Archives for the month of: February, 2014

As convenient as it’s been to have a job based at home (hello, midday naps), the downside of my job is the abundance of flying I do. Even before I found out I was pregnant, I made a conscious effort to minimize my work travel, but there are still times when I just have to. So far I’ve had two roundtrips and am preparing for two more this month. The next one will require a 5 am wake-up call, and I just don’t know how I’m going to do it.The fatigue of the first trimester has set in. Dragging myself out of bed at 6:30 just to take the dog on a walk has proven to be challenging. What is it about the seventh week of pregnancy that’s such an ass kicker?

I’m planning to arm myself with as many anti-nausea remedies as possible: Preggo pops, vitamin B6, saltines, and those ridiculous looking acupressure wristbands. I’m booked in the aisle seat, so I can escape to the bathroom when needed. Any other pointers for getting through these upcoming trips?

To make matters more awkward, I’m going to New York and sharing a hotel room with my supervisor to help keep costs low. How in the world am I supposed to keep my pregnancy a secret when I’m eating saltines in bed, popping vitamins, and acting like a zombie?

I had my appointment today, and am relieved. Heartbeat was there and good at 156. I will be at 13 weeks tomorrow, which I officially dub “second trimester” and any good luck to any book that wants to fight me about it.

Also, excellent quotes from the day from my doctor include:

(responding to my question about crazy book recommendations on calcium intake): “Eat like a normal person.”

and 

“Pregnancy is not a sickness”

Preach it sister. I’m feeling good. 

Ok, so sake of clarification, I cross the “week mark” for pregnancy on Thursdays and usually have time to write on Mondays. So although I say things like 12 weeks, today I was actually 12 weeks 4 days. Which is pretty darn close to second trimester for peets sake.

Cue my first spotting of this pregnancy.

And my subsequent meltdown.

I noticed it first, mid-morning some light brown. I tried using my brain and said “Self. Remember that the doctor said that spotting is possible. This is not alarming.”

I was doing pretty well with this until mid-afternoon, when I was out running errands and had to go to the bathroom (oh pregnancy). And realized that there was dark blood on my underwear. And panicked. Full on out panicked.

I called my doctors office from the bathroom stall to leave a question on the nurse line. I sleepwalked out of the store with my purchases. I started imagining the worst in the car ride home. I was picturing just how awful to think I was just out of the woods and to not to be. I started crying. I finally made it home, sat with a cup of tea and my dog feeling really crummy.

About an hour after the initial call, the nurse gave me a call back and after hearing my symptoms and asking some questions said that she wasn’t concerned, but to rest for tonight. And that if I was worried, I could come in today or tomorrow and they would do a quick heartbeat check to put my mind at ease. Which at that particular moment, struck me as the nicest thing someone had ever said to me, immediately causing me to burst into tears. I tried my best to get off the phone–I was relieved she wasn’t concerned and I didn’t really think driving to the clinic in my current hot mess state was the best idea. And then I called the fella and proceeded to sob on the phone while telling him this. I at least tried to start off my conversation with “I sound much worse than the actual situation is.”

So there you go. I’m still slightly spotting, but feel reassured. If it continues tomorrow, I may take the nicest-nurse-on-earth up on her offer for a heartbeat check, even if I feel really dumb having an appointment the next day. Ugh, I’m exhausted.

First of all, can I do a little dance for being at week 12?  *dance* *dance*

I have my second doctors appointment on Wednesday, and I’m on the cusp of the second trimester. I am so glad and life is great.

In nitty gritty changes:

  •  I get hungry without being nauseous. Horrah!
  • I can imagine eating all of the food. Plan for this week involves things like “cooking!” I am really thrilled to go to the grocery store today, and pick out food while not feeling ill. This is fabulous and awesome.
  • Ok, this one is weird, but I think my belly button has changed shape. Both the fella and I have noticed it.  Before this I’ve been noticing things like my little pooch, but it’s funny to see that my body has actually changed. It still seems so strange to try to imagine how much something as close to me as my body will change over these coming months (not to mention my whole life changing after that). It just was kind of neat to see this little sign.
  • Still fatigued, and now getting some headaches, but I like symptoms that can be helped by sleeping.

That’s the quick update from this week, and hope to have more later on!

My husband and I just got back from six glorious days in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. We booked this trip back in November in anticipation of our annual mid-winter blues when we are just over the cold and have to escape. I worried that my early pregnancy might prove to be bothersome, but other than subbing virgin drinks for cocktails, it was fine. When I wasn’t lounging by the pool with a book, I had plenty of energy to kayak and swim laps.

The only food weirdness–not really an aversion–I have seemed to develop so far is to dessert. DESSERT. My favorite part of the day ever since I was a kid! But now, the thought of eating a piece of chocolate doesn’t appeal to me at all. However, I did manage to pick out all of the dried pineapple out of our trail mix, so my sweet tooth isn’t totally gone. On our first day there we met another couple who is expecting their first child in June. She assured me that in the second trimester, my palette would mostly return to normal, and I’d want ice cream again. Thank God.

Being away from home and all of the stress of work gave me lots of time to reflect on my pregnancy and how so much is still uncertain. Like mannacakepie said back in January, I still struggle with wrapping my mind around the fact that I’m actually forming a human being inside of me. It feels so abstract, especially when I’m talking to women late in their pregnancies. I have no bump, no ultrasound. Sometimes on our trip I felt like a poser for skipping the alcohol, like I was doing it for shits and giggles.

In times of transition, it’s always my inclination to want to speed things along rather than finding joy in the moment. I distinctly remember feeling that during our 15-month engagement. It felt like we would never get to the actual wedding day, and yet as I look back, that time was wonderful in its own way. All of the preparation was what solidified the relationship I had with my partner. The wedding was a blip in time, but the engagement was a process.

As much as I’d like the validation of some kind of “proof” of my pregnancy, I am trying my best to slow down and enjoy this moment in the process. If nothing else, I’m enjoying the fact that I can still fit into my skinny jeans.

At the beginning, when I first found out about the pregnancy, I had a lot of big and deep questions about what this meant. Wait, I’m really going to be a parent? Wait, this is really real? Is this really real?

Strangely, as the questions about “realness” have been put more at ease, they were replaced instead with “how will I get through the rest of today?” With nausea and fatigue, my capacity to think thoughts about this pregnancy were reduced to the significant question of if there was any food I could contemplate eating. In terms of my time horizon, I could do ok at work, but beyond that I couldn’t really think beyond the next thing I would eat and if I needed to take a nap.

I guess the exception to this has been incessant internet searching about pregnancy. How on earth were people pregnant when there weren’t week-by-week things to look at and learn the babies current size? How else could you picture your little fig/lime/kumquat (and if you know those are in the wrong order, welcome to the club). Also if you’re a worrier, there’s lots of places to feel like your putting your worry. Exactly how many times have I looked up this study for reassurance after our 8 week ultrasound? Confession: a lot.

I guess now that I have a glimmer of feeling better, I’m realizing how many of these big questions and wonderings, I’ve been funneling into these small worries. Life is going to change and is already changing, and I’d like to be present for it rather than wasting my days in internet research. When you have the inside view on a miracle, you don’t want to miss it, right?

So I don’t know. Now that my body is allowing it, I’m trying to picture how to make space in my life for something deeper. Because these fears and hopes are real, and probably more important than figuring out stroller types this far in advance… Probably.

Well, I’m at 11weeks. Woot! And have been flipping between feeling better and then back to nauseous/lightheaded for a day or two and back. So I’m excited by progress, and can almost see the end of this trimester…. sooooo close….

Speaking of vacillating, my weight has also not been that slow and steady line. Midway through this trimester, I was up 3-4 lbs from my starting weight, then last week all the way back to starting weight, and now up a pound. I’m trying to just trying to let my body do what it will do–I swear, it seems to have a mind of its own. But not having gained much weight hasn’t kept my body from shaping differently. I now can’t zip up my skirted suits at all (seriously, I was crossing my fingers that my shirt was covering it all up most recently!). I can still button pants, so long as I don’t plan on sitting down in them!

Which comes to my question–where on earth does a person find maternity clothes?

I started out on an expedition to find one of those band-y things that I could wear with normal clothes

Stop 1): Name brand maternity store. I first walked, a little self consciously, into a Destination Maternity. It’s funny, I’m early enough along that really I don’t look pregnant if you aren’t me, trying to button my pants. For some reason, I feel totally self-conscious going into the store! I swear I’m not a fraud–I’m legitimately looking into maternity clothes even though, I don’t need them yet! It appears my existential angst was showing because a sales person came up to me to see if I needed help. I said I was looking for a band-y thing (I need to find a better term), and she showed me where they were while trying me to dissuade me from actually buying one, because they were expensive and don’t work your entire pregnancy. She tried to steer me towards maternity pants. 

I was not mentally ready to purchase maternity pants. This is a hurdle I need to get over at some point, but “not being able to button” and “needing stretchy material that covers all my midsection” were not exactly the same thing in my mind. I did a quick perusal of what they had, and it seemed like the prices seemed a bit high and the material seemed a bit cheap. Little did I know, I should have spent more time looking at the selection….. 

Stop #2) Department store: I had checked out online some maternity things at a major department store. I shop here a lot of the time anyway and thought “surely, I’ll feel more comfortable here!” I started looping my way through the women’s floor looking for maternity clothes. And then the floor below that. And then the floor below that that had the youth section, and all the kids clothes… on the off chance maybe they would put maternity clothes next to baby clothes. All this until I finally asked someone and realized that this giant department store, doesn’t have any maternity clothes in stock. Fail!

Stop #3) Maternity Boutique: Having struck out at the department store, I remembered at some point passing a maternity boutique in the mall. After several loops to actually find the store, I walk in, and wonder how they can make money when they have so few things they actually sell. I quickly learned why. Maternity jeans for $175. A t-shirt material top for $75. Who on earth would pay this much for clothes you wear for so little time? I backed out of the store slowly.

Online) Returning home in utter defeat, I ended up ordering the BeBand from Target (which hopefully will be arriving soon!). But it has left me with questions. Is online really the answer? Is this the place where I will actually find clothes to wear in the upcoming months when I can no longer pretend that my jeans still fit me? It seems counterintuitive at the time in your life when your whole body is changing, that there aren’t good places to actually try clothes on to see what they look like. 

So my friends–where do you get clothes? Should I have given the name-brand maternity shop a more serious look through? Is online clothes shopping while pregnant a magically better experience than online clothes shopping when your body isn’t rapidly changing? Sigh. The things I do to not be naked. 

Thanks to all of you for your kind words and support of my pregnancy. Tomorrow will mark the beginning of week six! It’s still too early for me to wrap my mind around all of this, but luckily there is plenty of time for that.

What I didn’t share in my post was that only about two hours after my faint positive test, I got a devastating call from the foundation that has supported my work for the last four years. Regrettably, the amount of funding they will have available for us will be reduced for 2015. This news came just months after we were told by them to “Dream Big!”

Nothing is ever certain, really. I’m a planner, so this truth is especially unnerving. But, to get two life-altering pieces of news in the same day? That would be enough emotional overload to bring the most spontaneous free-spirit to her knees. Given all of this, it’s been hard to tell which symptoms I’m experiencing (insomnia, upset stomach, frequent tears, fatigue) are from the pregnancy and which are from the work news. One thing I know is for certain: I have completely lost motivation to keep busting my butt at work. For so long it was a source of great joy, and now it feels like a burden. I ask myself, what was the point of sacrificing myself for something that might go caput in 10 months?

I’ve shuddered at the thought of giving birth in October, losing my livelihood at the end of December, and attempting to search for a job some weeks later at my most exhausted and depleted. Fortunately, it wouldn’t be an issue of financial stability. We’d take a hit, but we would be ok for awhile. More than that, I’ve thought about my own sanity and need to be engaged in meaningful work. I’ve thought of Cheryl Sandberg in Lean In talking about how it’s important for a pregnant woman to have a job she loves and wants to return to in order to make that transition back to work easier.

A few days ago a colleague sent me an amazing job opportunity at her organization and urged me to apply. In reading the description, it is perfect fit for me and would be a natural step career-wise. I’ve been googling “applying for jobs when pregnant.” Ugh, none of this feels ideal, you know? The real sticking point is it would probably mean a move to New York City, not the place I imagined living as a married person, much less raising a kid.

Everything feels disrupted, uneasy. And all I want to do is make that feeling to go away as fast as possible.

Yay readyformaybe! I’m so delighted for her and her spouse. And rather delighted to get to walk this journey with her. Seriously, how often do you get to be in the same life stage as a good friend? I feel like that’s rare in the scheme of life, and I feel pretty darn lucky. Thinking happy, healthy pregnancy thoughts!

And now, for some milder good news…. I think I’m feeling better? As in, I think this is what better feels like? I’m still nauseous, but it’s a milder form of nausea–it’s mostly when I pay attention to it that I notice it. I double check to see if I still have pregnant symptoms, and yup, still some nausea there and still feeling lightheaded from time to time. But (knock on something..) it’s not feeling as overpowering or debilitating. And I seem to be able to contemplate food without wallowing in despair or thinking that I will be forced to live on applesauce for the rest of my days.

I document this as either a source of hope, or even of respite, if things get worse as the week continues. I was in the grocery store today, realizing I was feeling better, and asking myself “Does this mean I should try more foods? Cook something?” And then reality came back, and I decided that feeling mildly better wasn’t actually a reason to start trying for food like meat or onions (Ugh). I’ve decided not to push it, but it’s rather nice to eat my oatmeal/yogurt/apple/peanutbutter/pasta diet and not feel awful. It’s like this pregnancy thing keeps changing, which is really hopeful for me. This first trimester is no joke man, and I’ll feel kinda like a rock star to make it through it. Plus you know, closer to creating a new human. Which is also pretty neat.

When I approached mannacakepie about joining the blog, I told her that I wanted to add a voice of someone not yet pregnant but hoping to be.  I wanted to focus my posts on all of the anxiety and  hopefulness of my journey of trying to conceive (a.k.a. lots and lots of temperature taking, cervical fluid observing, intercourse timing, and blood fearing). Not even a week ago, I wrote about the incredible amount of vulnerability I feel about the entire process.

I guess you could say that I’ve been preparing myself for disappointment–that I wouldn’t be able to conceive, that my  husband’s sperm would have some kind of motility issues, that due to work travel, I would never be able to time sex right, etc.. I mentally gave myself six months of trying before contacting my doctor about fertility testing, but in the back of my mind, I just knew that it would come to that. Quite a defense mechanism, I would say.

Well, wouldn’t you know…

Image

One round of giving it the ole’ college try, and I got myself pregnant. (My husband helped a little.)

When I bought a batch of ovulation test strips (which I actually never got to use!) last month, I got a bunch of pregnancy tests along with it. The first time I peed on one at about 10 days post ovulation, I told myself it was because I wanted to figure out how they worked. You’ve got to love self-justification. It was negative as was the test I took two days later. I told myself that I was going to wait until my period was at least two days late, but on Friday I broke down and tested again. After five minutes, I got the faintest of faint lines that required squinting to see. I immediately sent pics to mannacakepie and another close friend to verify that there was something and not nothing. They agreed but obviously couldn’t verify that I was actually pregnant.

Then I took to the Internet, which was quite possibly the worst thing I could do. Do you know about evap lines? I didn’t. There were claims that these testing strips were bogus. I even searched for the specific lot number and folks were adamant that they were getting false positives. The uncertainty got to me, so I marched myself to the nearest drugstore to get a more “reliable” (aka fancy and expensive) test. I considered buying the store brand version, but I figured this was probably one of the few times in life it was better not to cheap out. With a full bladder and a mind racing a mile a minute, I peed on a stick for the second time that day, only to be horrified by the “not pregnant” result.

Say, what?! Wasn’t this supposed to be ultra-sensitive to hCG? Needless to say, it took the wind out of my sails, and I set aside the cutesy plans I had for telling my husband we were pregnant. I considered not sharing the faint positive with him at all, but after some crappy things happened professionally, I needed to share something good. We squinted together and agreed that in all likelihood, I was pregnant. I snapped a pic of my pee stick from earlier and put it up on a website, asking for feedback from other trying-to-conceive-ers. 90% said that it looked positive. And with this morning’s digital test, I knew it was true. I’m officially pregnant!

I’ve never felt such mixed emotions about something. I have jumped from fear and anxiety to joy and anticipation, for which the hormones are partly responsible. I’ve had moments of panicky “do I really want this?!” float through my mind.  The tears have been ever present. Just yesterday we watched a really over-the-top video about birthing centers, and all of the pictures with women and their babies had me close to losing it.

This morning I was listening to a Meditation Oasis podcast. The speaker shared that meditation does not involved achieving anything, even  quieting the mind or slowing down thoughts, but meditation is about observing thoughts and realizing that there is always a stillness and quiet behind them. She said, “Let thoughts be a meaningless activity in the mind.” Glorious! My thoughts can be totally meaningless, which is a relief to someone having wacky ones here and there. I can give myself permission to notice my thoughts without taking them too seriously. And with all of the craziness swirling around in my head, that could bring some serious mental relief. Instead of trying to keep myself from thinking so much about this new pregnancy, I will try to show myself compassion and not take any of the individual thoughts too seriously. I hope this will make space for calm and stillness at least until the morning sickness kicks in.

Oh yeah, and if you are looking for a new strategy for getting pregnant, may I suggest becoming a contributor to this blog? We are 2 for 2!