Archives for the month of: June, 2014

I’ve been pondering topics I could write about: exercise (telling y’all all about how I’ve kept up my activity and thus feeling better about myself); babymoon part 2 (having a grand time in Grand Cayman, yay); other nice, sweet sounding things that aren’t particularly emotionally charged. But then I thought, what would be the point of that? Making myself feel better? It would’ve just been filler.

What I really ought to write about is how I broke down in tears. On my birthday. Multiple times. Most notably in the dressing room while trying on maternity clothes.

Context is key here. My birthday was two days after a week in Grand Cayman celebrating my father-in-law turning 70. (Clearly that overshadowed my own birthday as it should have.) When we got home, the hubs and I were feeling pretty exhausted from travel and I just didn’t want to go out to eat anymore because we’d just spent a week doing that. A few weeks earlier the hubs had admitted that he was really struggling to come up with gifts for me, so I suggested that he take me shopping instead. What a fun idea–picking out whatever I want! Oh yeah, except for that pesky little fact that I’m pregnant and my clothing choices have been reduced to a 10’x 10′ section in a department store, hidden all the way in the back like they’re ashamed of it. 

Despite the limited selection, I did manage to find a few cute things I wanted to try on, but all went downhill once I actually started taking off my clothes and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. God, I hardly recognized myself. My legs were less defined than I’d ever seen them (despite the constant working out I’ve done). My breasts looked huge (for me, not a plus). But nothing prepared me for gazing at my full-on pregnant belly that seemed to have swollen overnight. I swear, to my eyes I looked like Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka (minus the blue skin). And I started to bawl.

None of this is rational. I get it–I’m pregnant. I’m gestating a human that’s growing everyday. I will gain weight. I will get bigger. I will have a huge belly. Yeah, I GET IT. That does not mean I feel any differently when I see a huge version of myself that I hardly recognize anymore. Is this that hard to understand? It makes perfect sense. I live in a culture that tells me to be thinner, thinner, thinner all the freaking time, and I know as soon as this little girl comes out, it’s going to be the same damn thing again. I can’t just block out those messages that I’ve heard everyday for 31 years as I watch the scale climb up, up, UP each week.

This pregnancy thing is no joke. It’s hard, especially on the heart.

It has been an exhausting week of doctors appointments. Two weeks ago, I took the 1 hour glucose screening and didn’t pass. Last week, I had the 3 hour test which can I say, was a profoundly unpleasant experience–make a pregnant lady eat nothing for 12 hours, and then drink pure sugar to watch her blood sugar spike and fall in a enclosed waiting room, while taking blood every hour? Ugh. I also didn’t get food quite soon enough afterwards and had a bad reaction of vision blurring and cold sweats. 

And after all that, as you might have guessed, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. 

Ugh.

I had my follow up appointment today, complete with my new meal plan for the rest of pregnancy and blood sugar meter lesson. I still have some to learn, because I have yet to successfully stick myself in one go–I have had to try 3-4 times each so far because I wasn’t able to get enough blood. I was feeling so much like a human pincushion that I nearly lost it when I learned I needed a TDap booster at the Ob’s office later. In retrospect, a completely different thing, but when you don’t like needles or blood in the first place, and have been spending a lot of energy honing your “out of body” needle skills, apparently things become hard.

My thoughts about Gestational Diabetes have been vacillating. I’ve been going between this plucky can-do, “It’s ok, you got this! You were already eating healthy and lots of snacks, so this is more of the same! It’s only for 11 more weeks, you will be great!” with occasional bouts of “What do you mean for 15 carbs you can only get half an apple!?! What on earth am I going to eat? My life is difficult despair!” 

I’m also trying to keep in perspective, that in the scheme of pregnancy complications, this isn’t that bad. It looks like they mostly are concerned, not about my health, but the baby’s weight and how that might affect birth and post-birth blood sugar. Which considering the wide range of things that can go wrong, this is ok and we have a plan. I am not in any of the risk categories for GD–which is odd in some ways, but also means that from here on out I can keep an eye on diabetes risk, when I might not have known to otherwise. 

That last paragraph is my rational brain talking. The other parts of my brain also chime in with things like “But why?,” “A summer with no ice cream?” and “How the hell am I going to eat a breakfast with only 30 g of carbs when eggs sound gross in the morning? Why do you take all of my cereal and toast?!?” and other whiny and despairing thoughts. 

I’ll keep you updated, and try to let you know if I actually do figure out what I’m going to eat. 

Being on the edge of the 3rd trimester, I had a moment of anxiety that we had bought nothing for this baby. Literally nothing. We have several baby blankets that folks have given us and an umbrella stroller hand-me-down, but other than that there really was no practical object in our apartment so far for an upcoming baby. I don’t know if it is a combination of “I hate making decisions,” “I am not very fond of shopping,” or some sort of not-being-sure-if-its too early, but we finally decided that being less than three calendar months from a due date was time to start getting serious.

The first purchase was angst-y, but went pretty well. I decided that purchasing a crib would make me feel like we had actually done something. So we ordered a subscription to Consumer Reports to try to learn what I should be looking for in a very-safe-crib. I am a professional woman: when in doubt, research! We didn’t really like any of the ones we had seen in our window shopping at a local baby-store, so we ended up ordering one of the ones CR liked, that conveniently we liked the look of and also got good reviews from short parents. Done! Over-researched purchase #1 complete and here’s hoping that we like it as much in person!

Ok, well what comes after a crib? A carseat. I figure if we have a place for whippersnapper to sleep, and a way to get her home, then we are starting to get real here. Like, in case of emergency, the fella could run out for diapers and some packs of onesies and we wouldn’t be totally negligent parents. Baby-steps.

So after consulting the trusty Consumer Reports, we went out to the baby store to see things in person. We knew exactly the one we wanted to look at, we located it in the store, and then we spent a lot of time feeling like idiots. There were so many buttons! We knew we wanted to remove the carrier to see how heavy the it was without the base, and there the two of us stood, three masters degrees between us, completely baffled by baby equipment. We kept pushing buttons and pulling levers that did something else: this one tilts the car seat, this one moves the handle. There’s straps that move and are tightened. We try looking around to see if someone else has made this work. We try pushing buttons at the same time while lifting. At one point, we start wondering if maybe they have connected the carrier to the base to prevent theft, and put the whole thing on the floor to see what it feels like, while making comments like “how much heavier can the base be than a baby?.” Finally we have returned the whole thing to the display shelf and are trying to look at the different models and covers, when a woman walks up and in a single fluid motion, removes the carrier to test it out on a stroller base. The fella and I exchange knowing glances. This clear baby-expert is here with two other friends, and is demonstrating for them the things they should care about in a stroller (“Because you aren’t going to want to lug something heavy around just to run in for something in Target”). We subtly try to mimic her magic on the adjacent carseat, while simultaneously listening in for any wisdom this guru is sharing. She wheels around the car-seat on the snap-n-go with ease (“I actually think I like the same brand name version better. These weren’t available when I was in the market.”) Lo and behold, we push the button that she had pushed while lifting and like magic the carrier releases. How is this possible? We had tried that several times before to no luck! One of her friends, at that moment, looks to us with pity and says “First baby?”

So this is what I have learned from shopping so far. Despite all attempts to play it cool, we are going to be ridiculous first-time parents. I will read all of the reviews and probably pay too much. I am going to be baffled by simple objects. I am some baby-producers dream because in my bafflement, I have very little way to judge what is necessary and not. And as much as I would like to use my research to cover my inadequacies, a pinch of experience trumps a pound of research any day. Sigh.

20 weeks, y’all.

Most of my reflections this week have been on how I’m forming my pregnancy team, which in addition to my husband, friends, and family includes:

  • A group of awesome midwives at the birthing center
  • A doula
  • A psychologist
  • A prenatal yoga teacher
  • A chiropractor
  • A prenatal masseuse (soon to be added)

I’m not one who generally reaches out for help. I tend to deal with things on my own, but with the pregnancy being such an intense experience, I’ve been working on reaching out to get the help I need. I just feel privileged to have the resources and finances to access all of these amazing people who specialize in caring for pregnant women. At this point I’m open to anything and anyone who might make this process easier for me.

Allowing all of these people into my pregnancy has me battling my own deep discomfort with vulnerability. My psychologist and I have been digging into why I have the anxiety I do about medical professionals, but that process will take months if not years to work through. In the meantime I’m just jumping in despite the anxiety in order to get the help I need, even if it makes me cringe inside initially. (Nothing like some sharp, stabbing lower back pain to get a person to the chiropractor asap.) It helps that all of these people are incredibly kind, caring, and understanding people.

So, whatever stage of this journey you’re on (TTC, pregnant, new mom), I’m curious: who’s on your team? Who’s supporting you?

I had planned a post reflecting on whether this was our first child or only child. I had always thought we would have more than one and that still may be the case. However the fella grew up as an only child and as we talk there are a lot of reasons that it might make sense to just have one–financially and logistically etc. So originally pondering on this, I wanted to try to put into words that this might be my only experience of pregnancy, and what that meant. At the time, I was feeling really sentimental about experiencing my only chance of pregnancy.

However, no sooner do I have this plan that all I have to say about pregnancy is whiny. Last week, all I did was sleep. I swear to goodness, I thought I was getting sick, because honestly who takes that many naps or sleeps for more than 12 hours in a night who isn’t coming down with something. Turns out the something I was already down with was pregnancy.

Then, I started to have a bit more energy coinciding with the nice weather, so we decide to go on an adventure in a new park with the dog. And I discover just how much my lung capacity sucks these days. It was really pathetic, I was easily overwhelmed by things like “a slight incline” that would leave me panting and looking for my trophy when we reached the top. So yesterday we do a milder walk with the dog and decide to go out to dinner. And although the food is great, the way the chair is made there is just no way for me to get comfortable, so by the time the meal is over my back hurts like nobody’s business. Which, combined with my soreness from the “hike” (cough, leisurely stroll) the day before and the chair of doom, leaves me on the couch for the evening with only one position that doesn’t have my back or hips or butt hurt.

All of this to say, that I didn’t really have a  nostalgic reflection about pregnancy in me. Boy, shoot, my only chance to be a beached-whale-sleeping-whimp…

And to be honest, I am only at 26 weeks. I’m not even 3rd trimester yet! If I am this much of an uncomfortable wimp now, how on earth are the next three months going to look like?

I’m trying to work on being grateful. Can I tell you the one thing that I actually like about being pregnant? Feeling her move around. She’s gotten even more active the last few weeks, and almost anytime I sit still I can feel her move. It’s gotten now to the point that I can actually see on my stomach when she kicks–little things seem to jut out of my abdomen–which is neat in that “wow, there’s something really in there” way. Sometimes, when she kicks (or pushes or sticks out an elbow.. you know), it just stays there and I can put my hand there and push back. And at that moment it kind of feels like I’m holding her hand for the first time. It’s so incredible to me that there is a brand new being in there, who already has a mind of her own and although she’s utterly dependent here in the womb, that she is starting to find her own way. It feels like the beginning of a relationship.

All the body stuff is weird and I’m not much of fan of the social world of being a pregnant lady, but it is pretty amazing to be this close to a miracle. So maybe I am a little sentimental too.