Thursday, March 22, 2012


20 weeks 4 days 
Before I get frustrated and lose my post AGAIN, I am going to try to post the sonogram video from this past weekend and then write about it after... for the third time...  ANd now, for your viewing pleasure.... Baby Castro!  

ps.  Portugal doesn't like to spell my name correctly... They decided to take the C out of my name, to comply with the new grammar and spelling agreement with Brazil.  They took my C!  WTF???

Anyhow, if the video doesn't work, here is the link to youtube.

Jacqui & Victor Castro's First Sonogram Video!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

20 weeks: halfway there!!

AHHHH what a week!  Victor is still in Angola... hopefully, without any other delays, he will be home Wednesday at 4 AM! YAYYA!!!  I can't believe we survived 9 months long distance... going 6- 8 weeks at a time without seeing each other... maybe more?  I prefer not to think too much about those missings... Anyway, he will be home the day after Portugal's Father's Day!  I think I need to get some kind of baby picture frame for sonogram photos... (To Be Posted...)

Monday.  I woke up at 4:30 am.  I can't sleep well without my Snuggle Bunny Victor...  So I got up and started organizing, cleaning, super-nest-mode.  By the time Galina our amazing cleaning lady was here in the afternoon, I had hauled 8 giant bags of "stuff" to get rid of, out to the garage.  I must have been up and down our 3 flights of stairs about 20 times...  

Tuesday AM, I felt like I was hit by a truck... Walking Bianca down the block to her school bus stop, I thought I was going to cry.  I had this pain under my belly... And if wasn't for my regularly scheduled doctor's appointment Wednesday morning, I would have been more panicked.... but admittedly, I have been such a lazy ass about stretching and exercise, that I really truly just blame myself for being out of shape...  I've been seriously slacking since the wedding in August... so I am putting myself on a strict exercise schedule starting Monday.  It will be minimal in the beginning, to rebuild lost muscle mass, get my chunky butt back in shape....  I can be pregnant, but carrying garbage backs of clothing down stairs? That should not kick my ass....  

Wednesday.  From my Facebook posts...  ‎20 week doctor appointment & weigh- in... wish me luck!!! eeee!!! and coming up later today, blog's weekly update, belly photos, cranky hormones, bitchfest about maternity clothes... i think i deserve a chocolate milkshake for breakfast.

and then I posted....  i was cranky this AM, yes... well deserved crankiness... after checking in for my appointment 15 minutes early, and then waiting an hour and 45 minutes, the stupid *************** ******** ******* ****** ******** ********** office nurse yells my name across the office, and proceeds to basically tell me i am an idiot, wasting time there, as she "personally" called and spoke to victor two weeks ago, changing my appointment time, etc. etc. etc. (or at least this is the translation i deduced from the experience and conversation with my mother in law, afterwards.....) my original appointment WAS at 3 pm, and then THIS WOMAN who was so **************** rude, was the one to change the appointment to 10:30 AM. DID NO ONE NOTICE that i didn't have an appointment when i checked in???? every single one of my appointments in the last 2 months have had bullshit changes like this... this afternoon, when i return for my "2:30 appointment" this stupid *********** is getting written up in the complains book. apparently thats a big deal in portugal. eat that, bitch. days like today, i truly miss being in the US. mostly because at least in the US, i can scream at an incompetent bitch when necessary. grrrRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

So basically, in the end...  I find out, I WAS RIGHT in the first place...  Once I FINALLY made it into my appointment, at 3 pm... My appointment was originally scheduled for 3 pm. But when the stupid office wench called and spoke to Vic two weeks ago, she didn't specify that my appointment in APRIL changed.  I didn't even have an appointment scheduled in April yet.  I was to be told on Wednesday that the 3 pm appointment would ultimately be at 10:30 am.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

So despite all the bullshit and drama getting INTO my appointment, I woke up relatively pain-free, clearly I was just strained from my excessive nesting.  My weight is up 2 more pounds, everything is good and progressing nicely.  I had to get a tetanus shot (ouchie) and I am waiting to hear back from the local office for my prenatal birthing class info.  It probably won't be available in English, so I should probably just start looking into birthing classes for foreigners in Lisbon. Doctora Maria Joao used the little handheld microphone sonogram thingy and we listened to baby's heartbeat:  157 heartbeats (per minute, I think).  She said it was strong and perfect!  

Thursday I don't really remember anything too exciting happening Thursday...  other than my Mama sending me the most epic care package ever!!  One simple little box contained:  5 bags of marshmallows, a one pound bag of Twizzlers, two boxes of dryer sheets (swoon!), two pairs of American Apparel High Waisted black leggings (ILY JULIET for the recommendation!), an AA sundress in purple, a Splendid shirt that I love... What else?  My first 3 baby presents from my mama!!  The Planet Wise nursing cover, owl themed changing pad and this awesome wet/ dry bag for my future cloth diapers...  I am oh oh oh so happy!  Victor is going to be so happy to have rice krispy treats and Twizzlers when he gets home... Life is good.  HAha!!

Friday nothing too spectacular to report... still trilled about my care package... HAha!!

20 week development Depending on which baby website you read, Baby Castro is about the length of a banana or the size of a cantaloupe.  Baby is gulping amniotic fluid, for nutrition and to practice swallowing...  Baby's taste buds are now working (weird!) so Baby Castro is developing a taste for all the foods I've been eating lately.  Baby will love smoothies and avocados as much as me!!  Tomorrow when I go for my sonogram, baby will not be measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the butt, but from now on, with extended leggies!  Baby is starting to stretch out.  I also learned an important tip this week. As baby's digestive system is developing, everything baby eats is collecting for baby's first dump.  (AWESOME!)  It's called the meconium, and its like this sticky death tar dump that can end up in the first diaper.  SOOO, I am now 100% confident that we won't be using those darling little cloth diapers until AFTER this excitement in the diaper...  (can you tell I am being facetious?)  Only organic disposables for our little petunia for the first few weeks...

Saturday's sonogram post is next, if I can figure out how to get the damn video off the DVD VR...  I KNOW I learned how to do this in my computer class during my master's program.... Where is Victor?!  He is the one who is the talent at this sort of thing....  *sigh*

If I can't get the video up, I'll take some still photos from the video and post those for the time being.  And 20 week belly shots.  I need to take some of those too... <3 <3 <3  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

baby kicks!

So I think I've developed this awesome baby 6th sense... I decide it's time to start researching something, like strollers, car seats, second trimester pre-natal exercises, etc... and then after a week of obsessive research, I receive highly informative emails from my various baby related websites, telling me all about the top 20 rated, most favoritest ever strollers, latest fitness trends, baby swings, high chairs, Kegels exercises, and on and on and on... 

It's actually a little frustrating... But I guess I'm forming my own opinions first.... right?  GrRRrrr...

Anyhow, my latest round of baby- emails has been all about feeling baby's movements.  "You probably feel baby moving all the time now... but if you don't, don't worry!  Most first time mamas don't feel baby until as late as 22 weeks!"  

And then there are the 600 comments where all these women agree how they feel baby moving "ALL THE TIME!!!"  The only thing I've been feeling is heartburn.  I was starting to get panicked.  On top of the weird baby-related dreams (for another post...), Vic is still in Angola, and I keep feeling like I Am The Only Pregnant Woman In The World Who Doesn't Feel Baby Moving At Almost 20 Weeks.  

What I have been very aware of is my digestion system.  (Weird?) And my heartburn.  But also my heart rate.  

I put my hands on my belly when I first wake up.  I lay in bed for a few minutes and I wait for the big first moment. Or I lay on the couch after chugging a glass of water. (Water is so sexy delicious these days.... also weird.)  Sometimes I get so focused trying to feel baby move that I am convinced I can feel my hands pulsing.  After I walk up the stairs, I feel my hear rate up a few beats, I hold my belly. I feel it pulsing sometimes. Is there anything happening? Mmmmmmmmm... waiting, waiting... uhh.......

The informative emails and comments I read via mama-blogs all say the same thing. "It feels like butterflies!" I haven't felt butterflies.   But I swear, for the last two weeks, I've felt like I can actually feel my digestive track in action.  

Guess what.  Two weeks of nervousness (bordering on anxiety) about feeling Baby's movement...  I've realized that I AM feeling Baby move, and I had no idea!  AHHHHHHHhhh stupid baby websites!!!  Kinda anti-climactic... 

I had this idea in my head that I would feel Baby move from an outsider's perspective... Does that make sense?  I kept thinking I would feel Baby moving by putting my hands on my belly... but it never occurred to me that I would feel Baby move from inside first...

This I am sure, makes me sound like an idiot, but I did say that I know next to nothing about pregnancy, and what now I realize is probably so obvious, still feels so surreal to me. I wasn't feeling digestion (duh... ) but of course it was that little mango inside me literally swimming around, kicking, sucking thumbs, stretching, bending elbows and knees... eeee!!

I haven't felt fluttering, per se, but I've felt.... little tickles?  Thinking I had to pee, I'd get up, tinkle.. a little... or not... but didn't think much of it. (TMI? haha) Or I'd eat lunch and feel my full belly and happily enjoy my post-lunch food coma.  And I get so thirsty, I love chugging water....  A lot of the times, it feels like I have a full belly of water.. and you feel the water sloshing around in there?  Mmmmm....

Tickles, gurgles, killer acid burps, oh yeah... that is our little hellion.  That's Baby Castro moving!!  EEEE!!!  How weird, exciting, creepy, surreal.  I think these are the top 4 ways I can describe pregnancy so far.  

(ps.  i still wanna feel baby baby move with my hands... though i think that won't be for awhile longer.. :P)              

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

belly photos: 19 weeks.

Good GOD my belly looks huge...  And so does my ass... Sorry for the less-than-stellar quality of photos... Better photos and quality once Vic is home...  And no, I did not find any working cameras in this house...
Here you go!! 

you can kinda tell...
look how long my hair is getting!
you can kinda tell there's a baby in there...

19 weeks.  

18 - 19 weeks

YES... I am a total lame-ass and I didn't post anything about week 18. The only difference between week 17 and 18 is heartburn. I've never had heartburn before, I honestly didn't know what it was, other than what seemed like the obvious: your heart/ chest burns. Never thought to think about how/ why, etc. Maybe I am just an idiot, but it never occurred to me that heartburn is the same thing as acid reflux... Well, now I know... And it sucks. A big one. I thought I just had a little vomitous taste in my throat, minus the nausea/ vomiting etc. I am super lucky with most other pregnancy related symptoms else. The minor pimple problem is clearing up, nothing noticeable in the last two weeks... (Keeping my fingers crossed.) I posted on Facebook, asking for any tips on how to deal the heartburn, and I've had some great responses... Off I went to the market to get some bananas and cucumbers, and today I am headed to the pharmacy with a list of anti-acids that I can't pronounce... HAHha!! Anyhow, this is what we've learned about Baby Castro in the last two weeks!

Week 18: 
"Head to rump, your baby is about 5 1/2 inches long (about the length of a bell pepper) and he weighs almost 7 ounces. He's busy flexing his arms and legs — movements that you'll start noticing more and more in the weeks ahead. His blood vessels are visible through his thin skin, and his ears are now in their final position, although they're still standing out from his head a bit. A protective covering of myelin is beginning to form around his nerves, a process that will continue for a year after he's born. If you're having a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and in place. If you're having a boy, his genitals are noticeable now, but he may hide them from you during an ultrasound." 

a little swimmer 18 weeks (via internet search)

Week 19: 
"Your baby's sensory development is exploding! Her brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that she may be able to hear your voice now, so don't be shy about reading aloud, talking to her, or singing a happy tune if the mood strikes you. Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom — about the size of a large heirloom tomato. Her arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of her body now. Her kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on her scalp is sprouting. A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on her skin to prevent it from pickling in the amniotic fluid." 

Wow.  Gross and educational.  Our little peanut is slimy, squirmy and busy inside.  I still haven't "officially" felt any kicks/ movements, but my belly grumbles and gurgles... And I'm pretty sure that what I am assuming is stomach gases and juices and gross normal things like that, that I am suddenly aware of, can possibly be Baby moving, saying hello.  All the email updates/ books I've been reading all say the same thing:  First time Mamas feel Baby move for the first time sometime between 16- 22 weeks.  And even then, it usually happens before that, you just don't realize it.  Huh.  Will get back to you on that one.    

Life Update:
My sweet honey Victor is off to work in Angola for the next 2.5 weeks-ish...  The trip has already been extended a few days and I am NOT thinking about it...  We survived 9 months long distance (our first year together!) so this really isn't a big deal.  At least I keep telling myself (and him) this...  The truth is, it sucks no matter what.  We Skype, but the internet where he is staying is so shoddy that we can't video chat or it freezes and we lose connection.  But we chat on Skype and IM, talk for a few minutes here and there via phone throughout the day.  We're getting through.  I have even more free time to... do whatever it is I do all day... HAha!!  

But of course, I don't sleep very well when I don't have my snuggle bunny in bed with me...  So I may fall asleep at 10 pm, but I wake up every few hours, and I am wide awake at 4:30 am, or 5,or 6...  This isn't pregnancy related, I've always been this way with Vic.  I typically wake up between 2 - 4 am when he is downstairs working, asking him when he is coming to bed.  To SNUGGLE!!!! 

This morning, I was awake and ready for the day at 6:15 am.  Thank goodness for Kindle.  I've read more books since I received my Kindle as a bridal shower gift last June... I think I've read maybe 20 books now?  Anyhow...  

Victor is filming 4 commercials in Luanda, Angola. Just a short 10 hour flight away. I'll post the video as soon as it's all finished in a month or so.  The turn around time from the day that they finish filming until the day the commercial is on TV (and internet) is usually something crazy like less than 2 weeks.  Vic says that Luanda is a mess of contradictions. People driving luxury sports cars while the poverty is mind-blowing...  Luanda was recently noted to be The Most Expensive city in the world.  Brilliant... monthly rent for a house is about $10,000, dinner out for two people is "easily $50" so says the BBC and it's best to have a personal body guard... with machine guns.  I prefer not to think about my husband being in situations like that... NO no no no no... I think 99% of the time, he is in a factory/ housing compound, where everything is being filmed?  Hmmm?  Vic, is that correct?  All I know is my snuggle bunny is stressed and busy and working like a maniac.  And I am home dusting and organizing, watching Grey's Anatomy reruns...

Oh, and I think the "nesting" hormones kicked in this week... OOOHhhhhh yeah. I am making lists, including a chart of potential strollers, dusting, organizing "stuff."  I keep looking at the living room bookcases, and then I go refer to the IKEA website.  I am mentally redesigning our living room, which I hope to redo in the next two months.  Paint (ok, Vic gets to paint), rearrange the furniture, and my dream:  one wall of an epic IKEA bookcase configuration.  

OK this isn't the IKEA photo, but we will definitely have a wall of books like this.  <3 swoon <3
I've also been compiling wallpaper prints I like, that can be used in our combined bedroom/ nursery that we will be creating as soon as Vic is back from his trip.  We are going with wallpaper on some of the walls, as Vic tore down (and we repainted last year) the sound proofing that he had hung years ago, when the space used to be his sound studio.  It left some craters in the cement based walls (there is no dry wall in Portugal, as far as I can tell.. weird, right?!).  And unless we want to pay a professional to come and fix the walls, I say, 'eff it, wallpaper it is.  As long as its super neutral and inoffensive, and helps us maintain our resale value with the house.  We will have to move in the future, as soon as baby is ready for a separate nursery.  But I hope to nurse as long as possible, so that will require baby to be close for the time being.  And Victor truly needs his own office space.  So while we technically live in a 3 bedroom house, Vic having a proper work space is a bigger priority than our little peanut having his/her own place to sleep at night.  And since what to you really use a bedroom for, other than sleeping, it isn't that important for me (yet) to have a separate bedroom.  Ideally, we need a minimum of 4 bedrooms, that way Vic can have his office, and everyone has their own rooms (us, Bianca and Baby) a 5th bedroom/ office/ guest room would be perfect.  For Grandma Patti and Grandpa Steve to come stay as long as they want... :)

Just re-reading my post, I think I may be better off keeping a diary, that way you all don't have to suffer through my thoughts, ramblings and repeated topics... My apologies....  I think with Vic being away the next 2 weeks, I warn you... I may blab on...

BUT!  On another totally random side note, Vic said that his camera is upstairs, so if I can remember how to use that badboy, maybe I'll finally be able to post some belly shots!  There's kinda something there worth seeing now!  I do feel guilty that I haven't taken any photos of my belly yet, but up until about last week, I just looked heavier than I've ever been in my life... ANd that is super uncomfortable for me...  It's not as "easy" as women claim, to reconcile what you think your body looks like, what you want your body to look like, and what it actually looks like in the unforgiving mirror. Add in a roller coaster of pregnancy hormones and a husband working like a madman AND on another continent...  you get it.  

And I just ate a cupcake.  After this post, I am going to commit myself to 45 minutes of elliptical.  Not much, but just a little something to get back into the habit of exercising.  I have been seriously slacking and I feel guilty.  Not about the cupcake, more about the complaining and insecurity.  Exercise always makes me feel better, even if it doesn't show in the mirror, it always helps my head.  Running was the #1 way I've worked through some of the most serious emotional stresses in my life.  Not so much lately, as I am happy as a cubby little...  clam?  Uhh... yeah... As a former slightly-more-than-casual runner, I'd really like to get back into it but I have my concerns. Does anyone know about running during pregnancy, after a long break?  Say, 6-8 months?  Maybe even a year I guess, since I was really running, before my appendicitis  and surgery last June.  Awesome pre-wedding present, right? WHO GETS APPENDICITIS!

OK!  Enough carrying on.  Projects for today: elliptical, finish compiling stroller/ carrier/ car seat information, and start surprise sewing project for Vic.  And take belly pictures.  

Wish me luck!   

Thursday, March 1, 2012

ew. ew. ew.

If I wasn't sure before, I am now, I am definitely having some acid reflux the last few days.  Acid burps are gross.  And kinda hurt.  And I don't drink cows milk, so I don't think that making myself nauseous and vomitous will help.  Ew.  What do I do?  Are there Tums in Portugal?      

Hurray for my first real pregnancy related suffering!  The minor food aversions, back pain, moodiness, occasional 7:30 pm bedtime, the very rare morning (or evening!) sickness...  I let it go.  I'm pregnant.  I'm super lucky.  Even the pimples are getting better due to obsessive face washing.  But acid death burps?  I feel like every time I burp, its like from that comic strip, Rose is Rose, with the garlic breath skulls...  

18 week post tomorrow.