Friday, July 17, 2009

"Babymoon," here we come!

Tomorrow afternoon, we're flying out to Spain!

Our "dream vacation," the one we've been talking about in hypotheticals for years, has always been a Mediterranean cruise. We've dreamed of visiting Florence, Naples, Venice, and Athens... We tend to prefer beautiful historical cities to lazy beach vacations, and this kind of trip would be the ultimate historical vacation.

When we found out we were pregnant, we decided to go for it. We're calling it our "babymoon," but not because we're buying into the whole "this is your last chance to do something fun together before a baby comes and you never have a chance to relax again" thing... Rather, this is a celebration of our pregnancy, and an excuse to go on our dream vacation together. :)

We're taking a red-eye to Barcelona tomorrow, and staying in the city for a couple days to try to get over the jet lag, and to see the old city and any and all Gaudi architecture we can get to. :) Then we board our ship on Tuesday afternoon, and embark upon the itinerary of a lifetime: Nice, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Naples, Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnik, and Venice!

I'm hoping this will turn out to be a relaxing, memorable vacation -- and not one where motion sickness plus morning sickness means I'm staying in the cabin all day while David takes pictures of Europe for me to see what I'm missing out on... Thankfully, my doctor has cleared me to take Dramamine as needed. :) But either way, we're resolved to have a fun, relaxing time with each other.

And, of course, we'll be sure to take tons of photos and post them when we get back!

We'll be out of internet contact for pretty much the entire time -- with the exception of my work email address. That's right, my Blackberry has been equipped with international roaming capabilities, so I can be reached by my work anywhere, anytime... But if you need us for anything important, that's the one regular way we'll have of being in touch with the outside world.

Otherwise, it'll be just European history and romantic times together all the way for the next two weeks!

I think the baby has David's nose

On Tuesday morning, we had our first trimester screening test. My doctor's practice offers this test as an initial predictor of chromosomal abnormalities like Down Syndrome and Trisomy 18. The test consists of an ultrasound, where the tech takes measurements of a fluid-filled space in the baby's neck, and a finger-prick blood test.

To be honest, David and I didn't really care about the diagnostic aspects of this test. Whatever the results, we knew that we would love and cherish this baby. The only reason why we decided to go through with this was so that we could get another chance to see the baby. :)

And wow! What a difference 6 weeks makes! Our first ultrasound, which was taken at 6 weeks, 3 days, basically showed a little blob with a flickering heartbeat -- thrilling, but still clearly very early in the pregnancy. This week's ultrasound was something else altogether...

The first sonogram is of the whole baby -- he's lying on his back, waving his arms and legs in the air. (Side note: nope, we don't know the gender of the baby yet, but it's much easier referring to him as a "him," rather than a "him or her" -- and I absolutely refuse to call our baby an "it"!) You can actually make out all five fingers on one of his hands -- during the ultrasound, it looked like he was waving at us!

The second sonogram is a zoomed in shot of his head and upper torso. He's got one of his hands near his head -- it looked like he was trying to get his hand into his mouth. :) And what's even more thrilling is that you can make out facial features in this one -- he's already got the beginnings of a cute little button nose!

It's incredible that the baby's features are already so developed -- he's got arms and legs, and fingers and toes, and a face, and everything! Even though he's still only the size of a plum! What an incredible sight!

As you can probably tell, I'm still riding the emotional high from seeing the baby this time. :) The icing on this cake is that we got a call from the nurse today, letting us know that all of the tests were within normal limits.

I know I've said this before, but I'm so thankful for each new milestone, every small step along the path of this whole pregnancy thing becoming more real to us. There really is a baby in there -- and he's the cutest little thing in the world! :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Coolest Sound in the World

Our doctor's appointment on Wednesday turned out to be not quite as uneventful as I'd thought it would be...

We did the standard weight check (I've actually lost a few pounds, due to nausea... which is totally normal, but I'm hoping to be able to reverse that trend soon!), blood pressure check, etc., and then my doctor came in and asked how I've been feeling. She said that if the morning sickness gets really bad, she could prescribe something for me, but we all agreed that we want to avoid medications if possible.

And then -- oh, and then!

She finished marking up my chart, and told us she wanted to try to see if we could hear the baby's heartbeat! She warned us that at 10 weeks, it was a little early, so we shouldn't get our hopes up, or be concerned if she couldn't pick up the heartbeat on the Doppler, but that she was going to give it a try anyways.

She put the gel on my lower abdomen (so, so cold and weird feeling...), and started moving the little wand around. All we heard at first was static.

Then all of a sudden, the room was filled with the sound of rhythmic thumping. It really did sound exactly like the heartbeat sounds in movies and TV shows -- except this time, it was our baby. David and I were awestruck. We had, of course, seen the heartbeat at our first ultrasound, but it's qualitatively different, being able to hear the thumping. It's another big milestone on the road to making this pregnancy feel even more real to both of us...

What an amazing confirmation of our baby's growth and development! Looks like there's really a baby in there!