Tuesday, April 28, 2015

12 weeks pregnancy update

 Our first travel in China came right around the 12 week mark of pregnancy, so I couldn't resist taking this month's pictures in front of the beautiful West Lake in HangZhou. With nausea all but ceasing and a energy slowly returning, it was nice to enjoy traveling some. More photos and a post on the trip coming later. :)

My baby bump is definitely showing earlier this time. I've heard your uterus expands quicker after the first child, as it's used to stretching. And I know I'm definitely not in the shape I was the first time, coming off of years of intensive dancing. I'm hoping it's those two factors and not the french fries and potato chip cravings I've been having...

With baby 3 inches long and major body parts fully developed, it was special to see him/her on an ultrasound screen yesterday morning. While I don't like the assumed every-visit ultrasound (it seems unnecessary), seeing our tiny baby, wiggling some and moving his/her little arm, with the cutest little nose... it was pretty special. Truly God has made babies in the womb fearfully and wonderfully!
Our baby's first photo is on our fridge. So special to see it and be reminded of the little one growing inside!
The doctor's visit this time clocked in 1/2 hour shorter than last time, which was a relief! However, we left the house at 6:30 AM and didn't get back until 11 AM... the downsides of living an hour away. It was pretty crazy how crammed the subway was first thing in the morning. Each stop I'd see people waiting outside and think "surely they won't fit!" and yet, once the doors closed (and sometimes reopened and closed again because people were so tight), everyone had fit. Ryan was crammed like a sardine while I got a seat - people are always very kind to mothers. Poor Hadassah had to leave the house 15 minutes after waking and eat her breakfast on the subway, but she didn't seem to mind. Fourth day in a row we traveled quite a ways, so by the end she was quite tired, and had her share of minor meltdowns. But, all things considered, she's a great little traveler.

Despite a vast number of pregnant ladies at the doctor, they had a system set up which kept things moving pretty well: check-in, another place to pay, a room to take weight and blood pressure, another for urine sample, an ultrasound room, and then waiting to see the doctor. Thankfully there was a nurse and a receptionist that spoke English well, and they guided me through. Ryan kept Hadassah well occupied (crackers are a charm sometimes!) and she recognized that there was a baby on the ultrasound screen. :)

The doctor assigned to us was nice, and didn't mind our detailed questions about what they require/allow during labor and delivery. We were glad that the room would indeed be private and the husband was allowed to be involved at all times. It sounds like during labor we can be fairly free to move and do as we like, and they even provide a big ball that was my solace during most of labor with Hadassah. An IV won't be required unless I get an epidural, which I'm not planning. The delivery positions there was some push-back on... they encourage semi-reclining or side-lying positions, and while she didn't full out say that I couldn't squat, she said they don't encourage it as it can increase tearing. All I'd learned in the Bradley class seemed to suggest the opposite: that it helped you open up much more, and after all, women have done it for centuries! Some online research when I got back was mixed: some said it increased chance of tearing, others didn't. The doctor ended by saying we'd just have to talk to the midwife who would meet with us at 34 weeks to plan the delivery. I guess she will more oversee it.

She also said it would depend on how big the baby was measuring... When she learned Hadassah weighed 8.8 lbs at birth, she was shocked and said "So don't eat so much this time!" It kind of irritated me, as I tried to explain that all the babies born to my mom and sisters weighed over 8 lbs, that it's more common in the states (after all, I'm not Asian nor built like one!), and that I was able to deliver her naturally regardless. She kept saying, "Well, we'll see when we take an ultrasound at 34 weeks how big the baby is and what to advise." Which, I've heard measurements that late by ultrasound can be way off... Her instruction to aim for a 7 lb baby just seems impossible - my genes don't lend themselves to small babies! So I'm missing my midwife who never cared about weight, just that I was eating healthily. It seemed so wrong to just tell a pregnant lady to "not eat so much" with no instruction on a healthy diet at all.

Ryan just told me not to let it bother me. After all, if we don't do certain things they tell us, what will they do? He took care of asking all the questions we'd written down (I was trying to keep an all-done-with-being-out Hadassah quiet), and I was thankful for his clarity and not backing down on certain things. He's definitely a better question-asker and advocate that I am - so thankful to have him involved in everything! We did learn that the C-section rate is 40% there, but since I had a natural birth the first time, she seemed pretty confident that I could have one again. She did say we'd have an hour to push before being evaluated if things needed to be done (and as one who pushed for 5 hours the first time, I didn't like that seemingly short time limit!). She again brought up the weight, saying if I have a smaller baby, it won't take so long... Anyways. Interventions such as episitomy, manual breaking of water or forceps she wouldn't commit to, saying they would see when the time comes what was needed. I understand, as a doctor, wanting to have the option to do what is best, and I know there is a very small time and place those are needed, but we prefer it to be a last option. So, if we do end up delivering there, we definitely will have a written birth plan and I trust Ryan to be a strong advocate even when I can't be.

I dutifully didn't eat breakfast as they'd instructed, and then after all the beginning steps, with seeing the doctor the only thing left, asked the nurse helping me if I could eat something. Maybe she or I misunderstood, as I thought she said yes, and never did a few bites of a peanut butter sandwich taste so good! But then she told me "No no! Do not eat!" and the doctor was upset, saying I was supposed to get a blood test of my fasting blood sugar levels. I think it had something to do too with the fact that I declined the Down Syndrome screening test, which I think they did at the same time as testing blood sugar. The nurse was quite surprised when I didn't sign the agreement for the test (which was written all in Chinese), saying "Everyone does it!" She told me the doctor would tell me if I needed to have it, but since I'd eaten a few bites the doctor said the blood test wouldn't work, so they would do it next time. I kept saying I didn't want the screening - we will love and keep our baby regardless of any test results, and with the inaccuracies there can be and the extra worry it brings, plus no need to know right now, we just prefer not to have it. But, they just kept saying "Next time." So, we'll see how much push-back we get the next visit. After waiting to eat until past 8 AM this time, next time our appointment isn't until 9 AM...

Anyways, enough on the doctor's visit! It's definitely exciting to be almost out of the first trimester, great to be feeling better, and fun to look down as I walk and see a little bump. :)

Hadassah continues to love the thought of a baby, loving to give baby hugs and kisses through my belly. I talk about how she'll be such a good big sister, and how she'll help with our baby. I can't wait to see them be friends!

Hadassah is 18 months and growing so fast. I remember soon after she was born, thinking 18 months was such a big age and so far away, and now here we are! Every day she learns new words, and her memory amazes me. She's singing a lot now too - "Deep and Wide" and "God Made Me" are two she can sing almost completely! She also enjoys Keith and Kristyn Getty's song "Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed" as I play it almost every morning during chores. She'll ask for it now, and enthusiastically sing, "sing, sing hallelujah.... indeed!" It's pretty adorable!

We've officially hit another milestone with her too: weaning. I've never desired to tandem nurse, and had thought about trying to wean Hadassah when we were hoping to get pregnant. But, I knew nothing was certain with timing, and as she was definitely still attached to it, decided not to cut her short. I let her wean some by not nursing unless she remembered to ask for it as the usual times, so we got down to just when she woke up in the morning and just before going to bed at night fairly easily. But she hung on to those for a few months. She still eagerly asked for them, but a few weeks ago I knew it was time. I was feeling like I had nothing left, she was acting frustrated and wanting to nurse more, but it hurt when she did and it never satisfied her. Thankfully, she was finally drinking cow's milk some as well, so one night I just decided it was it, and told her it was all gone. She asked and cried some, but accepted more cow's milk instead. We put her to bed with the normal routine minus nursing, and she cried for a minute or so after closing the door, but went to sleep fine. She continued to ask for a while, and still does occasionally, but accepts it when I tell her they're all gone. Thankfully it all worked out with a lot less trauma than I heard can happen (researching online some people said their child cried for 2 hours the first night...) so I am thankful. It was a good season and a sweet time, but I am ready for a little break before starting again with the next little one! And, it's nice to have a little more flexibility, with Ryan able to give her her morning sippy cup of milk sometimes now!

God has blessed us. It's still hard to imagine how life will be with two little ones to keep up with, but we can't wait!


  1. Anna, you are truly beautiful. You really glow!

  2. Love the picture of you and Hadassah together! She's going to make such a good big sister! =) Glad to hear that your latest doctor appointment was quicker than the last one. I'm sure it must be a little frustrating to experience all of that in such a different culture than you're used to. I'm glad you have a husband who is able to support you and stick up for you when necessary. ~Jessi