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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Keeping Summer Outings With a Toddler Inexpensive


Disclaimer: I am a Stonyfield YoGetter blogger, and this sponsored post is written by me in partnership with Stonyfield and Badger Balm. All opinions are always my own.

Summer makes for looong days. School is out and there is a whole day to fill, every day of the week. It can be a bit overwhelming.

While we love our relaxing days at home in the summer, and we often stay inside to beat the heat, we also like to break things up and go out!

Unfortunately, everyone else is going out with their school aged children as well. This can make for lots of crowds, and a lot of older children.

It's not ideal for taking a toddler out. Places like the trampoline park, and indoor play areas are packed, and often become dangerous for toddlers because of all of the bigger kids running around.

Going to places like the zoo also means crowds. Not to mention, it's just HOT.

We prefer to save activities like the above for spring and fall. The weather is much better, and the crowds are perfect- mostly made up of stay at home moms with their little ones. The big kids are still in school.

So, what do we do in the summer then? We lay low, honestly, and do simple things that are a bit less "popular".

This also helps to keep the summer relatively inexpensive. We aren't paying to go to the popular places you think of in the summer.

We are doing free things, and even saving more money by packing a lunch and bringing our own snacks.

Inexpensive Activities to do in the Summer:

1. Local playground 


Playgrounds are completely free and always fun. Toddlers are the perfect age for playgrounds. They are independent enough to do most things on their own, and they can stay forever.

Helpful hint: If your toddler is like mine and only likes to swing if swings are present, we either avoid those playgrounds (so she actually runs around), or I set a time limit on swinging. 

2. Pool

This may or may not be free for you. We had a pool with our HOA at our house, and now have one at our apartment complex.

If you don't have access to a pool, you can join a local one, or just buy a $10 kiddie pool to splash around in.

Some sort of water fun is a must in the summer, however you can make it work!

3. Creeks

Another free option for water play is a local creek. We love going exploring and finding new trails and creeks.

Bring some water shoes, a bucket and some shovels, and your toddler will spend all morning having fun!

4. Dollar Store Fun

The Dollar Tree has tons of fun summer gadgets for $1. You can grab a bunch of different toys and bring them out at different times in the summer to keep your toddler engaged.

We've found everything from jump ropes, to chalk, squirt guns, and hula hoops.

5. Scavenger Hunts

Another free thing to do in the summer is to have scavenger hunts. We have a chocolate lab that we have to take on walks every morning.

My toddler isn't always excited about the walk. To make it more fun, we do a scavenger hunt.

We just make it up as we go along. We look for a potato bug, then a flower, then a bird, etc.

6. Ride Bikes

At 3.5 Caroline is a MASTER on her tricycle. She needs a regular bike with training wheels at this point, and hardly even fits on her tricycle any longer!

But, she still loves riding it. We ride around the neighborhood, and have even brought it on the go. Sometimes riding in a new location is super exciting.

This obviously makes for great exercise as well for both you and your toddler!



We live in Maryland, and the heat and humidity are rough in the summer. We loooove to get out and about first thing in the morning. We plan to be doing our outdoor activities at 9 am, no later than 10.

This really helps beat the heat and the crowds. It also ensures that we are home for lunch. We take snacks on the go for any sizable outings, but then make it home in time for lunch and nap.


Things to Make Sure You Bring on These Outings:



1. Snacks

Many of our go to snacks are things I can leave in the car. They won't melt, won't spoil, and will always be there and ready.

We keep packs of gold fish, pretzels, graham crackers, animal crackers, etc. in the car and handy. These are nice to have at any time in case you need them.

For our morning outings, however, I like to bring fruit and pouches along for the journey as well.

Pouches are the perfect mess free snack. We've been using them since the moment Caroline was eating solid foods.

Pouches are easy to pack, they are resealable, they are healthy, and relatively mess free.

Our favorites, are apple sauce pouches, and Stonyfield Yogurt pouches.

Caroline has been eating Stonyfield yogurt products since she was 6 months old. It is a brand I trust, and I always know they have the right nutrients in their yogurt for our daughter.

Stonyfield brand has 25 to 35% less sugar than the leading kids' yogurt, it is made with live active cultures, they have a wide variety of flavors (Strawberry, Strawberry Banana, Blueberry, Vanilla, Strawberry Beet berry, Pear Spinach Mango and their new flavor Choco-Moo), and Stonyfield Organic is USDA Organic, pasture raised, Non-GMO Project verified, Kosher certified and gluten free.

Stonyfield pouches are resealable, but I also want to give you access to an amazing product that will make them MESS free- even for babies!

These pouch toppers make it impossible to squeeze the product out of the pouch. Your child has to be sucking for the product to come out. These are a genius invention!


Basically, you don't have to worry when you are buying products from Stonyfield. You don't even have to read the ingredients. You can trust you are getting a good product and putting a healthy snack at your toddler's fingertips.



2. Sunscreen

We didn't grow up putting sunscreen on with every outing. We didn't use more than an SPF of 4 for most of our lives!

I grew up wanting a tan!

Now, we know better, however. We know that we need a sunscreen that is going to protect our children from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

We know to use at least SPF 30 and that any higher really isn't helping much.

We also know that slathering our children in chemicals isn't the best thing in the world. So the compromise here is to use a good sunscreen.

Badger Sunscreen is a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen. Zinc oxide is the best ingredient to protect us from the harmful UV rays. Unfortunately, many of the sunscreen brands use a nano form of zinc oxide that can get into our blood stream.

Badger uses non-nano zinc oxide. This basically means that the particle size is larger and is not going to be able to pass through into your blood stream.

This is a sunscreen that is organic, easy on sensitive skin, safe, and works.

I will tell you upfront that the texture is very different from a non-organic sunscreen. It is thick, and oily. I felt like it was hard to spread.

Once it was on, however, it wasn't greasy, and it worked well. The scent is amazing... my daughter smelled like an orange creamsicle all day!

The texture is not something I like, but I am trying to get used to it since I know it is better for us in the long run.

Both Stonyfield and Badger are are B-Corp Certified. B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. 

In addition to the FREE activities above, we also like to throw in a couple of camps and classes to keep things interesting.

Look at your local community or recreation center. They often have very inexpensive week long camps for preschool aged children. We planned on doing one each month just to break things up.

Caroline is also enrolled in gymnastics. This is something we continue during the summer. Many people take time off in the summer from these types of classes.

We love to keep them going. She thrives on the consistency, and being once a week it helps to break up our days.

Hope you are all enjoying your start to summer. Huge thanks to Stonyfield and Badger Balm for sponsoring this post and providing such great, trustworthy products.

-Katrina

Other Posts of Interest


Three bags of peaches from our local crop share sat in our kitchen. I knew there was no way my husband and I could eat them all before they spoiled.

And so, peach cobbler came to life. It used up most of the peaches and saved us a few to eat fresh as well.

The peach cobbler recipe that I found, was basically peaches in cookie dough, minus the chocolate chips. It was fabulous.

I made a huge pan. Turns out it was a great comfort food.

I was in what I remember as the hardest part of my grief. The acceptance part.

Our unborn daughter, April Rey, had just been diagnosed with trisomy 13 (a fatal condition).

The phases of my grief were very distinct to me, now looking back.

It started with the realization that this could actually be happening to us. Our seemingly healthy baby that moved all around in my belly could actually have something wrong with her.

Everyone around me told me she was going to be okay. But I had dream after dream saying she wasn't. And the minute I heard my doctor on the other end of the phone, I knew.

He didn't even have to speak the words.

The waiting was hard. It was really hard to just not know what her diagnosis was. But what I didn't realize, is that once we knew, it would get even harder.

The hardest part of my grief, was the phase after. The acceptance phase.

I had to accept that our daughter had trisomy 13. I had to accept that she was going to die. And I had to make a decision with my husband as to how we wanted to proceed.

We had choices to make as parents. The hardest choice we'd ever make, and hopefully ever will. We were given the choice of when our daughter would die. Not if, but when.

This phase was the time that I grieved the most. In order to make this unfathomable decision, I had to really accept her diagnosis, and accept my role as her parent.

I remember feeling like the world was moving so fast. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't move. I couldn't keep up with normal pace.

Every second of every day, I was consumed with my thoughts. My sadness. Our "choice". 

My husband was very much in this with me and holding my hand through it all. But I think at the end of the day, everyone goes through grief somewhat on their own and on their own terms.

We talked. We listened. We tried to function in our daily lives. We held each other up.

I took care of our older daughter, and my husband went to work. We dealt with the things we needed to. But the reality is that we were very preoccupied with our thoughts and our grief.

When I look back, there are things that stick out. Moments that will forever bring tears, and moments that will forever teach me lessons over and over again.

You see, you learn a lot when you are faced with a journey like this. You learn a lot when you are faced with the unthinkable.


In my acceptance period, I learned to let go of the little things. I fed my 2 year old peach cobbler for breakfast- with ice cream.

Because, why not?

What did it really matter?

It's what sounded good to me, and it was the breakfast that required the least amount of energy from my body to put on the table (the ice cream was just a bonus), and my 2 year old was going to love it. And she did.

I will remember that day forever. I let go of worrying about the little things like what I fed my toddler for breakfast, because in that moment it didn't matter.

It didn't matter if she ate oatmeal, eggs, or ice cream. She was living. She was happy. And she was healthy.

I think I did a good portion of my grieving during this time. The time from diagnosis to decision.

I was terrified to give birth to our daughter, only to have to let her go. But, once we'd made our decision on when that would happen, and how that would happen, I felt much more peace.

I felt at peace with our decision even though I was terrified as the seconds and minutes took us closer to the date we'd say hello and goodbye.

But I could breathe a bit more. I felt like I could have some control and some say in how things happened and how we said goodbye.

I felt like we could honor her and I put all of my energy into doing so.

I put my energy into planning her birth and death. I put my energy into sharing her story with the world. And so I moved through my grief even just the slightest amount- enough to be able to breathe.

And then she was born. And the calmness stayed with me. The strength stayed with me. Her energy consumed me. And I was happy to meet our little girl.


I was happy to hold her and take her in. I was happy to kiss her and hug her. I was happy to read her her first and last story. I was so happy to just be with her.

And then she left. The tears hadn't found me yet.

It wasn't until I moved. I got up. And then I had to return to the very bed she'd died in. I had to return without my child in my arms. Then the grief consumed me again.

And it got worse and worse until I couldn't breathe again. I walked out of the hospital the next day with no baby in my arms. Just my husband holding strong with me and literally holding me up. I walked and felt lifeless.

And the world was yet again spinning and fast and I couldn't take it all in. I couldn't keep up and I couldn't breathe.

I'd come up for air, I'd look at her pictures, and hold the bear with her heartbeat. I'd wrap myself in her blanket.

And at dinner time I would fall apart again. She wasn't there. She was supposed to be there- at our table with our family.

Coming up for air lasts longer now. My inability to breathe is manageable when it hits. The grief is all so hard- all of the stages.

But for me the hardest part wasn't when we lost April, but when we found out we'd lose her.

Finding out her death sentence was brutal. Letting her go peacefully was something we could do for her.

I write all of this because of cookies. I made cookies a couple of days ago, and was reminded of the peach cobbler.

I was reminded of the moment I just gave in to grief.

I didn't care about anything in the world other than family and my grief in that very moment- and that was okay.

In those moments, my husband and our beautifully strong daughters took care of me- we all took care of each other. We ate peach cobbler, we laughed, we cried, and we put one step in front of the other.

-Katrina

Other Posts of Interest

Click here to see all posts on grief and trisomy 13 

On the Sideline of Grief

Baby V #2 Update 15 Weeks- The Longest Wait of Our Lives

Trisomy 13 - The Day After Our Heartbreaking News

Genetic Counselor Questions Asked and Answered

Trisomy 13- Why Would I Ever Consider Not Fighting the Fight?

Trisomy 13- Getting More Information & Our Plan Moving Forward

My Worst Fear That I HATE Admitting      

Trisomy 13- April Rey's 17 Week Anatomy Scan


I am now 9 weeks pregnant! This squirmy little baby is now the size of a kumquat. 

Last week I went in to see our high risk specialist. I failed to adequately get out any of the things I wanted to say to him. I wanted to say thank you. 

Thank you for directing us to Hopkins for our induction last pregnancy. Thank you for spending as much time with us as we needed, talking over all the details of April's condition

Thank you for surrounding us with the right people that could make our experience as good as possible. Thank you.

None of that came out. 

Instead, after waiting for almost 2 hours, and dealing with a really super patient toddler that was finally starting to hit her tipping point and meltdown, and a full bladder that I was instructed to keep full... I just lost my words. 

It was no longer my focus. My focus was to get out of there, and to go to the bathroom.

Unfortunately, these appointments can involve a lot of wait time. Since the nurse had already done an ultrasound, I eventually made my way down the hall to check and see if I could use the restroom, or if I needed to wait for the doctor. 

They were super surprised that he hadn't been in to see me yet, but told me to go ahead and go. The bathroom was occupied, of course. So we stood in the hallway and waited. 

Of course, then the doctor came to our room. He told me how great I looked and that I looked very healthy. We did some small talk in the hallway and I told him I'd use the restroom later and we could start the appointment. 

He insisted I go.

So, I took the opportunity! But oh my gosh... you know when your bladder is super full, and you are pregnant... it doesn't come out as fast as you'd like? Yeah, it was taking forever. I didn't want to make him wait, so I went just enough to relieve the urge to go. 

Later when he was doing another ultrasound, he noted that I still had a full bladder! I laughed and told him I didn't want to make him wait too long. LOL Totally caught!

The baby was moving all over the place. She is suuuuch a little wiggle worm.

So the appointment was good and uneventful. He had the same plan that I was hoping for- to do no invasive testing, but to skip right to the cell free DNA test. All looks good so far, and I'll do the cell free DNA test in 3 weeks.

3 weeks worked out to July 4th, and he's only in this office on Wednesdays, so we had to push it to July 11th.

It was great to see him again and comforting to know he's with us on this journey again.

I also had him recommend an OB in our new area. We talked about my high risk of having cholestasis again with this pregnancy.

ANY itchiness at all in my hands and feet, and he said he's assuming cholestasis and inducing at 37 weeks.

Because of antiphospholipid syndrome, he's got me on 1 injection of Lovenox per day. This will increase to 2 injections (morning and night) when I get to 24 weeks.

Symptoms




Nausea

If I'm not moving I'm fine. If I move, there's a chance of nausea. LOL For the most part, I've got it under control and have my meals all figured out to avoid being nauseous.


I've only thrown up twice with this pregnancy so far. Yay!

Fatigue

Fatigue has gotten a little better. I'm still feeling super drained, but it's manageable. The TV is on a lot right now for Caroline, and I am 100% ok with that. 

Cravings

Real food. At 9:30 am I want dinner. I want chili dogs. I want black bean tacos. I want a sub sandwich. I need the good stuff! 


Cereal is still my go to when nothing else is sounding good.

Firehouse subs may be my new heaven. Joe went out last night at 9 pm to get me a roast beef sandwich from there. Best husband ever. 

Aversions

Again, not much in this area. A lot doesn't sound great, but nothing completely turns me off. I'm just extra extra picky right now. 


Smells still aren't bothering me which is really nice, because that's been a struggle with my other two pregnancies. 

Emotions

Each week that goes by, I feel better. I am still kind of in a neutral, blah zone right now... but I'm not constantly feeling sad. 


I think after we have news from our cell free DNA test, I'll be able to really start embracing this pregnancy. 

We'll also know the sex of the baby then, so I'll be able to connect more by using the baby's actual name. 

Caroline


Caroline is asking a lot of questions about the process.

She wants to know how the baby got inside of me.

She wants to know if Grandma and Papa will let her bring her orange blanky to the hospital. (Grandma and Papa I guess this means you are coming when the baby is due to arrive) LOL

She wants to know if she can put the baby in the crib all on her own.

She wants to know if I'll be here in the morning, or if it's time to go to the hospital yet.

She wants to know why it's taking so long for the baby to get here.

She wants to know how the baby comes out. 

She wants to know if it hurts when the baby comes out.


She continues to ask if this baby is going to die. :( 

I give her all of the answers, as age appropriate as possible. She knows that boys have sperm, and girls have eggs. 

She knows that the sperm and egg have to come together to make a baby. She also knows that the vagina is the entry point and exit point. 

She asked if Daddy put the sperm inside of me. She didn't ask how. 

I was ready though since it seemed like she was getting there. Soon she'll ask and we'll be as upfront with her as we always have been. 

I wasn't expecting so many questions at 3.5 years old though! She's so smart, I love seeing how she connects everything in her mind.

At this point, I think I'm hoping for a girl just so I don't disappoint Caroline. She REALLY wants a girl. 

Clearly she'll get over it if it's a boy and love him just as much, but I'd love to make her happy and have it be a little Amelia!

-Katrina


Other Posts of Interest

Baby V #3? I Know You are All Dying to Find out 

Baby V #3 Pregnancy Announcement (7 weeks)

Baby V #3 8 Week Pregnancy Update




Back in 2010, my husband and I moved to Maryland. We pretty much immediately started looking for our first home to purchase, as we knew we'd be here for the long haul.

Moving from Ohio to Maryland had some sticker shock. Our dream home in Ohio, was about half the price (or less) than what it would cost here in Maryland.

Our dreams of having a nice yard were stunted, and we quickly realized we weren't even close to affording a single family home in this area.

It took us a solid year of searching, to finally come to terms with the fact that we were going to have to purchase a townhouse. We came to terms with it and found a great first home.

We moved in a little bit closer, but still stayed in the suburbs. We loved our first home and poured our hearts into it. We did all sorts of home improvements.


Our first home was with us as newlyweds, and as new parents. That house was our home through two births, and two losses. It was the perfect house for our needs at the time.

Fast forward to 2018, and we were feeling the need to slow down. We were wanting another bedroom, and we were really hoping to get back to our idea of some land and some space.

We knew it would be tough, but we started our search.

In the process of selling our home and losing what we thought would be the home of our dreams, we stumbled upon the perfect find.

We found our land and the chance to build our forever home from scratch.

The prices around here are still waaaay out of our comfort zone, but that's just the reality of the area. We made a few bucks on our sale, and had just enough to put it towards our dream house.

We didn't get to put our 20% down that we'd hoped for, so we are still going to be stuck with PMI on our monthly payments.

We are back to a monthly payment that's doable, but tight as a result of this purchase.

The money part and the financial commitment scares me. I remember feeling this way when we purchased our first home.

I would have freak out moments that I would feel like we shouldn't be doing it and that it was too expensive.

We figured it out and made it work, and it was such a great investment. And, financially we grew into it.

Now, here we are again. I get super stressed when I think about the commitment we made.

It will be an adjustment, but one that we can manage.

There are two things that give me such comfort, though:

1. It's our forever home. 

I know life is going to throw things our way. I know we can't actually count on it being our forever home.

But it could be. And we want it to be. Those words are so comforting to think about.

This is it. This is our dream house. This is our dream land. This is what we've always wanted- within reach.

So we grabbed it as quickly as we could. We'll grow into it financially and become more comfortable as the years go by.

It's all worth it to have our forever home.

2. I can breathe.

When we visit our land, and our construction in process, I am suddenly as stress free as it gets.

The mountain views in the back, and the farm views in the front give me such a sense of calm. I feel home. Our house isn't even built yet.

I could spend hours just taking it all in and standing on our bare land. I can see our kids playing in the massive backyard, and the dogs running around.

We purchased 1.8 acres! 1.8 acres! AHH! It's so peaceful and so amazing.

The house is 1825 sq ft. It's more than enough for us.

It will be 3 bedrooms with an unfinished full basement.

The kitchen, eating nook, and family room are all nice and open, which we love.

Our builder suggested a genius change to the floor plan- since we will be using the "dining room" as an office, we are closing it in from the kitchen, and extending our pantry to be, well HUGE!

We are really excited about this change. Below, you'll see a picture of my husband with his arms stretched out. That's the pantry he's standing in. LOL!







I can feel myself enjoying the morning views from my office. It is breathtaking. It's is our slow down. It is our peace.

On May 24th, they broke ground. The hole for our foundation was dug.

The next day, our foundation was started. By June 9th, we had a first floor framed out, and by June 13th, we had a second story!


The process is fascinating to watch. Honestly, I wish I could watch every bit of the process and learn about every little detail that goes into building a house.






I love being able to take Caroline to see the process. She gets SO excited to play on the land, and she is thrilled to see the progress on the house build.

It's been super fun to pick out the details of the house. We got to pick our granite counter tops in the kitchen, the color of the cabinets and the hardware.

We chose the bathroom vanity marble and cabinet colors as well.

Then we picked flooring. We ended up downgrading in some areas and upgrading in others.

We didn't want to spend too much on this, but were also trying to think ahead to what we actually wanted.

We are getting a vinyl tile throughout most of the first floor, and I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Every detail is up to us! It's fun. The reality is that none of it matters.

We just want the bones of our house. But picking out the details is a lot of fun as well.

So far I am insanely happy with our choices.


In the kitchen we are doing grey base cabinets, with eggshell white for the top cabinets.

We love the two toned look in kitchens, so we were excited to have the flexibility to do this. The granite has really nice grey and brown tones.


We kept the grey cabinets in the bathrooms, with a white and grey marble.

The hardware for the kitchen and bathrooms is such a fun country touch.


The flooring is grey carpet throughout, with a tile look vinyl sheet in the upstairs bathrooms. The downstairs will have a nice wood look vinyl tile everywhere except the family room where we wanted cozy carpet.


This is such an exciting time in our lives. We cannot wait for this house to be built!

At the moment we are in between houses and living the apartment life. I didn't realize how much I'd dislike living in an apartment again! LOL!

We have a super heightened awareness of all of the wonderful reasons to own a home right now!

I chose an apartment that was really close to our lot. We are 5 minutes away.

I knew we'd be wanting to visit all the time, and I figured we'd have a chance to get used to our new area.

We are close enough to the lot, that we are already shopping at what will be our grocery store, etc. at the new house. I'm so glad to be so close by.

On the day that we went to settlement for our forever home, we got more huge news. Our fertility clinic called with the confirmation that I am pregnant!

We'll be moving into our house right before I enter the third trimester.

The timing on everything is just perfect and we can't wait to settle in.


-Katrina

Other Posts of Interest

The Keys That Opened The Door To Our First Home

Baby V #3 Pregnancy Announcement (7 weeks)

Today we have a real, honest post from a wonderful Mama- Carrie from Wiley Adventures! She is one of the very talented Babywise Friendly Blog Network  mom bloggers, and she has written a great guest post for us today. This couldn't be more true. Oh my threenager... LOL!


Dear Mom of the Threenager,

No one prepared me for the threenager year. I knew plenty about the terrible twos, and terrible though they were, I had had the naive idea that when my angel turned three she would magically turn, well, not so terrible anymore.

I wasn't prepared for the boundary pushing. I wasn't prepared for the emotional meltdowns, and I wasn't prepared for the grand gestures of independence.

When my oldest was three, it was one of the greatest parenting adventures I have had thus far in my decade of parenting. She was (and still is) one of the funniest human beings I had ever met and I laughed more than I ever though I would or could as a mom. She's fantastically hilarious.

But y'all, it was also SO VERY HARD. 


Every day she had a new idea of what she thought she should be able to do that day. One day it was "decorating" my headboard and footboard of my bed by sticking my jewelry to it with vaseline.

Another day, she cried for HOURS because we couldn't go swim with the dolphins that day. She insisted on dressing herself in outfits that didn't come close to matching, every day.

Every time I brushed her hair, she acted as though I was cutting her scalp open with a scalpel.

At naptime in her preschool, she would wait until the teacher got all of her friends to sleep and then she would POP up and with great delight say, "WAKE UP FRIENDS! WAKE UP!!! IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP AND PLAY!"

During that season, I had a lot of mom friends who would laugh with me, a lot who would give me advice (most of it was awesome and some of it extremely helpful!). I had some solidarity from moms in the trenches with me.

But I think the one thing I didn't hear, and the one thing I really needed to hear was that it was OKAY that it was so hard. That every day of mothering that little world changer was so hard and that it was supposed to be.

So Mama of the threenager, hear this: 

It's so very hard. And it's ok. And it's going to be ok, yes. But it's ok that its hard right now.

It's supposed to be hard. This is very hard work you are doing every day.

Know that you are not alone, there are other threenager moms in the trenches with you and it is hard for every one of us. Hang in there and know that one day they will turn four, and thankfully there is no freaky four. (But they do whine a lot.... don't say no one told you...)






Carrie is a veteran threenager Mama, mothering her fourth threenager as we speak. She blogs at www.wileyadventures.com.








Other Posts of Interest



I am now 8 weeks along in my pregnancy! Baby V#3 is the size of a raspberry and starting to really make her presence known.

I feel a little odd in that I don't have an OB yet! That feels so weird to say. Normally, I've been in to see my OB for an ultrasound already. This time, however, is a bit different...


Since I was with the fertility clinic at first, they did my HCG numbers and my first two ultrasounds. We've moved about 30 minutes north of where my previous OB's office is, so my plan is to find a new OB. I'll be going to a different hospital as well, now that we've moved.

Since I have a relationship with a perinatologist, I scheduled an appointment to see him immediately. I will see him in two days.

This appointment was number one on my list, since I am considered high risk for several reasons (past cholestastis, antiphospholipid syndrome, and a previous pregnancy with trisomy 13).

My plan is to ask him for an OB recommendation when I see him in a couple of days. Luckily, this perinatologist has an office up by our new home, but I would have traveled to see him!

So, on Wednesday we'll talk about our options for testing and how often he'd like to see me for checkups.

My husband and I feel confident in the science- the science that indicates we are at no higher risk for another pregnancy for trisomy 13. As a result, we are not going to do any invasive testing. Instead, we feel comfortable to do the usual testing.

We have always participated in the nuchal translucency ultrasound and blood work. This time, we'll request the cell free DNA test as well. If any of those come back abnormal again, we'll then proceed with an amniocentesis.  In the meantime, however, we feel these tests to be sufficient.


Symptoms

Nausea

Wow did I have a ton of nausea this week. Come lunchtime, I did not want to move until morning the next day. I am not actually throwing up, thank goodness! But, the nausea is full on.

I eat extra early, and extra meals to help combat this. I feel hungry and nauseous all at the same time. Such a weird feeling, but normal for my pregnancies.

Fatigue

Fatigue also reared it's ugly head this week. Brutal. The kind of fatigue that your arms and legs feel heavy. The kind of fatigue that is just debilitating.

I hate fatigue like this, but it is no stranger to me. I tried very hard to listen to my body this week and rest as much as I could.

Cravings

I am back to eating my usual pregnancy favorite- cereal. All of the good kinds. Lucky charms is my favorite. This week it was Rice Krispies with bananas in it.

I also had my first random craving- french onion soup and a french baguette. My husband went to Panera for me. I was sooooo thankful he was offering to do so. Yum.

Aversions

There are many moments that things just don't want to go down. I don't always feel hungry or like eating. I pick at my dinners mostly. Caroline reminds me that "this is what's for dinner."



Emotions

I feel much better this week. I was not nearly as sad, and I was starting to feel more excited. I think writing and talking about the pregnancy really helped me to move past my sadness a bit.

Caroline

Caroline is all talk about how she's going to help out with the baby. She wants to put the baby in the crib, she wants to push the stroller, etc. She talks about feeding the baby soft foods that we mash up, and she sets aside toys and books for the baby.

She REALLY wants a girl. She also really wants the baby to be here now. Such a hard wait.

She's already asked if this baby is going to die. We have real honest conversations with her, and she is going to come to appointments with me. We'll ask questions together.

In the meantime, we talk a lot about April. Caroline reminds me that April's energy is always here with us. She also told me that April's energy is in the new baby, too.

She's started talking to the baby and kissing my belly. Such sweet moments.

-Katrina

Other Posts of Interest

4 Reasons to Announce Your Pregnancy Immediately

My Worries About Bringing A Second Child Into Our Home


Baby V #2 Bump Update- Almost 9 Weeks

High Miscarriage Risk- Antiphospholipid Syndrome

Baby V #2 Bump Update- 11 Weeks
  
Baby V #2 Bump Update- 13 Weeks

Baby V #2 Update 15 Weeks- The Longest Wait of Our Lives

Read all about Trisomy 13, Induction, and more about April Rey, here

Pregnancy Truths No One Talks About

Baby V #3? I Know You are All Dying to Find out 

Baby V #3 Pregnancy Announcement (7 weeks)

Baby V #3 8 Week Pregnancy Update

Back in March of 2014, we underwent our very first fertility cycle, using IUI (intrauterine insemination). This fertility cycle was successful (after 1.5 years of trying naturally), and brought us our first child- Caroline.

In March of 2017, we decided to start trying for our second child. April Rey was conceived immediately and without any fertility help.

We had no idea at the time that our worst fears would come true, however. April would be lost to trisomy 13.

In August of 2017 I gave birth and held our daughter for the first and last time. April's full story can be found on the trisomy 13 page.

Fast forward to March of 2018, and I had yet to fall pregnant again, despite the fact that we'd not prevented since April was born, last August.

It had been 7 months, and we knew that we'd want to explore the option of fertility treatments again.

While we knew we'd never be completely mentally and emotionally ready for another child, we also knew that we wanted another child in our home.

And so, with that in mind, we started fertility cycles.

Our first cycle in March of 2018 was a failed IUI cycle. I had ovulated early.

As a result, the second cycle was pushed up and happened much faster. On day 10 of my cycle, I had follicles that were mature enough to get the process started.

I did my trigger shot that evening, and the IUI was the next day.

Seven days later, I remember telling my husband that the cycle didn't work. I noticed a tiny bit of bleeding, and assumed I was starting my period. He asked if I was sure...

I informed him that it could be something called implantation bleeding. I knew, however, that it wasn't likely to notice.

Most women HOPE that's what they are seeing, and they talk about it in fertility forums like crazy, but most don't notice it.

I became a bit hopeful, however, because the "bleeding" was different and extremely minimal. It wasn't red, and it wasn't brown. Nothing usual about it. It was light pink. Pretty pink and hardly noticeable.

Three days later I saw it. Two lines. A positive pregnancy test!

And a few days after that, I took my first blood test. On May 11th, as we parked to go to settlement for our new house, we got the phone call.

My HCG levels were at 167. I was definitely pregnant.

My emotions were different this time around, however...

My test results and timing:

IUI- Friday 4/27, day 11 of my cycle

Implantation bleeding- 7 days post IUI

First positive pregnancy test- 10 days post IUI

1st HCG test (Friday 5/11)- 167
2nd HCG test (Tuesday 5/15)- 958
3rd HCG test (Thursday 5/17)- 2432


I was relieved to be done. Done with the process of trying to get pregnant.

It had felt like a huge slap in the face every time I entered the fertility clinic. I did not enjoy the process in the slightest and I felt like it heightened my grief.

I was sad. While I knew it wasn't true, it felt like this pregnancy was going to mean that I was moving on from April.

Here I am 7 weeks pregnant and my emotions are still all over the place.

I haven't yet experienced the pure joy and happiness that usually comes with my pregnancies. I haven't been able to shake the sadness. I think of April. I miss her.

I wish so badly this was her- a second chance to be built right- A chance for me to build her correctly. I cry that my body failed us and didn't take care of her.

I then cry that I am not happier right now. I cry and feel guilty about feeling sad. I want so desperately to just feel the joy right now.

I know I need to let my heart do what it needs to do. I need to let these emotions be ok.

I also know how fiercely I'll love this little one. There's no doubt in my mind the love that will be there. But I long to feel it now.

The Pregnancy

This pregnancy, as with every other one I've had, is considered to be high risk.

My first pregnancy was high risk due to having cholestasis. I also had a short cervix and had to be put on early bed rest. I had to deliver at 37 weeks to make sure Caroline would be ok.

My second pregnancy was high risk due to the risk of having cholestasis again, and the fact that we'd caught something...I have a condition called antiphospholipid syndrome.

It makes me a super high risk for miscarriage. As a result, I have to do daily injections of Lovenox (a blood thinner), and I have to be monitored closely.

Then, of course, we found out that April had trisomy 13.

So, my third pregnancy is high risk for all of the above reasons. I am again to be closely monitored for cholestasis, I have to do the daily injections of Lovenox and be monitored frequently.

Due to our previous pregnancy with trisomy 13, we will also be checked earlier and more frequently from what I understand.

We are at no increased risk of this happening again, but once you have a chromosomal abnormality pop up, doctors get cautious.

So the good news, is that I have a ton of extra ultrasound pictures in my future :)


Symptoms

Nausea-

As of week 7, my nausea is not nearly as bad as it was with the first two pregnancies. Now, as I type this, I am a few days away from week 8 and the nausea is creeping in more frequently.

Smells set me off big time for my first two pregnancies. Sliced bread was the worst thing to happen to my nose, ever. This pregnancy, the smells just aren't heightened in any way- yet.


Fatigue

Last year I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. My biggest symptoms and reasons for getting tested, are joint pains, and fatigue. As a result of this diagnosis, I take B12 shots every month.

When I am pregnant, the fatigue is at it's worst. My arms and legs feel like they have 50 pound weights on them. My body feels like it can't do anything. My brain has energy, but my body is dragging.

This pregnancy is no different. It may actually be a bit worse this time. I am just feeling so drained.

Cravings-

I wouldn't say that I've ever had cravings really. I have a safe food list usually. It typically consists of cereal and cheese. Oh and chocolate milk shakes.

This pregnancy, I could take it or leave it. I have no real preference for these items. No dislike either.

Aversions-


Again, my sense of smell is not super heightened, so I am not having huge aversions to any food.

There are times when food is just not agreeing with me and I struggle to eat it and get it down, but it's very random and more just because I'm not feeling great.

Overall, I'd describe this pregnancy as worse in the fatigue department, but better with the nausea. As a result of the differences, I am inclined to guess that this little one is a boy.

But, my gut all along has said a girl. So, who knows. If I had to bet, I'd bet on it being a boy simply because of the symptoms, though.

Good news for us, is that we'll likely find out early if it's going to be William or Amelia. With all of the early screenings, we'll most certainly get a DNA test in there and find out the sex!


-Katrina