Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I really do love being pregnant

First and most randomly, it is always a good morning that finds me waking up to my face on the Colbert Report. It's happened all too often (it's only happened this once) and it's always wonderful:

Just let me bask in my 15 minutes of unintentional, anonymous fame (soooo not fame at all). No one has a clue who is in the picture and I am looking down most likely sleeping and not praying most devoutly like like Lauren or Kristen, who are also in the picture. In my preppy cardigan when my hair used to get curly when I wanted it to-- those were the days. The full video is here.

Now to the real business of this post-- let's talk about this 4th pregnancy for a hot second (and by hot second I do mean the entire blog for the duration of the pregnancy), but for today, I just mean one second.

First I will put it out there that I know I am a wimp. I know that so many other women have it hard- and like, actually hard- not "things aren't easy like I want them to be so I am going to complain as much as I can" hard. We have a healthy baby, things have been complication free, I am not vomitting all day every day, I am not on bed rest, really and truly I know I have it so SO good.

I am just a leetle thrown off by how different and more difficult this pregnancy has been than my others, let's not even call this complaining, just the facts. I'm just gonna blog it out.

Always, always by 23 weeks I am feeling a lot better, i.e.:
+ nausea is gone
+ some energy is back
+ I start sleeping a little bit better for a little while
+ life does not feel like it is crashing down on my head and I can come out of survival mode for a few weeks before trimester 3 rears its ugly head.

However, with this 4th gestation I'm:
+ still filling my and using zofran prescription for the nausea that won't quit,
+ napping every single day even though most days both older girls are not (who needs parental supervision?) Or if not napping laying in a lifeless heap on the couch while children escape from their bedrooms and ask me for things that I refuse to get them.
+ I have self-diagnosed myself with an irritable uterus (super flattering, I know) which just means loads and loads of more then just uncomfortable Braxton Hicks all the live long day (since I was about 13 weeks).
+ The wonders of pregnancy insomnia continue to plague me in the form of wake-up-to-pee-and-lay-in-bed-staring-at-the-clock-for-2-hours most nights.

^ I would attempt to kick the coffee, but then I would surely die.

Again, I know! It's pregnancy, it's life! Get over it, Ana. And I am... trying. This isn't even intended to be an "I hate being pregnant" post, I actually love being pregnant, or at least I love housing a new life and I love feeling the baby move and knowing that my body is doing such an amazing, miraculous thing. I love it! I used to say that I "hated being pregnant", but now I want to slap myself for that because I am so blessed to be fertile and to be able to be pregnant with healthy babies and carry them to term. But it is hard, and is does wear me down so many days.

However, I do have at least 16 weeks left and can't just lay down and let the rough parts dominate, so I will continue to try to improve things where I can and try to shut it and not complain too much. I just ordered this Blood Builder on Grace's recommendation and am somewhat committed to earlier bed times for myself to get more sleep on the front end because I don't think there is anything I can do about insomnia except to go to bed earlier (please tell me I am wrong).
And please, if you feel so inclined, teach me some more!
I would love for these days to feel more normal and enjoyable and less like a blur that I will surely not remember because I was half asleep during them.

For way more edifying blog content, go share in Grace's joy and her wonderful baby news.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

Taking a break from stuffing my face with carrot cake and counting it as extra servings of vegetables for a picture heavy Easter blog post.

We had a fabulous long weekend with my parents who made the trek late Thursday and stayed until lunch today and it was glorious. They are the funnest grandparents ever and brought their bike chariot which they rode the girls around in every single time the girls begged them for a ride, which was approximately every 4 hours. Plus! They brought them to parks and took them to breakfast for pancakes and pushed them on the swings more than I have in my career as a mom.

They were soooooo kind and let me and Mike have a solo Veneration of the Cross jaunt on Good Friday AND a date night on Saturday for wings and (shared) margaritas. It was so, so, so, (x150) wonderful.

My mom came bearing an enormous Honey Baked Ham (the legit kind- thank you Chris!!) and it was unlike any other ham experience I have ever had.
We now have enough ham to feed 7 large elephants.

And I made my very favorite carrot cake recipe ever, which happens to be my mom's recipe. It was my only contribution to the meal. And I have eaten most of it.
We should have enough carrot cake to feed at least one elephant, but it has been feeding one pregnant Ana instead. No regrets. Until my doctor's appointment tomorrow. Yikes.

There were family pictures taken and backyard Easter egg hunts and insane amounts of candy consumed.

Needless to say it was a major let down when they drove off this afternoon and it was a tiny bit of a slap in the face to this mother who had gotten a little too accustomed to the copious no-kid time. Nonetheless we celebrate still and continue to work on depleting the candy supply by... eating it. It's really great but methinks my weight obsessed doctor maaaay be a little concerned at my untimely appointment tomorrow morning since I feel confident I've put on at least 4 pounds in the last 4 days.

Thank you Easter. Really, thank you.
Happy Easter to all and to all a good night!

Monday, April 14, 2014

bleeding gums and baby bumps

Greetings from the land of teething babies, volatile albeit hilarious toddlers and preschoolers and women getting more pregnant by the day. Or just one woman.

I started writing multiple posts last week, each of which I stared at at about half way through, knew that there was no way on God's good earth I would ever subject the public to the likes of whatever nonsense I was typing, and still continued to type. The pregnancy brain only functions on the lowest of levels. One of the posts was written on the bathroom floor during one of the worst days of teething I have ever experienced.

I feel like the biggest baby-mother out there complaining about teething while being on kid #4, because it seems like such a first-time mom thing to complain about, but really, it is the worst. The day I penned one of the never actually posted posts was the day I walked into Lucy's room after a nap, from which she awoke like an angry, ravenous, caged and starved Lion to see her face covered in blood. Ok maybe it wasn't covered, but there was a substantial amount of blood. I soon realized the blood originated from the top gums where she was desperately trying to cut her upper canines with her bottom teeth. It was like an episode of CSI, toddler style.

She was soon placated with one of these bad boys, which I will always love.

But the teething has actually gotten a little better, inexplicably so, and we've relished in the many days of sunshine...

 that preceded today's snowy, sweater weather:
                               ^^22 weeks going on 32

Thank you Katrina for letting me borrow this maternity sweater, which I was sure I would not need, because I am naive and hopeful. The girls announced to me shortly after snapping the above picture they they have "tiny wombs" and I have a "VERY BIG womb". They have never been more right.

In other news, "project detachment" is going really well with Lucy, despite her teething woes. She has grown more accustomed to not being held by me allllllll day and... she is still alive!!! While I don't necessarily prefer the amount of crying at my feet while wiping her snot all over my knees because I am cooking dinner and NOT going to pick her up, I really do prefer cooking dinner with both hands. I also pulled another run-out-of-the-house-while-she-is-screaming-bloody-murder-about-being-left-with-the-babysitter and left her with my sweet babysitter for another 3 hours of total kidless bliss and came back to a totally happy baby. Again. That was only the second time it worked to leave her with the sitter, and I will never have it another way again.

Now I will actually hit the "publish" button and then go attempt to make and eat everything I see on Pinterest. Particularly these, because I am really good at Holy Week.

Friday, April 11, 2014

5 Fun Non-Essentials for the New Mom

My little sister, Christina is having her first little babe this July,  I got to attend her baby shower during our trip home last weekend and I am so super excited for her. When I was expecting #1, things were so radically different than when I was pregnant with 2, 3 and now 4. I did so many things that I just don't do now, and while lots of people told me what I should do (or buy) I was really not interested in listening. I was so excited and wanted to have as much fun with that first pregnancy as I could, and in the end I am really glad I did because I will never have the time to do that again nor will it ever be as new and different as it was with number one (although always just as exciting). There are tons of great lists out there for what-to-get when you're expecting (I know Grace has done a few really awesome ones lately that are way more practical and had me nodding in total agreement about every item. Check them out).

These are just non-essentials, a few fun gift ideas for a new mom-to-be.

1) A Pregnancy Journal. My mom bought me this when when I was pregnant with Naomi and I wrote in it at least every week. It has a little description of what is going on each day with your baby's development and little spaces to track how you're feeling and other fun pregnancy facts along the way. I still bust it out a lot to compare weight gain at various points and to see what baby is doing in there around a certain time. It is a great little resource and was one of my favorite gifts with Naomi.

2) Baby Books. I read Baby Wise(don't throw the first stone. I ended up chucking it to the back of my closet in a sleepless fit of rage when it didn't just work for Naomi like they said it would),  Husband-Coached Childbirth(and proceeded to use roughly none of the techniques during Naomi's birth but rather screamed and was asked to shut up multiple times but nurses), The Baby Whisperer(and laughed A LOT), and several others. I definitely read too may books while pregnant, and while tons of people told me not to read anything, but again, I was not going to listen to them. I really do feel like each  book provided its own beneficial information that really helped me out later, especially when it came to any nursing difficulties I was to face. As long as a new mom doesn't take everything in the book as gospel, and gleans what is helpful for her from it, it is not a waste in my opinion. 

3) Belly Buds. When I was not working (other than some light nannying) while pregnant with Naomi, I had copious amounts of time to sit on the couch and play classical music to her via awkwardly placed headphones on my belly. Who knows if this did anything, but it was super fun and she would often move around a lot while I did it. I saw this product during one of mine and Mike's obsessive Shark Tank viewings and thought it looked amazing and when they offered to let me try out a pair to tell you about it, I jumped on that quick. The little "buds" adhere to your tummy so you can move around with them on and your ipod in your pocket. I really like them and while I am sure I will not use them as much as I would have while pregnant with Naomi, just due to being 1000 times busier, but they would be the perfect non-essential fun gift for a first time mamma.

4) Cute Bedding. Everyone said this was a useless purchase when I was pregnant the first time. Did I listen? No! I never would have. This was one of the funnest things to shop for and in the end, I still use most of the bedding that I purchased with Naomi. My sister stands firmly by Pottery Barn's quality, and if I had the cash flow to jump all over this one right now I would, because it would be fun.

5) Wipes Warmer. I know, I know. Everyone says these are not worth it, but with baby #1, I loved it. I think we gave it away by the time Lucy came, but we definitely used it for Bernadette as well and there is something really great about not wiping your baby's bum with a cold wipe in the middle of the night. There was definitely less crying during diaper changes with the wipes warmer in those early newborn days than without it. Even if you put it in storage after your first and never look at it again, it is a nice non-essential item to have when your fist little baby is as tiny as he/she will ever be.

So that's that. I am sure some serious eyes will roll at this list, but I am really not insisting that anyone needs these items, they are just for the fun of it.

How about you? Favorite fun baby non-essentials, and....  Go!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Never again. Ok, maybe again.

When I was a mere infant of a mother, or rather when I was just a young lady mothering my first infant, I made the decision to take the trek to my home town of Steubenville alone with 4 month-old Naomi. I thought I was so BA at first and then when I got home from the trip I declared decidedly that "I would NEVER do that again. Ever." The time with the family was great, but the hours of car screaming by baby which left me feeling like a rung out dirty dish towel did not seem to make the whole thing worth it.
^ All taken during that trip 5 years ago, which we did end up living to tell about.

Fast forward 5 years and at least 4 additional solo trips back with more than one child in tow and I have to laugh a hearty belly chuckle at new-mom Ana: so naive, so wimpy, so lame. I'm still wimpy and lame, but I know what I am getting myself into and I knew full well that this past weekend would not be a walk in the park when I decided to take all three girls (+ one gestating male) back to the "Burb of the Burgh" alone for my little sister's baby shower. And it wasn't a walk in the park, but it was fun and I think I'd do it again.

I called my mom crying a couple days before I was slated to leave telling her that I was not coming due to my utter terror at the thought of feilding any of Bernadette's tantrums in front of family or at potential rest stops alone, it was sad and pathetic. But then we had one good day with minimal tantrums and I figured, "what the hell? how much harm could it do either of us?" Well probably a lot but in the end that was not my primary source of frustration other than one mid-interstate tantrum involving Bernadette getting out of her car seat and walking to the front of the car (while I am sailing along at 75 mph) to "pull my hair! for not putting her boots on while I was driving!!!". I had to pull off to the shoulder to deal with that, but at least it wasn't in front of any random people. I guess?

                                                     ^ She was a peach most of the time.

No, the bigger source of frustration was my new child-sized tumor name Lucy who would not leave my body for the duration of the weekend and who screamed as if someone was attempting to water board her every time I put her down, attempted to pass her off to anyone, or if a loving family member or friend even looked  at her. You may think I am joking, but feel free to ask any one of my family members (other than Mike's dad who she inexplicably loved at first sight) and they will corroborate. It was the most annoying thing in the world and definitely served to confirm some suspicions in me that I need to seriously "cut the umbilical chord" now before the next babe comes with an actual umbilical chord. I did not even realize how horrible her clinginess was until we were there and everyone was trying to be so sweet with her and she would not have any of it.

^  Lucy is only out of my arms and smiling because of that cookie, and it did not last long.

However, despite having another fairly sizable baby human attached to my person the entire time, I had a great time seeing everyone and seeing the utter cuteness that was this shower.

If you are in the market for stationary awesomeness, please just click to my sister, she is amazing. And my mother and other sisters just know how to do up a shower right, and they do it.

It was definitely worth it and I would probably do it again.

And now today we are back to life and reality and commencing day 1 of mother-baby attachment detox, or I guess you could just call it detachment parenting in full force. I am sure I will keep you all unnecessarily  abreast of the progress of this venture, as I do all my endeavors. In the mean time, have yourself a splendid beginning of the second week in April.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

finding out about #4

Keeping the theme of this in-utero babe going on the blog with a bit of a novel for your Wednesday. 

(WARNING: this story is way too long and contains certain terms similar to that of a birth story, if you no likey, no readie)

Last November I read a post by Katrina and by the end of it was in a little emotional tear puddle, and since the post was her retelling the events leading up to finding out she was expecting her second son, I naturally began to wonder if my emotions right then weren't being dictated by growing another little babe. I really, really wanted to be pregnant. Mike and I were being  "open", which on all other occasions had resulted in being "pregnant", but since one of those pregnancies had ended in miscarriage, I wasn't assuming anything. But I did purchase a pregnancy test.

You see, I have this little problem, it's somewhat of an addiction- an addiction to taking pregnancy tests when there is even the slightest possibility I am pregnant. I am an innocent victim of the marketing schemes of all the pregnancy test companies claiming they can "detect pregnancy 5 DAYS EARLIER than the leading test". I, the gullible consumer, put my faith too often in their promises and always take tests way too early. (sidenote: I do know about various bulk tests online, and used to be a frequent customer, but they only serve to feed the addiction. If they are there I will take them. All of them)

Such was the case in early November when, spurred on by Katrina's prose, I took a test one morning, way too early and hoping so much that it would be positive. Here is where I give a little helpful hint to any woman who will ever take a pregnancy test: do not take the test back out of the trash 15 minutes after you've taken it and seen that it is negative to just make sure, it's not a good idea. But that is exactly what I did. I took it, it was negative, I threw it away, I came back 15 minutes later, dug it out and low and behold: a faint line!! I must have just missed it the first time, and I was sure I was pregnant. I woke Mike up and told him about it, I had him check to verify that it was there and he did see it too. I was thrilled, absolutely overjoyed and spent the rest of the day planning and plotting for a probably July baby. BUT! It was just a faint line so naturally I had to run out and buy another just to be sure. So I did. I bought several more, took them all, and they were all.....   negative (I told you I have an addiction).
^ Pictures taken the day of the false positive, sure that there was another Hahn coming.

I just chalked it all up to it being too early and waited a few days to take some more, I think I probably spent somewhere around $50-$75 on pregnancy tests that month. That is even more embarrassing when I read it typed out. Long story short (NOT!), it ended up becoming abundantly clear within a week that I was absolutely not pregnant and that faint line was a result of breaking the rules and looking at the test way later than you're supposed to.

It was nevertheless devastating, it really felt like I had lost a baby, even though I know that is not what happened in that case. In addition to being so down about not being pregnant right then, I was so scared to go for it the next cycle because that would be the exact timing of the conception of our miscarried baby. I was terrified of history repeating it self, even though I know that that is not how God works, but I still couldn't get it out of my head.

Almost done... sort of.

(Important back story) Throughout all my cycles in the 2013 year I had been having a whole lot of sharp abdominal pain associated with the fertile time (sorry, you were warned). I know that can be totally normal (i.e. Mittelschmerz) but mine had gotten rather debilitating during the ovulatory time and I was starting to worry. So after found out that I was not actually pregnant, my mind went immediately to the worst case scenario involving infertility and all sorts of trouble conceiving in the future, it's just how my brain is. I was prepared to not conceive for a while, and certainly not the very next cycle.

But then... we did!

We had one leftover test from the host of tests I had purchased the month prior and, per my request, Mike literally hid it from me until an appointed calender day that would actually be acceptable to take the test. I took the test on December 16th (too many details? I know) just 2 days after the test I had taken when we miscarried 2 years prior. It felt a lot like dejavu, or like I was reliving a dream. The test was positive and we were ecstatic.

I went to our local pregnancy center to get proof of pregnancy and got the due date of August 20th (again, 2 days after the due date of the baby we had lost). On the one hand I felt like this was a second chance or a new beginning or something, since after the miscarriage my appreciation for my fertility and for new life grew a thousand times, but on the other hand the pain in my lower right side was scaring the crap out of me.

We traveled to Steubenville for Christmas break and decided to tell our families that we were expecting, even though everything in me wanted not to out of fear of losing the baby and uncertainty about the continued pain. We got through Christmas with no issues and I was feeling more and more pregnant, which was great.
 ^ A picture from Christmas break, because I need to break this ridiculously long post up a little

However a few days after arriving back home the pain had gotten worse and worse and on New Years Eve was finally accompanied by spotting. It was horrible and I was so terrified and convinced that it was either ectopic or I was miscarrying. On New Years day the pain had gotten a little better but no doctors were in and since I was only spotting, I didn't want to fork out the cash for an ER trip and waited until the next day.

When I finally got an appointment for an ultrasound, it felt exactly like it did when we found out we had miscarried. I went into that dark little room with the same heavy heart, convinced of the same outcome.. I do not think the ultrasound tech was expecting the flood of emotions about to descend upon her when she started, but when I saw the heart beat thumping on the screen, it was like finding out again that we were expecting, only waaaay more intense since I was so sure we'd lost this baby. It was really beautiful.

At my latest ultrasound, the baby was measuring bigger and got his due date bumped around and moved to the exact day that our lost little baby was due. We had named that baby Ignatius, because I had a strong feeling it would have been a boy, and in a lot of ways this feels like a second chance, or at least a new opportunity to welcome new life with greater joy and love and appreciation for the miracle that it is.

If you made it all the way through this please go get yourself a stiff drink or some chocolate, for the love of all things good.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Belly Buds: Part 2

Welllllllllllllllll Lauren and I wanted to do a "Belly Buds: Gender Reveal" and make a big deal out of it, but then my excitement got the better of me and I could not restrain a blog post for that many days. But don't think you got off the hook and are going to get out of copious gratuitous pregnancy deats from the 2 of us, no no, we're still posting.

I am super excited that Lauren is having a little girl because now we can go ahead and hop on the arranged marriage train with Hahn Boy and Johnson Girl, a match made in heaven. Or at least in Indiana and Alabama.

So here you go, another edition of:

+ What did you think you were having and what was your reaction when you found out?+

Ana: Well I have already posted about how I thought it was a boy and I already let you all know that I totally cried when we found out, but I'll always share more. I kept thinking that I was seeing the region as the tech was trying to find out the gender for us, and I wasn't seeing anything, which generally means girl. That was the first time I felt any disappointment about the possibility of having a girl. Then the tech found the real region and I realized that I was not looking at the right spot previously and then she let us know it was a boy. I was so surprised and emotional, as always, and cried like a little baby. 

Lauren: I didn't have any strong feeling of boy or girl. Emma was really praying for a sister and we spent so much time prepping her for a brother that I think we were all a little shocked when we found out we were having a girl! We took all three kids to the ultrasound and when the tech announced the gender, Emma and Kolbe had the biggest grin. We were all just excited and enjoying the moment. Well, except Joshua who spent the entire time laying on my neck and shoulders, unsure about the dark room and the little machine on mommy's belly.
^Match made in Picasa.

+ How have you been feeling now that your breezing through the second trimester?+

Ana: Definitely better than a few weeks ago and since I don't want to be annoying with complaints about insomnia and continued fatigue, I will stop there. Oh wait, I think that was still complaining.

Lauren: I definitely have more energy during the day, which is awesome.  But I think pregnancy is flying by because I am distracted by our busy schedules. I am really looking forward to Easter break and some quality family time.
+ What food do you crave the most?+

Ana: If I could eat Thai food every single day I would. I would also be a solid 300 pounds, so I don't.

Lauren: I have been craving lots of fruits and smoothies. It's funny how being outside and enjoying the spring weather inspires healthy food cravings...And maybe a few scoops of ice cream.

+  What is your weirdest pregnancy dream thus far?+

Ana: I am having such a  hard time coming up with the weirdest one because, seriously? Pregnancy dreams be CRAY! What in the world is it that causes the madness? I have had more dreams that I am being captured or am some sort of drug lord countless times so far. I had one recently that Mike and I were living in the basement of my old childhood parish and we couldn't ever come out because the people were always eating coffee and donuts. And I also have a whole lot of dreams that something is happening in real time, like right then. Last night I had a dream that Naomi was in the hall way, right at that moment in the middle of the night, rolling on the floor screaming, waking everyone up and then when I asked her what was wrong she said she was just pretending to get everyone to wake up. I woke up completely enraged and confused as to whether that really just happened. It messes with the head, I tell you.

Lauren: I can't remember any recent dreams that were just really weird. To be honest, most of the dreams I wake up remembering are about this family conference that I am helping to plan. The details that I am in charge of have been haunting me at night, but thankfully the conference is this weekend, so maybe I can go back to having normal/weird pregnancy dreams. Is that something to hope for? Not sure.

+ What is your favorite part of being pregnant?+

Ana: The few times I have felt this little boy move around. It has taken sooooo long this time around to feel anything and my fragile worry wart heart was having a really hard time handling that. I still feel so little movement for being almost 20 weeks, but every time I do it pretty much makes my entire day. That is something about being pregnant that will just never ever get old, I love it.

Lauren: I am just beginning to feel our little girl move around and I love that feeling! I am excited for the day when Dan and the kids can feel her kicks too.

+ What is your least favorite part?+
Ana: Insomnia and my doctor's constant nagging about my weight gain. Every appointment feels like an audition for America's Next Top Model. Not that i know what that is like, but I imagine it's a little bit like my appointments.

Lauren: I haven't had trouble sleeping due to being physically uncomfortable, yet. So I will probably complain about that in another post. I guess right now my least favorite part is wearing compression stockings on my right leg every day because of my varicose veins. Maxi skirts have become a staple in my wardrobe. :)