Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's official...Africa here we come!

Last week Jason was officially offered the position with the fellowship in Africa and the contract that goes with it. I put in my notice on 5/18/12 and announced at work that I will be leaving. My last day at work will be June 7th, and then every moment will be spent over the next month getting things settled before Jason departs for his training in Gaborone, Botswana in early July. After his training in Botswana, he will begin his project appointment in Nairobi, Kenya. Since this is all official now, I was able to purchase my airline ticket to Nairobi. I will fly United Air (leaving at 11:30 pm on Aug. 7th) to Washington DC, then Ethiopian Air to Addis Ababa, and then continue on Ethiopian Air to Nairobi. Overall, this will take 28 hours and I will gain two days, arriving midday on Aug. 9th.

This week was also monumental in that Jason presented his capstone project to his academic committee. His project was well received and the papers were signed which makes his doctoral degree official at graduation on June 8th. So very exciting! We are all very proud of him.

We also had another visit with our midwife and broke the news to her that we will be taking our pregnancy to Africa. She was very supportive and we will continue to get care from her until I am ready to depart. At our most recent appointment Jason finally got to hear the fetal heartbeat over the Doppler. The midwife had a bit of trouble finding the heartbeat because our little one was squirming around so much and wouldn't hold still. It was neat to hear the doppler's interpretation of the fetal movement. At one point it registered as a screeching sound which sounded very vocal in nature. Jason will get to attend one more midwife appointment and an ultrasound before he leaves, and then I will have one last midwife appointment before I leave to join him. At the ultrasound we will need to decide if we wish to know the sex of our baby. We are a bit on the fence about this, since neither of us cares much which sex we are having. We simply feel thankful to be starting a family. At the same time, knowing the sex may help to narrow down our names list. What it may come down to may be pure curiosity.



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cat's out of the bag!

Yesterday I spent several hours busying myself with preparing notices of our pregnancy, Jason's approaching graduation and our formidable and exciting adventure to Africa while Jason worked endlessly on his "capstone" project for school. His capstone is the culmination of his education, much like a thesis or dissertation.

Since our notices were sent out today, I wanted to blog about the planned trip to Africa. I recognize that for many of our friends and family, hearing of our decision to go to Africa for a year while we're are expecting a baby may seem...well any number of things. Exciting, scary, naive, adventurous, overwhelming...I'm sure there are not enough adjectives to cover every one of our close relation's perspective of our decision. I think that it is natural for people to look upon our decision through the perspective of the decision they would make for themselves. Many of our friends and family have been very supportive and excited for us, while an equal number have expressed fear and attempts to dissuade us. I see their points. I have felt a gamut of emotion ranging from fear to giddiness. I expect that our true experience will fall somewhere in the middle, with amazing moments and really hard ones to balance it out.

For those of you who have spent time in Africa, we look to you for guidance in how we can make the most of our trip and be as safe as possible. We also welcome any advice on places to go, things to see, and how to effectively barter for goods/services. We welcome honest discussion about the risks and safety concerns involved in our trip. Pease understand, however, that we seek advice not to alter our decision, but to make it the safest and most enjoyable it can be.

We are very excited to be going to Africa. We have known for a long time that Jason's career path would take us on global adventures. We welcome this adventure.

We extend an open invitation for family and friends to visit us and the newest member of the family (when s/he joins us in the real world) in Africa or in Washington when we return. We are planning to return to the U.S. in June 2013.

Please don't send items for the baby, as we will not be able to take them all with us to Africa.

Wish us well!


Because I have finally figured out how to post pictures in a blog with iPad (thank you blogsy), here is a picture of Jason and myself on a kayak trip in some mangroves. The best part of this was when we got completely turned around and had no idea how to get back to our "boatel." Yes, that's a hotel crossed with a boat. As you can see I had a compass around my neck. I guess the boy scouts got it right: the key to a successful adventure is "be prepared."



Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ultrasound photos

These are the photos and ultrasounds from our IVF and resulting first trimester. Enjoy!


This is a picture of the two embryos which were placed back into my body after fertilizing in a petri dish. This is what they looked like 3 days after fertilization, when they were only 9 and 10 cells big. This picture was takers on February 23rd 2012, the day or our embryo transfer (when they were placed into my uterus). One of these embryos implanted into my uterus and turned into the creature in the pictures below it. :)











Next is an image from our first ultrasound when we were 5w2d pregnant. The dark area in the center of the ultrasound is the amniotic sac, and in the lower right hand corner of the amniotic sac is tiny white ring. This ring is the yolk sac that sustains the embryo until the placenta takes over towards the end of the first trimester. Cool!


At 7w2d pregnant, we returned for another ultrasound to confirm a fetal heartbeat. The image below shows the bugger measuring at 7w6d with a strong heart beat at 136 beats per minute. This was the confirmation we needed to graduate from working with the reproductive endocrinologist to normal low risk prenatal care witan midwife. Yay!


Finally, at 12w3d (on 5/4/12) we returned for the last ultrasound from our first trimester. We were so excited to see how our little one was progressing. What we saw was so remarkable. Our baby was measuring at 13w0d, which changes out estimated delivery date to 11/9/12. This ultrasound showed our baby flipping around and sucking it's thumb, and again the heartbeat measured at 160 beats per minute. Everything looked very good and the baby is 69 mm long, or roughly 2.7 inches long from perfect crown to cute little rump. Here's the facial profile:


And the whole body profile below. Can you see it's leg? Wonderful!



Entering the second trimester

We are now 13 weeks and 1 day gone, which places us firmly into our 2nd trimester. Hurray!

As I look back on our first trimester, I wanted to share some of the important moments and experiences.

We found a licensed midwife in our hometown of Everett, Wa and had an initial consultation and our first appointment. At our first appointment I got to hear our baby's heartbeat on the fetal Doppler. It was amazing. Beating along at 160 beats per minute. We have also regularly been able to find the heartbeat with Jason's stethoscope, which has been a great relief when I am wondering what's going on in there. I look forward to feeling movement.

Yesterday, 5/4/12, we had an ultrasound and got to see our baby jumping around, sucking it's thumb, and mooning us as it kept trying to turn away from the imaging. Upon first glimpse of our baby's profile, I couldn't help thinking that it looks just like Jason. :) They counted the heartbeats, still at 160 beats per minute. We were supposed to be at 12w3d, but was told that we were measuring at 13 weeks. This changes our estimated due date to Nov, 9th 2012. I can't wait, and apparently baby shares the sentiment because s/he is rushing right along. This ultrasound measured the nuchal fold to determine if there is any indication of genetic problems. The fold looked perfect.

Most of the first trimester symptoms are beginning to ease up. I still feel exhausted midday, and brushing my teeth regularly brings on the sickness regardless of the time of day. I have less food aversions now, and I'm beginning to gain some food cravings. At the moment the top of my craving list are these little buns with cream cheese and jalapeƱos baked into them from our local Mexican bakery. Mmmmmmm. :) Beans have regularly made an appearance in my cravings too.

Please see the next post for all our ultrasound photos thus far.