Week 20: Half way there!!

14 Sep

WEEK 20

Due date:  February 1st by ultrasound, which puts me at 20 weeks Monday 9/14/15, January 25th by my dating (which would put me at 21 weeks)

Sex of the baby:  Boy

Baby size:  Mango (6.5 in, 10 oz)

Weight gain: 8 pounds.  I do not weight myself more than once a week, but do so weekly to make sure I’m about on target.  I use this website to assess recommended weight gain, which is based on your pre-pregnancy weight and height.  Eight pounds is in the normal range for me at 20 weeks.   In terms of eating, I really don’t eat that much differently when I’m pregnant.  The only differences are that I never let myself go really hungry (I always carry snacks with me), and I try to avoid artificial/highly processed foods.

Bump:  Funny how I felt like I showed so early, and now I feel like I’ve hardly changed at all bump-size-wise over the past several weeks.

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Symptoms:  Better this week from a physical standpoint, but really emotional/hormonal.  Embarrassingly emotional..like on Thursday evening I went downstairs to look for the package I was expecting from Purple Carrot (like Blue Apron).  It wasn’t there and the doorman said that it if it came during normal business hours, the management would’ve sent it back, because they don’t accept perishable food items.  But I paid for that!  I literally started tearing up.  Right in front of him. Families and innocent children are dying trying to escape war torn countries like Syria and there I was crying because the boxed meal I had purchased to have delivered wasn’t there.  Pathetic (turns out it came later that evening anyway).  One of those days where I just needed to go to bed, reset my attitude and mindset, and start fresh the next day.

Pregnancy intensified Pet Peeve of the week:  That song that goes something like, “oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader…”  SO ANNOYING AND STUPID.  RADIO STATIONS, STOP PLAYING THAT SONG!”  Ok, that’s all : )

Cravings:  Soup and cheese.  At night before I go to bed I get REALLY thirsty and drink a ton of water, probably making up for not drinking enough during the day.

Baby Movement:  He’s starting to get a little stronger, although it’s still pretty subtle…pretty much just feels like a few butterflies were let loose in my belly and flutter around from time to time.

Running:   21 miles total

Tuesday:  3 miles

Saturday:  14 miles

Sunday:  4 miles

I had a lot of stuff going on, so I didn’t have much time during the week to fit in a lot of running, but boy, I don’t know what got into me but the desire to run this week was INTENSE.  Maybe because it’s my outlet for stress and there’s been a lot of stress (both good and bad) in general over the past few weeks?  Who knows, but literally every day I have been dying to run.  Finally this weekend I had time.  Saturday morning I told myself I should run on the treadmill, because I really needed to get some studying in, but that just sounded repulsive.  And it was in the 50s outside, with a little bit of rain.  PERFECT for running.  How could I possibly waste that kind of running weather by running inside?!

I set out to do 8-10, but the miles just flew by (minus that stretch between Ohio street beach and Oak street beach where I felt like I was running against a wall of strong headwinds), so I kept going.  It was wonderful, peaceful, calming.  I am 110% introverted, so to be out running by myself, not having to talk to anyone, not having to think about anything intensely…to just get lost in the rhythm of my run, the beat of my music, with the vast lake to my East…oh man it was wonderful and exactly what I needed.  I didn’t want it to end.  It was literally one of those days where I felt like I could run forever (and as I head into the second part of 2nd trimester, I’m not sure how many more of these kind of days I’m going to have!)

Full confession: that pace is not my true overall pace...I stopped my Garmin during the 4 times I had to pee during that run as well as during some of my water fountain stops...not something I would normally do when actually training for something.

Full confession: that pace is not reflective of my true overall pace…I stopped my Garmin during the 4 times I had to pee (ugh) during that run as well as during some of my water fountain stops…not something I would normally do when actually training for something.

On a side note related to running, Boston Marathon registration for me is this Friday.  I’ll be about 11-12 weeks postpartum at the time of the marathon.  I qualified last year with a 3:29, 15 weeks (3.5 months) postpartum.  A lot of improvement happened those last 3-4 weeks.  I’m probably being totally irrational even considering signing up, but I am so tempted to.  It’s been 10 months since my last marathon and that’s just too long for me!  haha.  I’ve been bit with the marathon running bug so badly.  I’m leaning towards signing up, and if I run/walk it like I did the LA Marathon when pregnant, or if I don’t run it at all, I can at least hang out with my good friend Mel!

Job:  Really enjoying it.  I’m feeling more and more comfortable and confident with what I am doing, and I really love the variety.  One day I’ll be doing breast and thyroid biopsies, screening mammograms, and reading general ultrasound (of any body part).  Another day I’ll be reading diagnostic mammograms (patients who have a specific complaint or need additional imaging and may need a biopsy) and perhaps a breast MRI or additional screening mammograms, and then one day a week I read STAT CTs and other studies from the ER.  Things are never boring!

I will say this:  you learn A LOT as an attending.  When your name is the final name on that report, you don’t leave anything to chance.  I feel like I’m constantly looking up recommendations and data to support appropriate follow up and management of various findings (I feel pretty comfortable with breast imaging related findings but have had to refresh my memory a lot when it comes to general radiology).  Constantly at the back of my mind is the question How would this image and how would the wording of your report hold up in court?  Can you defend your decision to ______ (follow up, biopsy, not biopsy, call benign, etc.).  

Board studying:  Nothing to add to this is.  As I said last week, it is what it is.  I’m just continuing to plug away at the studying whenever I have free time.  On the bright side, I feel like all the studying has really helped me feel more comfortable and confident with the studies I’m reading at my job.

Some misc. pictures from the week:

Dean and I at the Gala at the Four Seasons. It was a charity event for Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, which included a silent auction. Words of advice: keep a close eye on your husband at an auction if he's been drinking. He may have upped one of our bids without my approval. And we may have won. Yikes. Well, at least it's all for a good cause! haha

Dean and I at the Autumn Gala at the Four Seasons. It was a charity event for Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, which included a silent auction. Words of advice: keep a close eye on your husband at an auction if he’s had a few drinks. He may up your bid without your approval. Yup, that happened.  “Don’t worry Julia, someone will out bid us!”  Nope.  Well, at least it’s all for a good cause! haha

Scenes from my heavenly run on Saturday.

Scenes from my heavenly run on Saturday.

Has anyone else done this? I was cold when I started my run and was wearing a long sleeved shirt. I quickly realized it was way too hot for that, so took it off shortly into my run, and who wants to carry a shirt for several miles? So, as I have done multiple times, I hid it in a bush and picked it up on the way back ; )

Has anyone else done this?  I was cold when I started my run and was wearing a long sleeved shirt. I quickly realized it was way too hot for that, so  I took it off shortly into my run.  Who wants to carry a shirt for several miles? So, as I have done multiple times, I hid it in a bush and picked it up on the way back, and there it was, just as I had left it  ; )

Came back from my run just in time to catch Dean and Addison going for a stroll. She LOVES this trike!

Came back from my run just in time to catch Dean and Addison going for a stroll. She LOVES this trike!

Addison and her cousin! How cute are those two?

Addison and her cousin! How cute are those two?  Picture credit:  Dean’s brother’s girlfriend, Katie.

Addison at her well check up doctor's appointment. I love that the practice we take her to has weekend hours!

Addison at her well check up doctor’s appointment. I love that the practice we take her to has weekend hours!

19 weeks

8 Sep

Week 19:

  • Due date:  January 25th by my dating (which would put me at 20 weeks), February 1st by ultrasound
  • Sex of the baby:  Boy
  • Baby size:  Tomato (6 in, 1/2 pound)
  • Weight gain:  7-8 pounds
  • Bump:
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Not a whole lot different from last week. One of these days I swear we’ll put a picture in that picture frame. Do you like Addison’s banana brush sitting with our toothbrushes?! haha. She LOVES chewing on that brush, due to her teething.

  • Symptoms:  Not the best week, and I recall hitting a rough patch around the same time last pregnancy.  This past week I’ve been getting full very quickly when eating and nauseous after just a little bit of food.  Was also hit with a pretty awful headache one day, which I guess is typical of second trimester.  And finally, the worst of all…the continued congestion.  I just don’t get why it’s so horrible this time.  I had to sleep sitting up the other night because I was 100% stuffed up and couldn’t’ breathe through my nose at all laying down.  I don’t think the antibiotics for the sinus infection did much of anything.  Sinus infection + hyperacute sense of smell from pregnancy….not a good combo at all.  Do they make Febreeze for the nose?!  I really need to stop complaining about my sinuses.  I know I sound like a broken record.
  • Running  27.1 miles total
    • Monday:  3 miles (6.7-6.8 mph)
    • Tuesday:  4 miles (6.5-6.6 mph)
    • Thursday:  3 miles (6.7 mph)
    • Friday:  4 miles (6.8 mph)
    • Saturday:  13.1 miles (8:50 pace)!!  Now baby#2 can say he’s ran a half marathon, too!  Although Addison still has him beat with a full marathon ; ).  Hmmmmm….
  • Life:  I’ve survived 3 weeks as an attending and am getting into a routine.  The hardest part, though, is knowing I have boards in 3.5 weeks.  Holy crap.  Actually seeing 3.5 weeks in writing just gave me a mini panic attack.  Yikes.  But seriously, it’s been challenging fitting in the studying.  For part I, we had twice daily review sessions and lots of free time during the day to study.  In the evenings and on the weekends, it was just me and Dean, so I had a lot more free time outside of work as well.  Now it’s just really hard finding the time amongst working full time, adjusting to a new job and caring for a child.  Yes, I could’ve studied more in between fellowship and the new job, but there was a lot of life stuff going on at that time, and I needed a little mental break after 6 years of post-medical school training before jumping into the stress of a new job.  Oh well, it is what it is (my mantra this week).  When faced with something you don’t like, you really have only two choices, either 1) change it or 2) deal with it and do the best that you can.  No where in there is there any point to whining and complaining and/or feeling sorry for yourself (which I have been guilty of).  Serves no purpose.  I can’t change the fact that this exam is happening at the time it is, so I have to just study when I can, leave out the emotion and anxiety, concentrate on the current task at hand, do the best that I can under the circumstances, focus only on what I can control, and let go of what I can’t control and leave it to God… That’s what I’m trying to do : ).  So from this point on, I won’t whine anymore to you about this exam.
  • And in light of the above bullet point, I oughta get a little studying in before I pass out for the night.

A few pictures from the week:

Saturday morning's run.

Saturday morning’s run.

Taking a stroll outside.

Taking a stroll outside.

Love the concept of Rent the Runway. Renting this stretchy dress (hence fits over the bump) for a work related charity gala this upcoming weekend. Who wants to spend several hundred on a dress when you're pregnant (or any time really) and won't fit in the dress for more than a week or two?! Now if only I could do something about that permanent sports bra tan line : /

Love the concept of Rent the Runway. Renting this stretchy dress (hence fits over the bump) for a work related charity gala this upcoming weekend. Who wants to spend several hundred on a dress when you’re pregnant (or any time really) and won’t fit in the dress for more than a week or two?! Now if only I could do something about that permanent sports bra tan line : /

It's so much easier feeding Addison with dogs around, because they clean up every bit of food she drops on the floor. haha.

It’s so much easier feeding Addison with dogs around, because they clean up every bit of food she drops on the floor. haha.

Labor Day weekend pool party. Addison absolutely loves the water : )

Labor Day weekend pool party. Addison absolutely loves the water : )

Love these two : ) Picture credit: Katie (Dean's sister).

Love these two : ) Picture credit: Katie (Dean’s sister).

What my Labor Day morning looked like.

What my Labor Day morning looked like.

We stayed for ONE overnight at Dean's aunt and uncles place, and this is how much stuff we brought. I don't know how we're going to pack for a week long trip with Addison this fall! Yikes.

We stayed for ONE overnight at Dean’s aunt and uncle’s place, and this is how much stuff we brought. I don’t know how we’re going to pack for a week long trip with Addison this fall! Yikes.

Week 18

2 Sep

Week 18:

  • Due date:  January 25th by my dating, February 1st by ultrasound
  • Sex of the baby:  Boy
  • Name:  Don’t know and wouldn’t tell if I did know, but just commenting on this, because Dean and I are having such a difficult time coming up with boys names.
  • Baby size:  Sweet potato (5.5 in, 5 oz)
  • Bump:

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  • Weight gain:  6-7 pounds
  • Maternity clothes?:  I have two “regular” pairs of work pants that I can still button up.  The others require a belly band.  I’ve also started using my maternity work pants as well, because they’re just super comfy…really, they should just make all pants like maternity bands…elastic waist bands?….Why would anyone want to wear anything else ; ).  I haven’t started wearing my maternity shirts yet, but I stick to looser, longer shirts.  My slimmer fitting work tops look sorta weird on me now.
  • Baby movement:  Pretty sure I’ve felt him kicking around on occasion for about a week now.  It just feels like little gas bubbles, though, so it’s hard to tell for sure, and plus, I’m so focused on other things that I don’t really notice it.  I’m looking forward to when I can definitely feel him (which happened at 19 weeks last time), because then I’ll know he’s doing well in there.
  • Exercise:  19 running miles for the week
    • Monday 8/24:  6 miles outside @ 8:20 pace
    • Tuesday:  3 miles TM (6.7-7.0 mph)
    • Thursday:  3 miles TM (6.7 mph?)
    • Sunday:  7 miles TM 6.7 mph
    • I have been forced onto the treadmill for two reasons:  One, I have been running very early in the morning on work days…on the TM by 4:30 am and don’t feel comfortable venturing out in this neighborhood at that hour (I was off Monday, so I was able to fit in a later run outside).  Two, running on the TM allows me to fit in studying at the same time.  I am now in study mode for my boards October 2nd.  Working full time and adjusting to a new job + wanting to spend time with a 13 month old and having to prepare food in the evenings leaves me very little time to study,  which means I feel like I have to make the most of every moment.  So, my workouts have now turned into study sessions, or you could say my study sessions have turned into workout sessions (hit two birds with one stone, right?).  Normally if I were actually pushing myself working out, I wouldn’t be able to study at the same time, but because I am pregnant and thus working out at a really low intensity, I’ve actually gotten in some productive study time in while running.  Having an IPad has made this possible, as I have hundreds of electronic flashcards on it that I made in residency as well as video lectures, articles, and PDF books.
  • Pet peeves:  decided to throw this category in today because at times I’m just astounded at the number of things that get me worked up or drive me nuts during my pregnancy, thanks to hormones (at least that’s what I blame it on).
    • Idiotic drivers.  Oh my goodness…my road rage during this pregnancy has been out of control.  I was literally brought to tears TWICE this past week because of it.  A friend on social media posted a quote that went something like, “….Let assholes be assholes.  You’ll sleep better.”  I literally have to repeat that to myself every morning when I drive to work.
    • Taylor Swift’s music.  Sorry Taylor Swift fans.  I really want to like her.  I really do.  She seems like such a good role model, but I just CAN. NOT. STAND her music.  Not a single song.  They all annoy me.  And damn it, when one of her songs comes on the radio, I’ll switch stations, and then ANOTHER radio station will be playing one of her songs.  Ugh. I just can’t escape her.
    • HuffPost Parents on Facebook.  I actually disliked them weeks ago.  Their stories are so sappy and corny.  I found myself rolling my eyes at almost every story I clicked on (there are a FEW good ones).  It’s like the mothers who write these posts were sleep deprived and really emotional at the time they were writing (understandably)…I would click on a story because it sounded all melodramatic and interesting at first and I was expecting there to be some dramatic punch line to the story, and then it would just end, and I was like, did I miss something?  Is there more to this?  She sounded all dramatic and emotional about THAT?   Where’s the dramatic ending?
  • Highlight of the week (so that I don’t end sounding negative regarding my pet peeves, haha):  Sunday Dean and I went to see Dirty Dancing (Broadway in Chicago) followed by dinner on the river, just the two of us : )  So nice just to be out together, to be able to sit down and enjoy a slowly eaten dinner while talking and not having to worry about feeding and entertaining a baby.  That being said, as much as I treasure Dean and my quality time alone, I always get excited to get back home and see Addison : )

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First week of the new job and 17th week of pregnancy

23 Aug

I should be studying for boards right now, as Addison is sleeping and Dean is out running some errands, but of course I found something else to do (blog).

So, I’ll start off doing an update about life from this past week, which involves my first week as an attending!  Then, I’ll throw in an update about the pregnancy.

LIFE:

So….I made it through my first week as an attending, and parts of it were as expected and some things were better!

I’ll start off with the “better” parts:

  • I really love the people I am working with in the Breast Center.  The techs and my two colleagues over there are great.  I seriously don’t know how I would have survived without having someone so nice and patient to work with.  The people you work with make such a difference on your overall experience somewhere.  Really, everyone I’ve interacted with at the hospital has been really friendly so far.
  • The commute is not nearly as bad as I thought:  about 30 minutes in the morning and 40 coming home.  I actually sorta like the the time to myself to just zone out and listen to music or talk radio.
  • The hospital has a lot of nice features and support for their staff.  In the physician lounge there is free lunch every day, drinks (water and soda…although did you know that in France they serve wine with lunch to their house staff every day??), a coffee/cappuccino machine, and snacks.  There’s also a staff workout room and adjacent locker room with showers.  I’ve used it once and will probably start using it more regularly once I get into the swing of things with work.
  • I really do like what I do, despite dealing with the insecurities I have right now as a first time attending (described below).  It’s good to be back at work with structure to my day.

The “as expected” part:

  • We as radiologists are very dependent on technology.  After spending 4 years of medical school and 5 years of residency and fellowship at Northwestern and getting really used to their technology and PACS system (for those not in medicine, PACS is the system that we use to review images at our reading stations and compare them to prior studies), it’s been challenging adjusting to a completely different system at my new hospital.   In radiology, it’s very important to have a pattern for how you view things so that it’s habit and you don’t miss things.  Well that pattern has been all thrown off for me, because I can’t view things the way I’m used to.  So, that’s been frustrating, and this technology adjustment makes me feel really inefficient, and when I’m inefficient, it not only drags on my day but it also affects the technicians and the patients.
  • It’s going to be an adjustment having the “final” say!  As a resident or fellow, you go about your duties and do the best that you can, but at the back of your head, you always know someone else will sign off on your reports.  You’re not the one making the final decision, so if you make a mistake or miss something, it can still be caught by someone and corrected.  As an attending, you have the final say.  If you miss a breast cancer because you were behind and rushing through a study, you’re the one to blame.  It definitely brings the intensity and anxiety up a few notches!  At the same time, you can’t be spending tons of time triple checking everything, because you’ll get behind in your work.  In a way, it’s nice having the final say, because I can do what I want and don’t have to worry about trying to guess what my attending will want to do, but as I just said, it’s stressful.  I already had our nurse navigator call a patient back for more imaging after I had sent her home because when the onslaught of studies were done at the end of the day and I was going back and reviewing some of the images more carefully, I realized I had missed a finding that was new in that patient.  It was honestly probably nothing, and so I debated for awhile whether or not it was worth having the patient come all the way back in, but then what if it WAS something?!
  • I spend 4 days a week doing breast imaging and 1 day a week reading a little bit of everything else.  That one day a week happened last Friday.  Now, I like the idea of having that one day to read other types of radiology cases, as I enjoy all aspects of radiology, like the variety, and don’t want to lose those skills, but Friday was pretty humbling for me.  I haven’t looked at general radiology imaging in over a year.  Some things, like pediatrics, I haven’t looked at in like, 3 years?  And so there I was Friday, having to interpret and sign off on types of studies I hadn’t looked at for what seems like eons ago.  I felt like I had to look up articles for every study I was looking at to make sure I was making the right recommendations (do I recommend a biopsy for this nodule?  What’s the follow up for this ovarian cyst?  What’s the RECIST criteria that I need to use for this cancer follow up?, etc. etc. etc).  This on top of the unfamiliar PACS system made me feel like the most inefficient person ever, and I kept worrying that my colleagues would think that they had made a mistake hiring me, because I was so slow.  I know, I know, it’s my first week and no one expects me to be super fast, but it’s hard not to let those thoughts creep in your head when you have such high expectations set for yourself.  I WILL get better though.  It’s just getting used to the system and getting back into the groove of things.  Just think positive vibes for me next Saturday when I cover the ER!!

The good thing is that my insecurities as an attending have REALLY motivated me to review things and study in order to get more efficient and confident.  I love Mindy Kaling’s Guide to Killer Confidence:

Confidence is just entitlement….entitlement in and of itself isn’t so bad. Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you’d better make sure you deserve it. So, how did I make sure that I deserved it?

….Hard Work….People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake. I know I sound like some dour older spinster chambermaid on Downton Abbey who has never felt a man’s touch and whose heart has turned to stone, but I don’t understand how you could have self-confidence if you don’t do the work…Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. 

: ) So, I just need get my shit together and start studying and reviewing areas of radiology that is not just related to breast imaging. This motivation is a good thing not just for my overall performance at work, but because I have part II of my board certification process coming up in about 5 weeks!

PREGNANCY

Gestational Age:  17 weeks by ultrasound on Monday (and almost 18 weeks by my dating).

Fetus Size:  the size of a pear, 5 inches head to bottom

Bump:  My stomach feels about the size it did when I was around 23-24 weeks last time!!  I used to think people were exaggerating when they said you show a lot earlier the second time, but it is soooo true.  I just hope this means I don’t end up waaaaay bigger!  I had mild rectus diastasis the first time, and I would prefer that not get worse this second time.

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Bump picture from a week ago, because I haven’t taken one this week yet.

Weight Gain:  About 6-7 pounds.  This stage of the pregnancy is just awkward, because my “bump” to the average person probably looks like I just had like, 5 servings of a Thanksgiving meal, depending on what I wear.  haha.  It’s a lot more fun later on in the pregnancy when the bump is a very obviously pregnancy bump.  A couple of weeks ago, Dean patted my stomach and was like, “ahhhh, I can see a bump!”  Then he tried to be a good, kind, empathetic husband, “But I can see why you would feel awkward about it.”  At first I was like, “THANK YOU [for understanding]” but then as I processed his comment, “….wait a second…what exactly do you mean by that?”  Hehe : ).  It’s all good…just so many body changes that happen during pregnancy, that probably feel a lot more exaggerated to the person going through them than the observer.  The one good thing is that some of the weight is finally going to my….well lets just say my bras are finally starting to fit a little snugger ; )

Symptoms:  Congestion and headaches.  I’ve had sinus infections throughout this pregnancy (confirmed in the office during my appointment), but I think the pregnancy associated nasal congestion/mucosal swelling has contributed to this.  I think I am literally killing a tree a day with the amount of tissue I go through.  And the headaches, ugh, they can be really bad some days.

Cravings:  Cheese and salt.  I’ve also probably been pushing the limit some days on my caffeine consumption.  This little boy is going to pop out wide awake and ready to attack this world …maybe that will mean he’ll power his way out with a very short labor? ; )

Exercise:  very little this week, which was what I expected with the start of the new job.  Will probably give myself a few weeks before getting back into an exercise routine.  One thing I will have to get used to if I want to keep up any sort of regularly exercise is that I will have to be ok with “just” doing a 3-4 mile run or a 25-30 minute workout and counting that as my exercise for the day.  While I was off from work last month, most of my runs were anywhere from 6-12 miles at a time (while pushing a stroller on most days!).  That won’t be happening on week days any more, at least not for awhile!  And I’m ok with that, because there are a lot of more important things that need my time and attention (Dean, Addison, my job, boards studying, managing life in general).

The view from a short run I did with Addison after picking her up from daycare. Turns out, taking a baby for a run when it's dinner time was not the best idea. Lots of crying and screaming on the way back, with lots of people turning to look at me. eek! I just turned my volume up really loud on my iphone, haha.

The view from a short run I did with Addison after picking her up from daycare. Turns out, taking a baby for a run when it’s dinner time was not the best idea. Lots of crying and screaming on the way back, with lots of people turning to look at me. eek! I just turned my volume up really loud on my iphone, haha.

Being back at work full time really makes me appreciate and make the most of the time I have with this little one : ). My hours are 7-4 (obviously going to be a little longer at first while I'm adjusting to stuff). I will arrive extra early if I need to, but Addison and Dean are my priorities in the evening.

Being back at work full time really makes me appreciate and make the most of the time I have with this little one : ). My hours are 7-4 (obviously going to be a little longer at first while I’m adjusting to stuff). I will arrive extra early at work if I need to, but Addison and Dean are my priorities in the evening.

Summer Happenings and Addison at 12.5 months

15 Aug

Best thing ever:

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Pack N’ Play makes it possible to relax and not have to keep your eye on her every second.  Kathy, if you read this, that is your gift in there with her!  She loves it!

*Much needed:  Shot of espresso at 7:30 on a Friday night.  Only way for me to stay awake to watch a movie with Dean after putting Addison to sleep.  Any other parents with this problem??

The truffle, btw, is made from dates, cashews, and carob powder!

The truffle, btw, is made from dates, cashews, and carob powder blended in a food processor!  Super easy, thanks to Purple Carrot (see below)

*I think I just became sold on those companies that send you a box of pre-measured ingredients to make meals with.  I decided to give the Purple Carrot a try.  It’s like Blue Apron, but is all plant-based.  Our first box came this week, and I made this:

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I am by no means vegan, but when at home, I try to eat plant-based when I can. Too difficult in my opinion, though, when eating out or with other company.

*Very delicious and refreshing and easy to make!  As hard as I try to enjoy cooking, I typically hate it, but when all the necessary ingredients arrive at your door with clear instructions, it’s hard not to mind it, and to…omg actually enjoy it!  : )

*Thank goodness for antibiotics.  Finally decided to treat this sinus infection that has been lingering around since the beginning of May.  A class B drug considered safe in pregnancy.  No point in making your life miserable and avoiding everything just because you’re pregnant.

* Dean and I finally got away for a weekend trip sans Addison, thanks to my mom and especially my SIL Katie!  Parents…please do this for yourselves if possible!  So worth it and all the pre-trip planning and headache of making the baby arrangements!  We drove up to Madison Friday early afternoon and came back Sunday.  It was so fun and great being able to be spontaneous…like we went out to dinner and didn’t have to worry about Addison making a mess.  After dinner we walked over a block, spontaneously hopped on some bikes (the ones you can rent at a station and then park at another station), and then rode down the streets of Madison to what’s called the Union on the U of W campus…huge concert going on so we enjoyed that for awhile and then biked back.  Slept in the next day…able to leave the hotel without having to first feed Addison, change her diaper, change her clothes, pack her bag, and put her in the stroller….rented bikes for the day and biked around the lake…and so much more!  We packed a lot into a weekend!

Biking around the lake!

Biking around the lake!


We also spent a couple of hours at the New Glarus Brewery, a short drive away from Madison. Super cool place! And yes, I am pregnant, and yes I sampled some beer unshamefully.

We also spent a couple of hours at the New Glarus Brewery, a short drive away from Madison. Super cool place! And yes, I am pregnant, and yes I sampled some of their beer unshamefully.

*Today Dean, Addison, and I spent the afternoon at the Air and Water Show.  I’ve been in Chicago for 11 years now and this is only the second time I’ve gone to see the show.  Sooooo impressive!  I’m not a crowds person and get serious “people rage” when around lots of people (ESPECIALLY with a stroller), but this was totally worth it.  The Breitling Jet Team and of course, the Blue Angels were my favorite performances to watch.  Their degree of precision just blows my mind.

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Btw, lulu running skirts are officially my favorite pregnant piece of clothing…even more than yoga pants (and this is coming from someone who used to LOATHE the idea of running skirts). I would live in these the rest of my pregnancy if I didn’t have to go back to work.

Quick update on Addison:

  • She is now ~12.5 months old.  With my job starting Monday (yikes!) and part II of my radiology boards coming up this fall, I probably won’t have time for an update for awhile so figured I’d do one now.
  • She isn’t quite walking on her own, but is just about there.  It’s just a confidence issue at this point.  For now, she loves walking while holding onto one or both of our hands:
  • She is mostly a happy baby except during the following:  changing her diaper, changing her clothes, putting sunscreen on, or putting her in the stroller (doesn’t mind being in the stroller, but my goodness, those 10 seconds when I’m trying to get her into the stroller…).  I sometimes (all the time?) literally have to wrangle her down on the floor with my legs in order to keep her in place and free up my hands to put her clothes on.
  • Is becoming little Ms. Independent.  I used to be able to feed her myself with a spoon when I didn’t feel like dealing with a mess, but she wants none of that now.  She, and only she, can feed herself, and you better not get in her way!  haha
  • We are down to about 10-12 oz of formula a day now.  She enjoys her milk and apparently LOVES vanilla soy milk, which we discovered one day when we ran out of whole milk.
  • Lots of “real” food–>holy shit her diapers smell bad now (which has been the case now for awhile)!  At least her poop is more solid which means she doesn’t have blow outs anymore.  This, however, has been replaced by clothes with food stains on them.
  • We are phasing out her binkie.  She now only gets it at night…no more binkie during the day or during naps except in an “emergency” (like we’re at church or a restaurant and she starts getting impatient).  It actually has been going really well.
  • Can mimic us and say mama or dada depending on what we just said to her.  Doesn’t quite know what they mean, but it’s still really fun hearing her mimic us or seeing her mimic other things we do.
  • She now has 4 teeth.  We use a banana brush with a dab (like smaller than rice sized drop) of toothpaste on it to rub her teeth and gums down each night.  She loves it.  I think it feels really good on her gums.
  • I used to enjoy rocking her to sleep in my lap at night and cuddling with her, but now she’s getting so big that she just doesn’t seem to get comfortable in my lap anymore : (, so after reading to her we cuddle for a couple of minutes and then she is put in her crib.  Fortunately, we have been blessed with an excellent sleeper whether I rock her to sleep or set her down in her crib awake (I take no credit for this, as we have done no sleep training with her), so it’s not issue for her, but makes me sad.
  • Loves the water and loves playing in the water fountain downtown.  I’m going to miss these summer days!
  • And one final pic of Addison in her tricycle, just because I think it’s cute and makes me smile : )IMG_0102

~

QUESTIONS

  1. What shoes do you recommend for babies/toddlers just starting to walk?
  2. Double stroller recs??  Getting a double Bob is probably going to be a must for me with all the running I do, but is it practical for everyday use?
  3. Addison needs a new carseat.  Recs for kids her age?
  4. Anyone use Blue Apron or any of those other meal delivery companies?  How do you like it?
  5. Is it possible to travel overseas with 15-16 month old?  The thought of such a long plane ride with her sorta terrifies me.  Any advice is much appreciated!

Our decision for #2

5 Aug

Hard to believe I’m already into the second trimester.  Things seem to go by a lot faster the second time around!  And boy do you show a lot sooner, but more on that at another time.

So, the first question I was asked when I saw my OB during this pregnancy was whether this was planned.  I know having two kids 18 months apart is pretty close in age, but I didn’t think it was that unusual.  haha.  The answer is that yes, this was planned, although like last time, it happened a lot quicker than I had thought.

So my thoughts about the timing of all this?  First of all, Dean and I have always envisioned having a family.  I’m not sure why, but 3 children to me always seemed liked a good number.  Obviously, though, the “ideal” number of children that you have in your mind before having kids can change drastically after you start having kids and you realize the reality of how much work (and expensive) they are.  Regardless, I knew I wanted at a minimum two kids.  I loved and love having a sister, and Dean has loved having his 3 siblings.

As I’ve said in my prior posts, being a mom this past year has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done, as Addison has just brought so much depth and love into our lives.  I didn’t think I’d be ready for another one so quickly, but around this spring I found myself sort of envious of a friend who quickly got pregnant with her second.  I’m not sure if envious is the right word, because it usually has a negative connotation, and I’m not trying to say I was envious in a bad way.  Rather, what I’m trying to say is that it made me realize that I also really wanted to have another child on the way, and to my surprise, the baby fever actually hit me pretty hard.

But there was a lot to think about:

  1. Did I want two children so close in age?
  2. Would I be able to handle working full time with two children under two?
  3. I’m starting a new job next year …a job with a group made up of predominantly men.  How would they view me taking maternity leave my first year?
  4. What if I don’t get pregnant as easily as the first time?  At 35 next summer, I will be considered “advanced maternal age”. And what if I wait and then it ends up taking years to get pregnant a second time?

I talked to several people who had siblings close in age, and they are all very close to their siblings.  When talking to other parents, they said it was hard at first, but “now they are best friends and love playing with each other.”  I’m not fooling myself into thinking they will always be bff and play well together, but I decided I liked the idea of them being close in age.  I know it will be hard at first (very hard I’m sure), but having an infant and toddler is hard no matter what.

Regarding question 3, someone told me that if I felt that having another child now was what was best for my family–the people I love and treasure the most–it would be a shame to put it off in fear of what a bunch of men at work that I hardly even know would think.  She was completely right.  Put that way, I realized how silly I was being.  Would I really let my job and fear of what others think dictate how I should live my life?  My priority is my family.  We want at least two kids.  I will be 35 next summer.  Thirty-five is considered advanced maternal age.  Now..it’s not like the second you turn 35 your risk of genetic problems and other conditions suddenly rise up significantly, but I think most people would agree that by the time you reach 40, the risks are higher relatively speaking and the toll a pregnancy takes on your body is probably harder to handle.

I knew that just because I got pregnant with one try the first time didn’t mean the same would happen the second time….it could take me awhile to get pregnant, or I could get pregnant but then have a miscarriage which would further lengthen the time.  At almost 34 (when I was thinking about all this), if I delayed having a second child for over a year because of my job and then it took me a few years to have a second healthy pregnancy after that, and then I want more than two kids…now we are getting closer to that 40 year mark….

I am extremely healthy and in shape now, Dean and I both really wanted a second child, and I felt physically and mentally ready now…I was therefore not going to let my job/career dictate when was a good time for a second child…rather, Dean and I made the same decision we made last time:  we’ll put it in God’s hands.  And that’s what we did.

And….God’s answer came pretty quickly again.  I had gotten one period back since I stopped breastfeeding Addison at 6.5 months and then I was pregnant again (note to self when I’m done having children–>use very good birth control!  haha).

I found out the morning I was leaving for a bachelorette party Memorial Day weekend (shoulda waited until after the bachelorette party to take that test, darnit ;) ), and Dean and I couldn’t have been happier : )

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Not sure if it’s a little weird posting this pic of me holding a stick I just peed on-haha-but just wanted to add that if you’re trying to get pregnant, just spend a few more dollars and buy the digital tests…it’s waaaaay more satisfying seeing “Pregnant” pop up than trying to squint and determine if there are two lines or one line or whatever.

Update about the job and timing of this:  after finding out I was pregnant, I actually felt like the timing of it was as good as it could be under the circumstances.  I didn’t love the idea of dealing with first trimester nausea and fatigue at the same time I would be dealing with the stress of a new job, and I didn’t want to take maternity leave the month after starting a new job just as I’m starting to settle in.  With the way it worked out, I got first trimester out of the way during the end of fellowship and during my time off, and I’ll have about 6 months under my belt before taking maternity leave (which, is only 6 weeks btw, so it’s really not that big of a deal).

I was really nervous about telling my boss that I was pregnant.  To get over my fear I told myself the following:

  1. I reminded myself of the point I made above:  my family is my priority, not my job and what others think.
  2. They’re hiring a woman of child-bearing age who already has one child…I’m sure they must be anticipating the possibility of another pregnancy.
  3. I don’t want to work in an environment that isn’t supportive of working mothers.  If they were not to be supportive of my pregnancy, then I’d rather know that early on than later.

I believe it’s important to let one’s job know as soon as possible so that they can plan accordingly for your time off.  I mean, I wouldn’t really blame people for being bitter if you suddenly show up at a new job 8 months pregnant without telling anyone! Therefore, the day I had my 12 week ultrasound, before I even formerly announced the pregnancy to family and friends, I got home, sat down, and wrote my boss an email notifying him of the pregnancy and offering to make up any missed weekend days before and/or after my maternity leave to keep things fair.  He wrote back probably the most kindest and supportive response ever, which meant so much to me.

That’s it for now.  I will try to put up a first trimester recap later this week or weekend.

Reflections from the first year of parenthood

30 Jul

I have been utilizing social media a lot lately, as I have had a lot of free time on my hands during these 6 weeks off between jobs, so I apologize if I’ve been showing up on your fb/instagram feed a lot lately!  That will stop come August 17th (start date of new job)!

Now that Addison has reached the big 1.0 and I have some time off, I figured I’d reflect a little over this past year.  So here are my thoughts and opinions!

  • A short 48-72 hours after the monumental, life-changing event of giving birth, you will leave the hospital with your new baby.  All of the excitement suddenly turns to a slight terror as you suddenly realize Holy Shit, I’m responsible for keeping this little human alive?!  But I don’t know anything!  And you are right.  You don’t.  But you will catch on.
  • During your pregnancy, you’ll see all these pictures and advertisements making motherhood look so glamorous and easy.  Well, the reality is, the first several weeks are anything but glamorous:  cracked, painful nipples and boobs, grandma mesh panties containing what feels like a diaper (yes, that’s what YOU’LL be wearing after a vaginal delivery), sleep deprivation, baby poop all over the baby’s clothes, spit up all over you, etc. It DOES get easier!
  • What works for one baby may not work for the other:  Addison hated lying flat at first.  She was pretty much up every 1.5 hours that first night when we tried to get her to sleep flat in the Pack N Play.  Once we moved her to the Rock N Play, she slept way better.  She slept in her Rock N Play in our room until around 4.5-5 months.  She HATED the Mamaroo though, which a lot of mothers swear by.
  • If you choose to breastfeed, having your milk let down for the first time was WAY uncomfortable.  I remember waking up at night and in my sleep deprived state thinking that I had suddenly developed breast cancer overnight because everything was so hard and lumpy.  haha.
  • Carrying on with the above example of panic, you lose all rationality when it comes to your child and will experience many other moments of unnecessary panic:
    • The first night she slept through the night, I woke up panicked that she had succumbed to SIDS.  Even at 1 year, the thought of SIDS still terrifies me.
    • She once threw herself back on the changing table and hit her head on the edge.  I was in a state of panic fearing that she would develop a brain bleed (it WAS a hard hit and she developed a subgaleal hematoma).  Luckily I had a physician friend to send me data and convince me her risk of a brain bleed was almost non-existent and there was no need to go to the ER.
    • The first week home with her, I was convinced she was going to get a severely infected umbilical stump when her poop got on it one day.  I immediately emailed my pediatrician friend about it all worried, because it seemed like such huge deal at the time (not a big deal at all)
    • I thought she was going to stop breathing and die the first time she got a cold.  But seriously, hearing a little baby all stuffed up is scary!
    • Soooo many other examples of panic that were not necessary.  And in all honesty, I don’t think this will ever go away.  I think that’s just part of becoming a mom.
  • During those first few weeks, you will lose all concept of time, and it will be amazing how much time goes by without you feeling like you got a single thing done.  Welcome to parenthood.  Just accept it and don’t be hard on yourself.  Give yourself a pat on the back if you fit in a shower.  Quadruple points if you manage to blow dry your hair and/or put make up on and get out of the house.
  • Cracked nipples, engorged breasts, blocked ducts…omg, breastfeeding was not easy at first.  It DOES get easier, so stick with it if you’re committed to breastfeeding.  However, there are a different set of challenges once you go back to work.
  • You all probably know my opinions on breastfeeding now.  If it works for you, great!  Go for it, and enjoy the bonding time. If it’s not for you, your baby will be totally fine.  I know in the moment you’re so worried about doing everything “right” for your child (and the overwhelming pressure is that breastfeeding is the “right” thing to do), but stand back and think big picture:  I guarantee if you were to look at the health histories and resumes of 100 random 25 year olds, you would not be able to determine who was breastfed and who was formula fed.  Definitely not something I would bet money on!  You don’t need to justify why you choose one method of feeding over the other, and it’s no one’s business.  If you choose to formula feed, you’re not harming your baby and you are not selfish.  If you choose to breastfeed until your child is 2 or older, great!  What makes me livid is the implication that “Breast is Best”.  Do what is best for YOU and your family.  End of discussion.
  • If you do breastfeed, it’s ok to drink IMO!  Just don’t get drunk!  And if you have a little too much and can’t bear the thought of pumping and dumping, just pump and dilute with other breast milk in the fridge ; )
  • Oxyclean works really well for the hundreds of poop stains your baby will cause, but sometimes it’s just hopeless and you’re better off throwing the outfit out.
  • Everything will be a blur the first few months.  I felt like I was in survival mode some (most) days.
  • For working mamas:  while on maternity leave, you will wonder how on earth you will survive fitting in work and caring for a baby and yourself all in one day, but you will figure out a way.  Also, if your child is in daycare, be prepared for being sick the rest of the year.  Your baby will pick up colds from the other babies and will ultimately give them to you.
  • My advice:  it is good to get on some sort of schedule with the baby for your own sanity (caveat:  not possible during the first few weeks and didn’t happen for me until I was forced into a schedule by going back to work at 6 weeks), BUT don’t become so rigid that your life revolves around the baby’s schedule.  Remember, YOU and your husband came into this world first, not the baby…don’t let the baby run your life.  Keep up your hobbies.  Take the baby out to dinner with you and don’t panic if OMG its 7:00 and it’s the baby’s bedtime.  Babies need to be adaptable : )  Also, don’t be afraid to leave the baby with a sitter and do a date night.  Easier said than done, as Dean and I really haven’t done that all that much, but I think it’s important.  Ultimately, your marriage is the most important relationship.  Don’t forget that.
  • Just when you think you’ve mastered one thing, there will be a new challenge to replace it ; )
  • Your home will suddenly feel a lot smaller and cluttered as you accumulate a ton of baby stuff.  Keeping it clean will also be a lot harder.  A spotless clean home?  Give it up or you’ll drive yourself crazy!
  • Being a mom fundamentally changes you.  You’ll experience so many more emotions and feel them so much more strongly.  I cannot hear a story about a child suffering without being brought to tears.  Not that it didn’t bother me before, but now it really affects me.  Really, any story of suffering affects me so much more.
  • You’ll experience more love than you ever thought possible.  Seeing Addison smile, rocking her to sleep, cuddling with her, hearing and seeing her laugh while swinging at the playground, exploring Chicago with her…all of these activities and more bring me so much joy and gives each day new meaning and significance.  As I said in my prior post, starting a family and being a mom is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.  Motherhood puts a lot of things into perspective:  suddenly, while your job/athletics/other ambitions are still important, you realize it is not THAT important.
  • In conclusion (sorry to sound so sappy):  I am so grateful for the opportunity to become a mom, to experience the above stated love and life transformation, to watch this little girl grow up and explore the world and become her own person.  It is such a huge gift and blessing, that God chose this little girl for me to raise and love.  My heart breaks for those who want kids and cannot have them for whatever reason, or for those who have lost a child or struggled with miscarriage.  I cannot imagine going through that.  My heart goes out to you, and I hope that this post does not bring you pain.  Also, my prayer every night as I put Addison to sleep is that she will grow up physically and emotionally healthy and knowing how much she is loved by Dean and I and by God.  I believe that love and a caring home is the best gift you can give a child and is what I ultimately believe will have the largest impact on a child (not whether the child is breastfed or formula fed, co-sleeps or learned to cry it out, goes to daycare or has a stay at home parent, or has a single mom, two “moms”, or two “dads”…just my two cents : )

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Questions:

1.  Your impressions on parenthood?  How has it changed you?  

2.  if more than one child, how has it changed with the second child (please don’t scare me too much, haha)?

3.  How old was your child when you took your first trip without him/her?  Dean and I are finally getting away for a long weekend this weekend sans Addison!  Just a short, quick trip up to Madison, but looking forward to some alone time : )

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