Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Wow what an awesome Thanksgiving! I had been looking forward to it all week but I had no idea all the extra special surprises there would be! This year, my brother in laws girlfriend's family hosted. It was very sweet of her family to include so many extra Ciak's plus my mom. Having such a big group of family together was great. 
The first surprise came when we got there. Jeremy's sister Jessica was hiding in the bedroom! We had no idea she was flying in from Chicago, and it was nice to see her. When her mom got there, we were a part of that surprise and her reaction was too cute.
After everyone got there we ate an early dinner. Everyone brought a side dish or other Thanksgiving item, and we sure had a ton of food and 13 people to feed! 
Everything tasted great, and I know the baby enjoyed his first Thanksgiving meal.
Soon after dinner everyone was standing around chatting and cleaning up a bit. I noticed my brother in law, Jonathan and his girlfriend, Riley, had gone outside to start cleaning up the fried turkey pot outside. Next thing I noticed, he was down on one knee in what looked like a proposal. I honestly thought he was just being silly at first because I didn't see a ring box. Sure enough a moment later he went over and grabbed the ring and asked Riley to marry him. The sun was shining overhead, and it couldn't have been more perfect! This was the first proposal I was ever a part of, and I absolutely love being there. We are thrilled that Riley will be joining the Ciak family.
We have so much to be thankful for this year. I'm thankful for a healthy family and a growing one. We missed seeing my Dad, my brothers, my other sister in law, and my nephews but we will see them in a few months. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day!
Glad my mom was there!
My brother in law and his new fiance!
Cheers to the newly engaged couple!
Thankful for my amazing husband and soon to be Baby Ciak! It's hard to believe next Thanksgiving we will be a family of three! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families as well! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

19 weeks!

How far along? 19 Weeks

Total weight gain: 9lbs
Maternity clothes? Absolutely 
Stretch marks? No
Sleep: pretty good but still having strange dreams 
Best moment this week: starting to feel little flutters 
Miss Anything? A frozen margarita 
Movement: Getting closer but still don't feel like a kick yet.
Food cravings: Thanksgiving type foods
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope not at all
Gender: BOY!!
Labor Signs: Nope 
Symptoms: a little stretching in my belly but other than that I'm feeling great!
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood: happy and excited but a little anxious for my 20 week appointment 
Looking forward to: my 20 week ultrasound and feeling that first kick! 

Baby Ciak is about 6 inches long and the size of a...

A friend of mine sent me this picture, and I thought it was pretty funny! Baby will be getting lots of turkey tomorrow! Can't wait! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

150 days to go!

Yesterday was the 5 month mark until the baby's due date, and today is 150 days away! While April 22, 2015 seems far away still, I'm sure it will fly by. I've been spending a lot of time lately reading about babies and parenting in general. Although I have so much experience from volunteering in a maternity ward, babysitting, and teaching, I still feel like I have so much to learn. 

I just finished reading a book called Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckman. It is about an American mom who is raising her children in France, and she talks about the difference in between French and American parenting. She mentions many of the parenting techniques the French use, and overall it's a very interesting read. I took some notes about things I liked and wanted to try with our little one.

When reading parenting books, it brings me back to my college days reading about teaching. I remember reading all these great ideas about how to implement classroom management and how to be an awesome teacher, however, I remember thinking to myself that this all sounds good but actually putting those ideas into action with real students was a whole different story. You can read and go to class as much as you what but until that first day of school when you meet each individual student, you really can't be prepared for what is ahead. I felt like I learned more in my first year teaching than I did from any college class or book I read. I'm having the same feelings about the parenting books. I've got all these good ideas about how I envision raising our baby but I have no idea what I'm working with yet! Parenting very much so seems like a learn on the job type role but at the same time, I still think it's a great idea to learn about different strategies and to figure out your parenting style.

Jeremy and I have been talking a lot about the points I've brought up from the book and just feeling out our parenting views. We recently had a friend ask what we were most excited and most nervous about when it comes to the baby's arrival. When I thought about it, the list was quite long! There are many thing I'm excited about but there are also many things I'm nervous about.

Let's start with the excited part! I'm really looking forward to holding our baby for the first time, watching him sleep on my chest, and seeing Jeremy hold his first son. I can't wait to experience that special bond and love between a mother and her baby. I look forward to all the developmental changes and watching our baby learn new things and accomplish milestones each month.

As far as things I'm slightly nervous about, they are things like the labor and delivery, breastfeeding, and figuring out the baby's wants and needs day in and day. I hope to be able to establish some good routines after the first few months but I know that is easier said than done. There are definitely more things I'm excited about though so that's a good thing! 

We are almost at the halfway point, and I'm still anxiously awaiting that first movement. I still can't seem to feel him yet although there still is occasionally something I feel that might be him. I'm really looking forward to our 20 week ultrasound in just over a week but I am also a little nervous too. I just hope everything is looking normal and that we don't hear any stressful news. We have been lucky so far, and this pregnancy has gone very smoothly. Here's to hoping that continues! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Week 18

Pregnancy wise I'm feeling great still but unfortunately I came down with a cold over the weekend. I've been super congested so it's been a bit hard to sleep. Colds during pregnancy are a little tricky because many over the counter medicines aren't recommended for pregnant women. I did ask a pharmacist, and I consulted my OB's website which has a list of approved medicines. Even though it says they are approved it still makes me feel guilty taking anything! I ended up going to my primary care doctor today to confirm that it was just a cold and make sure I was treating it in the safest way possible. 

While I was at the doctor, there was a medical student training with my doctor. I was catching my doctor up on the pregnancy and explaining how ACRM helped me. Just then the medical student said, "My mom is a doctor there." After asking which doctor, sure enough it was my favorite doctor from the practice who I absolutely loved. It's such a small world sometimes! The other funny part was when he introduced himself, his name was one of the names on our list of boy names. It's not a super common name so I thought that was a coincidence as well. But anyway, I hope I helped him learn something on his first day, and I also asked him to thank his mom again for me! 
Here are this weeks updates!

How far along? 18 Weeks
Total weight gain: 9 lbs
Maternity clothes? Yes! I'm loving the maternity pants. How will I go back to pants with a button? haha
Stretch marks? No
Sleep: Not great this week due to a cold and lots of congestion
Best moment this week: Having people ask me when the baby is due and if I know the gender! 
Miss Anything? Sleeping on my back or stomach
Movement: Similar to last week. Occasionally I feel a little twinge or tap but it's very subtle and doesn't happen much. Still waiting for a clear kick!
Food cravings: not really
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope!
Gender: BOY!!
Labor Signs: Nope 
Symptoms: frequent bathroom trips and noticing a little stretching/pulling in my stomach 
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood: happy and excited! 
Looking forward to: feeling that first noticeable kick and our 20 week ultrasound on December 2nd!
Baby is the size of a..

Monday, November 17, 2014

Last 2014 wedding

This year many of our friends got married!   We had 5 weddings and we were able to make it to 4 of them. We missed one due to our Thailand trip which was a bummer. Two were in town and two were out of town. This past weekend, one of our groomsmen was married, and Jeremy was a part of their bridal party. It was a great wedding weekend, and the rain stayed away until the wedding was ending! Here are some of my favorite pictures from the wedding. 
This was from the rehearsal. After that we watched some football at Taco Mac and headed to Cottages on Main at the Payne Corley House for the rehearsal dinner.
Waiting for his soon to be wife
Such a beautiful bride!
First kiss as husband and wife 
Cake cutting! I loved all the windows this venue had. It was called Ashton Gardens.
Ashley and me
Happy to have my hubby back after the ceremony and pictures!
I had a hard time finding something in my closet that worked with the cold weather and my growing belly. This week, I really started to feel like my baby bump started to pop out more. Almost 18 weeks! 

Overall, it was an awesome year of 2014 weddings. We already have 4 coming up in 2015. So happy for all our engaged and newly married friends. I realized today that this wedding will be last wedding where a babysit isn't required. So different to think about! I'm so used to being the babysitter so parents can go out. In just a few short months, that will all change. Exciting but crazy to think about! We will be unfortunately missing a wedding in Florida in April because it is so close to my due date. The next wedding is in Atlanta in June. We are looking forward to celebrating with more friends in 2015! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

5 ways infertility prepared me for pregnancy and parenthood

I was recently thinking about my infertility experience, and I began to think about all the ways it has helped me prepare for pregnancy and parenting. It took me longer than I had expected to get pregnant. From the moment we decided we were ready to start a family until we saw those two magical pink lines on the pregnancy test, it took 13 months. You might not think just over a year is that long, and it isn't compared to many infertility stories I have read of women who have spent multiple years to get pregnant. However, over a year is a long time when you're going through diagnostic testing as well as fertility treatments. It isn't an easy process, and I think about all the couples out there still struggling all the time. This blog originally started as a blog about infertility and trying to get pregnant. Even though I'm pregnant now, that piece of my journey played a huge part in where we are today and something I will never forget. I still like to recognize that part of this experience and find the positives that came out of it.

It was a journey that started somewhat naively. I thought by simply tossing the birth control pills that I could let my body do the rest. As the months went past, I quickly realized that wasn't the case and my desire for a baby grew stronger and stronger. While each month of that experience was tough, one thing I can say is that I really feel like it better prepared me for pregnancy and eventual parenthood. Here are a few reasons why.

1. Plans don't always go according to plan

I knew from previous life encounters that not everything goes as smoothly as you would expect but planning for a family was something I thought I had some control over. The timing seemed right. We were settled in our jobs, we had bought a home, and we were ready to give up spontaneous date nights. Being a teacher, I am an organizer and a planner. I soon realized that even when all the external factors seem right, that getting pregnant wasn't nearly as easy as it seemed. This applies to having children as well. Even the best planned day with children can quickly turn in a different direction. Experiencing infertility helped remind me to be flexible and not expect life to go according to the plan.

2. You're constantly surrounded by endless advice from others

When I was going through fertility treatments, I was offered so many pieces of advice from a wide range of people. Some people had gone through it while others hadn't. People are very quick to tell you to "just relax and let it happen". Or they suggest taking a break, trying acupuncture, or changing your diet. While advice from others can be helpful and great, it can also be a little bit too much when you're going through a difficult time. I can already tell the same advice comes along in regards to parenting. Everyone has their own ideas and opinions about what works best. I've learned through my infertility journey that while everyone's ideas can be good, you also have to follow your heart and trust what feels right to you. There isn't any one correct answer when it comes to fertility treatment or parenting.

3. You've got to patient

Patience was never a strength of mine. Going through infertility tested my patience but it did make me stronger. I can already tell that parenting will be a test of patience as well. There will be wonderful days, and there will be days that cause you to cry and worry. Being a mom is going to be the best job but also one of the most intimidating and challenging jobs out there. The waiting during infertility helped teach me to be more patient and understanding.

4. You appreciate things more that you have to wait for

Before my infertility experience, things in my life seemed to come pretty quickly as long as I worked hard. For example, I got my teaching job immediately out of college. I didn't substitute or struggle to find a job. While I really appreciated my job, I probably didn't appreciate it as much as someone who subbed for years and went on numerous interviews to land the job. There is something to be said about that hard work, dedication, and persistence that makes the journey worth it. Had I gotten pregnant quickly, I honestly don't know I would have enjoyed it or appreciated pregnancy as much as I do if I hadn't struggled a little bit. I also feel even more ready for this baby and appreciate the opportunity to be his mother.

5. You learn to love even stronger

Infertility is an emotional experience but it can make your relationship even stronger. Going through tough times together can make your love for each other even stronger. We are so ready to love that sweet little baby! I can already tell it will be a whole new kind of love that I've never experienced, and I can't wait for that!

There's some positives that I've gained from my PCOS and infertility experience. If you're going through the struggle now, please know that I still think about you all often. Now that I am pregnant, I almost feel a little guilty at times having that baby belly. I remember seeing pregnant ladies was just a constant reminder that I couldn't get pregnant. But I want to mention, it is okay to feel that way. I'm sure every day I come across women who are trying to get pregnant, and now I am that difficult reminder to them. Instead, I wish they knew my story and challenges that we went through to get there. Now more than ever, I still try to be sensitive to other couples out there who so desperately want to be in my shoes. The best advice I can give is to just keep trying. You never know! Those two pink lines could just be a few weeks away. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

17 weeks!

Things are pretty consistent with last week but the best part was finding out the baby's labs came back normal. After dealing with Inferility and being so accustomed to abnormal results, it makes me so happy to hear that things have been progressing normally. We obviously have a ways to go but with each week that passes and more good news it feels reassuring. Now it's onto the next milestone, a successful and stressfree 20 week ultrasound. Here are some updates from this week! 

How far along? 17 Weeks
Total weight gain: 8lbs
Maternity clothes? Yes! Lots of shirts are still too big but the maternity pants are working out well! 
Stretch marks? No
Sleep: good! Still waking up to use the bathroom. This week I had a lot of strange dreams that I remember very clearly! From what I've read the dreams have to do with the interrupted sleep cycle.
Best moment this week: finding out Baby Ciak's 16 week labs came back normal!
Miss Anything? The usual. Deli meat is still the biggest thing I miss. Having a drink at a wedding too. 
Movement: Sometimes I feel like I notice something but it's not clear yet. Maybe next week! 
Food cravings: not really but I've been wanting a lot of fruit and pizza. Random I know!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope! So far the second trimester has been smooth sailing and the easiest most enjoyable part of pregnant like I had heard.
Gender: BOY!!
Labor Signs: Nope 
Symptoms: frequent bathroom trips and noticing a little stretching/pulling in my stomach 
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood: happy and excited! 
Looking forward to: feeling that first noticeable kick and our 20 week ultrasound on December 2nd!

Baby Ciak is about 5 inches long and the size of a...
That tiny hand keeps growing! 
I think that's all the updates for this week. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weekend updates

This weekend was an eventful one for Jeremy. On Friday, he got two biopsies on his foot, and he got LASIK! He figured if he was going to have to recover from one surgery that he might as well kill two birds with one stone. I was really glad that he went to the dermatologist, and while I wish he hadn't need anything removed, I feel like it's better to be safe than sorry. As I've mentioned before, my mom has had melanoma and I have had a skin cancer scare myself. I know going to the dermatologist isn't fun but I really appreciate Jeremy taking the time to make sure he is healthy. It's probably one of my most dreaded doctors appointments, and I'm sure it is for him as well but I think it's worth it to make sure everything is okay!

Later on in the afternoon, I drove him to his LASIK appointment. He went to the same doctor that I went to almost four years ago. I had a great experience, and I think he did as well. The doctor actually let me come in the room and watch. I eagerly accepted and thought it would be a neat experience. Usually I can handle doctor/hospital stuff pretty well but let's just say watching Jeremy's eye surgery wasn't a great idea. After the first eye, I started to feel a little light headed and decided sitting out in the waiting room was a better option. Something about eyes and watching someone you love during a not so enjoyable experience didn't mix well for me! It was over pretty quickly, and I drove him home to rest. Between the biopsies and the LASIK, we had a very low key weekend.

I did get to have brunch with a friend which was nice and had another friend over to watch the Penn State game. We won for the first time in 4 games so that was good! Today my Mom and I went to some baby stores looking for ideas for the baby's bedding and a nursery theme. I feel like I'm making a little progress slowly but surely. We are also adding some more boy names to our list. There is so much to think about but it's all very fun. Well seeing that tomorrow is already Monday, I should get to bed. Have a nice week everyone!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Week 16 check up

My appointment today went pretty well. It was a relatively easy and quick one once I got called back. There was an adorable one month old little boy in the waiting room, and I couldn't help but think about how that would soon be me holding and nursing a sweet little boy. Gosh I can't wait! Today I also had the first lady ask me if I was expecting! Granted it was in an OB's office so it was a likely chance that I was but it was exciting that my belly is growing enough now that it's starting to be more obvious that I'm pregnant.

I didn't have an ultrasound at this appointment. I did get to hear the heartbeat, and it was nice and strong at 160 beats per minute. I also showed my doctor the "It's a boy" ultrasound from this past weekend, and he didn't seem convinced from that picture that he could tell it was a boy! It got me a little suspicious because I was expecting him to  say, "Oh yeah I totally see it. He looks just like a boy." Well that didn't happen but I'm still pretty sure it's a boy and am trusting the tech the other day is correct. I do have to remember that finding out at 15 weeks is pretty early, and there are still chances for mistakes, however, I do think it is in fact a boy. My 20 week appt is scheduled for December 2nd so we will have confirmation then from my doctor's office. Until then, I am still assuming the baby is a boy!

Besides hearing the heartbeat they checked my weight and did some more blookwork. I had the AFP blood test which checks for neural tube defects. He also reassured me today that the risk of Down's was very low, a 1 in 10,000 chance according to my previous testing. That was good to hear. Hopefully all the new testing comes back well next week!

Lastly, I got my reminder letter about the global maternity charge for prenatal expenses and the delivery. To the new moms out there, if you're reading this and wouldn't mind sending me a message about your experience with this topic, I would greatly appreciate it. The letter from my doctor's office basically said that we owe our co-insurance up front by the 24th week of the pregnancy. This was news to me as of recently. I had thought we just continued to pay the bills month to month until we met our deductible again next year. I wasn't sure if this was the case with all OBs and pregnancies or if it varies a lot from practice to practice. Any tips about this from people with recent experience would be great! Thanks! More soon!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Week 16!

These past few weeks have started to go by more quickly, and this whole having a baby thing has gotten so real! This sweet little boy has treated me so well thus far, and I feel fortunate to have had a smooth pregnancy to this point. I keep hoping my stressful time came before even getting pregnant and that the rest of the pregnancy will continue as it should. I got for my 16 week check up tomorrow so hopefully we have more positive news. I always get a little anxious waiting for bloodwork results but definitely feel more relaxed and I did in the beginning.

This week we have gotten a lot more serious about the boy baby names. We do have a pretty good list going but we still aren't that close to making a decision. I also got some things put on our registry at Babies R US which was fun. I enjoyed parking in the expectant mother spot too! So fun!

Weekly updates:

How far along? 16 Weeks
Total weight gain: 7lbs  (5lbs in the first trimester and 2 so far in the 2nd trimester)
Maternity clothes? Yup! I've officially switched to maternity pants! Regular shirts are still okay for now.
Stretch marks? No
Sleep: good! Still waking up to use the bathroom and often wake up hungry early in the morning. 
Best moment this week: finding out Baby Ciak is a boy!
Miss Anything? Cold sub sandwiches
Movement: Not yet but hopefully soon! 
Food cravings: no particular cravings 
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope! This baby has been very good to me. :) 
Gender: BOY!!
Labor Signs: Nope 
Symptoms: Sore boobs, frequent bathroom trips 
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood: happy and excited! 
Looking forward to: my 16 week doctors appointment and feeling that first kick! 

I'll take my week 16 picture tomorrow! Didn't get a chance today but I'll post it later this week. :) 

Lastly, Baby Ciak is the size of a pickle! 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's a BOY!

What a day we will remember forever! Today we found out that our first baby will be a boy! Both of us come from families with older brothers so it's only fitting! We are super excited!

Our appointment at Baby's First Images was at 10:30am. For those of you that are pregnant in Atlanta, this practice is a fun way to find out early! They start doing gender reveals at 14 weeks which is earlier than most doctors. It was just for fun and a very reasonable cost. 

We made sure to get there extra early. I couldn't wait to find out. They were running about 15-20 minutes behind so we got taken in at about 10:50. For the first few minutes, the tech was showing us the baby, and we got to hear that beautiful heartbeat again. It's so nice to see the baby being so active and having a nice strong heartbeat. I kept waiting for her to let us know whether it was a boy or a girl. She told me she had a feeling what it was but he made it somewhat difficult to get the picture and proof that he was in fact a boy! I did really want to see it for myself to believe it!
It took almost the entire 20 minute appointment before the tech got a picture on the screen, and I even needed some explaining to see it! After all, I am only 15 weeks so it's still early for gender reveals but it definitely seems to be a boy. Here's the image she captured!
I'll try and explain it because I know it looks like a blurry mess! If you look closely, you can see it's a view from underneath. The feet are in the air and the butt is on the bottom of the picture. In between, right in the middle of the spread legs you can see a little triangle like shape which is the little boy parts. We will still have this confirmed at my regular doctors office at 20 weeks but I'm trusting that the tech could tell, and I do think I can see for myself. Hearing a second confirmation will be good!

Immediately after the appointment, we finished putting together the gender reveal packages for our Mom's. Here are some pictures from our visits with them!
So happy!
My mom is excited about her third grandson!
My mom made us a delicious lunch!
At first we left the dogs in the car while our Mom's opened the package and then we let the dogs run in with their blue bows!
Jeremy's mom is looking forward to having her first grand baby and first grandson!
We gave our Mom's a Hershey's bar with the "he" colored blue. You can also color the "she" pink so the Hershey's bar works for either announcement! 

And finally our reveal picture from facebook. :) 
Our two sweet girl dogs are going to have a little brother, and Jeremy will no longer be the only guy in the house! We can't wait to meet our little boy! 

In case you were wondering, we haven't chosen a name. We had decided on a girl's name but the boy's name is still very much up in the air. No name reveal today unfortunately! We still need some more time. Naming a person is a big decision! More updates soon!

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