Monthly Archives: February 2010

She Says… Poll: Boy or Girl?

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She Says… Catch up: The Goods and Not-So-Goods

Hi! Sorry it has taken me a few days to write; it’s been a busy week. First things first, thank you all for the comments and emails over the last week. Even though I haven’t been able to respond, I read and loved every one! As you probably know, Benjamin and I went to New York last weekend to visit friends, and both of us stayed in New York for work this past week. What I thought was going to be a couple days of meetings in my company’s New York office turned into a 5-day, all day meeting extravaganza for me. It was an awesome opportunity for me to stretch myself professionally, and although I barely had time to do anything other than work, it was a wonderful experience and I am proud of myself for stepping up to the plate.

Meanwhile, I feel like my pregnant body is growing and changing by the day. All of a sudden I look and feel totally, TOTALLY pregnant, and everyone else seems to notice too. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the goods and not-so-goods of the last week.

The goods:

  • I’ve officially popped! No matter what I’m wearing now, I think it’s pretty clear that I’m pregnant. Some outfits exaggerate the belly more than others, but I feel like I’m finally getting to the point where strangers on the street know I’m pregnant, which is pretty exciting.
  • While some smells and foods still make me curl up my nose in disgust, most of my strong food aversions are past. I’ve been eating normally again (salad! steak! chicken!), and food tastes delicious. Thank goodness. I still have trouble ordering food in a restaurant (I always seem to order something and then when it comes, it’s just not what I really want), but in general I am back to my normal, food-loving self again.
  • 4 days until we find out the sex! Everyone I have met has predicted that it’s a girl (apparently I’m carrying very high?), and I kind of feel the girl vibes too. We are so anxious to know!

The not-so-goods:

  • BACK ACHES! You always hear pregnant women complaining about their aching backs, but I guess I thought it was a result of a huge belly, so it wouldn’t be an issue until much later in pregnancy. Well, at least in my case, it is not. I have started to feel lower back pains when I walk for awhile, and I find it hard to get comfortable at night because of my sore back. I’ve been putting a pillow between my legs to align my spine better, but I still find myself bending and stretching often throughout the night to work out the kinks.
  • Peeing. Often. A lot. And sometimes when I, ummm, didn’t plan on it. I also knew that this was a common pregnancy symptom, but I hoped it wouldn’t start so soon. This morning I sneezed and felt myself pee a little. And it was out of my control. What a weird feeling! Sigh.

Throughout my pregnancy, Benjamin has been hoping I would have some weird food cravings (you know, ice cream and pickles, etc.). Because I generally eat so healthily, I think he was hoping it would be something totally out of character. Other than ice cream (which I’ve just been loving more and more every week), I think I have a new craving: CONDIMENTS. Whereas I used to eat my salad relatively dry, sandwiches with no mayo or mustard, burgers with just a little ketchup, now I want to drown my food in condiments. I had a sandwich in New York with mayo on it and thought I had died and gone to heaven. And I used to find mayo disgusting! When I eat french fries now, I want them to swim in a vat of ketchup. When I eat salad, I want to cover every lettuce leaf in dressing. Apparently that’s how I’m choosing to get my extra 300 calories a day ūüôā

If you are or have been pregnant, what were/are your food cravings? If you aren’t pregnant, do you think your eating style will change if/when you get pregnant?

She Says… 17 Weeks

Baby Piccolini,

Happy 17 weeks. You are getting so OLD! It seems like time is flying now. You are roughly the size of an onion — over 5 inches long from crown to rump. This week your unique-to-only-you fingerprints develop. That is a pretty exciting milestone because you are beginning to become your own little person in there. I know you will always be a part of me and your dad, but you will also have your own personality and way about you, and I can’t wait¬†to get to know you. Last night we had dinner with friends and we were discussing how the name you give your baby impacts their personality throughout their life. We have already picked out your name, and even without meeting you, I just know it will suit you (whether it is our boy name or our girl name!).

I have been feeling great this week. So normal I almost don’t feel pregnant! Oh, except for the BELLY I’m growing. Believe me, my body looks completely different now than it did even a few short weeks ago. I have started to feel a stretching and tensing in my stomach, but I don’t think I’ve felt the “flutters” or “quickening” that is you kicking and swimming around inside me. I’m anxious to feel it. Kick away!

No weird food cravings or aversions going on now, except ice cream. It feels so cliche, to be the pregnant lady shoveling ice cream down her throat, but I’ll be honest, it feels so good! Today a woman said to me, “You’re so tiny for 17 weeks! You look fabulous!”. It was so lovely to hear, and it made me happy that I haven’t gone off the splurging deep end (yet!).

7 days until we find out if you are a boy or a girl!

All the love in the world,
Mama

She Says… 1 Year Blogiversary!

Happy birthday, This Place is Now a Home!

On February 22, 2o09, this blog was born. I finished my masters degree program, threw the birth control out the window, and we optimistically entered a new phase in our lives together: the “trying” phase. We had no idea at the time of course, but not only were we embarking on a new phase of our lives to start a family, we were also about to go through months of frustration, anger, sadness and struggle together to make that happen. On that day in 2009 the thought of having trouble making a baby had never crossed my mind. I knew that it takes women my age an average of 6 months to get pregnant, but both Benjamin and I secretly thought it would happen immediately. We were young, healthy and anxious — what could possible go wrong?

Apparently… lots. You all know the story (or if you don’t, you can read the timeline here), so I won’t re-tell it again. But it is overwhelming to me what we went through and how much we learned throughout the last year. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing about how this last year unfolded. It opened my eyes to how common it is to struggle with infertility, and was an unforgettable object lesson in recognizing that you have no idea what issues other people are dealing with in their lives at a given moment. It brought Benjamin and I closer as a couple, and I honestly didn’t even think that was possible. It was like we became one person to fight this fight. Perhaps most importantly, it has made me value and cherish every moment of being pregnant and I imagine it will color every moment I spend with my little one(s). Because I know just how much of a miracle this baby is, I am able to appreciate even the less-than-pleasant parts of pregnancy and I hope I can do the same once the baby arrives.

Riding the infertility roller coaster brought another very important thing into my life as well — YOU! The struggle to get pregnant caught Benjamin and I so off-guard that we didn’t even realize how “open” we were being on the blog or how rare our candidness was… we just kind of wrote everything as it happened. One day at a time. In doing so, however, we began to meet other young, healthy couples going through the same things. The community of people I met through blogging carried me through the hard times. I love reading every email and learning each reader’s story. These relationships have (caution: cheeseball alert!) made me a better person — more understanding, more empathetic, and more willing to listen without judgment.

I know many people have struggled longer and harder than we have. But to be honest, I’m not sure it’s the length of the journey that matters. We are all alike in that we’ve looked infertility in the face and decided to fight it.

Benjamin and I have come full circle in the last year. It’s been a wild ride. Happy 1st Birthday, little blog!

He Says…Heartbeat

We are in NYC right now, but before we left we shot a little video of the home fetal heart rate monitor that Kate’s sister sent us.¬† It’s pretty cool to be able to hear Piccolini’s heartbeat whenever we want.

She Says… The Big Apple

Benjamin, Piccolini and I are going on another trip. This time to New York City. Again, it’s kind of for work¬† for both of us (I have meetings all next week in our New York office, and Benjamin has some shoots and meetings¬†lined up), but we’re turning it into a little vacay by leaving early and seeing friends while we’re there.

While I know NYC is a destination spot for many, I’ll be the first to admit it’s not my favorite place. I find it a little too loud, too fast, too dirty, too expensive. Don’t get me wrong, I always marvel at the architecture and love the amazing variety of food available, but I never found it appealing enough to want to live there (I used to think I wanted to, back when I thought I was going to be a Broadway star :), but obviously — and thankfully — that didn’t happen). One huge reason I don’t love New York is that I like having space. Whenever I go to New York, I inevitably end up staying on the floor or couch of a friend’s apartment, and inevitably end up feeling constricted by the tight quarters and sharing a bathroom. Boston is the perfect fit for me: it’s walkable, has a ton of history and culture, yet still maintains that “urban” vibe. Our house, while small, allows us to have a separate dining room and a living room and our bedroom and laundry on another floor. Even though our backyard is barely bigger than a swimming pool, it is fenced in and quiet and there’s room for the dog to play or for us to have outdoor dinner parties with friends.

This time, Benjamin and I are incredibly lucky to be staying at a friend’s parents’ empty apartment. I’m sure it will be immensely more comfortable than my usual digs, and I’m really looking forward to being able to enjoy New York without feeling cramped. I’ve crammed our schedule with seeing friends, enjoying some of the fabulous food that New York has to offer, and even a yoga class with one of my girlfriends. What a fun change of pace!

That said, we may not be around to blog a whole lot over the next few days (I am in NYC until Friday). But don’t forget about us!

She Says… 16 Weeks

My teeny tiny Piccolini,

You are not so teeny tiny anymore! You are nearly 5 inches long, as long as an avocado. Your muscles are getting stronger and your bones are getting harder by the day, so I may be able to feel you boppin’ around in there very soon! Maybe even as early as this week. I wonder if the bubbles I feel when I lay down at night are you? Keep kicking me until I know for sure ūüôā¬†Although I’m sure at some point I will want you to stop, for now it is one of the moments I am most looking forward to! You respond to touch now, too. So if I poke you, you may squirm or swim away. I won’t poke just yet, but I can’t wait to be able to interact with you in such a dynamic way. Your little eyes are working now, sneaking side-to-side glances and perceiving light, although your eyelids are still sealed. You can suck your thumb and grasp the umbilical cord now too.

I think about the fact that you can hear my voice so often. During the workday you probably hear a lot of boring blah-blah-blah, but when I am home I have begun to talk out loud and sing to you. Last night your daddy and I had the Bumblebee Tuna theme song stuck in our heads and we giggled and sang it to you. Moments like that make me look forward to all the silly times we will have together. You will learn quickly, I’m sure, that your father is hilarious. He cracks me up every single day. I married him most of all because he makes me laugh, and from day 1 I knew he would always make our babies laugh too. (Ok, full disclosure… I just made myself¬†cry¬†a little there. The waterworks are still in full force!)

As I write this letter to you, I am working in the room that will become your nursery. I can’t wait to transform this space into a perfect spot for you to grow. I’ve already started dreaming of where your crib will go, and what it will feel like to sing you to sleep at night.

I love you more than you may ever know. And I look forward to all the little moments we will share as you grow up.

All my love,
Mama

She Says… Certified Stroller Stalker

Hi, my name is Kate and I have an addiction. I’m addicted to strollers. I know full well that we are at least 5 months from needing a stroller ourselves, but what can I say? I am a hopeless over-researcher, and now that I am not Googling infertility stuff all day, I have moved on to researching baby products. Specifically, strollers.

In the past, I ogled strollers for the tiny little drooling creatures within them. I didn’t really notice the strollers themselves. But now? Now I give a quick glance to the baby and then stealthily try to eyeball the brand name of the stroller without looking like a total creeper. I notice styling and fabric and wheels, the age of the baby within and the angle at which they are sitting, the accessories like a cup holder and basket for holding stuff, etc. I mentally take note of the name and head straight home to Google to my heart’s content. Reviews, best price, details about the company and where/how the product is made. Seriously, everything. I’m building my own little stroller encyclopedia.

Recently a close friend and mom of 2 sent me a book that she found invaluable for her as a new mom: Baby Bargains. It is an incredible resource that reviews and compares various brands in everything from maternity clothes to rockers to strollers to baby food. They give you websites for purchasing each item, and websites for finding the best deals. As soon as I received it, I skipped ahead to the stroller section. And although I’ve been stroller stalking for a few months now, I had NO IDEA how much I had to learn about strollers. There are umbrella strollers, carriage strollers, lightweight strollers, jogging/sport strollers, all-terrain strollers, and travel systems. There are features like reclining seats, napper bars, seat padding, shock absorbers, and weather protection. There are add-ons and accessories like storage baskets, removable seat cushions, lockable wheels, various wheel sizes and options for steering. While all of this info may have overwhelmed some people, I ate it up. I was in stroller info heaven.

The only problem is — I’m a huge design snob. There is a large part of me that doesn’t give a hoot if the big, unwieldy, plastic stroller with pink butterflies all over it is the most economical and still quite safe; I just won’t be happy pushing it around town. I go everywhere on foot. I walk to work, take the subway into the city, walk my dog twice a day. I am always outside and always on my feet. While we will be purchasing another car for our family once the baby comes, I still expect that the baby and I will spend a LOT of time outside together, and a LOT of time with our stroller. So this is a very important decision. And, snob or not, I have to be happy pushing it around.

So without further ado, here are my top picks of the moment. Keep in mind that this is without having stepped foot in a store to test any of these strollers or look at options beyond what I’ve Googled. We still have along way to go, but these are the front-runners so far.

#1 - Uppa Baby Vista

#2 - Quinny Buzz

#3 - Peg Perego Skate Elite

#4 - Mutsy 4Rider Light

Thoughts? If you have a stroller, what kind is it? What do you like/not like about it? If you don’t have one, which do you like based on picture alone (hee hee, it’s like choosing a wine bottle based on the label!)?

She Says… A Song for the Not-Yet-Born

As someone who has been singing and performing my whole life, I cringe to think of spending hours with my baby listening to “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. Really? Are these boring, repetitive songs the best we can do for our children? I mean, I know kids dig ’em, but what about the moms? I am lucky to be having a baby now instead of 20 years ago, though, because there is an ever-increasing amount of children’s music that doesn’t really sound like children’s music. Songs written by popular songwriters that are expanding our babies’ repertoire beyond “The Farmer and the Dell”.

My father-in-law has a recording studio in his basement and spends his free time producing CD’s for various musicians. In fact, this is kind of how Benjamin and I met — Benjamin offered to record my college a cappella group’s CD in his Dad’s recording studio when I was a freshman. The minute he heard my beautiful voice, he knew we’d be together forever. We “clicked” immediately and began a summer of courting each other via emails while I, as the business manager, arranged the logistics of our CD production. And the rest, my friends, is history. But anyway, back to my father-in-law. One of the musicians he has worked with is Vanessa Trien. She writes children’s songs that fall into the “way cooler than traditional children’s songs” category. She’s also just as sweet in person as her voice sounds on the CD.

And although I’m not quite to the stage of listening to children’s music all day long (oh, those days will come), one of her songs is particularly beautiful and appropriate for this very special time before the little one is born. It’s like a baby’s first lullaby. It’s called “Await the Day”. You can listen to it here. My absolute favorite part is the last verse where the “Daddy” sings too. Makes me cry every.single.time.

Take a listen.Whether you already have children, are pregnant, or are working on getting pregnant, I bet you will find it hard to not relate to the totally amazing feeling of “awaiting the day” when you get to meet your baby for the first time.

She Says… Daycare. Sigh.

Daycare. Even the word makes my stomach tighten. As a child raised by a creative and loving mother who spent hours upon hours spending time with me and my siblings as we grew, I have always found it hard to believe that a daycare could possibly match that level of love and devotion and personal attention. And although I have a masters degree and value my career, I have always always wanted to stay at home with my kids.

But now that the decision is really, truly upon us, I think I’ve changed my mind. Well, I’m¬†working on changing¬†my mind. The reality is that Benjamin and I have chosen to live in a relatively expensive area (Boston). We love it here, and Benjamin has built a¬†successful¬†freelance business with a lot of local contacts,¬†so we’re not really considering moving any time soon.¬†We value a certain lifestyle, and that lifestyle costs money. And I make money. Not a ton, but more money than we would spend on daycare. Not to mention that my job covers our family health insurance and other benefits like a 401k (since Benjamin works for himself and doesn’t have access to these types of benefits). And beyond that, I feel that I have a lot of career interests that I would like to pursue someday, and a several year hiatus removing myself from the working world entirely would make it difficult to continue the momentum I have worked so hard to develop.

Although nothing is really¬†set in stone¬†yet, we are considering working a reduced schedule (I would work Tuesday – Friday, Benjamin would work Monday – Thursday), and we’ll [hopefully] find a wonderful daycare to care for our child three days a week. This is a very good compromise for all of us, I think. We are very fortunate to have the flexibility to reduce our schedules with our current jobs, and I have recently begun to think of all the positives of sending our little one to daycare. Socialization, learning, exposure to other languages and cultures, flexibility with schedules and habits, etc. But still, the idea of leaving my new baby in a stranger’s care just about breaks my heart.

I think that finding the perfect daycare will be the key to accepting and even enjoying this situation. So, even though I am only 15 weeks along, I started doing some Googling, thinking I would get first pick of the daycares in our area. And do you know what I found? THERE ARE ALREADY WAITING LISTS FOR NOVEMBER 2010 FOR INFANT DAYCARE! I thought the whole “putting your newborn baby on a waitlist for preschool” only happened in the movies. Apparently I am incredibly naive. Apparently lots of parents put their children on waiting lists for daycare and preschool¬†BEFORE THEY ARE EVEN CONCEIVED. Ummm, are you kidding?! I think I’m going to hyperventilate.

If you have a child, did you put them in daycare? How did you find the “perfect” place? If you don’t yet have children, do you plan to use daycare? Did you EVER think you’d have to get on waiting lists before the little guy/gal is even conceived, let alone born?