Yes, 23 weeks today. How did we get into this?

As for the blog, it was requested by dear family members who live far away and don’t get to see us everyday. So, this is for you. And also to look back on, and try to recall what life was like when our house had only two. We do have two very close family members, my little sisters, and this is for you too.
As for the fetus growing in my belly, how we got into that situation, I’ll save the baby making tutorial for 6th grade health class. But I will share our story a little…

Baby Stelzer was made somewheres around Cinco de Mayo, which Tim and I had celebrated by completely forgetting about and getting ready for visitors, an upcoming 5k, planning a party, and recovering from & editing photos from our trip to Argentina. We were pretty busy, as our life tends to be. (I know, I set myself up – You are free to insert 6th grade jokes here at any point) The party was fun, and I finished my 5k 4th in my age group in 22 minutes. I spent a weekend in Kentucky with the SWE girls. When I was “late” a few weeks later, I attributed it to the traveling and the cold I had had upon our return, and was not surprised to find a negative result on the pregnancy test. Fast forward another week or so, and I decided to repeat the test.

I think the story of telling your husband you are pregnant for the first time is right up there with the engagement story. It was Memorial Day (we got engaged on Labor Day, something about those National holidays) and we were getting ready for a long bike ride followed by breakfast at our house. Anxious about taking the test, I had gotten up early and peed on the stick. Double line. I set it on the kitchen counter (is that gross?) as I started frying bacon. Tim got up and was in front of the closet pulling on his bike shorts. I went in with the positive test and asked him, “What do you think about being a dad?” “Really?” “Really. Hold on, let me turn down the bacon.” When I came back from the kitchen, Tim gave me a big hug and we were really excited, but not knowing what to think yet. Then he asked if I had used the Chinese test. Let me explain. A week and a half before, with the negative test, I had used one of the tests I had bought at the drugstore in Shanghai. They were simple, like they have at the doctors office, with no additional plastic and cost only 50 cents. As we were leaving Shanghai, I found myself 2 weeks late so I picked up a few tests, verified what I suspected (negative) and took the remainder home for just in case. So at this point, Tim recommends I get another test. After the ride, bacon and pancakes, I picked up another test from Target and this one was also positive. Eeee!

I went online to use the pregnancy calculators and found out I was 6 and a half weeks pregnant. I called the OB office that had been recommended to me and made an appointment for that following Friday. After filling out the papers, peeing in a cup and waiting 45 minutes, we were taken to a room and waited an additional 20 minutes. Tim had fun reading the “for dads-to-be” pamphlets. Finally the nurse came in. She went through our history, and for all the boxes we checked indicating someone in our family had had X, we started getting a little nervous. She started explaining the genetic testing. We talked about my thyroid condition. Finally she said, “So it says here you are unsure of the day of your last period?” I answered that I was absolutely sure of that, just that we had had one negative test and two positive tests and weren’t sure if I was really pregnant. “Oh,” she said, “you’re pregnant. We checked the urine sample.” Whew! Confirmed by a doctor! Still, we were a little annoyed that we had spent an hour and a half waiting to hear about that while they explained all the medical and genetic testing we would get to do. As we left the hospital, we decided to look into another doctor or clinic to work with. The next week we would tour the Austin Area Birthing Center (AABC). This was a totally different vibe. The birthing center is like a B&B with midwives. Not covered by my current insurance, but we made the decision to work with the AABC for prenatal care and hopefully deliver there. I say hopefully since there are some cases they cannot handle, basically anything emergent or requiring medicine. No epidurals, no pitocin, no forceps, vacuums, C-sections. No doctors, even. Just good old fashioned labor and delivery. Sounded good to us.

From this point, my pregnancy symptoms took a turn to the typical (read: worse). I experienced horrible morning sickness that lasted all day every day for the next 8 weeks. I missed work. I spent a considerable amount of this hottest on record Austin summer in “the position” on our leather couch in front of the TV with the AC cranking. I subsisted on bananas and instant oatmeal. I lost 10 lbs, dropped out of the two triathlons I was planning to do, and found great relief fantasizing about dog sleds, polar ice caps, and anything cold without color or smell. It took me three evenings to feel well enough to call my parents and tell them the good news (I needed to find a time when I was happy. Inside of course I was happy, I was just sick)

As far as telling people goes, that part was fun. First we told Angel and Craig when we went to breakfast together. It was really early, but I wanted my sisters to know first and Angel was just about to leave for Colombia to join Mariel. We called Mariel that night and told her. I was forced to tell my boss after missing a week of work. Then our parents, Tim’s while we were in Colorado. Colorado was the time I felt the best in the first trimester. We got off the plane to 50 degrees and rain. I slept the whole night and went 48 hours without puking. Linda found it strange when I declined the kale she had bought for me in lieu of bananas and oatmeal, and when I took a 4 hour nap instead of helping her prepare for a party. It all became clear when we spilled the beans! We were found out by Tim’s friends Jay and Michelle when I twice bolted from the dinner table at a restaurant in Boulder to the bathroom. Needless to say, this was not a social time in our lives.

At 11 weeks, we got to hear the heartbeat of the baby and see the first ultrasound. It looked like a little jumping bean moving around inside of me. I got totally choked up and so happy. It felt so real! We had been calling the baby blueberry since everytime I read something it said the baby was the size of a blueberry. We got our first picture of blueberry and headed off to our house closing.

In this time, we also bought a house. Tim and I really like to do big things together. Get married, move to China. Get knocked up, buy a house. (Next year: have a baby, move to Malaysia? We’ll see.) Unfortunately, I was not much help in the house buying, but thanks to Tim it happened. On the “big day” (ultrasound/closing) we stopped by Tim’s work. Our friend Tony came out and gave me a big hug and said congratulations. I looked at Tim, “Are we telling people now?” Then realized a bit too late Tony was congratulating us on becoming homeowners. Tim pulled out our US picture and said, “We are also going to be parents!” And from then on, we felt comfortable telling everyone.

Summer. More sickness. But gradually getting better. A long trip to Michigan where I ate and ate and gained back all my weight plus 10 lbs. Visiting the Stelzer family at the Oregon coast with refreshing beach breezes and cool nights. Gradually going out again, eating again. And then, sometime in the 18th week, while I was riding in the carpool’s Prius to work, I felt something in my belly. A kick? Couldn’t be sure… I called Tim and told him my suspicion. It would be a week before I was quiet again (in the carpool’s car on the way to work) and I felt it again. My spirits were high and it was exciting when Tim could feel the baby with his hand on my tummy a few weeks later. Since then, the kicking has gotten stronger and more consistent.

Now late in the second trimester, I feel my old energy returning. I still get tired after dinner, but that is not really new. After all, there are still dishes to do. 😉