20-Week Ultrasound Pictures

20 weeks, spine

20 weeks, foot

20 weeks, face

20 weeks, litte boy bits

20 weeks, arm

20-Week Ultrasound

We had our 20-week ultrasound last night at 7:30 pm.

Side note: When the nurse said the earliest time available on that Tuesday was 7:30 PM, the first thing I thought was, "That will keep us out past bed time (we're in bed by 9:00 pm most nights)!!" and I panicked a little. I really hope Liam inherits his parents' need and affinity for sleep. Otherwise, Josh and I are in trouble (thank goodness I married someone with the same sleep habits - i.e. a lot).

Back to the ultrasound... I have to admit, I get a little anxious before every appointment. No matter how much faith you have, it's hard not to let a little fear creep in. I was especially anxious because the ultrasound tech (who, btw, is AWESOME) was going to take a really close look at Liam (by close, I mean she measured his diaphragm, stomach, and cerebellum, just to name a few). After she did her measurements, she took a few minutes to point-out, label, and print some Liam highlights (pictures to come soon). Apparently, Liam is not shy about showing-off his little boy bits. I'm predicting that our kid will be THAT kid that refuses to keep his clothes on. The tech also showed us his face, which at this point looks A LOT like this:
Liam's face. We got a really good look at his feet (and yes, I tried counting the toes), his limbs, and his spine. The spine picture is probably the coolest of the lot. The tech said, "His skin is so thin that the sound bounces off his bones really easily, so we can see great detail." A comment that TOTALLY would have thrown me off, except for the fact that I was told a week and a half earlier that Liam didn't really have "skin" yet. I'll take really thin skin over no skin! She estimated his weight to be about 14 ounces. At the end of the appointment, we got the confirmation we were looking for: everything looks good with Liam.

I've noticed a reoccuring theme with our ultrasounds: Liam is really active. Each time the doctor or tech comments on how much he's moving around, to which I reply, "Tell me about it!" He kicks and punches all day long, usually targeting my bladder (our impending plane rides are going to be soooo much).

20 Week Bump

20 week bump

Utlrasound Pictures

6 weeks, 3 days

10 weeks, 2 days

12 weeks, 0 days

14 weeks, 2 days

18 weeks, 3 days - It's a BOY
(I spy with my little eye... in 3-D!)

Hand me that mirror, please.

Josh and I spent some time this weekend watching videos on babycenter.com. We watched a woman receive an epidural (you're going to do WHAT with that COFFEE STRAW?!?!), we watched what happens to a baby right after delivery (apparently, babies are covered in a white, cheesey substance http://www.babycenter.com/0_why-newborns-look-so-funny_178.bc), and we even watched a birth video (we are SO going to be the teachers pets in the birthing class).

We'd already had the "are you going to look" conversation. Josh's dad passed-out in the emergency room when he took Josh to get stitches as a kid... a queezy trait my husband inherited. So Josh's answer was an ardent "no." During the video, I watched my husband out of the corner of my eye silently freak out; but like a tropper, he sat through the whole thing. Pre-video, I was on the fence. I have to admit, even I thought, "WHOA!" when I saw the baby crown and the doctor do something with his finger that I will not repeat. I'm going to be too busy hee-hee-hooing to even think about watching what's going on, right? And do I really want to see my bits in such a state? For me, it'll have to be a game-time decision.

I'll take your pressure wave and raise you a contraction!

Yesterday I spent some time perusing babycenter.com (my "all things baby" website of choice), and I stumbled across birth stories that members have written. Being a person that likes to be uber prepared (I don't over-pack because I love clothes. I over-pack because I like to be prepared for EVERYTHING), I read through a few. The last story I read was titled, "An unassisted, painless birth." The skeptic on my left should immediately pipped up. In the story, a women explains how she used hypnosis, or hyponobirthing, to aid natural childbirth. If you don't feel like reading her story, I'll summarize: She followed a hypnobabies self-study program throughout her pregnancy. She went in to labor at home, which progressed so quickly that her midwife wasn't able to make it in time and her husband delivered the baby. Once she realized she was in labor, she began what her hypnosis studies had taught her, and her pressure waves (contractions to the rest of us) were an enjoyable experience for her.

Before reading this birth story, I'd never heard of the Mongan Method, just Bradley, Lamaze, and Water. I had only researched Bradley and Lamaze, deciding I'd prefer a Lamaze class to prepare me for what's the come. I'm big on "to each their own," so I am by no means refuting the fact that this woman was legitimately able to achieve a pain-free labor. After years and years of preconceived notions that childbirth = pain, I'm not sure that I'd be able to convince my psyche otherwise. For this technique to work, you need to completely buy-into it. Maybe I'm taking the easy-way out with my plan (Am I dilated enough for the bleeeeping epidural yet?!?!), or maybe I'm just too scared that it wouldn't work for me. Part of me thinks it would be really amazing to own that fact that I delivered my baby boy naturally. And then the other part of me remembers my mom telling me it hurts like hell (she went natural with both of us when, quote, "natural was in vogue"). When women all across the world are giving birth naturally, it's hard not to discount my likely epidural-assisted birth. But does it really matter as long a Liam is born safely?

On a very different note, I realized today that I am very much like a newborn right now: I eat, sleep and pee.

He's gonna grab it!

I created this blog months ago, and then I let it marinade out there in web-space. I suppose I was waiting for inspiration. Writing was my outlet during a particularly difficult period of my life; unfortunately, when I emerged as a happier, healed person, I felt like I had lost my voice. Well, inspiration = found.

When you get pregnant, it seems that people want to know about, well, everything. I've never been much of a phone talker, and I rarely participate in "spill sessions." And Josh is a boy - most are wired without the chit-chat gene. Josh and I figured this would be a great way to keep everyone up-to-date on the pregnancy and all things baby.

In case you didn't know, we're having a boy, and we've named him Liam (hence the name, Letters to Liam). Liam Axel Hastings, to be exact. With a rock star name like that, this kid is bound to have some cool, right? He'll just have to work hard to shed the quirkiness of his parents. My grandpa had four girls and SURVIVED. I'm a girl, and I still think that's a lot of girl. He never got a boy to carry-on the Axel name, so we thought it'd be a pretty cool thing to name our first kid, girl or boy, Something Axel Hastings. Lucky for us, finding that Something part of the name was a synch. I just wanted a short first name, as Elizabeth wasn't a gem to bubble-in on scantron sheets. We found out on April 16th (a glorious day for more than one reason) that it would be Liam, and not Zoey.

A funny story about our sexing (that's what they call it when they separate baby chickens) appointment: Our doctor, Dr. Shaban, put the probe on my stomach and said, "You guys want to know what it is, right?" I was too anxious-excited to say anything other than, "YES," but Josh managed to assume he'd seen a boy part. And then WHAM!, Liam closed his legs and started showing hamburger (
http://pregnancy.about.com/od/boyorgirl/ss/genderus_3.htm). After jiggling my stomach, and my love handles, a few times, Dr. Shaban flipped a switch and there was our baby in 3-D (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_ultrasound). Usually you don't do a 3-D ultrasound until around 28 weeks, as an 18 week-old baby look a little alien-like... And I quote, "It'll look a lot more normal when it has SKIN." [Aside: I LOVE our doctor - he says the things that you think but don't say out loud because there's a doctor (i.e. an adult) around]. After I was done assessing Liam's weirdness, I said, "Hey, is that a penis?" I am proud to say that Liam's is the first 18-week old penis our doctor has seen in 3-D. Seconds later, Liam grabbed it, and our doctor exclaimed, "Oh look, he's gonna grab it!" We have the BEST, and quite possibly the earliest, blackmail picture of our son. We're already plotting the embarrassement factor of meeting that first date...

This week, Liam is the size of a heirloom tomato... 6 inches long head to bottom and 8 1/2 ounces (