Archives for posts with tag: pregnant

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.

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.

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!

Before I was pregnant, when a friend would tell me how many weeks along they were, I would spend the next few minutes calculating. For most people, they understand pregnancy in terms of months, like “seven months pregnant” or “four and a half months”. It’s confusing, for anyone not in the pregnancy world, to translate these pesky weeks into something that makes sense. And yet, here I am on the other side, doing the exact same thing and replying with 22 weeks to anyone who dares to ask. (Only here would 22w5 mean something ;-)).

In my defense, there seems to be very little consensus about how “so many weeks” translates to “so many months pregnant.” My books all give different counting systems, some go up to 10 months at full term, some folks only say “9 months” when you are at 40 weeks–which seems rather odd to me.

At the moment I’ve been sticking to “in my fifth month” I’m guessing to change into “in my sixth month” at some point? Somehow that seems more true than “X-months pregnant” which I can never tell means if that’s the number of months you’ve completed or what month you are in…

So help me answer a silly question. General consensus of pregnant people, how many months pregnant do you call yourself?

“Are you having that?” –Neighbor, apparently looking for confirmation I was pregnant

“At least we know the baby’s growing” –Sweet older church lady, without an opening sentence, pointing at my stomach.

“It’s good that your first is a girl, because she can be like a little mother to the younger ones. If you had a boy first, he’d probably just hit them or something” –Other sweet older church lady

“When we were trying to get pregnant…..” Followed by the complete story of the conception of their first child –Sweet older church man

 

Oh people.

The thing is, all of these people really are sweet and well meaning. I love my church, and I love that it’s intergenerational–really how often do you get perspective from multiple generations in one place? There’s even this couple in their 90’s that I quietly consider my life role models, because if I get to be that active, caring, and committed at that point in life, I’ll think I’m doing it right. It’s also awesome and progressive, and calls me to be a better person before God, working for justice and peace (quick shout out to the United Church of Christ!). But because it is intergenerational community, it’s also like having hundreds of grandparents with all of the joys and burdens that come along with that. Several like to call me “the little mother” which is a title that makes me breathe deeply and remember that they are good and kind souls.

Apparently 22 weeks for me is the point that folks feel very comfortable commenting on my pregnancy. Even the lady at the fish counter at the grocery store was extolling the health virtues of the fish I was buying “for baby.” Which struck me as funny, as clearly I’m already buying it.

My experience of being pregnant in community has been that people’s first reactions or stories have a lot more to do with them than you. You are the blank page where they get to reflect upon their own feelings and experiences of pregnancy and parenting. And so the group of women on staff immediately started reminiscing about their own pregnancies. Many of the older men I’ve encountered have started reflecting on what parenting has meant for them in the big picture–seeing a person grow, witnessing their lives. Some people have jumped straight to logistics that would have helped them. One engineer I know was commenting on the mechanics of a human body–how it’s amazing how joints loosen up enough, but not enough that you fall down. A few people have told me stories of loss or a traumatic pregnancy. Many have tried to reflect on their own complex relationships with their own kids. When it gets beneath the trite platitudes of things, I have really appreciated how this pregnancy has opened up new conversations with folks–and listening to people’s stories.

And along with that, comes the completely inappropriate comments. For me, i’m trying to create an excellent mental translator in my head, especially for well-meaning people who don’t know better. It’s like a universal translator from a sci-fi show, where whatever dumb thing someone said is instead replaced with what they are trying to say, like:

“I am excited about your pregnancy and don’t know what to say!”

“I want to bond with you, and don’t realize that I’m using massive gender stereotypes!”

“I am noticing that you are growing a person, and can’t help myself making comments on other peoples bodies!”

With 18 weeks to go, I’m guessing it will get a lot of practice.

 

The big news this week is that we had our anatomy scan and found out the sex of the baby.

I had a lot of feelings going into the ultrasound. I am a feminist, and don’t believe that sex determines the rest of your life in essentialist kinds of ways. I think of the wide variety of women I have known in my life–with different ways of being, hugely different personalities, different things they loved, and whose love and partnerships have looked very different. In the same way with men, there are so many different ways of being a man in this world that are valid and worthy. And not even bringing into the question whether this biological sex will end up being the gender the child identifies with as they grow!

And so going into this, knowing that we would find out more about anatomy than personhood… I was trying to put into words why this was mattering to me as much as it was. One of the answers I came to is that with the words “it’s a boy” or “it’s a girl,” it would dramatically affect how they will be treated in their life–what their struggles will be, what their joys or expectations, what my role might be shaped by in supporting them throughout their life. I would hope to give them the same opportunities to explore and discover more about this incredible world and to find their interests and loves. But they will encounter a world that treats them differently based on sex. And a girl’s experience, although different based on who they are, would have more pressures in common with my path and a boy’s would be more like my husband’s in some ways. The experience of being a parent would be different for me–although there are so many variable still to discover that will dramatically affect what it will be to be their parent.

I have thinking as well about this “gender reveal party” phenomenon too (and entertaining myself that it should be called a “sex reveal party” but that then people might be a bit more wary to come ;-)). We’re not having one, but here’s what I love about it: you invite the important people in your life and it is taken as a given that whether you have pink or blue revealed–everyone cheers. This is actually a really revolutionary thing. It hasn’t been that long that “having a boy” and “having a girl” were considered equally good things to happen. And here you have this whole crowd of people gathering, knowing that difference is possible, and who have made the choice that no matter what, you cheer and say “congratulations!”

Because honestly, this is what I want for the wee-whippersnapper: that when they go through life and come to realizations about who they are and who they have been made to be, I want them to encounter a community that cheers no matter what. Gay or straight, male or female, “I want to play baseball” or “I love to paint,” active, quiet, all the varieties of personhood–I want them to know a community that is prepared to cheer no matter what.

And at the very least, I want that to be their experience of us as parents.

But enough with the awkward “their” pronouns (I called someone up to ask about daycare, and they mistakenly thought I was having twins).

We had the anatomy scan, and everything is healthy, all the organs are growing well, there were hiccups that made me laugh, and a beautiful profile. And it’s a girl. We are having a girl.

And the very sentence of “I’m having a daughter” still makes me tear up. Hi wee one, what a joy to get to know you.