Archives for category: readyformaybe

This is basically what my day looks like now that I’m nearing the end of pregnancy.

  • Wake up every hour and a half to pee
  • Muster up the energy to get out of bed and put on sweatpants that sit below my bump
  • Take fifteen minutes to put on sneakers for a ten minute walk with the dog
  • Huff and puff up the hill out of our neighborhood
  • Check work email and to do list
  • Push 95% of to do items to the next day
  • Suffer searing rib pain and move to the couch
  • Make raspberry leaf tea and drink half of a cup before it gets cold
  • Watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix
  • Take work calls from my bed
  • Hypnobabies practice (aka nap time…ZZZZZzzzzz)
  • Stare at the nursery
  • Do completely unnecessary household tasks, like washing slipcovers of couch pillows
  • Watch husband make dinner and eat only half of it
  • Unabashedly scoop out at least three servings of ice cream for dessert
  • Choke down daily regimen of pregnancy-related supplements (prenatal vitamin, evening primrose oil (both ways…), and 5-W)
  • Spend half an hour rearranging pillows for optimum sleeping comfort
  • Pee three times before settling in for bed

There you have it!

Unlike mannacakepie who had a totally legitimate excuse for not blogging (yay babycakepie!), I’ve just been lazy. And you know what, I don’t even feel that guilty about it. I’ve decided that from now on, my job is to take it easy. For one my body is demanding it. The second I get a little too ambitious with work or cleaning or errands, my body starts resisting and I’m forced to take a nap to recover.

Speaking of naps, I’m having all kinds of dreams about babies and some that on the surface appear to be non-baby related but really are. The other night I had a dream that I had signed up to run a half marathon. I realized, “Wait, I haven’t been training for a half marathon!!” But I knew in my gut that despite my lack of training, I could do it.

It’s a great metaphor for the birth experience and parenting. There’s really no way to prepare for it, although I think I’ve attempted every possible way to do so. But I trust my body to do what it’s been designed to do, and I trust that I’ll be able to figure out the parenting thing just like other people do.

I think this Hypnobabies positivity is really rubbing off on me!

I can honestly say that part of the reason I haven’t been posting is because I have been belly-deep in Hypnobabies class! If you’re interested in the class, there is a ton of information on their website, but I’ll give you my take on it so far.

Hypnobabies assumes the following: in the United States, portrayals of birth in the media are overwhelmingly frantic and traumatic with women in agonizing pain, screaming at their partners, and demanding pain medication at the first sign of discomfort. Because very few of us witness a birth before our own, these images are usually the only ones our brains have to formulate an idea of what birth is, namely something to be dreaded and feared. When the body is afraid and anticipating pain, it tenses up. Our uteruses actually have muscles that can constrict when the body senses danger in order to stop the birthing process. When we were out in the wild and hunted by predators, this was a good thing because we could find a safer place to deliver. But nowadays it’s not very useful and often prolongs the birthing process unnecessarily or leads to interventions that we might rather avoid.

Hypnobabies is designed to retrain the subconscious part of the brain to believe and accept that birth can be comfortable and even pleasant. It does so through self-hypnosis scripts and exercises that facilitate deep relaxation and positive ideas around pregnancy and birth. Through repeating these positive messages and teaching deep relaxation techniques, Hypnobabies aims for mothers and their support systems to approach birth in a relaxed, gentle way.

Yeah, yeah…so what does this all mean? It means that I have completely chilled the f*** out since starting this class. Seriously, remember my anxiety post?  I can honestly say that is is incredibly rare for me to feel even the slightest hint of anxiety around my pregnancy. For the last three weeks I have dedicated at least 30-45 minutes to doing a self-hypnosis script and since starting the class a week and a half ago, I’ve been listening daily to pregnancy affirmations, which sound so cheesy at first (“I enjoy eating healthy foods everyday for my baby” and “Babies are born on their birthdays, not when doctors decide”) but honestly they have made me think about pregnancy and birth in a new way. I’m starting to feel more confident in my body’s ability to birth and anticipating birth as something slow and requiring patience.

Another bonus is all of the partner work required, which has brought my husband and me much closer together. Every other day he reads a script to me, we read the materials together, and practice communications exercises. It all sounds a bit hokey but once we decided we were in, we were completely committed to the process 100%. I now see the birth as a real team effort whereas before I saw him more as a helper of sorts.

The best part? Our doula is teaching the class, and the only other couple who signed up has since dropped out. That means we have completely private instruction for the next month and lots of time to get to know one another. I’m starting to think of the three of us as my “birthing team” and how less alone I feel now that I have this amazing support the entire way. Go team!

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. 

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? 

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.

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?

Lots of transforming moments going on in this house! I still haven’t felt any kind of flutters in my belly, probably because I don’t know what to look for, but there have been lots of other signs that we’re actually having a kid in five months.

First ultrasound: My husband works in the healthcare field and has access to ultrasound machines. One of his colleagues who is a sonographer was in town and offered to do a 2D/3D scan for us before our official anatomy scan this week. Since we’ve gone the midwife route, we hadn’t had a peek into what’s happening in utero at all. Part of me still couldn’t believe this little wiggling, hiccuping, kicking thing was inside of me. And of course, when I found out we were having a little girl, I cried. Both my husband and I had a gut feeling that we were having a girl, but you never know until you do. I’m getting used to saying “she” and “her” instead of “it.”

The bump: I think one is finally starting to appear! Most people still don’t notice it at all, but I can, especially when I lay down at night. We’re going to Grand Cayman in about three weeks, and I’m wondering what my bump will look like in a bathing suit. Need to try those on soon…

Nursery transformation: While we were out looking for a glider, we ended up finding a crib and dresser we loved, so we went ahead and ordered all of it. I’m glad we did since some of it will take up to 12 weeks to arrive. That gave us the kick in the butt we needed to finish clearing out the room, which used to be our office, and getting new paint on the wall as well as hanging up a new ceiling fan. Even though the room is empty now, I love walking in there and thinking about our little girl. I know in a lot of ways, prepping the nursery is more about our own transformation as parents. Creating that physical space for a new human is a reminder that  our lives are about to change in a major way. Pics at the bottom!

Childcare: My mom is officially moving to our area to help us with the baby full-time! We’ve agreed to pay her what we would pay for top-notch daycare in our area. Discussing money with family is never easy, but I’m glad that we’ve been transparent and upfront about all of it. And I couldn’t be happier about having my mom here not only to care for our child, but to be part of our daily lives.

So yeah, sh*t is getting real, y’all.

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I never realized just how clueless I was about how the body changes during pregnancy.

About two and a half months ago I was sitting in a quarterly meeting in DC, nauseous from the onset of first trimester nausea and green with envy over the two visibly pregnant women in the room. They were laughing, hugging, and comparing bumps while I sipped my ginger ale and kept quiet about my early pregnancy. I thought to myself, the next time I’m at this meeting, I’ll have my very own bump to show off! Fast forward to today. It’s two days before our next quarterly meeting, and I still don’t have much of anything to show for this pregnancy.

The truth is, I kind of like that. I kind of like that I’m in most of my pre-pregnancy clothes and that for the most part, my stomach still looks relatively flat. When I asked my midwife about my lack of bump-age, she said it was in part because my stomach muscles were so strong. Did I ever start to feel smug over that. My tight core was keeping that baby bump under wraps.

As the weeks went on, more and more people were in disbelief when I told them how many weeks along I was in my pregnant. “But you’re so small!” they’d gasp. “You don’t even look pregnant!” they’d squeal. And I got even smugger over something so petty. I’m sure it has to do with being a tall person with an athletic build. I’ve never been called small in my life. I was always the tallest kid in my class, and now at 5’9″ I still tower over plenty of people. It doesn’t bother me much or even occur to me most of the time, but when I suddenly transformed into a “small” pregnant woman, I took the bait. I fell for it.

In reality, I am bigger than I was pre-pregnancy, and now I don’t know how to feel about it. In the early weeks, I was anxious to find a new curve to my belly, but now I want it all to stay in. Picking out outfits is a struggle between finding what fits, what’s comfortable, and what doesn’t make me look bigger than I am. I’m worried that I’m not ready to embrace the inevitable bump that’s due to arrive any week now.

This ambivalence goes beyond the bump/no-bump aspect of this pregnancy. Some days I honestly don’t know what to think of what I’ve gotten myself into. Mostly it’s the gaze of others that has me worked up. It’s the weird experience of walking into a room and all eyes zeroing in on my belly. It’s sitting in an uncomfortable space where people feel like they can comment on my body without thinking about the person who occupies it. I’m afraid I’ve let it get to me.

I do believe a tipping point is coming–when I feel the first flutter, when we have our first ultrasound, when we paint the nursery. I know a moment is coming when it will click and I will be ready to embrace this. But for now, I just sit in this uncomfortable liminal space and wait.