particularly, the smell of cheese really grosses me out, and thus anything cheesy has become absolutely disgusting. I've definitely noticed my appetite growing as my nausea decreases. My doctor says my weight gain is great, I've gained about 6 pounds in the last month which is good because I lost 15 in the first trimester due to sickness. But with the holidays coming up, he did warn me to be careful about eating too much or eating too many treats. This should be impossible, considering food is possibly my favorite thing in the whole entire world.

Workouts: With all the bustle of getting moved and preparing the nursery, I haven't been working out much since I'm so tired at the end of every day, but I've tried to do yoga once in a while. Honestly I think I'm getting enough activity in, though. It seems like every day there's a new project to finish.

Sleep: I wake up 3-5 times a night to go to the bathroom, and I'm having trouble getting comfortable. My right hip has started to tingle nonstop at night, especially when I lay on it, and it's not my favorite sensation ever. I also have crazy dreams, so when I do sleep it isn't particularly restful.

Clothes: I used the rubber band trick on my regular jeans for a while until even that started to hurt, and then I finally broke down and invested in a few pairs of maternity jeans. They're awesome. And thrifting is my best friend, because did you know that maternity pants, like, never go on sale? What the heck is up with that?? So either I shell out absurd amounts of money or I walk around naked, is that it? WELL THEN NAKED IT IS, SIR. Except no, I bought the pants because I'm aware of societal expectations.

Doctor appointments: Today I had a regular check up and baby had a perfect heartbeat of 160 bpm. After two miscarriages, I think the sound of her heart beating is probably the most beautiful thing in the world, and I'm sure Eric agrees with me. I also got my flu shot today, which is recommended for all pregnant women before Halloween. Eric is getting his on Tuesday, and I'll be asking grandparents to get them too. I told you, crazy paranoid lady. Also, my doctor said that I should probably enjoy the enxt 3-4 weeks because I am pretty short, meaning that my uterus is almost to my ribs already. That means that, since baby is going to quadruple in size by birth, my uterus will have nowhere to go but forward and out. He said that I'll be getting pretty huge at that point, and my center of balance will be really thrown off so I'll need to be careful. Which is just great, because if you know me, you know that I have a hard time remaining upright when my center of gravity is normal.

Random: I get to take my glucose test sometime next week at my discretion, which basically means I have to chug a bottle of orange sugar water and then get my blood drawn to make sure I don't have gestational diabetes. There's not much you can do to prevent GD and it can happen to anyone, so here's hoping I'm lucky. Although, the other day I managed to sit directly on top of the only ant hill in our yard, so I'm going to go ahead and assume luck isn't on my side.

We also bought a tiny sweater for my tiny dog:

Doesn't he look overjoyed?!?! We're going to be heading to Gardner Village for some Halloween fun this weekend, which will probably make for an interesting blog post next week. And if it doesn't then I'll write a poem or something. I don't know. STOP PRESSURING ME.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

How my mountain made me better

Pregnancy is scary.

It's incredible and uncomfortable and a gift, and it's scary.

The past few days have made this all seem real in a way that it never has before. This morning Eric and I were surprised and kind of amused to look at my belly and see that it was lopsided. Baby Girl was sitting curled up right by my belly button, and when I put my hand on her, she gave an almighty kick before squirming back into a less awkward looking position.

I've been thinking about that all day. I used to have a playlist of songs that comforted me after my miscarriages. I was in a sad place and a scared place, and I was hearing all sorts of frightening things from doctors. I tried to be optimistic, but in the back of my mind always was a little voice constantly whispering to me. What if you will never carry to term? What if you can't have children? What if something is wrong with you? What if this is forever? What if the tests find something? What if the tests don't find anything at all? What if there's never a reason?

I horrified myself a lot. In those times, I listened to my playlist and let my spirit soak in all the comfort it could. Music is important to me. I've always heard God speak to me through music when no other way could reach me. It has a way of softening my heart, of breaking through the anger and the bitterness that I sometimes have found myself lost in. I know when I feel resentment, I need to go listen to my music, because that's the surest way to heal my heart, or at least to help me listen to God's messages for me.

These days, I haven't listened to my playlist much. But today, after seeing such a clear indication that my baby is alive and well and thriving and demanding my attention, I decided to go back and listen to those songs, and to see if they would still touch my heart in the same way that they did when I was struggling.

It's interesting how easy it is for me to forget all the comfort the Lord has brought me in the past, when I finally get what I asked for.

I think those songs touched me more now than they ever have, because I look back and see them from the perspective of someone who has climbed that mountain. It's different to see your struggles from the peak. I can look down and see the places where I hurt the most, where I almost gave up, where I felt like I couldn't take another step. And I can see, from up here, that all of those tough places where I cried and prayed and continued on despite my pain were the places where I became better...and all of those places were where I found a foothold, even when I thought there was none. I look at myself from up here and I remember who I was at the bottom of the mountain, and I see all that has changed. I see all the rough edges I once had that are now softened. I see the new abilities I have now that I learned during my climb, even though at the time, it just felt like I was breaking apart. All that shaping and smoothing and becoming felt more like crumbling. But now I see that I'm stronger than ever, but I'm more, too. I have new places in my heart that I didn't have before, pockets of compassion and peace and hope that I didn't even realize were taking hold of me until they were there.

I listened to my old comfort playlist and I remembered being the girl who felt so small and so breakable and so alone, and I realize that she has changed. I'm proud of that girl, though. I'm grateful to her for trusting herself with Heavenly Father, even though she felt so completely fragile. She didn't know, the way I do now, that she would be so much better for her pain. In fact, she felt sort of betrayed by God sometimes. I'm sort of in awe that I was ever that person who felt so tiny and still trusted Him to take this pain and make it into something better. I look back on that and I feel a conviction that He doesn't leave us alone, even when we feel alone. Even when it is terrifying to say, "I will go through the fire if You want me to."

This little girl growing inside of me is getting a better mother, because of the simple fact that my Savior did what He always does: He saved me. He was my balm, and He was my friend, even when I was so hurt that I couldn't see Him. He was my Comforter.

I don't know what happened to the babies growing inside of me before this little one. I don't know if they were separate little spirits and if I will see them again, but in my heart I think that I will be able to raise them one day. I am eternally grateful for eternal families, because I know that one way or another, my family will be whole.

So yes, pregnancy is still scary. Sometimes it ends tragically, and sometimes there is no reason for that. I'm not safe from that pain. But whatever storms come, I know I can stand.

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon with ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
-Helaman 5:12

**For those interested, this is the playlist mentioned above. They aren't all "church" songs, as a wide variety of music touches my heart. If you have any to add, please share!
  • Where Can I Turn For Peace? -Katherine Nelson
  • Better Than I -David Campbell
  • If You Want Me To -Ginny Owens
  • Nearer My God To Thee -The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  • Be Still My Soul -Jadon Lavik
  • I Know That My Redeemer Lives -Linda Rowberry
  • After The Storm -Mumford and Sons
  • Stand -Rascal Flatts
  • Where Can I Turn For Peace? -Katherine Nelson

Monday, August 5, 2013

Baby Nielsen is a girl!! And I am a terrible psychic. (UPDATED BECAUSE I'M AWFUL)

If you're like me, ultrasound pictures are entirely indecipherable, so let me explain. What you're looking at above is a picture of Baby Nielsen's bum. I think. I'm pretty sure. Anyway, the arrow is pointing between her legs, and the three little white lines indicate lady parts. Oh how embarrassing.

On Friday I was exactly 17 weeks pregnant. Eric and I were getting a little antsy to know whether we had a little miss or mister on our hands, probably mostly because we had a bet that whoever was right would get 50 dollars to spend on whatever they wanted. I was going to use this as a clever way to force Eric to buy me baby clothes with me, but it didn't quite work out because I was positive that Baby was a boy. And now I'm getting no end of "I told you so's" from Eric.

Actually, I'm just wrong in general as far as the whole baby guessing thing goes. Since learning of my pregnancy, my maternal instincts have apparently taken a nosedive off a cliff because I'm about as clairvoyant as a rock. We've had a bunch of friends find out baby genders, and I've been wrong EVERY TIME. I swore up and down that baby

Apparently I hit "publish" instead of "save" on this one before finishing it.


I don't even remember where I was going with this. I guess I'll just finish this post now, since it's already been up for an embarrassingly long time. I'm a very reputable writer, take me seriously!

I think my point was that I have a 100 percent failure rate at guessing baby genders. Which, if you think about it, is actually pretty accurate. That's like a perfect succes rate, in a way. So maybe I am kind of psychic. Like, "my gut says you're having a boy, so it must be a girl."

By the way, I was positive Baby Girl was actually Baby Boy. In fact, just last night I had TWO DREAMS in a row that she's a boy. I'm still not 100 percent convinced that this isn't the case.

Welp. That about does it. Let's chalk this up to pregnancy brain and forgive me, kay guys? *Womp womp*

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Let me first start off this post with a heartfelt thanks. I've been off the internet for a while dealing with life (AND ALSO WORKING ON ANOTHER PROJECT BUT SHHH) and I returned to find some very comforting and kind comments about my miscarriage. I read every single comment and they brought a very special tear to my eye.

That tear quickly evaporated, though, as I realized that my comments section has been entirely taken over by robots posting about...naughty things. SPAM, guys. I have a feeling that this post may be what drew the sharks (or should I say, alligators. HA. Funny.) to the waters of my humble blog. As such, I don't think I can type certain words without drawing more. As this is generally a family friendly blog, I think it's safe to say that those words are not likely to make an appearance. But most of the comments were about something that rhymes with blorn. And blex. And blebcams. I think I've spent about 300 hours deleting them all, because sacrifice. Although some of the comments are just cruel because they'll start out with, "How do you manage such a fantastic website? You are truly a wonder! Very soon you will be famous!" and I'm like, FINALLY THE CREDIT I DESERVE until I read the rest of the comment which just devolves into, "Free chat blorn at!"

It's a cruel blow to my ego. The spambots are getting revenge for my harsh treatment of Jenny. Apparently they hunt in packs. Hide.

Please, know that despite the claims of these robots, I do not visit blorn websites and blebcam websites. Nor do I have any family members working in the blorn industry spamming my comments section. That I know of. If you are my family member and you have something you'd like to tell me, I'm all ears. And please stop spamming my blog. I love you but no, I do not want to direct my friends to your blebcam.

...Everyone knows what "blorn" means, right? We're all on the same page? Good. On to happier and more appropriate subjects.

I'm pregnant! As of today I am 13 weeks and 6 days along, and officially out of the 12 week "danger zone" associated with high rates of miscarriages. 

If you're particularly observant, you'll notice that we are having a time traveling baby. This is in no way related to the fact that I have trouble remembering my own age these days. Maybe I meant 2014. Maybe not. In either case, I announced with this picture and it caused some confusion as people wondered whether I was announcing that I currently have a 6 month old baby, or that in 6 months I will have a newborn baby. MYSTERIES!

But the correct answer is newborn baby in 6 months.

In thinking of ways to get this blog up and running again after my regrettable hiatus, I decided I might as well take you all along on the sweaty, uncomfortable journey that is the miracle of creating new life. I also will probably overhaul my blog design again...when I finally get to it. Now the only question is how do I make a visually appealing grown-up blog while still shoving unicorns into every illustration? So far, the answer escapes me. 

Without further ado, here is how the miracle of life has developed over the last 14 weeks.

Thoughts: It's a strange feeling. After two unexplained miscarriages, Eric and I (or should I say mostly I) were feeling a little down about the whole thing. I conceived this baby right after my second miscarriage, which surprised everyone. I didn't have much hope that things would progress normally, and it hasn't been real until this week. We announced yesterday because we finally got in for a Doppler appointment and were able to hear baby bean's heartbeat. I was incredibly nervous, because we'd had an ultrasound at 6 weeks, and the heartbeat was only at 90 BPM. If that number doesn't mean much to you...well it's not good. It's really low. As far as we can figure, the heart had just started beating that day, which is why it was still so slow and picking up speed. At our appointment yesterday, the baby had a very healthy 165 BPM. It's feeling more real every day. 

Doctor appointment: I have had a million appointments. Because of my unexplained miscarriages, I had to take many unpleasant tests. I can pee in a cup with my eyes closed now. No big. Also, I'm pretty sure my doctor might actually be a vampire because she ordered more blood drawn than I think is probably healthy. At every drawing I was like, "I see you have five tubes filled with my blood now. Are we almost done?" and the answer was always NO. NOT EVEN CLOSE. Still, I'm very grateful to have access to medical care and testing. It gave me huge peace of mind to know that, somewhere, a lab tech was looking at my pee through a microscope to make sure I'm healthy. That's what they do, right?

Baby: Beanie baby is now about the size of a lemon. He/she has a cute little face and can squint, grimace, smile, and suck his/her thumb. My baby can also pee. That's fun, considering the urge to pee dominates my entire life. Mother-child bonding time. We enjoy the same activities. Awwwww.

Weight: Since the beginning of pregnancy, I've probably lost about 10 to 15 pounds. That's what happens when the only appetizing foods in the house are pickles and pretzels, I suppose. Also, when you immediately throw up said pickles and pretzels. YUM.

Symptoms: I've had pretty much every symptom in the  book. I'm ridiculously sick many days, and battle constant nausea. The toilet and I have a very close relationship these days, both because my stomach enjoys the whole throwing up thing, and because my bladder has decided to fill itself every hour. I've also been enjoying regular migraines and fatigue. You know that sick, weak feeling you have after battling the flu for a few days? I feel like that most of the time. I'm taking Zofran, unisom, and B6 to control the nausea because I was losing too much weight and getting dehydrated. The medicine helps control things, but I still have pretty bad days. I also have insanely vivid dreams. They're so realistic that I often can't figure out whether events have really happened or whether I just dreamed them two days earlier. I think Eric's least favorite symptom is the mood swings. I get irritated more easily than ever in my life...I also cry more easily than is mentally sound. The other day I sobbed because our new Monsters, Inc. Blu Ray had three discs instead of two inside. Logically, I realize this is no reason to cry. However, that doesn't stop my eyes from tearing up every time I think about it.

Movement: Baby is apparently performing acrobatics inside of me, but I can't feel it yet.

Cravings/aversions/eating: I have an aversion to just about every food on the planet. Occasionally those aversions will go away long enough for me to experience an insane craving for something, at which point I'll go to the store and buy 17 of them. After about two servings, though, the aversion returns full force and I have to throw the rest of the food away. I am having a big problem struggling to control my craving for doughnuts this week. I haven't been able to eat too much, unfortunately. I can't really imagine ever enjoying food again. It's kind of tragic.


Sleep: I could sleep for days. Unfortunately, I have to wake up every two hours to go to the bathroom, so my sleep is pretty interrupted. Also, those dang DREAMS...

Clothes: Since getting pregnant, my clothes fit better than ever before, what with the whole weight loss thing. But as I head into the second trimester here and my symptoms get better, I'll probably have to say goodbye to my skinny jeans. I hardly knew thee.

 Random: Now that I can finally talk openly about this pregnancy, I'll probably be posting a lot more about it. If you want to see all my baby-related adventures, follow me on instagram. There's a handy little link in the right column. Or you can just search "megansquared" on your phone. I also take lots of pictures of my puppy, Sherlock. 

Again, thank you for all of the support and kind words over the past few months. I'm excited to share this new journey with you all! And please don't send me links to blorn. Thank you.