Thursday, April 21, 2011

Three-peat: Sneak Peak

So, I finally managed to locate my ultrasound pictures, from when we were in the States, and got them scanned and saved to our computer. So, as promised, here they are. (Alright, I know that probably no one but my mother cares about seeing a picture of the inside of my uterus, but since this blog also functions as my own personal online scrapbook, I'm putting them up anyway. I posted ultrasound pics when I was pregnant with Alex and Stephen; I wouldn't want little Three-peat to feel left out!)

When we got back to the States in January, one of the first things I did was send Rusty out to buy a home pregnancy test. At that point, I was about 99% sure I was pregnant, but you can't just walk into a store in Portugal and buy a pregnancy test. You have to go to the pharmacy and ask for one at the counter as if it's a pack of cigarettes! So, I decided just to wait until we went back. I think I was also in denial that I was actually pregnant. Maybe if I don't take the test, I won't really be pregnant. Okay, so I was also irrational. Keep in mind that this pregnancy was unplanned... we hadn't even decided if we were going to try to have another baby ever, and certainly not now with our move to Angola looming ever closer.

Sure enough, the test was positive, so I made an appointment to see my OB while we were in Michigan. I was exactly seven weeks pregnant when I went in, so I wasn't expecting to get an ultrasound, as they typically don't do one that early on unless there is some sort of problem. But after she examined me, she said, "Are you sure about your dates? Because your uterus seems to be pretty large for being only seven weeks pregnant." At which point I literally started hyperventilating, thinking to myself Oh, my gosh, the only thing worse than being pregnant right now, would be being pregnant with twins. I might have a nervous breakdown right here in her office and the nice men in white coats will come to take me away to the nuthouse...

So, she sends me for an ultrasound... tech says everything looks great... I hear the heartbeat... I tell her to make extra sure there's only one baby in there... she says yes, just one... I say, "Are you sure? Because twins run in both our families..." she says "Yes, absolutely, there's only one." Whew. "The twin scare that wasn't," that's what I like to call it. Suddenly, having just one baby seems doable after all.

Seven weeks pregnant.

I had a second ultrasound about 4 weeks later. It's amazing the changes that occur in a few short weeks during that first trimester. From being a little blob to being practically fully formed and taking on the shape of a baby:

Eleven weeks pregnant.

In a few weeks, we'll have another ultrasound, and we'll hopefully know if we're having a boy or a girl. Will Three-peat be The Little Princess, or the Third Musketeer? Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Look Who's Two!

At the beginning of April, we celebrated Stephen's second birthday. Really? He's two? Already? It seems like just yesterday that we were driving to the hospital in the middle of an April snowstorm. And now that tiny, helpless baby, born less than 10 minutes after we checked in, is a sweet little boy with a personality all his own. He has brought so much joy to our family these past two years!

So what does it mean to be two? It means that Stephen has graduated from high chair to booster seat at the table. It means he is starting to try to climb out of his crib, so we are considering moving him to a "big boy bed," which may end up just being a mattress on the floor. It also means that potty-training is staring Mommy in the face, and she is trying to work up the gumption to start on that. Potty-training while being pregnant is not much fun.

Lately, Stephen has become so talkative. He's learning new words and phrases every day and constantly amazes me with just how much he understands. He can count to ten in both English and Portuguese, loves to sing songs and read books, and has started saying prayers at the dinner table. There is nothing more precious than hearing your child thank God for "Nyanya and Babu, da airplane spoon, and da baby ducks."

For Stephen's birthday this year, we decided to celebrate by having a picnic supper at the park with the team. The kids played on the playground for awhile, and then we ate -- peanut butter and jelly pancake sandwiches for the kids, chicken salad for the grown-ups. Birthday cake and presents followed. It was a simple but fun party, perfect for a two-year old! Here are a few pictures:

The birthday boy with his daddy!

The kids enjoyed their food on the grass...

...while the adults sat at a nearby table.

Opening presents

The "cupcake cake" birthday cake. It is supposed to look like a soccer ball!

Stephen and Eliana -- pretty close to the same size now!

Enjoying their cupcakes

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Signs of the Times

So, just in case you missed the announcement on Facebook or from us personally, the big news in our family right now is that -- surprise! -- we're pregnant again! "Three-peat," as this baby has been officially nicknamed, is due at the end of August. I am 19 weeks right now, so just about halfway there. We have spent the last couple of weeks trying to get registered with the public health system here in Portugal and after getting a bit of a run-around, finally succeeded. I have my first appointment next month, and hopefully the ultrasound, you know the one where they tell you if you're having a boy or a girl. Not that I'm all that anxious to find out, I just want to be able to have an answer other than, "Ainda, não sei," ("I still don't know.") for the 500 people that ask me at church every Sunday if it's a menino or a menina.

I feel fine for the most part. The nausea has mostly passed, to be replaced by heartburn. I struggled with being very tired all the time in the first few weeks, but I feel like I have a little more energy now. My belly is growing, and as it does, I'm finding it more difficult to sleep comfortably. Since I'm not even halfway through at this point, I feel a little desperate when I contemplate what it's going to be like in the hot, hot summer when I'm as big as a whale. Also, the painful varicose veins in my left leg that emerged when I was pregnant with Stephen are back, along with a bunch of other pregnancy aches and pains that I don't remember feeling this early with either of my other two. Chalk that up to age or this being my third baby, or whatever, but I'm certainly enjoying the whole "pregnancy experience" less this time. I really shouldn't complain, though. In comparison to some, my list of concerns is very small, and I am thankful for (so far) another healthy and uneventful pregnancy.

I have more thoughts to share about all this -- this is one of those things I alluded to when I said a few posts back that I was struggling to work through some things. But I'm tired and I don't feel like my brain is really functioning at the level I want it to be to write that stuff. So, I'll leave you with a few pictures for now. I have ultrasound pictures, too -- I went to see my OB in Michigan three times while we were back in the States, but I still have to dig them out and scan them, and I'm too lazy to do that right now, so it'll have to wait for another post as well.

Our team welcomed us back from the States with a beautiful welcome home banner decorated by all the kids. They also made this one especially for Three-peat. This baby is already loved by so many!

First baby gifts, given to us in the States by Grandma and Grandpa "B." Every one of my babies so far has received one of Grandma "B's" hand-hemmed baby blankets! They are so special to me and to them -- Alex still sleeps with his every night.

I was 15 weeks in this photo. My belly sure popped out a lot quicker with this third pregnancy!