I have been counting down to April using special events as markers of progress or milestones reached, most of which were holidays or fun events for our family to do with Elena. The first half was slow until we reached the holidays and time seemed to go a little faster, and even faster after the New Year.
Looking back on this pregnancy, I see a long and tough first trimester with things turning around at the very beginning of the third trimester. I was having horrible morning sickness all day and night and most of the time I was dead tired and could pretty much sleep any time any where. My husband really helped me through by stepping up and taking over the kitchen completely, becoming the family chef and dish washer, and being a great daddy.
He really came through for Elena’s 2nd Birthday Party in September (as he always does), and even though he got really sick that day himself, but through our misery I got so much joy from seeing Elena have fun and from being with my most wonderful family at the park in the shade.
We conceived our baby in July, and I announced that we were pregnant in August when I got my first real positive test and everyone (my family) was driving to Santa Cruz that day, while we were fixed to leave the next day. Those early weeks were so awesome food wise because I was not yet sick and I was putting away food like an elephant! And speaking of elephant as we made our way to Santa Cruz that next day we had the best lunch at the Ele.phant Bar in a back room alone where we enjoyed ourselves and Elena could be her toddler self.
When I saw her on the beach looking at the ocean for the first time, she was so so excited and happy that it is a moment I will never forget and I have been dying to go back to the beach ever since! She also had a blast on the rides and we got a lot of video of her sweet smiles and waving at us.
In October it was Elena’s first time trick or treating and she was a pro, dressed as Rapunzel with a jack-o-lantern candy bag. She has been candy obsessed ever since I got pregnant really, since I was too tired to be super strict about it. Vlad also celebrated is 32nd birthday that night and we all had a lot of fun.
I cooked a feast for Thanksgiving including stuffing, ham, green bean casserole, a couple other dishes, and hubby made a most succulent turkey. My dad and grandpa came over to eat and later we got to go to my aunt’s for more great family and food. I was so happy that I was able to eat and not feeling as sick at that point, though I was completely exhausted!
In December I bought tons of dollar store Christmas decor for our tree and apartment. I made a gingerbread house and cookies with Elena, though she was interested more in eating the candy than decorating with it. We watched lots of Christmas movies and Elena’s first song sung ever ended up being Santa Claus is Coming to town, to which she would add the words, “to bring presents me!”. Too adorable! Seeing her open her own gifts Christmas morning and being excited was also something I will never forget. We rung in the New Year at my mom’s and I was really wishing I could have had some wine or champagne that night.
For Valentines Day my grandma and mom joined Elena, hubby and I to Dis.ney on ice which featured Elena’s favorite princesses. Too much cotton candy made an intermission meltdown, but we made it through without a scratch lol. She was so cute though, clapping and turning around to make sure that every single one of us was clapping too! When Vlad and I took Elena to the ice show the first time it was much more of a success in that there was no meltdown and it was a great first family moment. That first show was around her birthday sometime in the fall.
I had been telling Elena throughout the pregnancy that baby Vera would come out after the Easter Bunny came to hide eggs, so March was a huge milestone to pass up in this pregnancy. We colored eggs for the first time together in our kitchen the night before Easter, and Elena was very proud of them. We had the best Easter morning at my mom’s with an amazing home-made breakfast. It was a relaxing Easter morning and the sky was gorgeous and heavenly after a night of a thunder and lightning rain storm. Then we went exploring Old Sac with Vlad’s best friends and Elena’s God papa and had a nice seafood dinner.
Throughout my pregnancy I have been worried about Elena and making sure I do lots of fun things for her before the baby is born. Reflecting on this pregnancy has really given me a better perspective because it is so hard to see the big picture on a day-to-day basis when I want some time for myself, or having to take time to clean the apartment, and some days not making it to the park or even making it outside on some days. But looking back now I can see that I have been putting her first the whole time, and I am still trying.
My birthday marked the very last milestone I was waiting to get to before the baby is born because it also marked the beginning of week 38! Elena was born during my 39th week of pregnancy. I was hoping for some special moments with her yesterday on my birthday and we definitely got some memorable ones. My mom took us to pick up the cake and then my family just relaxed and drank tea here while the kids played for a while. Then we were outside and Elena was throwing things in the duck pond, got too close, and fell in for the first time! Poor thing! At least it was shallow, she sort of walked/tripped into the water up to her chest.
Probably the best moments for her and I were relaxing on the couch after her bath, and then this morning when she woke up happy and calm and we just stayed in bed for a while chatting and cuddling. I told her that baby Vera was getting big and that she would come out soon and she replied, “No she not big, just little!”. And she is right, though I know Vera has been growing because I woke up to some new birthday stretch marks yesterday ha ha! She really likes my left side, and she was a very busy girl after 10:00 last night.
Before my birthday I was so worried about how hard and stressful things might be with Elena after the baby is born, but I’m not any more. I feel like she will be a wonderful big sister and that the welcoming of Vera into our family will be a smooth and happy one. I am looking forward to her birth and my husband and doula being by my side. The next big thing for Elena will be meeting her baby sister for the first time, and I can’t wait to see how happy and fascinated she will be with baby Vera!