Wednesday, December 31, 2014

24 weeks!

How far along? 24 weeks 
Total weight gain: 18lbs at my 24 week appt yesterday
Maternity clothes? Absolutely, I'm enjoying wearing the new maternity clothes my mom and I got last week. 
Stretch marks? No
Sleep: still pretty good but I can tell it will get harder to sleep soon. 
Best moment this week: feeling the baby move and seeing and feeling the kicks from the outside. 
Miss Anything? Not really this week! 
Movement: Yes! I can definitely tell when the baby moves now, and I love it! 
Food cravings: No particular cravings really. Just the usual foods I like to eat. 
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope not at all. Just getting over a cough and congestion. 
Gender: BOY!!
Labor Signs: Nope 
Symptoms: I honestly don't have many symptoms right now. People were definitely accurate when they said the second trimester is the most enjoyable and easiest part of the pregnancy. (At least in my experience) 
Belly Button in or out? In but still looking a little stretched out! 
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood: excited 
Looking forward to: our last New Year's Eve as a couple and decorating the nursery!

This week Baby Ciak is the size of a...
I guess that explains why my belly has grown so much over the past week or two! Hard to believe my uterus is now the size of a soccer ball! He weighs just over a pound and is gaining weight in his muscles and bones.

Those little hands are getting bigger!
I also got this notification today on one of my apps. We've reached another milestone! With lots of medical help, the baby could survive in the outside world at this point. Very exciting! 

At my doctors appointment yesterday they did all the routine checks. They started measuring my belly too, and they checked the heartbeat. I just love hearing it everytime I go! At my next appointment in 4 weeks, I have my 1 hour glucose screening to check for gestational diabetes. The doctor said I didn't have any risk factors so it all comes down to genetics. Hopefully I'll pass and won't have to do the 3 hour glucose test. It's hard to believe after next appointment I start seeing the doctor every 2 weeks until the last month. Things sure are moving along now! Only 16 weeks to go! 

Happy New Year everyone!! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Weekend productivity!

Jeremy had a four day weekend, and we completely took advantage of that time off! I had many items on my to do list. We  started by picking up the headboard we bought for the guest room. We had sold the headboard and footboard because it was too big to combine with the desk in our office. This smaller headboard works better! My dog approves too!
Next, Jeremy painted the nursery. It took me a while to figure out the color I wanted but we finally decided on three solid walls and an accent wall of stripes. While the painting is done, I still have decorating to do so I'll post the pictures once it's more together! We have made a lot of progress and now it's just the finishing touches. I need to find art, a standing lamp, and a few other things. 

Well I guess I should get to bed! I have my 24 week doctors appointment tomorrow and will write more soon. :) Hope everyone enjoys their last few days of 2014! 

Oh and I forgot to mention, we had a fun night bowling on Saturday night! I had to take a picture because it will probably never happen again haha. Somehow I won the first round! :) 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Hospital tour

Being the prepared and planning type person I am, I decided we should take care of the hospital tour sooner rather than later. I also kept picturing the hospital where I volunteered when I thought about the labor and delivery part so I wanted to know what it was like where I would actually be delivering. It was a good time to ask some questions and learn more about where we would be going on the big day.

Everything seemed nice and organized. All the rooms were private and everything looked relatively new or updated. Walking past the nursery was of course my favorite part! There were four newborns in there at the time. It made it feel very real seeing those babies and knowing in a few short months one of them would be mine. I do plan to keep the baby in the room with me for the most part but they did say the babies have to go back to the nursery when pediatricians come to check them. The nurses seemed to really encourage breastfeeding and keeping the babies in the room with the mom as much as possible which I liked. 

I'm glad we went for the tour and that I can better picture where I will be delivering and staying for a few nights. While it seems like we have a lot of time left, I think it will go by quickly. We've accomplished a lot off our baby to do list while Jeremy has had time off for the holidays which has been great. I'm feeling more prepared and ready. As ready as I can be I should say! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Reflecting on my infertility experience

Recently I've been doing lots of pregnancy posts to document my pregnancy experience but I wanted to take a few minutes to remember my experience with infertility and continue to acknowledge my friends and other women who are struggling to have a baby. 

I remember how the holidays were a difficult time when dealing with infertility. Christmas especially since you think about how different your holidays would be celebrating with your own children. Even last Christmas when we were 6 months in trying to start a family, I remember feeling a bit sad. This is a reality for many couples, and I continue to hope for all the people out there hoping this will be the month they achieve a pregnancy. All those feelings I experienced just a few short months ago still stay with me and are a part of me forever. As much as I hope to not relive that experience, I'm glad I can relate to the women out there who have different challenges. 

I was just thinking about all the reasons why I always wanted to be a mom, and I was realizing why infertilty is such a difficult thing to deal with. Here are some of those reasons. 

-I always wanted to experience pregnancy. I've dreamt of seeing my belly grow and dealing with whatever symptoms are necessary to reassure me that my baby was growing inside me. 

-I've always wanted to create a new life with the person I love and to give that child a great life.

- To be able to experience being a mother and to feel that new form of love that you have for your children.

- To see my husband become a father and for him to see me become a mother. 

- To see our baby for the first time and to be there for all those little milestones over the years.

I could continue to list more reasons why being a mom has always been important to me. When I wasn't pregnant, I was hoping that one day I would get to experience those things. Some couples never get that opportunity, and I'm thankful everyday that we were given the chance to become parents. As this pregnancy progresses further along I continue to wish for a smooth delivery and a healthy baby. I can't wait for the moment I hear that first cry and for our baby to take its first breath on its own. Not a day goes by that I take this pregnancy for granted. Even if a little symptom bothers me, I remind myself about all the other women would love to be in my shoes. I was there a few months ago, and now I understand how special and what a miracle this process is. Pregnancy isn't always going to be easy but I can't imagine a better gift at the end. As difficult as inferility can be, I am thankful for the experience I had this year. I learned a lot from it, and it taught me to appreciate the smaller things in life. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas 2014

I really enjoyed our last Christmas as a couple. We started to think about Christmas next year and in the years to come. It will be very different but in the best possible way! I will say, we enjoyed our last Christmas where we could sleep in a bit. For the next 15-20 years that probably won't happen but I am thrilled to start sharing this special time of the year with our own little ones. Last night, Jeremy and I were talking about traditions we would like to start with our family, and it's really fun to think about! 

This morning we hosted a small group of our family. Everyone brought something and all the food turned out absolutely delicious. I really like having brunch Christmas morning. Here is the food and the recipes. My mom handed down both these recipes to me!
Spinach and mushroom quiche. The recipe calls for bacon but I went with the veggie option this time!
And sour cream coffee cake! 
All the food was great! We were all very full afterwards.
Here is our tree. I always did a real one growing up so we started getting real trees for the past three years. My mom gave me a bunch of ornaments from when I was a child, and we have started to accumulate ornaments of our own. I always love taking them out every year and am always sad to take the decorations down. I love how cozy it makes the house feel.
Here are some of my favorite family pictures from today! We hosted Jeremy's dad, my mom, my brother in law and his fiancĂ©. All the rest of our family is out of state at the moment but hopefully we will see them soon. 
Brunch!
Love them!
The Ciaks 
My mom and me!
Loving that growing bump. We couldn't be more excited about this upcoming year. I feel so incredibly lucky! We hope you all had a great holiday with your families and wish you the best in 2015!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Week 23

How far along? 23 weeks 
Total weight gain: 16lbs (The holidays plus pregnancy seem to make gaining weight quite easy!) 
Maternity clothes? Absolutely! My mom and I had a very successful trip to buy some new maternity clothes yesterday. Destination maternity has been my favorite store to get clothes. I've tried not to buy too many but I needed a few more things to mix and match with. I found something to wear for Christmas and New Years. I also really needed some new bras so took care of that as well!
Stretch marks? No
Sleep: some night are better than others. I'm still having very strange dreams that I remember. I've also had a lot of congestion this week which has made it harder to sleep. 
Best moment this week: feeling the baby move a little more often and seeing the movements from the outside.
Miss Anything? Random activities that aren't recommended during pregnancy (ice skating, hot tubs, and traveling to exotic destinations) 
Movement: Yes! I can definitely tell when the baby moves now, and I love when it happens. It's gotten a little more frequent but it's still not super often.
Food cravings: Nothing in particular. I don't really feel like my eating habits have changed that much since being pregnant other than having a few more small snacks here and there. I still seem to like the same foods I liked before pregnancy. 
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope not at all
Gender: BOY!!
Labor Signs: No thankfully 
Symptoms: My back has started to bother me a bit when standing for a while. Just getting used to carrying around the extra weight I think!
Belly Button in or out? In but I can definitely tell it's starting to look a little different. I guess more shallow could be a way to describe it. 
Wedding rings on or off? On but I do keep checking to make sure they still go on and off!
Mood: happy
Looking forward to: our hospital tour on Sunday and my 24 week appointment on Tuesday. 

As for the size, the baby is about 8 inches long and the size of a papaya. He weighs right around a pound or slightly more. The lungs are starting to develop more too! More soon!


Christmas Eve

Today I'm missing some family and friends. I haven't seen my Dad and my brothers since September. With most of my family in other states, it makes for a quiet Christmas Eve. Sometimes being far from away from everyone is hard. I'm missing my friends from high school and college as well. I guess a quiet holiday week will be nice. This will be the last Christmas just the two us so I plan to enjoy our time as a couple. We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season. The baby is the greatest gift we could have asked for.

Just when I was missing my family, I was thrilled when I got a text from my brother with pictures of my nephews playing with the gifts Jeremy and I sent them. Theo is 3 and Simon is 1. I wish I got to see them more but Skype and pictures help! 
Here is a picture of Theo playing with his new ABC stamp set while holding onto his new stuff animal which is a vulture. My brother said he stated, "I really love this vulture." I love the joy children get from such simple things. I can't wait to experience that with our little boy in the years to come. Simon also had a great time playing with his new dragon jack in the box.

Tomorrow we are hosting brunch. My family has a tradition of cooking quiche and coffee cake. I decided to keep that going this year. We will have other brunch items, and it should nice. It's a small group. Just my mom, Jeremy's dad, my brother in law, his fiancĂ©, and possibly a little of her family. The more the merrier in my opinion. I think because I've always had such a small family that I love having a big group together. 

This week I got such a sweet gift from my best friend from college. It's an ornament that is a baby rattle and says "Mommy to be". It was such a thoughtful gift and a great addition to our tree! 
Well I guess I should head to the grocery store and finish prepping the house for Christmas. Merry Christmas Eve everyone! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

4 months to go!

Today is the 22nd which means we are only 4 months away from Baby Ciak's due date! I'm really enjoying pregnancy, especially this past week since I've started to feel him move more. Last night, I was hanging out in bed on my laptop, and I could see those little kicks. I had felt it before from the outside but I could actually see my belly raise a bit when it happened. It's so amazing to see and a great reminder that he is there and growing stronger every day.

My next milestone to reach is that 24-25 week mark when the baby is viable and has a pretty good chance at surviving with a lot of medical help if anything did happen early. From what I've read, each passing week after that raises the success rate even more. Of course hopefully the baby will be nice and comfortable for the next few months but if anything did happen, it's nice to be at the point where doctors can possibly help. It makes it seem a lot more real too. 

The second trimester is continuing to fly by. I just scheduled a tour of labor and delivery and the maternity ward for next weekend! I'm really looking forward to that! As exciting as it is, I'm definitely nervous about the labor and delivery part. I try to remind myself that women do it everyday but there is still that fear of the unknown. As much as I read or learn, I feel like nothing can really prepare you for it. I know how unpredictable labor and delivery can be. I do know one thing though. It will be worth every bit of pain once we hold our baby. 

Now if I can just get rid of this cough and congestion, I'll be all ready for Christmas this week. I've been having a hard time keeping myself healthy lately. I guess it is that time of year where a lot of illnesses are going around. Hope you all have s great week with family and friends! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

More holiday parties and such

Jeremy had some PTO time to use so we were both home on Friday which was nice. He got the first coat of primer done in the nursery. Since we are going from a dark to light, they recommended doing a separate primer first in addition to paint and primer in one. Makes for some extra work but I wanted to make sure the old color was covered. Since painting isn't the best for pregnant women Jeremy's been doing the painting. I'm looking forward to getting that checked off out to do list. I worked on some other baby things while he was painting. I put together a birth plan with some of the ideas of how I would ideally like things to go and some questions for my doctor. It's hard to believe we are already at the point where we need to start thinking about the labor/delivery aspect of things. I've got time but the teacher/planner in me likes to be prepared early. Babies are unpredictable and often arrive early which makes me want to stay on top of my to do list. 

On Friday night, we did some baking/cooking. I wanted to bring cookies to the party on Saturday, and I had also been wanting to make fudge. After watching some holiday cooking shows lately, I decided we should try some things ourselves.

Jeremy made this fudge. It actually turned out very well. 
I forgot to take a picture of the cookies I made but here they are.
They didn't come out quite as well as the last time we made them but they were still good. The icing is awesome, and they always get eaten quickly. 
On Saturday night, we had one more holiday party with some of Jeremy's friends and their significant others. I've gotten to know them over the years, and it's always nice to catch up. Three of us are pregnant and two couples already have a baby so it was nice to see them and chat about babies/parenting. 

Today I just need to finish a little wrapping and prepping for Christmas. We are hosting a mix of our families. We're doing brunch this year. My family has traditionally done quiche and coffee cake on Christmas morning so we are continuing that and adding on some other brunch items. I'm looking forward to it! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Week 22

How far along? 22 weeks 
Total weight gain: 15lbs 
Maternity clothes? Absolutely 
Stretch marks? No
Sleep: still pretty good but I can tell it will get harder to sleep soon. 
Best moment this week: feeling the baby move a little more often 
Miss Anything? Just the usuals 
Movement: Yes! I can definitely tell when the baby moves now! 
Food cravings: Fruits, pasta dishes, and Italian ice
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope not at all
Gender: BOY!!
Labor Signs: Nope 
Symptoms: I had a strange leg cramp the other night but apparently that's common! 
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood: happy
Looking forward to: my 24 week appointment on Dec. 30th 

My other app says that the baby is the size of a spaghetti squash. Getting big! He also weighs close to a pound now!
Looks like I missed the 22 in the first picture!
As for other updates, we are getting closer to deciding on a name. I'm just not quite ready to decide for sure, and I'm still listening and looking around to make sure I'm not missing anything! It's a big decision, and we still have plenty of time. 

We are planning to start painting the baby room this weekend. I'll post pictures once we finish! I've been working on my registry lately too. I love when I'm sitting in bed at night and the baby kicks me. Those reminders that he is there and growing are very special. 

For me, week 21 was when I could tell the movement I was feeling was in fact the baby. Jeremy has felt him a few times from the outside but it's still hard to catch and pretty subtle. I feel him more often now but it's mostly at night when I'm sitting still. I'm sure that will be a whole different story in a few weeks! I appreciate every little reminder that he gives me, and we are another week closer to meeting our little boy. I'm thankful for having such an enjoyable pregnancy experience thus far and continue to hope for a full term healthy baby! More soon!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014 recap

2014 started out as a somewhat difficult year but by the end, it sure turned itself around. I thought it would be fun to do a monthly recap of everything that happened this year, good and not so good. I like to share the positive times in my life but I also share the harder times as well. Life sure has its ups and downs but this year reminded me that those tough, challenging times don't last forever. Whether your year was full of great times or challenging ones, I hope you did have some enjoyable parts of 2014 that you can reflect on, and I hope that 2015 brings all my family and friends much love, health, and happiness!

2014 timeline 

January- We started the new year off with a weekend trip to a cabin in the mountains. Just us and our dogs! It was such a nice little romantic getaway.
A few weeks later we got to meet my new nephew, Simon, in Philadephia when  he was just a couple months old. Holding him definitely gave me baby fever even more. We were 6 months into our journey to get pregnant at this point and I couldn't help but hope we would be holding our baby soon. 
Shortly after this trip was when I got diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). I remember waiting through this ice storm and crazy Atlanta weather to find out my test results.
The picture above is from my walk home during Atlanta's "snowpocolypse".  As many of you probably remember, lots of cars were stuck on the highway during the ice storm that started mid work day. This certainly wasn't my favorite week of the year but a week off from school was nice. 

February
February proved to be full of more ice and snow. It also was another difficult month of waiting for test results from my doctor. I spent a lot of time this month learning about PCOS, and we started our first month of treatment with the assistance of the ovulation inducing medicine, Clomid.

March
This month, thanks to the help of Clomid, I got my first positive ovulation test. I remember how exciting that was after months of empty circles on these tests. I totally thought this was my magic fix and that I would be pregnant soon! Not so much.

April
Over my spring break, we visited my aunt, uncle, and cousins in Florida. We had fun at the beach and paddle boarding. 
April continued to be full of family time. My brother, his wife, and the boys visited Atlanta. Always love when they visit!
Lastly, on April 27th, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary!
This was also the weekend when I decided I would take some time off from teaching so that we could focus on my infertilty treatments. I told my principal that Monday morning that I wouldn't be coming back next year. It was one of the hardest decisions I made this year but looking back I truly think it all worked out.

May  
In May, I had my last day of teaching. I loved my first grade team and was sad to leave them but I'm glad we've all kept in touch. 
At the end of May over Memorial Day weekend, we visited Jeremy's grandparents in Tampa. 
We also got in some family beach time at the dog friendly beach.

June 
This month we got to meet Riley's family. Riley is my brother in law's girlfriend (now fiance). It was a surprise birthday celebration for her Mom, and it was a lot of fun! 
This month we also celebrated my friend Emily's wedding up in PA. She is a close friend from Penn State. 
We also visited my nephews during this trip to PA! 
On June 20th, we flew to Thailand!
We rode elephants!
And played with tigers. 
And went to beautiful beaches! 
And made wishes at a lantern ceremony! 

July 
We visited Siem Reap, Cambodia at the end of our trip. 
We explored lots of temples and villages on stilts. It was amazing trip but it was back to reality after 4th of July weekend. I also found out that weekend we came home that I wasn't pregnant again. I had spent our 2 week vacation hoping I was pregnant but not this time.

As soon as we got home, I continued seeing a reproductive endocrinologist during the month of July. July was full of ups and downs. Good news, followed by disappointing news. It was an emotional month for sure. On July 28th, we had our first IUI, and we now know that was the day we conceived our little boy! 

August 
August 14th was the day we found out we were pregnant from a blood pregnancy test. We had a bit of a scare at first because they thought I might have miscarried but it all turned out fine a few days later! 
On August 26th, I had my first ultrasound, and we saw our tiny baby for the first time! One of the happiest days of my life for sure! 

September 
In September, we announced our pregnancy!
We also visit PA and NJ! I got to have my favorite pizza with my Dad. I spent time with many close friends from high school and college which was wonderful.

October 
In October, we visited San Fran for Adam and Marlee's wedding. We also attended Mat and Kelly's wedding this month. Jeremy celebrated his 29th birthday as well. 

November 
On November 1st, we found out our baby is a BOY!
Our friends Dan and Ashley got married this month, and Jeremy was a groomsman. 
On Thanksigving we were apart of a surprise proposal. My brother in law and Riley got engaged!
And my baby bump started to make an appearance!
Jeremy's sister Jessica surprised us with a visit to Atlanta. Such a great Thanksgiving!

December 
On December 2nd, we had our 20 week ultrasound and everything was looking great!
My brother and Emily got engaged on December 12th! So exciting!

Wow what a year! I really enjoyed writing this post and reflecting on this year. Despite our pregnancy struggles during the first half of this year, 2014 turned out to be a year full of happy times. Our family is truly growing in the upcoming year, and I am so thankful for that. Thanks to my husband for all his love and support. Our relationship grew stronger this year, and we created many more special memories together. I can't wait to see how 2015 will turn out. I know it won't always be easy but the good times are totally worth the challenging ones. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season! 


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