baby #4: the details

Baby #4… number four! Typing that out seems almost unreal to me. I feel like we were just starting our family yesterday, when in reality, we were pregnant with Kaya 6 years ago! I look back on the first-time parents that we once were and see youngsters with so much energy (and so little experience)! We may be a little older (and a lot more tired) these days, but we are just as excited for this precious new baby to join our family!

Have you felt any differently this time around?

All my pregnancies can be summed up with two words: nausea and exhaustion. However, it does seem like I’ve only gotten progressively sicker with each baby… so after Nella, I (naively) thought it wouldn’t (couldn’t) get any worse than that. This little baby is out to make him/herself known, because as it turns out, the sickness could get worse… and it did.

I don’t like to sound like I’m complaining, looking for sympathy, or not acting grateful for being able to have this experience, but I do like to write how things truthfully are. I hardly left the couch or my bed for most of weeks 7-14, and I struggled so much to eat and drink that I actually lost about 5 pounds. I’m still under my pre-pregnancy “happy” weight, but I am at least able to eat more regular meals now.

I couldn’t get in to see my doctor for the first time until I was already 11 weeks, so I went without any kind of nausea medication until then. He prescribed me some B-6 and Unisom, and I took the B-6 consistently until this week (17.5 weeks), but I’ve avoided the Unisom because I just can’t afford to be drowsy.

Aversions? Cravings?
I’ve had so many aversions this time, pretty consistent with my girls’ pregnancies: certain Italian salad dressings, actual salad in general, yogurt, peanut butter, some forms of chicken, and WATER… I feel like almost any food was turning my stomach at some point and nothing sounded edible to me.

I wouldn’t really say I’ve had cravings this time around, more just “safe” foods that I knew I could keep down, which included my homemade pumpkin bread (I pretty much lived on nearly that alone for at least a month), a couple of Subway chicken subs, a Wendy’s chicken sandwich or two, and these dark chocolate raisins that Michael brings home for me just about every time he’s at the store. At one point I joked with him that he was just trying to keep me alive with those raisins, and he said, “Yeah, pretty much!”

If you know me well, you’d be shocked to hear that I generally just couldn’t stomach any kind of ice cream or other dessert until about 15 weeks. It’s weird because in my mind I would want some ice cream, but then my stomach was not willing to cooperate.

How’s running going?

I am still running! But with the lack of nutrition for so many weeks, it has not been easy.

It’s so important to me to stay as healthy and strong as I can, but there were days where running felt like a huge, impossible battle that my body just did not want to fight. It sounds totally crazy, but 4 miles was feeling just as exhausting as my half marathon did. I’ve tried my best, and I know that I have most likely logged fewer miles this pregnancy than with my others, but there’s only so much I can do. I’m getting back into my regular routine now, and it’s feeling better (although I am also really looking forward to winter ending. Something about warm temperatures makes getting out there a little easier)!

What do the big sisters think?

We waited to tell the girls until the morning of my first appointment, which was just a couple of days before Christmas, so we had them open an “early gift” that had all sorts of baby items in it. They were completely surprised and very excited to see the sweet new baby’s ultrasound after that!

With having been so sick, Kaya really was a great helper to me. She drew me pictures to help me feel better, let me rest on the couch, and would come over to snuggle and stroke my hair with her hand. She’s just the sweetest.

Nella will be just 21 months old when this baby comes, so she has no idea what’s going on, but she does love babies right now, so I’m hoping that continues when she meets her new brother/sister.

So, are you hoping for a boy?

Honestly, I am so used to having all girls at this point that I’d be happy to keep the girl trend going, and it’s really hard to imagine having a baby boy. I know that we will love this baby either way, I just want him or her to stay safe and healthy in there.

Kaya had been saying that we were going to have a baby boy for a really long time, and Kaelyn has more consistently said it’s a girl (although she does sometimes just follow whatever Kaya says). In the past couple of weeks, though, Kaya has switched to saying it’s a girl, because, according to her, “Boys are crazy!” They keep telling me that if it is a brother, we’ll have to “teach him to be calm.” Haha. They both just keep telling me that they want more sisters, though.

And a HUGE shoutout to Michael….

…who has done so much for me these past couple of months. I started to get sick right before he went on a business trip, so that week while he was gone was the hardest, but he’s more than made up for it since he returned. He’s done all the jobs that turn my stomach: changing poopy diapers, picking up after the dog, doing the dishes, cleaning the guinea pig cage, and just generally doing chores/taking care of kids.

I honestly have had moments where it’s mentally been really hard to be sick constantly- there’s just not much I could do besides rest, and after a while, it’s easy to feel “useless”, or like you’re no help to your own family. I’m so grateful for his support and love no matter how much I’m able to do around the house.

Other random facts to do with this pregnancy:

-Being in the first trimester around the holidays was really great in a way, because Michael had more time off work and could help me out around the house. We also had a really nice, guilt-free break from homeschool. However, it was also so hard in that I felt like I couldn’t do everything I wanted to for my kids. Making Christmas cookies, taking them to Christmas-themed events, and even just getting their gifts wrapped felt like a huge challenge (and now you know why all my Christmas blog posts were soooo late)!

-I honestly haven’t felt as much movement from this baby so far compared to my other girls, even though I know he/she is going crazy in there. At our first scan, we saw him/her doing full frontal FLIPS, and the heart rate at my 16-week appointment was really high, so there’s definitely some exercising going on in there. For some reason, I just haven’t been able to feel it as much (the bloating has been really bad this time around, so I feel like that might be a factor). I treasure those few kicks that I do feel, which usually come at night when I’m able to sit and rest for a bit.

-My intuition hasn’t been very strong this time around. With Kaelyn and Nella, I just knew they were girls long before the anatomy scans. I felt like I knew all their personalities and had an idea of who they were pretty early on, but this is my mystery baby. Up until a few nights ago, I hadn’t even had any dreams that felt at-all meaningful concerning this one.

-We told our families at Christmas, and the reactions were priceless. My side had a lot of yelling, clapping, and even an “ANOTHER ONE?!” (all in the best, surprised, way). Michael’s family was just as happy, but maybe not as surprised. We put the ultrasound photo inside my mom’s Christmas gift, and this was her reaction…

And Kaya made a special family drawing for Grandma Gina:-Other random note: taking “bump” pictures outside in the winter is tough! Michael gets home after the sun is too far gone, so I attempted to use the tripod for this week!