After the first trimester, we "graduated" from Dr. G. and began to be followed by Dr. Croland. He was very laid-back, which scared and reassured me at the same time. I was only seen by his office every 4 weeks, which was a difficult transition after almost weekly ultrasounds, but I trusted that this meant all was well. At exactly 17 weeks to the day, I was sitting at my desk at work and I felt a fluttering sensation on the right side of my abdomen, just like someone was tickling me from the inside. It lasted only a short moment, but I knew without a doubt that our baby was there and moving. It was such a joyous moment!!! Over the next several weeks, I'd feel sporadic movement and each time it would make me smile. At 20 weeks, we FINALLY got to have another ultrasound. They looked at the hands, feet, spine, brain, heart, kidneys--everything looked just as it should. We had already decided we wanted to be surprised by the gender, so the technician kept that a secret from us. Around that same time, I graduated into maternity clothes. Some people dread this, but I was excited. I loved that my body was growing and changing to accommodate our baby!!
Zach was the wonderful and supportive husband that I knew he would be. He came to every appointment during the first 2 trimesters. He read weekly computer up-dates to follow the baby's growth and development. He cooked for me, carried heavy items for me, indulged my cravings, and even switched sides of the bed with me so that it was easier for me to get in and out of bed for night time bathroom trips. When I started feeling baby movements, Zach was sad that he couldn't feel it. So around 23 1/2 weeks, Zach was ecstatic when he began to feel movement from the outside. He was always touching my belly or asking if the baby was moving. Because night seemed to be an active time for our baby, Zach would sometimes wake up and spend 'quality time' with our moving baby while I slept.
Around 27 weeks, I started feeling contractions and less baby movement over a few days. Obviously, this scared me so I went to see the doctor. They did an ultrasound and found that everything was fine. My contractions were just Braxton Hicks contractions--normal and probably due to mild dehydration. And I couldn't complain about having another ultrasound. :) It wasn't even 2 weeks later that I was going for a walk over lunch at work. I missed a curb and fell, landing on my hands and knees. Even thought I felt fine and hadn't hit my stomach, I still called the doctor. They wanted me to go to triage on the labor and delivery floor at the hospital to make sure everything was okay. Zach came over and sat with me for 4 1/2 hours while the baby's heart rate and my contractions were monitored. The heart rate remained fine, but I had regular contractions. They gave me a shot to stop the contractions, which didn't work. Although a test of pre-term labor came back negative and my cervix wasn't dilated, they felt best to monitor me overnight. Zach and I spent the night in the hospital. An ultrasound the next morning showed a healthy, growing baby and a fully intact placenta, so we were sent home. Zach did comment that if I really wanted to keep having ultrasounds, there were better ways to do it.
Around that same time, I failed my one hour glucose tolerance test and had to complete a 4-hour test. Sickly sweet orange drink and 5 blood draws later, it was determined that although not gestationally diabetic, I was not metabolizing glucose like I should. I had to refine my diet to eliminate sweets, limit carbohydrates, and increase my whole grains and healthy fruits/vegetables. All totally worth it for the baby that I loved!!!
I'm not the only one who loved Staley from the beginning. A support network of family and friends had prayed for us and with us throughout our journey and continued to pray for us throughout our pregnancy. We had four baby showers filled with gifts of love--a Dr. Seuss shower planned by Jenny for my friends and my mom's friends, my work shower planned by Louise, Zach's work shower planned by Mary and Carol, and my family shower at Aunt Bonnie's on Thanksgiving. The love and support around us was palpable and at times overwhelming. I realized just how lucky our Staley was to be surrounded by such love even before she was born!
I felt good throughout the entire pregnancy. A small bout of stomach flu around 37 weeks was the worst I felt. I never had difficulties with sleeping, eating, breathing, heartburn, or moving around. I like to tell myself that I never hit the waddling stage, although I could just be fooling myself. I truly loved every minute of my pregnancy and embraced all the moments--the kicks and flutters, the changing body, the growing belly. I enjoyed making smart lifestyle decisions, knowing that each decision I made was for the good of my child. There was something so special about the bond of carrying and protecting the life inside of me and I am so thankful for the experience!
Staley's first Bear's game (in utero)
Christmas Day...about 3 weeks before Staley's arrival