Sunday, March 18, 2012

What's My Name?

It's been a couple of weeks since we met our second daughter, but I'm still having trouble with her name. A couple of years ago, before we were even pregnant with Evie, Todd and I picked out our kids' names. All of them. (We're planning for 4 kids: 2 girls and 2 boys.) I've loved the name Elizabeth since I was in middle school, and so we planned on having our first daughter be Elizabeth, our second daughter be Evangeline, our first son be Christopher, and our second son be Benjamin. Well, when we were pregnant with Evie, I felt that our first daughter should be Evangeline instead, and her full name just clicked into place and feels right. This time around, Todd and I didn't discuss girl names because we already had the leftover one picked out: Elizabeth Claire Jacobs. I still love that name all together, but I'm having trouble finding the perfect cute nickname. Which is funny, because the plethora of nicknames that can be taken from the name Elizabeth was one of the first things I loved about it when I was younger.
While we were still choosing all of our kids' names, I started having dreams about them. I saw Elizabeth as a tiny little girl, and she looked like me as a kid: toddling around with blond curls and light eyes. I started calling her Ellie. I saw Evangeline as a dark-haired young lady getting married to her sweetheart, and I knew that her nickname should be Evie. When we found out we were having another girl, I just assumed that her nickname would be Ellie, like I've been calling her for 2 years, but apparently that isn't going to work out. "Evie" and "Ellie" sound too similar, especially if you're calling for them across the house. As Todd demonstrated for me, it sounds like "E-mph-ee!" and we'd just confuse ourselves and our little girls. I looked up a list of other nicknames to help me land on the perfect one, but wasn't super impressed with any of them. Todd told me that he's probably going to call her Lizzie, but I just can't bring myself to call my child something so uber-common as Lizzie or Beth; I want something somewhat unique and elegant, like her sister's name. So far, I've offered a couple of alternatives, but we aren't 100% happy with any of them, either. I asked Todd about Lilith as a nickname. I think it's a gorgeous name, and it would be funny to have an Evie and a Lilith in the same family. Todd thinks it's really pretty too. In fact, he thinks it would be fine as a first name, he just likes Elizabeth better. I've also asked him about Izzie, but it's still up in the air.
I guess I'm just waiting for the perfect fit to click into place like it did with Evie, but in the meantime, I still don't know what to call my little girl in casual conversation. Calling her Elizabeth seems so formal, so I find myself using phrases like "our younger daughter," "the little one," "this next baby," etc. Maybe I'll eventually settle onto Lilith or Izzie or even go back to Ellie, but for now the little one and I are happy and healthy and hoping that the right name comes before she does.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Meet Baby Jacobs!

Yesterday we went to our ultrasound appointment and got to see our new little one on the screen! Everything--spine, brain, heart, stomach, etc.--is healthy and developing right on schedule. Last night, Todd was kind enough to dig his printer out of a box and set it up so he could scan the precious pictures of our baby into his computer and transfer them over for me so I could blog today. He did the same thing with Evie, so for the convenience of my readers, I'm including a link to Evie's ultrasound story here.
Todd and I are very excited to announce that our baby is...(drum roll, please!)...a GIRL!!! That's right, we're expecting another little daughter around July 10th, and her name is Elizabeth Claire Jacobs! She's sitting breech right now, but that's nothing to worry about right now because she still has lots of time and space to flip around. Other than that, she looks healthy and perfect, and she weighs between 14 and 15 ounces! I, on the other hand, have gained 7 pounds since my last appointment, bringing my total thus far to 10 pounds--Woohoo!
After Evie's WIC appointment, we had our ultrasound appointment. I was told a couple of days before to empty my bladder about 45 minutes before my appointment, and then drink 20 ounces of water so that my bladder would be full. I just figured that the water would help bounce the sound waves for a better picture of the baby. Once we were in the car after going grocery shopping, it was 12:15, and I had to check in at the hospital at 12:45 for my 1:00 appointment. I hurried and drove to the hospital and went to the bathroom. Then I filled up my 32 ounce water bottle and hurried and drank 20 ounces while waiting for all of the nurses to come back from lunch. Todd got there just after one, and we were called back shortly after he arrived. There was an embarrassing moment when the sonographer told me that the water I'd drunk was supposed to make it easier to check my cervix. I wasn't thrilled, but I kicked off one shoe. Then she said she could do it while I was lying down; I just needed to have my pants around my hips. I figured I'd give her easier access, so I shucked everything down to my knees. She started laughing; it turns out that she meant she could check my cervix through the ultrasound. I felt stupid, so I edged my pants back up to my hips and got a little jelly on them in the process. Oh well, it got better from there.
Just a couple of minutes into the ultrasound, the lady asked us if we had any strong feelings about what we were having. I told her that I'd had a feeling we were having a boy from the very beginning, and I'd had a very vivid dream a couple of nights ago in which there was no doubt we were having a boy. But as soon as I woke up from that dream, I had the urge to refer to "my girls" and "my daughters." My subconsciousness kept sending me signals for each gender, and I was thoroughly confused. But at least I'd be right either way! She laughed and said that, at the end of the ultrasound, she points the camera up between the legs and has the parents tell her what they're having. Then she tells them if they're right or not. I asked if she already knew what we were having and she said yes, which really surprised me because I had only seen gray blobs fleeting by so far while she was getting into position--nothing that looked like legs let alone between them.
We started by looking at the head and measuring circumference. We looked at her face, both straight on and in profile, to make sure she has a nasal bone and doesn't have a cleft palate. The lady printed off this adorable picture of her face in which you can see her eyeball and her little tongue poking out!
Next we moved on to her profile, and Elizabeth was a very good girl and, unlike her big sister, gave us no trouble:
To make sure she didn't have any Downs Syndrome markers, we checked the back of her neck and the middle knuckles of her pinky fingers. Apparently, the pinky fingers are the hardest pictures to get, but the lady was able to get them almost immediately. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get any pictures of my baby's little fingers, but I did get several very cute pictures, so I guess I can't complain too much. The camera followed the abdomen down to make sure that all of the vital organs were working properly and then measured the femur. Just like Evie, Elizabeth had her ankles crossed and the sonographer was unable to pry her ankles apart for a single shot of both feet. She finally compromised with a double picture with little arrows pointing to each one:
I mentioned how Evie had had her ankles crossed as well, and how I'd thought it was really dainty and lady-like. Then I started feeling guilty because maybe this one was a boy and I'd just called my son feminine! Of course, since we're having a girl, I don't have to worry about offending her sensibilities after all, but I AM curious about what my boys' feet will look like on the ultrasound! This whole time, I was becoming more and more uncomfortable because I'd drunk so much water, and finally I asked her if there was anyway we could pause so I could use the bathroom. She asked, "Are you starting to feel very full?" Then, without my saying anything, she took a quick look at my bladder and said, "Oh my goodness! I just have to get pictures of the feet and then I can let you use the bathroom." She took the above pictures of the baby's feet, wiped the jelly off my belly, and helped me down from the table, telling me to leave a urine sample in the box while I was in there. When I came back, I felt tons better, and she apologized for making me go so long. Since the baby was sitting breech with her head under my left ribs, we'd been mostly focused on that side, and the sonographer hadn't had cause to look at the lower right side of my abdomen where my bladder is at all. I told her it was no problem, as long as she was fine, and she said "Oh, sweetie, I interrupt these things all the time to let ladies use the restroom. You're not the first one I've ever done this for." That made me feel better too, and we resumed our ultrasound journey. We followed Elizabeth's spine to check for spina bifida, and then focused on the heart. All four chambers were pumping, and she very easily got great shots of the aortal and ductal arches, the second hardest picture to get.
Finally, it was time to find out the gender of our little one! The lady focused up between the legs with no trouble at all and said, "Okay, now, Mom and Dad. Does that look like a penis and scrotum to you, or like lips...?" I barely let her finish before exclaiming, "Those are labia! We're having a little girl!" She smiled and said, "Yes, you're having another little girl. Congratulations!" She printed off a picture for us, but Todd won't let me post pictures of his daughters' "girly parts" on the Internet. Because I'd seen Evie's picture, though, I knew what I was looking for and was able to immediately identify that we were having a little girl. Strangely, I had very mixed feelings about having another daughter. When anyone asked me what I was hoping for, I said, "Oh, I don't really have a preference this time. I really wanted a little girl first, and I'm glad I did, but this time I don't care." And that was true. But because I didn't have a preference, I found I had very mixed feelings once we finally found out. On one hand, I was a little disappointed that I wasn't going to have the "new" experience of having a little boy. On the other hand, I was very excited and relieved that we were having another little girl so close after Evie so that they can be best friends all their lives. Besides, I love being Mommy of a little girl and I know what to expect with girls. This will be so much fun! But I know I would have had similar feelings if we'd ended up having a boy: disappointment that we weren't having another little sister for Evie to play with, but excitement for the adventure that is boyhood. I told my mom that I'd doomed myself to failure either way and she said, "You've doomed yourself to success; this is not a failure in any way, shape or form." And she's right! I don't want anyone to take any of this as anything but pure delight that I get to have another precious daughter. I'm absolutely thrilled that she's beautiful and healthy. I think this is turning out for the absolute best.
The final pictures are of the whole baby. You can see she's curled up in a tight little ball on her head with her elbows touching her knees:
After we were done examining her, she apparently decided that she was tired and politely told us she wanted us to go away so she could sleep. Just like with Evie, this ultrasound experience told me so much about my daughter's personality. She seems like a very laid-back and cooperative baby. The sonographer was surprised at how quickly she was able to get perfect shots of the most difficult areas (pinky finger, ductal arch, etc.) It seemed that the baby knew exactly what we were looking for, and did her best to be accommodating. The only trouble that we had at all was that little Elizabeth didn't want to uncross her ankles, but other than that, our experience was everything that it could have been. We were easily able to get pictures of her profile and gender, for instance! I think (and hope!) that she turns out to be as easy a baby as she seems to be on screen. Sure, she has a funny and mischievous little sense of humor (just look at that little tongue poking out already! And she's sitting the exact opposite of where she's "supposed" to be), but I think that, where Evie has a personality similar to mine, little Elizabeth will take after her Daddy.
Speaking of Todd, we were sitting in the waiting room afterwards, waiting to get called back so the doctor could talk with us, and I asked him how he was feeling. He was just sitting there quietly, talking to Evie, and I said, "So, are you excited to be having another little girl? Are you disappointed you're not having a son? How do you feel about this? You're being so calm and quiet; I don't know what you're thinking!" and he turned to me and smirked his cute little smirk and said, "Well, aren't you relieved that I'm not a pod-person?" I said, "Yes, but tell me what you're thinking!" He shrugged and said, "I'm excited." That's it. I have a feeling, though, that he was secretly hoping for a girl. When we first found out we were pregnant, I had a feeling we were having a boy and kept using male pronouns to refer to the baby. He kept using female pronouns. I asked him why and he said he thought we were having another girl. I asked how he'd feel about that, and he smiled and said, "I like little girls. They're fun." I asked how he'd feel if he was like Mr. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice and ended up with 5 daughters and he replied with, "Well, as long as you don't act like Mrs. Bennett, that would be fine." I know that he adores Evie, and I'm pretty sure that Elizabeth has already got her Daddy wrapped around her tiny finger, too. I know he'll deny it if you ask him, but I think he got exactly what he wanted. We're both very excited and pleased to welcome little Elizabeth into our family, and I think Evie's excited in her own little way to welcome her little sister!

Little Grocery Shopper

The morning started with our last WIC appointment for Evie. She is weighing in at 18 pounds, 3 ounces and she's 25 inches long. Then we went grocery shopping for her food, which she helped Mommy pick out. She gets 7 cans of formula, 28 jars of fruit/veggie purees, 2 boxes of infant cereal, and 2 pounds of fresh bananas. I was originally going to get the same Beech Nut brand that we usually get, but since it was her last set of coupons, I picked out the Gerber 2-packs of purees, even though they're not quite 4 ounces each, because they had some interesting sounding flavors that I wanted Evie to have the experience of trying. I chose every flavor they had, and only had 13 2-packs, so I told Evie to choose the last flavor herself. She picked peaches, which is what she'd originally chosen for the Beech Nut brand. She's one smart little girl! Then I went to get a bunch of bananas and found one that I thought would work. Evie, though, wanted the bunch right above the one I'd chosen. I told her, "That one's nice, Baby, but let's try weighing this one instead." My bunch ended up weighing almost 3 pounds, so I tried Evie's: it weighed exactly 2 pounds! I was very impressed. I think she should be Mommy's little grocery helper more often!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Noah's Ark

My big girl turns one this month! Her birthday is on the 21st, so I've already been working on getting her some presents. When Evie was born, my mom added the Little People Farm set to her grandma toy box, and while we were visiting them in early January, Evie had a blast playing with it. The animals fit perfectly into her hands, and she loved them. Earlier this week, I ordered her the Little People Noah's Ark playset and a set of extra animals to go with it:


Ordinarily, the original set costs $30 and the extra animals are $12. With my "connections" at work, though, I got the whole lot brand-new for just over $24! I can't wait to see the look on Evie's face when she opens them on her birthday!

Growing Anticipation

Baby Jacobs is growing quickly. Every day (and every night!), I can feel the baby becoming more and more active. Todd has been able to feel some of the flips and kicks as well, and a couple of nights ago, I actually saw my belly shift! My excitement is growing at the same pace as our precious little baby. Last week, I was at work talking to a couple of folks about the head and body supports that fit into car seats for smaller babies. All of a sudden, I had a vision of Evie's tender little head when she was brand new and tiny and I was suddenly overwhelmed with an urgent yearning to hold another newborn in my arms, and swamped with a flood of love for my tiny baby.
On the 13th of February, I had my second doctor's appointment. My doctor apparently isn't concerned about the fact that I only gained three pounds in the first half of my pregnancy. He said as long as I gain my 25 pounds in the last half, my baby and I will be fine. I do feel a little bit better because my belly is actually getting bigger lately, slowly but steadily. Todd and I can definitely tell, and even some of my friends from work have told me that they can tell I'm pregnant now. While I was at the doctor's office, I made an appointment for my diagnostic ultrasound. We're doing it a couple of weeks later than most people want to, but we were waiting for Todd's health benefits to kick in before having the ultrasound so that the cost can go towards our deductible. Besides, those extra couple of weeks are just making our baby that much more mature so that it will be easier to see all of the organs and make sure that they're operating properly. Plus, we'll definitely be able to find out our baby's gender without any ambiguity! I'm so excited!! All I can think about lately is that I get to meet my baby at 1:00 pm on the 6th of March--only 4 days away! Todd is going to come to the hospital on his lunch break so he can be a part of that special experience. I know that we're both looking forward to seeing this little one and making sure that he/she is healthy and developing on schedule. Tune back in 4 days from now for an update on our little munchkin!