Archives for the month of: July, 2014

I was thinking today: I should write a blog post! I’ve been out of town and busy and it’s been a while. Then I check and it’s been nearly a month. I take this as a sign that I really have been feeling surprisingly good.

When I started on this, I heard about pregnancy trimesters like a mountain: The first trimester sucks, things rise to a good level in the second trimester, and it’s all downhill from there. Now I will not argue with someone about the suckiness of the first trimester–really folks who are battling nausea and overall crappiness, along with uncertainty, all while not having societal acknowledgement of the major life change underway–ugh. Not fun.

For me the second trimester, I was so grateful not to be nauseous anymore, but by the end of it I was starting to struggle a bit. I was feeling pretty low energy a lot of the time. I was adjusting to my sudden lack of lung capacity which made everyday activities difficult. And not to be overlooked, I had this cloud over my head that “It’s only going to get worse!” so feeling not great seemed like the harbinger of many many months of crummy.

My third trimester so far, I think I’ve felt better just by beating my own expectations. Having gotten more used to not being able to walk long distances, I get really proud of myself for being able to walk without pain and without being completely exhausted. I call standing up from the floor on my own a victory! Look at me, kicking ass!

All this has culminated in some ways over the last month with two work-trips that have included quite a bit of physical activity for a pregnant lady. At 29 weeks, I was spending a lot of time in the woods, with things that I might call a “hike” (ahem, some might say “walk” but there were inclines! And tree roots!). At 33 weeks, I was on a trip in the heat–yes moving very slowly and wow I could get tired at times, but I was there!

So by my remarkably limited expectations, I actually now am feeling a lot of success. I feel good when I take my dog on trips around the block (it’s a big block). I can stand without pain. I stand for whole twenty minutes for presentations in which I kick ass–while being very pregnant. Take that patriarchy!

I also wonder if some of my bleh-ness of the late 2nd trimester had to do with gestational diabetes before it was diagnosed. I don’t think it accounts for everything–readjusting expectations for my “mild incline victories” wouldn’t have been easy in any case. But although I have been having my real frustrations and upsets with my restricted diet, I wonder if it is contributing to my overall energy level in positive directions.

All to say, I’m grateful to be healthy and well. I’m grateful that horror stories haven’t proven true so far (we’ll see how the next 5-6 weeks go!). And if someone happens to be reading this in the 2nd trimester- if you are feeling worse as time goes on, that’s ok, you are not alone, but it could also be that you feel ok within new limits. Take solidarity, but don’t let doom and gloom scare you.

That’s right! I’m officially in my third trimester, and I have to say, those miserable days of the first trimester seem long gone. Thankfully I have the posts to remember it, so that when I encounter some woman in her first trimester, I’ll hopefully show her more sympathy than I got.

What’s most amazing about this phase of my pregnancy is how much I’ve mentally and emotionally shifted over the last month. With my little girl kicking up a storm, my belly unmistakable in its baby bump shape, and October getting closer and closer, I’m beginning to think of myself as a mother, as a parent. 

I’m working on a book chapter and was asked to send in a bio. Presuming the publication date is months ago, I edited the one I had to include a sentence about having a daughter. It wasn’t the most profound moment of my pregnancy, but it was up there on the list. It felt bold and presumptuous and amazing to write that. Just a few more months and I’ll go from pregnant with a girl to the mother of a daughter. Wow. 

A couple of exciting things ahead: on Saturday we have our baby shower and we start our Hypnobabies class! I’ve already begun listening to the first few hypnosis scripts daily, and it’s amazing how peaceful and confident I feel afterward. Focusing on the birthing process as something natural and not something to be feared is so important for those of us living in a culture like the United States that teaches us that birth is something horrible (but that babies are great). I’ll share more about my experience with Hypnobabies as we learn and practice more. 

Third trimester, let’s do this! 

When I got married, I had a lot of expectations about how people would celebrate with us. I guess I hoped people would do what I would do when invited the wedding–attend the wedding if possible, but regardless of attending, pick out a nice card and send a gift. I used to think that this was just what people do. As it turns out, it’s what some people do, but others do not. This resulted in a lot of hurt feelings that I had to deal with in the months after. I had to tell myself that it wasn’t an indicator of how people felt about our friendship or my marriage. But still, it hurt. 

Fast forward to a few months ago when two good out-of-town friends said that they wanted to throw us a baby shower. Part of me felt extremely guilty about it. They wanted to travel to throw us a shower? It seemed too generous. But eventually I just moved to a place of deep gratitude that my friends would show up for me in this special way and tried to make it as easy on them as possible by not being demanding about any of the details. I just asked that the shower be a fun time and for the love of God, please have alcohol available to those who aren’t pregnant. 

With a baby shower (usually) comes a baby registry. My husband and I were clueless, so we turned to the good folks at Lucie’s List and the Amazon reviewers to guide our choices about car seats, strollers, and other baby gear. We opted for some high-ticket items, figuring we’d purchase them ourselves after the shower with the nice 15% Amazon Mom discount. But a few days ago when I went to send the registry link to a family member, I noticed that most of our big items weren’t showing up anymore. Like our two strollers. And our pack-and-play. And our fancy swing. And our baby monitor. 

Wait a sec. That meant all of these things had been purchased? Someone actually bought us these things? 

Suddenly I was filled with this overwhelming feeling of support and love. Never had it occurred to me that people would actually be able to, much less want to purchase these things for us and for our daughter. I guess I was too worried about being disappointed that I unfairly lowered my expectations about my family and friends.

For me having a shower is about more than baby gear, as nice as it is. It’s more about our community of support coming together and telling us, “We are so excited for you, and we want to participate in your new life as parents.”

What a tremendous, unexpected gift. 

I am finding it funny that my experience of pregnancy and gestational diabetes at this point involves a lot of counting. The numbers constantly bouncing around in my head include:

Current week of pregnancy: 31 week
Weeks until full term: 6 (ahhhh! I try to use this one as a motivator to actually make baby things happen)
Weeks until due date 9
Week until baby will be here no matter what: 10 (I don’t think they let folks with GD go too far over)

Time since I last ate: 30 minutes
Time until I need to test blood sugar: 30 minutes
What my blood sugar should be under at that point: 130
Time until I need to eat again: hour and a half to two and a half hours

Perpetually: ways to count up to 15 carbs.
How many carbs I’ve gotten up to this meal
How many carbs I need to eat still
What I need to be doing/having in the house/purchasing, in order to have the right number of carbs to eat at the right time.

It’s been a weird few weeks of both adjusting to this new way of looking at food while also volunteering at camp. Last week, it meant a lot of trying to calculate my “food schedule” next to the camp schedule, figuring out what I could eat or needed to add to meals, trying to find the least disruptive time to test blood sugar or eat something out of the kids view. Now I’ve returned to a semi-empty refrigerator and I’m trying to figure out how to eat while being very tired and soon head to the grocery store–I’m amazed how fast I can go through things when options are limited. It’s all going well (or we’ll see what the drs say tomorrow–I had a couple days where the weirdness of food and schedule got me over my limits, but not by too much). I’m looking forward to this getting a bit easier, so less of my brain needs to be devoted to this at any point in time.

When I think about what I miss most about life pre-pregnancy, there are a lot of things I miss: wine, my flat stomach, a relatively ache-and-pain-free life. But I don’t miss any of these as much as I miss being treated like a competent person. In other words, I miss my life that was fairly free of unsolicited advice.

I’m tired of smug parents who act like they invented having babies and that without their words of wisdom, you’re totally going to fail at this raising kids thing. If I hear one person say something along the lines of “just you wait…” I’m going to fucking lose it! 

This came to a head last night when we were celebrating the 4th with our friends who adopted a son last year and their church friends who have a 2-year-old daughter a newborn son. The adopted parents are the shit and are super cool about how they go about interacting with their son. But their friends? OM-fucking-G. I wanted to strangle them! The mother in particular kept bringing up all of the negative things about pregnancy and raising small kids. When I shared about my plans for a birthing center delivery sans drugs, she smugly said, “Oh yeah, that’s what I thought I’d have with my first…” 

After about the 14th or 15th negative comment of “just you wait” kind of bullshit, I finally said to her, “Yes, you keep warning me about all of the hard things to expect. Are there parts of parenting that you enjoy that I should look forward to?” Inside I was fuming, but my husband said my tone was actually very respectful but also communicated clearly, “I’m tired of hearing your whining.” The woman couldn’t answer me! She deflected my question completely. (Did I mention that her two-year-old was kind of an asshole? She was.) 

I’m not in the business of judging how people parent. But when you sit there and tell me exactly how things are going to go and how awful it’s going to be, I WILL assert my desire to change the subject and I WILL point out that everything you say is negative and unhelpful. In the nicest way possible of course. At least I’ll try.

What would I really like people to say? Something along the lines of, “Parenting is hard, but you’ll figure it out just like everyone else does. And while it’s a lot of work, it’s also a lot of fun.” DON’T tell me about how difficult your child is, especially when she’s sitting right there and can hear everything you’re saying about her. Tell me the things you LOVE about being a parent. Give me the benefit of the doubt that I am just as smart, capable, and loving as you are, and I will figure it out just like you did. 

What’s the worst unsolicited advice you’ve gotten about trying to get pregnant, pregnancy, birthing, or parenting?