20 Weeks: Halfway There!

Read about yesterday's gender reveal!

Weeks: 20
Weight Gain: +4 lbs. from pre-baby weight
This Week's Cravings: Still stuck on soy iced chai from Coffee Bean. Also, I've had this unfulfilled cheese craving. I'm talking REAL, good cheese. Perhaps a visit to The Cheese Store in Beverly Hills is in the cards this week . . .
New Maternity / Baby Purchases: We finally ordered Baby's crib the other day. We already have her changing table {bought it about about a month ago}. Also, after we found out her gender yesterday, Daddy made a pit stop at Nordstrom on his way home from work {in the rain! -- how's THAT for dedication!} to buy another pair of Toms for Baby B! Our little girl is starting out with a whopping four pairs of Toms before she's even born!
Additionally, we were finally able to finish our baby registry. Prior to finding out the baby's gender, we could only register for so many things, as we really didn't want to pick out anything particularly gender neutral. And through the magic of the internet, the old dilemma of wanting / needing things from so many stores has been solved through If you wanna check out our registry {and help us knock out a few items from the list -- hint, hint!}, click on THIS LINK. Search for Angela Bench and that should lead you to our list!
This Week's Pregnancy Cheat: Took a few sips of Coke the other day. Oh and yikes, had two oysters when we were in Las Vegas last week. It was sublime!
Things to Look Forward To: Another appointment with Dr. Moore next Wednesday {March 7th}. Yes, I really look forward to my doctor's appointments. Keeping a close eye on the baby keeps my neurotic self on check and at ease.
Tired / Sick / Sleepy?: Mostly tired. I make it a point to get up before 10:00 a.m. everyday {otherwise, I feel like my day is wasted}, but it's been a little bit of a struggle. On Saturday, J woke me up at 10:30 a.m. Eck. Hate that feeling.

I should also mention the following things:
  • My normally very "innie" belly button is now making its way into becoming an "outie". So very trippy. Just had to mention.
  • J laughed when I told him Baby B was kicking A LOT when I was in Nordstrom and Target today. I think he is secretly afraid that this little girl is getting trained so early in her shopping. 
  • I'm currently in the middle of reading a book called Bringing Up Bebe on my Nook. I read about it in People Magazine about 4 weeks ago and downloaded it right away. The author is an American mother living in Paris, discovering the secret to how the French raise happy, healthy, cooperative, well-behaved, and patient children. I'm only a few chapters in so far, but I cannot recommend this book enough. I will try to put up a full review once I'm done with it, but suffice it to say, both J and I plan on implementing much of the French framework of raising babies once Baby B is born. 

We are so incredibly happy to be expecting our baby girl. Many have asked if we have picked a name, and the answer is yes. You'll have to stay tuned for the official announcement :-)

Thank you again to everyone who has showered us with prayers and love. We so can't wait to share our baby girl with you!

A Great Surprise

As most of you may have already read 
{as plastered on both J's and my personal Facebook pages, along with the B&B Facebook Page},
today was our survey ultrasound.

A survey ultrasound is normally done between 18-20 weeks of pregnancy. During this procedure, they measure the baby's internal organs {lungs, kidneys, etc.} along with making sure all appendages are there -- arms, legs, and yes, perhaps a little penis if it's a boy.

During our last pregnancy, we also had the survey ultrasound done right at 20 weeks, and it was when we were told of the cervical incompetency, and were immediately sent to Labor & Delivery. We lost Aubrey & Finley the next day. 

Needless to say, both J and I were anxious about this ultrasound. On top of making sure the baby was healthy and normal, we were very curious to check on the cervical length. We both breathed a collective sigh of relief when the radiologist told us that the cervical length was good. Whew.

Moreover, we knew what this ultrasound entailed: gender reveal. As per the doctor's instructions, I drank tons of water this morning before the appointment {They recommended 24 oz. of water. I drank 38 oz. instead} and even had a handful of Nestle Dibs ice cream. Pregnancy websites and literature often say that drinking some orange juice "wakes up" the baby to make for a good "show" at the ultrasound. True to character of being my child, this one doesn't "wake up" with juice. Each time I eat ice cream, the flutters begin. 

After the initial 30 minutes of ultrasound measurements and examination {as well as two high volume trips to the restroom}, the radiologist called J into the room. He held my hand as we anxiously awaited the view of what my doctor calls "the snail or the McDonald's sign". Evidently, a snail shape on the screen shows testicles and a McDonald's sign shows the corresponding female parts.

The radiologist struggled for a few moments as my newly-ice-cream-fed {and therefore, very active} child squirmed around. Finally, we got a clear shot from the baby's bottom {what a cute little butt!}, only to find that the baby's legs were crossed. Despite our attempts to try to get the baby to move, he/she would not. 

The radiologist then said, "Well, I don't see testicles."

When J and I pictured the moment we found out our baby's gender, that wasn't exactly the definite line we were looking for. I prodded with a few more questions {"Sooo... we're not sure if it's a boy?" and "Sooo... I need to set another appointment to confirm?"}. Luckily, the radiologist followed up, saying that normally, if the baby is a boy, the testicles would be very prominent on the screen, despite the baby having crossed legs {In fact, I was told the same by my friend Amy when I called her after I left the appointment}. Evidently, the appearance of the "snail" would be unmistakable, and if I am not mistaken, I thought I saw a sideways McDonalds sign at one point or another {even during the moments when I really thought the baby was a boy}. 

We were elated to finally hear the radiologist say those magic words:
Suffice it to say, we are beyond thrilled to hear this news. Although we both prepared to hear that it was a boy {I was convinced that it was}, God knows we both prayed for a girl. Especially after the loss we suffered, our hearts really longed for a baby girl. 

And I know God knows what's in our hearts and He truly hears our prayers.
On a side note, if, for example, a follow up ultrasound reveals a snail, we would be equally joyous and thankful. After all, first and foremost, we just want a happy, healthy, normal baby. 
For now, we are celebrating on Cloud 9. Perhaps this would be a good time to stop by our church to say a quick thank you and then bake a cake . . . with pink icing, of course.

Maybe after a nap.

19 Weeks!!

One more week to the halfway mark!

Weight gain: No, I haven't weighed myself. I actually look away when they weigh me at the doctor's office. Fine, I'll start doing it.
This week's cravings: Soy iced chai from Coffee Bean, Nestle Dibs (I swear, I had like 30 pieces in one sitting), and turkey sandwiches with provolone or swiss, lettuce, and lots of mayo and mustard
New maternity or baby purchases: Nothing for the baby this week, but I finally found some decent skinny maternity jeans! Hooray!
Things to look forward to: Going to Las Vegas this week for four days for J's work convention. So excited for free 5-star restaurant meals! After we get back, I have my 20 week appointment and then on Monday (the 27th) we will find out the baby's gender! (J would not agree to do it sooner than 20 weeks!)
This week's pregnancy cheat: Had a couple of sips of Thai iced tea during dinner on Friday. 
Tired / sick / sleepy? Generally just tired, but this pregnancy has been fairly manageable with the sickness part. Been trying to avoid naps so that I don't throw my sleeping pattern too much at night, as I hate waking up later than 9:00 a.m.

Can't wait until we can reveal the baby's gender next week! Stay tuned!

Baby Belly Picture Project

I paced and paced.
And paced some more.
I did this for a good . . . 10 minutes (which is a lot when you're doing nothing else but pacing).
In my head I was debating on what to do with these pictures. Originally, they were going to be solely for the baby book, but upon consultation with my cohort in crime (a.k.a. J), we decided that with all the work we'd been putting into this project, it wouldn't do it justice to just keep it to ourselves. J suggested that it may be a good thing to share on the blog. 

And if you're wondering, the answer is yes, I plan to keep this up as the rest of the weeks go by. 

Happy Valentines Day!!
All our love,
J, A, & Baby Bench

Ode to Costco Pizza

This post was going to be much longer, but I took out all my back story to show what a pregnant woman will desperately do to fulfill a love affair craving for pizza. 

Cheese pizza from Costco. It cannot be from anywhere else; just Costco. 

We all know the insanity at Costco. First, I have to fight my way through the parking lot where it seems that no one, drivers and pedestrians alike, pays attention to what is around them. Families exit out of the building with cartloads of polyunsaturated fats, triglycerides, and the occasional enormous tub of vitamins or protein shakes, texting on their phones, yanking oblivious children's arms, or {this is my favorite} rifling through and doing what seems to be an inventory of the items they had impulsively purchased right in the middle of the parking lot aisle. 

After parking and making my way through the maze of Suburbans, Expeditions, and any rogue carts whizzing by, I make my way through the entrance and to the food windows. I can always judge how long the lines will be by the item-filled carts lined up haphazardly alongside the tables. On any given day, there are at least 20. Sure enough, the lines are 6-8 people deep. It's a frickin Wednesday morning -- don't you people have jobs? I get in line behind a woman with 3.5 children and wait. And wait. And wait. During all this, I notice the old man at the window at the front of my line, dressed in what looks like a brand new Ralph Lauren polo and Brooks Brothers chinos, but is slowly counting the dimes and nickels he's paying with for his one berry parfait. At the window to his left, you see a man carrying a fidgety 3 year old and standing with an equally fidgety 5 year old who orders 3 slices of pizza, two drinks, and a chocolate ice cream, only to realize that he has no cash for this cash-only transaction. These are the kinds of people who have somehow gotten ahead of me in line and I am so frustrated that I have only one item to order that would have taken 10 seconds out of this pandemonium. 

Finally, it's my turn at the window. Before the acne faced boy even finishes his "Hello, how are y----" I am able to blurt out my order. "Hi, a slice of cheese pizza, please." BOOM. He rushes to the pizza warmer, grabs a slice, and before he is even able to give me the total amount, I hand over $2.15 {$1.99 + tax = $2.14}, say a quick thank you, and push my way through the crowded lines that seemed to have doubled from the time you got here. 

After grabbing napkins and stalking the Brooks Brothers man and his wife as they slowly get up, I slide myself into the first seat at their table, and look at my prize. 
It's a perfect slice. Sure, it was a battle getting to this point, but now, nothing else matters. It's just me and my pizza. It is perfectly gooey, not too greasy, and the crust is toasted to have that golden, almost caramelized flavor. I pick up the slice, and take a bite. It is warm and I fight my way through cutting through the cheese to avoid it swinging down after the bite. It tastes buttery and milky. As I chew, all the noise in the background fades and I wonder why I ever debated having anything else for lunch -- or for any other meal, for all it's worth. 

To take a break from my food fantasy, remember that I am 4 1/2 months pregnant. When in this place {and I mean freshly out of the precarious everything-makes-me-sick-so-I'd-rather-not-eat stage, not to mention now in the I-can-eat-whatever-I-want-without-worrying-too-much-about-weight-gain-Yes-Dr.-Moore-I-know-not-TOO-much}, eating what I want especially with this demolition derby appetite is complete ecstasy. Women lie when they say that this is not one of the perks of being pregnant. We love this. It is the eating of our lives!

It isn't a surprise that the same evening after I had my pizza for lunch, I convinced J to take me back to Costco to have it again for dinner. And although I know how much he dreads the bedlam that is Costco, he is secretly just thankful that I am eating anything. And quite frankly, I'm thankful for my pizza too! ;-)

I Spy: Early Preparations for Baby #3

There's a part of me that's really scared to do this.
Last time, in the weeks before the 20 week mark, we had done so much preparation for our girls -- cribs were ordered and delivered, mattresses purchased and waiting, room paint color was picked out and purchased, painter was scheduled to come, crib linens and so much clothes stockpiled, and J even had a pink custom chandelier made for them.
Of course, once we had our 20 week ultrasound, everything changed.
So needless to say, I'm pretty leery about getting too ahead of ourselves. Granted we have taken so many necessary precautions (quitting my job and staying home to rest and focus on the pregnancy and of course the cervical cerclage), but I can't help but be anxious for the next few weeks to come.
We have had many benchmarks (no pun intended) that we had looked forward to during this pregnancy, times when we would breathe out a little sigh of relief as we get closer to our due date: the 12- and 14-week marks, the cerclage, and coming up, the 20 week mark (for obvious reasons). 
Try as we may, both J and I cannot help but feel the excitement in the preparations for Baby #3. It's difficult not to be excited, but every so often, we catch ourselves, take a deep breath, and a step back. Not too fast, we tell ourselves. Still, how can we help it? It is a lot of fun, however, to see little signs around the house of a sweet little pea who will be (God-willing) joining us in about 5 more months.

I spy with my little eye . . .
Daddy reading material on J's nightstand. Nothing beats the sweetness of a man who prepares (and even snags a parenting magazine from the doctor's office).

The start of a stockpile of baby wipes (they were on sale at Costco!). Soon we will be piling up on diapers!

Paint swatches on the nursery wall. These have been there since the last pregnancy, but thank goodness, we picked a gender neutral color (Cloud 9 Gray). We will know what accessories to purchase for this backdrop within the next 4 weeks. (J does not want to find out the baby's gender until at least 20 weeks. I think it's partially because he's afraid I'm going to blow our savings on shopping, but it's largely because he doesn't want it too early where a mistake could be made. He doesn't want an educated guess; he wants a definite answer. So, we wait. [and the man won't budge!]).

Congratulatory cards, stretch mark lotion, and some of the latest ultrasound pictures on my nightstand. 

The omnipresent monstrosity of my back-and-belly pregnancy pillow. J calls it my life raft, because climbing into it every night is like climbing into an inflatable boat. He bought it for me during my last pregnancy, and I swear by it. It helps me sleep more comfortably, especially with my widening (and now more painful) hips and the weight I'm carrying. I'm sure I'll be thanking it (and J) more as this pregnancy progresses and I get bigger.

I spy this growing belly everyday, and although I absolutely ABHOR bathroom mirror self portraits, this was the only way to get this done. Here is the growing tire.

I'm so thankful for all the excitement that everyone has shared with us. More to come!