Austin, Texas

At the end of March, I attended a conference in Austin, Texas. This was my second visit, but the first was in August of 2011, which was quite a different experience! During my first visit, I attended a wedding at the completely bone dry Lake Travis. It was a little bleak. This time I got to enjoy the lush green spring with blooming flowers and full bodies of water!

Austin is such a cool city for so many reasons. Yeah, it’s in Texas, which is nobody’s favorite state unless they are from Texas, but Austin has great energy. There is so much innovation – in music, food, art, and even urban design. I couldn’t ever live there due to the climate (I can really only tolerate so much sweat between my boobs), but it is such a fun place to visit.

Because I was staying at the conference hotel downtown, I walked EVERYWHERE. In fact, during my three day visit, I walked an entire marathon. I popped by the capital building, breezed through 6th street (during daylight hours), walked down Rainey Street to see all the new restaurants and bars, watched the bats one evening, got an incredible grilled cheese sandwich from a food truck on south Congress, and walked the entire Ann and Roy Butler bike path around Lady Bird Lake up to South Pleasant Valley Road. It was just beautiful.

Here are some photos:image1(1).JPGIMG_0119.JPGimage3(1).JPGimage2(1).JPGBy the end of my evening walks, which averaged 8-9 miles, I was SPENT. One evening I overestimated my stamina and by the time I got back to my hotel, my blood sugar had plummeted. That is one of the things that has surprised me about pregnancy. When the tank runs dry, it runs dry FAST, and there better be snacks and water nearby.

During my visit I did enjoy a few breakfast tacos, a lot of frozen yogurt, and a burger or two. I also ate about 14 yogurt breakfast parfaits at the conference. I just could not get enough of fresh berries, yogurt, and granola. In fact, even after I returned home, I continued to make my own parfaits. So good.

Speaking of food, the only cloud over my memory of this quick trip is that I got a serious stomach bug somewhere along the way. Luckily, it didn’t manifest itself until I got home, but I will forever remain wary of banquet food and airplanes after this illness. I’ll write more about that in another tantalizing post.

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A tale of three ultrasounds

We went for our anatomy scan at 20 weeks. I was excited, but relatively relaxed, because I was feeling Biscuit move frequently enough that I knew he was alive and well. Of course, anatomy scans can reveal a lot of scary things, but we were emotionally prepared for any challenging news. My wife had to run to the restroom, so they ended up calling me back while she was gone. I laid on the table and lowered my waistband and the ultrasound tech got straight to work. When my wife walked into the room, she asked, “Did you find out?” because she was sure I was going to try to find out the gender! She definitely does NOT want to know, and I feel very neutral about knowing, so I agreed not to find out. The US tech then said, “I was going to ask if you wanted to know,” and we both answered in the negative.

Out of curiosity, I asked the tech if she knew the gender, and she said she did! So in the matter of a few swooping scans over the baby, she saw enough to know what it was. That made me think it’s a boy. However, a few minutes later, I could see the femurs. It was the view looking up through a clear floor at the baby’s bum, if he or she were sitting upright with his/her legs out front in a “V.” I could clearly see the V of his/her femurs, and there was nothing in between!! At that point, I was sure it was a girl. Of course, I am NOT a radiologist, and the depth of the scan could have been too high or low to be showing anything in between. My wife thinks I’m crazy. She actually didn’t believe me that you can clearly see the boy parts on the screen, because they are still so little. She and our male friend surmised that if an average male is 5’11”, and an average manhood measures 6-7″, and baby is 11 inches long, then the bits are truly tiny. Obviously the two of them have very little knowledge of prenatal development, so I had to google images of boy ultrasounds to show them what it looks like. In summary, we still did not find out the gender, but it was fun/funny to wonder and try to see.

After the tech did a lot of measurements and swooping over my belly, she let us know that she was not getting up to the baby’s head, because it was wedged way down into my pelvis. Biscuit was not interested in moving, and he didn’t even really demonstrate his impressive karate skills for my wife or the tech. The tech tilted the table waaaaaay back so that I was head down, trying to ease him out of his crevice. Finally she had me get up, stretch, drink some juice, walk around the building, pee, and try again. Nothing worked. She wanted to see his face, which was down toward the floor/my back, and his brain, which was super low. She rescheduled us for another try, a few days later.

The second ultrasound was shorter, because most of the parts had already been measured. However, baby was in the EXACT same position, face down deep into my pelvis. At this point, I started to wonder if he was stuck. Cue: irrational panic. Would his head or brain properly develop if he spent 6 months wedged into my pelvis? Was he caught on a ridge, bump, bone, or something? I didn’t mind at all if he is just uncooperative, I wanted to know that he COULD move if he wanted to move. After appointment number two, at which the tech said “I’ve only ever had this happen once before!” which of course made me wonder what the heck happened with that mama/baby…did everything turn out fine??  The tech scheduled us for ultrasound #3 just 2-3 days later. I scheduled a chiropractor appointment to see if he could adjust/open my hips at all. I did handstands. A lot. I emailed my midwife asking her for reassurance. She responded with a very loving, helpful email saying that everything was probably fine, and three attempts would be the limit. We wouldn’t need to try again.

At the third ultrasound, Biscuit threw us a tiny bone and managed to roll up for just a few moments. It was enough time to catch a shot of his nose/mouth and a better view of his head. The tech sent me to pee, I stretched, and then we made one more attempt, and the little devil had rolled right back into his cubby in my pelvis – face down. She said that she thought she had gotten enough and the maternal fetal medicine doctors would review and let us know. We left assuming that everything was fine and that if we didn’t hear anything, they had enough photos.

I have always been one to say that we would not be using any interventions with pregnancy and childbirth, so the irony of the situation is not lost on me. We attempted insemination with fresh donation and ended up in a clinic with an IUI and donated sperm. I assumed I would skip all but one ultrasound, but I’d already had one at 9 weeks to make sure Biscuit was alive, well, and ALONE in there. Now at 20 weeks I’d had three more ultrasounds trying to see his darn head/face. The lesson is becoming very clear. Whatever I plan…reality will likely be much more complicated.

Here are some of the better shots the ultrasound tech was able to get:

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17, 18, and 19 Weeks

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This was an exciting period of transition for a few reasons. First, I became confident that what I was feeling in my lower abdomen was truly baby movement. I was sitting at my desk at work feeling slightly sorry for myself that I had not yet felt Biscuit* move, for sure. And literally that second, POP, in my uterus. I was startled. A few seconds later, it was confirmed with POKE. It was so funny, and I texted my wife immediately. After that I felt Biscuit move every few hours. My mom described her first feelings of movement as “butterflies,” and I have seen this described before. Boy, can I say, that this did NOT feel like butterflies. Biscuit is a fighter, apparently, because some of those kicks, even the early ones, were hard!! They are so strong, that they are visible from the outside. My wife got to feel Biscuit move during the 17th week, so that was exciting too.

Seventeen weeks also brought the transition from pudgy belly to what could possibly be recognized as a baby bump. It was still very invisible through clothing, and I was still comfortably wearing normal clothes, but I did feel gratified when it started to take shape as more than too many bowls of ice cream during the preceding 4 months.

Eighteen and nineteen weeks passed without much fanfare, though the growth continued at a steady pace. I didn’t have any doctor appointments during this time, because the anatomy scan replaced the regular visit. I still felt fat, I continued to decline in performance at the gym, but nothing else monumental happened.

*Have I written that we call the baby Biscuit? Well, we do. And I’ll likely continue to use that name after his/her birth, both in blogland and in person. Because I like it, and I know him/her as Biscuit now.

Blog catch-up

Okay folks, I’ve been a terrible blogger through most of the second trimester, and not because it has been dull…

I apologize in advance, but I’m about to unload a flurry of posts to catch up with things before the third trimester hits full stride.* It’s probably going to look like I’m experiencing the world’s fastest pregnancy, but it’s actually just a fast-forwarded version of the last ten weeks.

After this, I’m going to try to post at least once a week until the finish line!! Wish me luck.

*By my calculations, the third trimester starting at 28 weeks seems like a load of crap. That leaves 12 weeks. I waited until 13 weeks were complete before “entering” the second trimester, and I think I deserve to enter the third trimester at the end of 26 weeks. So, even though the 42 daily advertising emails arriving in my inbox under the guise of educational support during pregnancy (thanks Ovia, BabyCenter, Pregnancy, Parenting, etc.) say that I’m still in the second trimester, my hips, belly, and exhaustion beg to differ.