Yay! I am happy to announce that my husband and I are expecting our very first Hooper baby! (Right now, we are nearly 13 weeks.)
Now that I am further along and we’ve announced the good news to our loved ones, I am excited to share with y’all the process we’ve gone through the last few months. It is also my wish that I would mostly have these types of posts to look back on in the future. I won’t only post about baby stuff from now on, so if you aren’t interested in this stuff, don’t fret! I’m keeping my vision for this blog pretty open.
Side-note: I know it has been a long time since I’ve posted; my life has been in constant ebb-and-flow recently (mostly having to do with my career and my inability to make confident decisions), so I’ll have to update you on that at a later date. Hopefully this happy post makes up for my absence!
I made this photo using the PicMonkey app on my phone! Free, and simple!
Monday, October 31, 2016
I went in to the gynecologist for an “irregular bleeding” appointment. [Brief, yet maybe TMI back story: I stopped taking my oral contraception at the end of August because we wanted to start trying; I had a light (yet certain) period the first week of September, and never had a period after that. I attempted using an app on my phone to calculate when I was ovulating, but it’s obvious to me now how completely unreliable my cycle was (and always has been, honestly) and how tracking every single symptom into that app was a complete waste of time. So days and weeks went by past my period due-date. All the while, every home pregnancy test I took–and I took a lot–was a bold-faced negative.] So, on Halloween, I finally had an appointment with the doctor; my blood pressure was perfect and they even got a negative urine test from me. I sat down with her and told her everything I’d been experiencing. She recommended a blood pregnancy test at their lab that day, though she doubted a urine test would come up negative and a blood test come up positive. I was relieved to hear that I’d get a blood test, because I knew that if there were ANY trace of HCG in my system, the blood test would probably catch it. (Bonus: my blood was drawn by a woman dressed as a witch, so that helped.)
Friday, November 4, 2016
Finally, the end of this most agonizing and anxiety-ridden week had arrived. I left a voicemail with the office so that they would (hopefully) prioritize my blood test results; yeah, I’m annoyingly Type A like that. I decided to hang out with a friend that day and try to forget about my lingering results. I had also, by this point, resolved that my body was adjusting to not being on birth control, and that my next appointment at the gynecologist would be for progesterone treatments to trigger my cycle, not for pregnancy.
When my friend and I were in the car, my phone rang. I answered, as coolly as possible, and was absolutely breath-taken when the nurse on the line told me that my blood test came back positive for pregnancy. My HCG levels were low (around 352, putting my gestation at no more than 3 weeks) but those numbers were certainly there. My body was, without any doubt, at the beginning of pregnancy. I cried. I cried a lot. My poor friend — she congratulated me (knowing that the news I’d received was good news) but wasn’t sure how to respond to the news, being that she knew before my husband even knew! I was grateful to have her with me in the moment, though.
The nurse on the phone asked me to come in for a follow-up blood test that day so that we could be sure the numbers were rising throughout the week. Still in shock, I dropped my friend off and was left with my own racing thoughts for the day. Plot twist: Alex (my husband) was on his way back from Iowa, in the car with his dad and guys from church, so I couldn’t tell him yet. Plus, I knew I wanted to tell him in person… it was just so hard to wait! I went to the doctor and got my blood drawn again and came home, only able to stare at the wall for four hours, still in shock.
Alex arrived home later that afternoon, and all I had for him was the print-out of the blood test results. (I always had an image in my head of revealing it with a cutesy picture of me holding a positive home pregnancy test… but I never actually got one of those. Throw everything Pinterest has allowed you to dream about and just toss it.) I had the blood test results taped to the bathroom mirror, assuming that would be the soonest he would see it. When he finally got home, he was not sensing my urgency to get him upstairs and unpacked. He wanted to do some yard work, play with the dog… basically a bunch of USELESS activities compared to the news I wanted to share with him.
He eventually looked up from playing with the dog and said “hey did you hear from the doctor today?” The best I could do was not answer his question, and silently gesture for him to follow me to the bathroom (in that good ole’ awkward Jan fashion), where I took the blood test results off the mirror and showed them to him. He was very shocked, almost in disbelief, but eventually he hugged me and it was a great feeling for both of us to just sit in this moment. We sat in that moment for a long time. We are still sitting in that moment, actually!
Monday, November 7, 2016
Monday morning, I did that Type-A thing again where I called the doctor’s office as soon as they opened and left a voicemail so that they would prioritize my test results. A few hours later, they called me and very excitedly let me know that my numbers jumped significantly from Monday to Friday the week previous. I thought that they’d say something like yeah, so we think you are ___ weeks along, we will see you at 12 weeks. Nope. The doctors’ office wanted me to come in that day to get my first vaginal ultrasound. I was so excited to hear that we would actually get an ultrasound this early, because I’d heard that doesn’t happen often. [First lesson learned: do NOT trust the internet, basically ever. Other women’s experiences will always be different from yours, too, but it’s better to eliminate at least the anonymous stranger factor that online forums offer.] I had Alex come home from work so that he could go with me to the ultrasound.
We were able to see the gestational sack, the yolk sack, and very faint evidence of the embryo (pictured above). It was still too early to hear a heartbeat, so we were a little bummed about that. However, we were on cloud nine to have our first glimpse at the Little Nugget (as he/she will henceforth be referred). The ultrasound tech estimated that we were about 5 weeks along at this point, and wanted us to come in one week later to check for growth and a possible heartbeat.
As soon as we left, we started planning our reveal to close family and friends. We wanted to keep it as minimal as possible, being that we were so early in the pregnancy. I have plenty of family and friends who’ve had miscarriages (some early, some late), all so heartbreaking and enough to turn me into a worry-wart. I know that choosing to not tell people doesn’t mean it won’t happen; I am trying to find a healthy balance since I am definitely an over-planner, and forward-minded individual. I don’t want to get way ahead of myself, but I also don’t want to dismiss all the exciting feelings that come with pregnancy (and my first pregnancy, at that).
I resorted, after consulting with Alex, to tell my mom first. If anything were to happen, good or bad, the one other person I would want to share it with other than Alex would for sure be my mom, a woman who has been through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Plus, she knows my personality and she knows what truths I need and how to talk me down when I’m freaking out. My method for telling people, I decided, would be quick and subtle. For example, when I got to my mom’s house that afternoon after the ultrasound, she told me she was preparing for a doctors’ appointment that day. I said “oh, that’s funny, I went to the doctor today too” and pulled out the ultrasound picture to show her. She freaked. And cried. It was awesome.
We told the rest of my family that evening. They all freaked. Also awesome. My parents are going to be grandparents, and my three younger brothers are going to be uncles — all for the first time; I was so thrilled to share the news with them.
Friday, November 11, 2016
We had been attempting all week to tell Alex’s mom and sister the news. My father-in-law was out of town, so we constantly went back and forth on waiting to tell them until they were all together. We kept coming back to wanting to tell my mother-in-law and sister-in-law as soon as possible. We tried multiple times to have an excuse to go over and surprise them with the news, but it kept falling through. Finally, on Friday, Alex had the day off. We went to see Doctor Strange (awesome) and met his sister and mom afterwards for lunch. I had bought a Christmas bib from Target that said “Grandma’s Joy” and presented it and the ultrasound to them. I know that they wished my father-in-law was there, but really, it’s his fault that he was gone for so long. 😉
Monday, November 14, 2016
Alex and I went to our second ultrasound, where we finally caught a glimpse of a heartbeat of 123 bpm! We watched Little Nugget flutter on the screen (it was a vaginal ultrasound, so we could only watch the heartbeat, not hear it) and I fell in love, seriously. The tech put us at 6 weeks 1 day, with an official due date of July 9, 2017.
My father-in-law arrived back in town in the evening, and we were already over at their house, waiting, so we could tell him the news. Being a man who is seemingly impossible to surprise, he walked in the door and within 30 seconds guessed that we were there to announce that we were pregnant. Still, he was very excited to be affirmed in his assumptions. Finally, our immediate families knew and we could relax with pregnancy reveals for a while.
So, how’ve I been feeling? I get asked this a lot. I appreciate these check-ins because they keep me light-hearted about the good (and not-so-good) symptoms I’ve been experiencing.
Nausea – I haven’t been able to confidently call myself nauseous, more queasy and un-appetized. I never feel hungry; I usually have to force myself to start eating and then I’ll develop an appetite. But my stomach always feels just full and bloated. I feel okay in the morning; it usually hits me around 10 am and lasts until around dinner time every day. Nothing settles it, really. I’ve tried all the ginger and peppermint and saltines that I could get my hands on, but nothing really ever helps.
Exhaustion – Of all of my symptoms, this is the one that I cannot wait to pass. I wake up very groggy, and I’m normally a morning person. Any productivity lasts for about half an hour before I need to sit down and relax. I’ve never known a tiredness like this; it is almost painful.
That “pregnancy glow” – *fart noise* Yeah, this hasn’t happened for me (yet). My acne is worse than it was before pregnancy, my hair is brittle, and my nails are soft. I am taking a monstrosity of a prenatal vitamin prescribed by my doctor; I hope it is doing its work on the inside, because I can’t see any benefits right now on the outside.
Cravings – These come and go; as I said before, I really don’t have an appetite, so I hardly ever “crave” food, whether it be healthy or unhealthy. I’ve had a significant increase in appreciation for the following, however: sausage-egg-cheese biscuits, ramen noodles, grape tomatoes, naval oranges, and water. So. Much. Water.
Mood swings – Yeah, these have been around. Most of the time, I am upset about something pregnancy related (like a weird pain in my hip, or the fact that SOMEONE AROUND HERE HAS EGGS AND IT’S MAKING ME SICK). I can feel these emotions starting to taper off a little bit, but they seem to just be culminating in a tendency of mine to randomly burst into tears a couple of times a week.
And that’s about it! I am growing steadily; Alex and I went in for an OB appointment this week and got to hear a 154 bpm heartbeat! Alex’s reaction when it came through the speaker was a smile I don’t think I’ll ever forget! We are nervous, but so so excited to be on this new adventure!