23 Weeks: Status Update

Ok, Baby Girl aka Minnie Mason is 23 weeks tomorrow. So – another status update is in order. (I feel like I’ve been writing about things other than HER and the PREGGO experience…so I’m back on track with this update).

Without further ado, a Week 23 status update.


Due Date: October 14, 2011. The sonographer told me that the due date is October 14, and I’m going with her. October 27 was off by my count anyway. I said October 19 all along and the 14 is probably even more accurate (this due date is based on Minnie’s size). She was 10.4 inches long and 365 grams at the ultrasound two weeks ago.

Baby Developments: Watch what you say — baby is now able to hear outside noise from down in the womb. Studies show that baby finds gentle music and your own voice most soothing. Nipples are starting to sprout, and that little face is fully formed. And, baby’s starting to settle into sleep cycles, snoozing about 12 to 14 hours a day. It shouldn’t be hard to figure out when — just pay attention to those kicks as they start and stop.

Weight Gain: Will have a much better gauge on this one after today’s appointment. Keep in mind, I don’t weigh myself. I’m still saying that I’ve only gained 2.7 pounds or whatever that number was through 23 weeks…I can say that for about another hour.

Cravings: Food. In general. Well, not even really. I guess I just have a bit more of an appetite. I wish I were eating just a wee bit healthier. But, pizza is back to sounding REALLY good. Fresh fruit still sounds good, but I am not eating enough of it. In general, though, I haven’t had a craving per se. I am certainly loving my sweet treats these days though.

Symptoms: Tiredness. I have started taking just one kids vitamin a day to see if that helps and it seems to have made a slight difference. I think I really wore myself out getting ready for the big party two weeks ago and spent last weekend recovering.
Oh, last night was the first real leg cramping I’ve experienced. It woke me up (not cool). I went for a walk this morning and that seemed to help. But, I hope that these don’t continue all the time. I’m ok with from time to time. I guess the leg cramping happens because you have so much more blood and fluid in your body as a result of cooking a baby. Whatever – I could do without the shooting pain of the leg cramps.

I am loving: having my best girlfriend in town, Jay. She’s here with her kids until later this month and she came over this a.m. for coffee with her 18-month old, Stella. It’s just so nice to have her around. I miss her when she’s not here. I’m also loving that my local bestie, Andrea, asked me to take infant pictures of her baby Drew after he’s born (he’ll be here June 27). I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on the how-to’s of newborn photography. I can’t wait to get started. I’m also really, really loving the time I seem to have these days. Not having to work on my Master’s frees up a lot of space in my head and in my life to do other things with.

Sleep: Great. Lots of it. Spent a lot of time napping last weekend, but I think that was more because of wearing myself out the week prior.

I miss: looking like my regular self. Seriously, someone should have told me I looked this pregnant.

I am looking forward to: Drew’s arrival, spending time with Jay and her kids while they’re in town and shopping with my Grandma for Minnie tomorrow.

I am spazzing about: Now that the crib and glider were delivered yesterday, the really other big thing is to figure out a childcare (yikes!) situation after Minnie’s arrival. I don’t really like thinking about it – buuttt I have to. So, that search will start in earnest very soon. I swear.

Best moment of the week: Lots — it makes me smile when she kicks. And she kicks a lot. I realized yesterday that she has taken real issue with her neighbor, aka my bladder. Have had to pee a lot. But, I LOVE feeling her move around and get a bit weirded out when I don’t feel her like I think I should. I’m really trying to pay attention to how often she moves and when she moves. Current status: sleeping.

Milestones: Lots of kicking. Jon even felt it! Yup, on his 36th (holy crap he’s old) birthday, I had him lay his hand on my belly and he was like ‘I don’t feel it’ and I said you can’t feel THAT and he was like, I feel things moving, but… So, I was like ‘that’s HER’. I think maybe he thought it was going to be like karate kicks and chops or something…but it’s just little (getting bigger) all the time. But it’s cool that he felt her…and he’s getting more likely to touch my belly to see if he can feel her. Not a lot, but he’s done it a few times and I really like that.

Movement: Lots. I try to figure out which part of her is where…but can’t really tell or am not paying close enough attention.

It’s a….: GIRL!

Exercise: Brisk walk this morning. Nothing when I’ve been on the road. But, we’ll see how the weight gain is going when I head to the doctor here shortly.

Diet: The sweet treats have been my undoing. Being on the road makes it hard to eat very well and I find myself over-indulging and over-filling myself which is uncomfortable. But, can’t say it’s too too bad.

Goals for the upcoming week: Not specifically baby-related, but get the electrical done in the attic so that we can get the insulation done so we can concentrate on getting Minnie’s room ready. The crib is here, the glider’s here, the dresser/changing table is here. I have the paint picked out. Just need to pick up the frames for the artwork, purchase the wall decal from tradingphrases.com and get moving.

The Money Part Starts…

 

Everyone says it’s expensive to have a child.

Duh.

But, as some (most) of my friends have had babies in the last couple of years, they’ve given me even more of a heads up to expect.

I’m pretty diligent about understanding my insurance, what’s available to me, what I’m responsible for paying.

I knew some time ago that I COULD be on the hook for up to $5,000 in maternity care-related expenses. I knew this.

And then, tonight – just now, in fact – in my Inbox. The “Explanation of Benefits” email from United HealthCare. No big deal. Sign in. Look at how much it cost, how much my insurance paid and, like always, go to the ‘how much patient owes’ line.

The following figure: $1,872.00

WTF!?!!!!???

Ok, keep calm. Knew this was coming. Keep reading.

Alright. The doctor’s office evidently discounts the service (this wasn’t the ultrasound folks, this was my allegedly 17 week checkup (those of us in the know, know it was really 19 weeks, but…whatev’s). By the way, the doctor admitted to Jon and I at an earlier checkup that the appointment before 20 and at 24 weeks are the biggest wastes of time as you’ve just had a comprehensive ultrasound in between and they don’t do anything other than charge you to pee in a cup and lay down and have our belly measured.

I DID have bloodwork done…but I don’t even know if this is what that’s for.

Download a PDF…nope, not sure what UG stands for other than “We’re Not Paying”. Oh, I know. It stands for ‘Ugh’.

Yup, got it United HealthCare.

The ultimate billed amount on this particular bill is…: $607.04.

I have $243.76 until I reach my “In Network Deductible” and $3,743.76 until I reach my “Quality/Efficiency Out of Pocket”…again, I’m not sure if I’m gunning for the extra $243.76 or the $3K as MY maximum to pay out.

This leads me to wonder to myself: If we had national healthcare, what would this cost me?

Higher taxes?

Ok. Higher taxes.

I’ll play along. I’ve done my homework into tax rates over the last 100 years. We are at the lowest since HOOVER was in office…and HOOVER is credited with the Great Depression. And then, the tax rate spiked. And, as a result we got the following:

A military industrial complex rivaled by NO OTHER COUNTRY.

An interstate highway system.

A higher education system that began to make education accessible (though not affordable) to the masses.(We could tack on civil rights and Title IX, but that’s really for a different post).

Social Security

Medicare

Infrastructure in the mode of: airports, train stations and railways, electricity grids.

I did a little homework awhile back. Here’s what I know about the taxes in our country:

Making $50,000 in 2010, you expect to pay 25% in federal taxes.

Adjusted for inflation, this means that you would have paid the following rates (these years were selected because there were major changes to the tax code that went into effect that year):

2000: 31%
1982: 35%
1965: 28%
1945: 29%
1929: 3%
**For the record, 1982 the economic messiah called Ronald Reagan was in office. HIGHEST TAXES EVER, in the history of the U.S.

So, now I wondered again…and haven’t answered my own question (just call me Fox News)…how would this change for me with Obama’s Healthcare Plan (I have a hard time calling it ObamaCare…seems like mostly that’s used in a derogatory fashion).

Here’s an article that spells some of it out, though not expansively, in the NY Times.

For me, as a single woman who gets insurance through my employer, nothing changes unless my employer and providers offer a change. Nice.

One of my girlfriends just had Carter Nathan in the UK earlier this month. This is what I found about UK maternity leave:

What time off work am I entitled to in relation to maternity?

Pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable paid time off for antenatal care. The law also provides for 52 weeks’ maternity leave which for all employees is available from day one of employment.

This may be paid leave for the first 39 weeks, provided you have worked continuously for the same employer for 26 weeks by the 15th week before the child is due. If not then you may be entitled to receive Maternity Allowance: this is also the case if you are self employed or earn below the Lower Earnings Limit.

 

And…they ACTUALLY CALL IT MATERNITY LEAVE. Here in the U.S., we MUST call it what it is…short term disability! Ha! Our HR department wouldn’t refer to it as maternity leave and would only reference short term disability, whose acronym: STD, is just lovely when you’re talking about going out on MATERNITY LEAVE.

So, back to the earlier tax rate thing…

If we take $50,000 in income in the U.S., that’s like 30,082 pounds in the U.K. With that, the income tax rate (federal/national) is listed at 20%. Keep in mind that the VAT in the U.K. (value added tax) is 20% – which is on alleged ‘luxury goods’ (not essentials like children’s clothing and food).

I’m sure this MUST be over-simplifying it…but the U.K. offers national healthcare, 52 weeks MATERNITY LEAVE (at least 39 weeks paid, starting from day one…the U.S. only protects after 12 months of continuous employment).

Again, I am faced with a big WTF????!!!!!

And, of course, the bill for $607.04.

Welcome to motherhood!

23 Week Photo Update

 

Ok, someone should tell me that I look PREGNANT and NOT skinny. However, I’ve realized this in looking at the photo this evening. So, now I know. You people should have told me this. 23 Weeks…17 to go…and I already look like this?? What the hell?!

23 Weeks. Ok, I'm pregnant it turns out.

 

Oh, and it seems that there is a small girl in my belly who has taken extreme issue with my one and only bladder. That made today’s six hour car ride AWESOME.

Linea Who??

Ok, every communication I’ve received today/this week with regards to my pregnancy/my body is telling me the linea nigra should be/have appeared by now.

I’m waiting in horror of this.

I mean, a dark brown/black line that suddenly appears down the middle of one’s stomach?

What is that about?

I keep thinking ‘maybe it won’t happen to me’ but I know I’m just wishful thinking. I mean, it makes me think I’m being ripped apart from the inside out and the first signs to show this is the linea nigra line down the middle of my belly (which, again, for the record, has NOT happened yet).

Three posts in one day – this is a record, folks. But I’m digging the quick little hits of stream-of-consciousness I’ve got going today.

Andrea said last night to write down/catalog EVERYTHING because even though she has two weeks until Drew’s delivered, she’s already forgotten a lot about earlier on in her pregnancy.

So, brace yourselves for more, rather than less, posts from this baby brain.

L

This is What I Awoke To…

I woke up this morning and checked my Gmail from my phone…from babyfit.com, this is what I was welcomed with this morning…

“This week marks the beginning of some serious weight gain. Your baby’s weight in the next four weeks alone should double (and you may feel as though yours is too).”

Awesome. I feel like it’s a fortune cookie slip or something. Real nice.

Just Find Out You’re Pregnant? Here’s My (Midway) List of Things To Know

So, I was thinking this morning of things that someone should tell you when you’re JUST pregnant. So, here’s a list of some number…

1. Your face is going to break out. A lot. So, purchase the good facewash. Try Belli. The facewash and the belli elasticity oil are awesome and I recommend. The SPF face lotion isn’t worth the purchase.

2. Sign up for the discount sites totsy.com and zulily.com. There are some good deals and if you recommend to friends and THEY purchase, you get credits in your account. There are often stores you wouldn’t normally hear about, so you get exposed to lots of different, relatively-well-priced children’s boutiques.

3. As noted in #1, your face is going to break out. And that is a bummer. And the ‘pregnancy glow’ that they talk about often doesn’t set in until much later in pregnancy when your blood levels are higher, etc. SO – purchase the Jergens Healthy Glow for Face lotion. So worth it and you can purchase it at your local Rite-Aid/Walgreens/Meijer/Walmart. I wouldn’t go with the Jergens all over lotion — it gets streaky – but the face lotion is totally worth it. My tip here is to make sure you rub it into your ears and hairline so that it doesn’t look fake and make sure you get it down your neck, too. But, this makes it look like you have a ‘healthy preggo glow’ and you’re totally faking it without tanning!

4. If you enjoy a cocktail (like me) then consider finding a good alternative to take with you to parties or to have when your girlfriends are enjoying their glass of wine. A most recent discovery is Fuze Peach Mango with Squirt or Diet Squirt (or SunDrop). It makes a great drink. Throw some cherries into it to make it more fruity/summery/cocktail-ish. It’s a nice relieft from water-only.

5. Get the support of a site like babyfit.com. It’s So worth it. You do NOT have to gain a TON of weight. You’re going to gain weight, but you can stay in control of it or at least in charge of your fitness. And it will get tough. But – the fitness part is a good way to go.

6. Keep signing up for random sites you find. Why not. You get a lot of emails (so maybe create a specific email for this pregnancy only) but they’re worth reading through. Plus, you get lots of tips and hints and you find access to lots of different websites, deals and communities of support.

7. Don’t hesitate to begin your registry NOW. You get a lot of help from the sites. My favorite is amazon.com and their Mom package. But – Babies R Us is good, Buy Buy Baby is good, too (but pricey). This will help others if they want to purchase items for you early and if IF something should happen and you go on bed rest or have the baby early, you need to have a shopping list for someone else to head out to the store with.

8. Your family may be terribly generous like mine and Jon’s. Which is AWESOME, right? But, remember, this pregnancy is about YOU and becoming a Mom. Don’t let others ‘bully’ or push you around on what you should do/shouldn’t do. If there are family members that offer to purchase items for you, TAKE CONTROL of the situation. You’re going to have to look at/use the stroller/crib/glider/artwork/nursery bedding for YEARS so make sure it’s what YOU like.

9. Don’t worry about work stuff SO much. As much as I just said to take control of the situation above, the work situation will be what it will be. Maybe you get a lot of paid time off, maybe you don’t get any. It’s the life we’ve chosen for ourselves (and we do choose it). Don’t worry over the work part so much!

10. Books are your friend, certainly. But…What to Expect When You’re Expecting can be a scary read if you get obsessed with the what-ifs. The Hot Mom To Be Handbook is a fun read and I’ve been digging that. Also, buy a book for your man. “A Dad’s Guide to Surviving Pregnancy” is one that Jon has actually read. And don’t over-choose for your guy. Pick one or two and see how he reacts…then move on from there.

 

Ok, that’s what I’ve got for now. Go forth and enjoy pregnancy!

A First for The Day…

Well, today I was asked by some employees at one of my accounts if there wasn’t something I wanted to tell them… They are some of my favorite employees at one of my best accounts (hello, Decatur, Illinois!) and it was just really cute/funny the way they did it. It’s the shirt I’m wearing today. When I choose it out of the bag I packed this a.m., I did not realize that it has the forbidden preggo tie-back thing. My Mom & Dad picked up the top for me when they were in Mexico…and it’s SUCH a pregoo shirt…can’t believe I didn’t change, but I was committed this morning.

Anyway, they asked if there was something I wanted to tell them…so I said yes, I was having a baby and she’s a girl! and I showed them her picture on my phone (she really is so cute).

It was a moment that totally caught me off guard but it was so nice. As some of you know, I tend to get down on the fact that I don’t have an office or real co-workers these days (for the last two years, really) because I work alone a lot. It just really meant a lot to me that these employees thought enough of me to be involved in my life and to be so happy for me. That was a cool moment. It didn’t hurt that when I told them I was almost six months (22 weeks, 3 days) they couldn’t believe it (yeah, me either).

In honor of the folks here, here’s a shot of campus I took walking in the morning:

One of my favorite campuses to visit - the staff and the program at Millikin are great!