Archives for posts with tag: pregnancy

Now officially 37 weeks! If I went into labor, they wouldn’t stop it! A milestone I celebrated by seriously wondering if “going into labor” was what was happening to me.

Yesterday afternoon, I had driven in the car to meet someone, and when I got out I said “wow, that really kind of hurts.” I had a feeling like period-cramps, painful enough to be distracting, including the fact that they were constant and without breaks that I could time. I still hurt at the end of the meeting, still hurt driving back, still hurt back at the office. At which point I say to myself “I am 36w6, this can’t be labor, and it doesn’t come and go, this isn’t contractions!” but do think it might not be a bad time to try out some of those comfort techniques on the practice pain.

At this point, my lower back is also hurting and I call up my spouse, trying to figure out if I missed some part of our birthing classes where they talked about “moderate pain that doesn’t come and go.” He says he doesn’t know, but call the doctor. I leave a message on the nurses line, because surely this isn’t an emergency, and continue trying to not focus or obsess about my abdomen hurting. It gets close to the end of the day, and I hear back from them. As long as baby is moving, and I haven’t had broken water they aren’t concerned–and say things like “Go home, drink water and put your feet up, and it will either get better or worse.” (aka, you will feel better or go into labor)

If I can have a minor side note, this is when my brain explodes by the idea that labor is a non-alarming possibility. We have now crossed the line into nurses not being concerned when labor is a possibility, while I am still that girl without a hospital bag packed, because it seemed like jumping the gun.

So in any case–continued to have period-cramp and back pains all night, which did fell better in a bath and laying down without moving. Today they have calmed down so that it doesn’t hurt to sit, and standing feels “sore, with occasional twinges” which sounds about right for this late in pregnancy. I’m wondering if this baby was getting lower and expanding things that weren’t used to being expanded.

But now, I guess I need to actually pack that hospital bag? 2 weeks left at work, 3 weeks until due date. Ahhhhh!

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.

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? 

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.

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.

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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Ok, a quick “anyone else have this symptom” check.

I’m having trouble telling the difference between hungry, tired, and thirsty. Like I get home from work in the evening, and I am just feeling depleted–worn down, like there is something crucial that I am missing. So I try eating dinner (and maybe ice cream). And then I try taking a wee nap and resting with my eyes closed. And then I try drinking some more water. And after all that…. I’m still feeling pretty depleted and worn down. Which leads me to wonder if this is just how someone feels in the evenings when you are a few weeks from the third trimester.

Hmm, I’ll keep trying things out. Because the baby will keep sapping my life force for important things like “growing,” and I keep thinking that there’s got to be some Supermario mushroom around the corner to fill it up again!