Thursday, August 30, 2012

Week 28 - The Third Trimester!

Helllllooooo third trimester! It feels pretty weird to think you are already here. Although I'm not looking forward to the continuation of your aches and pains, I am glad you give me another 3 months or so to get ready for our little bundle of joy.

I have purchased about 10 baby products so far, most of which are strictly to make him look cute - did I really need to buy these? Maybe I should have invested this money in something more a car seat. Oh well! At least his feet will look good for a few months.

Anyway, I've been getting a lot of compliments on my pregnancy glow these last few weeks. "Why thank you for noticing!" In reality, I felt like a Sea Hag every time I looked in the mirror, so I invested in some makeup, a haircut, and maternity clothes to make me feel more comfortable in my new body. It's not a's me spending money.

Looking for that pregnancy glow? Look no further! Quick disclaimer: I am not a professional by any means, but really think I've found a winning combination in these products. You can substitute cheaper products, but I would definitely avoid skimping on as many as avoid looking like you're making the walk of shame just 2 hours after applying makeup.

  1. MAC Paint Pot - I have learned to never go a day without this stuff. I put it all over my eyes before I apply anything else to get rid of the pregnancy raccoon eyes. It serves as a base for makeup, and will ensure that eyeshadow and liner stay in place all day. I've had pretty sweaty eyelids during pregnancy, and this stuff helps keep makeup in place.
  2. MAC Eye Shadow - I like MAC products because they are high in quality, but also pocketbook friendly. There are so many colors, one is bound to find the perfect shade for her (or his) skin tone. Dazzlelight, Retrospeck, and Ricepaper all work great for me.
  3. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner - This stuff is awesome! It stays on even after a day in the water, does not crease when pregnancy sweat strikes, and although the container is small it lasts forever. I wear mine in Black Mauve Shimmer, as it goes well with brown eyes, is subtle, and gives the line a fun shine.
  4. Foundation (liquid, powder, whatever), blush, and black mascara - These are all no-brainers. I like using Clinique for my liquid foundation and MAC Mineralize powder, as they do not cause my sensitive skin to break out. With the mascara, I definitely recommend to preggers that they invest in a good waterproof mascara (for obvious reasons). I use Bobbi Brown, and believe you me that stuff stays...and by that I mean sometimes I'm still wearing it after I've washed my face twice.
  5. *MAC Mineralize Skinfinish - This stuff has basically changed my life, and is essential for that fake pregnancy glow. I use the Soft and Gentle palette to highlight the top of my cheekbones and under the eye. You can also use it as a brow highlight. 
  6. Bobbi Brown lip gloss - Any color will do. I like to top off my look with a little shine and a subtle pop of color. I believe my conversation with the gal at the makeup counter went something like this: Me, "I want to be pregnant and fabulous." Her, "You'll need this one then."
How do I feel?
What pregnancy symptoms am I NOT experiencing? I am moving slowly these days because it takes a while for my hips and lower back to warm up. Once I feel good enough to walk at a normal pace, I either have to visit the restroom, or I have to sit down to combat the swelling in my feet. So this pretty much means I have a waddle. I'm more irritable than usual, and am a little shell shocked that time is starting to pass so quickly (see previous blog posts). This has caused a few outbursts and panic attacks, but every day I become more confident. I have congestion, and most recently I have developed an annoying rash on my stomach. The list goes on. In conclusion, I feel fantastic.

Weight gain?

Food cravings?
All things ice cream. I eat it most days. Also, I had a pretty strong chocolate milk craving the other day, which I took care of promptly.

Food aversions?
Spicy foods still cause problems, but it is never anything I can't handle. I will never give up my Thai food!

I have resigned myself to the fact that I will need to use the restroom all night, but I won't be able to get out of bed. So far there have been no accidents...

This week I took a hit to the spine, woke up to a kick in the bladder, and since yesterday have been getting a foot in the ribs pretty regularly. Nowadays his movement has ceased to be a little flutter in my stomach and has turned into a full-on earthquake. When he moves, my whole body moves.

Hoping it's still a boy because we definitely registered for a ton of blue stuff.

What have I learned?
Prenatal yoga is da bomb. I am always surprised at how well I can move in class, especially when you contrast a perfect down dog pose with my considerable waddle. Fact is, if you get a good instructor, he/she should be able to cater the moves around your growing belly and creaking joints. I cannot express how valuable this has been to me over the last few months. With all the changes a woman experiences in pregnancy, it's good to know she can maintain some of the activities in which she once participated. Yay confidence!
Another thing I've learned is that with all the changes occurring, it is important not to panic. I finally felt normal after I poured myself a glass of wine and forced myself to relax. Note to self: get a massage or draw yourself a hot bath. Whatever you do, do NOT repeat my past mistakes.

 28 weeks!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Patient Parking Only

Panic 1

For the first time in weeks, I was feeling great. I was on top of the world. I was even going to attempt a run! And then...

It all started when I was slowly prying myself out of the car (it's a process these days). I was just swinging my second leg around to the ground and grabbing hold of the shirt hanger for support, when I looked up in time to see the door slam directly into my pregnant self. "MOTHER F****R!" My hips snapped, my back popped, my stomach ligaments stretched too quickly, and I could barely move. Groaning in pain, I peeled myself out of the car and slowly waddled to the front door, seeking the comfort of my bed to recover.

I was greeted cheerfully by my husband, who had the day off. My response was a glare. I went straight for the bedroom, only to find there were clothes and bags covering the bed, and underneath the layer of garbage I could see the bed had never been made.

"What time did you wake up today?"
"Oh I slept in late. Probably not until about 11."
Great! I was working ALL DAY, and he was at home sleeping!
"Did you do any chores today?"
"Yeah I did the dishes and wiped the kitchen counters."
Oh big deal!
"So what did you do for the rest of the day?"
Awkward silence.

The evening did not improve from there. It was one of those days where it seemed nothing could go right, and it caused me to snap at Jeff over the littlest things: "Don't put those tomatoes on top of the bananas!" I even freaked out at the dog when she got into my work bag and ate a pregnancy-sized helping of Animal Crackers - I never freak out at the dog. Poor Jeff (and Willow) tried so hard to be helpful and loving, and I knew I was making it hard, but I just couldn't seem to snap out of it. I decided to do everyone a favor and put myself to bed early.

But first, I had to make sure everything was in order for my glucose test that would occur the following morning. Toward the end of the 2nd trimester, the doctor makes you fast from sugars, drink a vile liquid, and get your blood drawn to test for gestational diabetes. There are very specific directions for when you can eat, what you can eat, and what time you need to drink the glucose beverage. Unfortunately, the instructions I was given for said specifics were nowhere to be found. I knew exactly where I last left them, but they somehow got misplaced since my appointment 4 weeks prior. So naturally, a series of nightmare scenarios went through my head. What if I eat at the wrong time? What if I show up at the office at the wrong time? What if...I have to drink the beverage twice? CUE PANIC ATTACK.

I tore the house apart, words were exchanged, tantrums were thrown. The most memorable moments were:
  • Me picking up a video game controller, walking it to the other room, and throwing it on the bed.
  • Me backing Jeff into a corner, grabbing him by the shoulders, and shouting how I had the right to be upset.
  • Me laying over the bed crying. I wasn't in the bed because I couldn't get on the bed.
  • Me telephoning the on-call nurse at the hospital to get my schedule, ending the conversation by sarcastically saying, "Thanks, you've been most helpful."
I woke up the next morning feeling defeated. I did my best to eat at the right time, drank the syrupy goop at the time I thought most reasonable, then made my way to the doctor's office. As I pulled into the parking lot and turned off the engine, I noticed a huge sign in front of my car: Patient Parking Only. I let out a sigh and pondered the last 24 hours. I don't deserve to park here...I can't seem to find any patience to live life as a calm, rational being...I deserve to park on the street and walk.

A few stray tears were running down my cheeks as I rode up the elevator. When I entered the empty office I panicked a bit, then the receptionist greeted me by saying, "You must be Emily!" Everything was going to be okay.

Panic 2

While getting my blood drawn, I had to watch a movie (from the 80's) about preterm labor. The movie talked about a few telltale signs which indicate you are going into labor early, and I've experienced over half of them: cramping, indigestion, stress, bleeding, contractions...CUE PANIC ATTACK.

The most obvious sign you are in labor is contractions. However, it is also normal to experience these, even when not pregnant. So what exactly is a contraction, and when is it bad? Since this is the first time I've been through the process, and since every woman experiences them differently, it is hard to get a straight answer. I have learned a contraction is when your uterus turns rock hard, almost like a clenching sensation, and sometimes you will feel cramping. But my stomach gets hard often, and I do still get cramps! Google is never any help during pregnancy (Google will just tell you the baby is dead...), and like I said, every woman is different, so no answer calms my fears. In conclusion, I still don't know when I should be worried about preterm labor.

Panic 3

I have been doing a lot of research on childbirth. Although I am open minded on this topic, I would like to try giving birth unmedicated, and there are a lot of methods (Lamaze, Bradley, Hypnobirthing) that can help a woman and her birthing coach through the process. A few individuals have suggested I watch the movie The Business of Being Born, a documentary about childbirth and the medical industry, so I thought this would be an informative way to educate myself on the stages of labor. The more I watched, the more disturbed I became. The women who were featured giving birth naturally literally sounded like they were dying! And the women who got medicated were all getting C-sections! How can I get through this without pain killers? And if I do get pain killers, it could harm the natural birthing process! My baby is going to DIE! CUE PANIC ATTACK.

Clearly the movie was a little biased, but I'm about ready to start my 3rd trimester, and it finally dawns on me that this baby needs to come out sooner or later. I absolutely DO NOT want to give birth. The whole idea of having a baby is fine to me, but it's the process of getting said baby out that is absolutely terrifying. For some reason I'm pretty certain the baby is going to get stuck inside me, even though I know it's completely irrational. Maybe I'm suffering from information overload.

Resolution...for now

Getting the advice of other women really does help, so I'm sorry to all my friends and family members who I've harassed with questions in the last few days. My friend Katie, who recently gave birth unmedicated, informed me that there would most certainly be moaning involved in the birthing process. In fact, after the birth her husband told her it sounded like there was an exorcism being performed. This made me laugh. Although she was certainly in pain, she said the moaning and groaning were her natural response to the intense contractions, but those contractions were manageable. Okay, that makes sense.

And then I talked to my mom. Oh mom, how do you always know what to say? When I expressed my concerns about preterm labor, she was incredibly supportive: "But my stomach feels like it's contracting even right now! Feel how hard it is, and it isn't always that hard. Does that mean I'm having a contraction now?" Her response was, "Well, that's probably just the baby's butt." Oh! Good point. And regarding the birthing process, she got through five kids unmedicated, and she even lived to tell the tale.

And so now I am working on holding myself together for the next 3 months. There is a lot of work to be done, but it will get done, especially since I have such a strong support network. From the advice of my coworker and friend Kelly, I am working to find my happy place, to deserve that parking spot marked Patient Parking Only, and to stay in that frame of mind as long as possible.

My happiest place.

Our Last Summer

It was a bittersweet feeling last week when we returned from our final vacation of the summer. I unpacked my clothes, started a load of laundry, and put my suitcase in storage for the first time since early June. Due to my inability to move, I spent a lot of my time away from home lounging in the sun like (I don't want to say beached whale...) an engorged mermaid. But even though I was not able to move about like my old self, it was wonderful to get some time with the ones I love. It's strange to think these trips will be among my last vacations sans children.

This weekend I did a lot of catching up on housework. I even mopped the floors twice out of necessity because they were so dirty from my sabbatical away from home. The house is finally starting to look normal, and things are falling into place as we prepare our home for the baby. I cannot express how good it feels to have time to keep up with household chores!

Looking back on our relationship, Jeff and I have done some pretty amazing things. We have traveled the world, checked items off our bucket lists, finished graduate school, and had a lot of freedom to do whatever. People say your life ends when you have a baby, that all your freedom goes away. In reality, it would have been smarter for us to save money for a couple years, then think about having kids. We could have finished our basement, put on an addition, or even bought a new house to get ready for our growing family. That way I wouldn't be forced to share a closet with my baby. If things had been different, we could have taken the trip to Rio de Janeiro we have been talking about. However, I can't seem to have any regrets about our change in circumstances. In the beginning of my pregnancy, I was scared about our upcoming life changes, but I was even more afraid of not having my life change. I looked ahead to all the trips we were planning for the summer, and it all seemed so empty and meaningless without life growing inside me. How could I not be pregnant when I visited family and friends, or when I went to Greenbluff to pick pumpkins and apples this fall? And how could I not have a baby this Christmas?

So when can one be sure they are ready to become a parent? Is it when you are financially stable? When you finally have a fenced yard with a swing set? When you are no longer afraid of giving birth? When you are finished with school? These are all hurdles I once believed I must jump before having children. However, I have come to believe the time is right when you are finally ready to make sacrifices for someone other than yourself, even if it means stepping outside your comfort zone (financially or otherwise). My friend, a mother of three, recently told me that you realize what your true passions and true relationships are when you have children. As nervous as it makes me to think I may never run another marathon, or I may never be invited to another kegger, I am excited for the changes ahead. What fun and thrilling new adventures we will share with our little one!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Registering - Week 25

Since Baby will be here any time between now and December (hopefully no later than December 1st), it's time to start preparing our home for his arrival. And so we register. Since I have absolutely no idea what I am doing regarding most parenting topics, I enlisted my sister Laura to help me pick out the baby essentials for our registry. Jeff stayed home and read his fantasy book.

Laura is a mother of three, and has a lot of good advice on what products are needed - as well as which are absolutely unnecessary - while raising a child. I have also been given fantastic advice by friends who have recently given birth. So with my arsenal of second-hand information, we made our way to Babies"R"Us.

When preparing for a child, one's brain can be taken over in the quest to research safe, sensible, and thrifty baby products. For expectant mothers, fathers, and grandparents, Baby Bargains is a fantastic read.  This book was helpful for choosing the big ticket items like car seats and strollers, and can be found at the public library. It gives reviews on most brands you will find at baby stores, then rates them as "Good," "Better," or "Best." I was able to add all these major products to the registry before we hit the store.

I am so thankful my sister was able to join me in the actual registration process. If you have never been to BRU, I feel like you need a warning. There are dozens of options for most of the products in the store, yet there are no apparent differences between said products, except possibly the price tag. So do you get the more expensive one because it's higher quality, or is it maybe just a waste of money? Do I get the infant bathtub with jets and bubbles, or the one you put in the sink? OR do you skip the bathtub all together? I have heard nightmare stories about first-time parents having panic attacks at Babies"R"Us by the overwhelming wall of pacifiers and bottles displayed at the entrance to the store. Lucky for me, through trial and error Laura knew which products worked best for her kids and which were a waste of money. I had a great time and could focus on how excited I was to have a baby, rather than how stressed out I was by the thousands of products. I hope Laura had half as much fun as I did!

However, there was one thing my sister and I did not exactly agree on when registering: diaper bags. While she suggested I get something cheap and sturdy, I am more interested in a bag that will make a statement while serving its purpose.

A poll: How much money is too much to spend on a diaper bag? Please comment or message me!

How do I feel?
I can tell I'm nearing my third trimester because I am uncomfortable pretty much ALL the time. I consistently wake up in the middle of the night needing to use the restroom, but cannot physically get up to go; sometimes I'm so uncomfortable, but just fall back asleep because it is easier than moving. Heartburn can strike at the strangest times, and every time I stand up I feel the weight of Dear-Child resting on my bladder. I am already waddling when I walk, and at all times either my lower back is sore, or my hips are locked in place. My coworker put it perfectly when she said, "You're uncomfortable because none of your internal organs are where they should be." And that's exactly how I feel. 

Weight gain?
I haven't been weighed in a couple weeks, but I'm guessing 19-20 pounds.

Food cravings?
Anything that can be classified as dessert - especially ice cream.

Food aversions?
I think I found the heartburn culprit: peanut butter. I was consistently getting heartburn after lunch (PB&J), and the one day I brought a veggie sandwich was the day the heartburn didn't act up. I have also discovered that cumin is no good. I made a vegetarian chili with cumin spices and it DESTROYED my esophagus. 

I'm sleeping well, but become incredibly uncomfortable in the middle of the night. When I fall asleep, I must be mindful of the position because I won't be able to move for a good 8 hours. I wake up with a back ache and a waddle pretty much every morning.

The baby's movements are as inconsistent as the GU basketball team. Before they had a pattern, and I could tell exactly when he would wake up and start moving. Now I feel movement every time I take a moment to focus on my belly, and these movements are getting higher as he grows in my belly.


What have I learned?
Drinking a TON of water in the summer helps with swelling. It also makes me feel like my trips to the restroom are worth the walk/waddle. Since I constantly need to pee, having something come out of my bladder is helpful and reassuring. More on swelling: my yoga instructor taught me some great stretches for when I can feel my hands and feet swelling. I can't tell you how much of a lifesaver these stretches have been. There were a few days when I couldn't get my shoes on, and now I have a go-to stretch for when I can feel the tingling sensation of swelling begin.

Week 25! I'm holding my back because it hurts...not because I'm being dramatic.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Breastfeeding Nazi

If you have ever been pregnant, you know the bump prompts bizarre and rather intimate questions from many a stranger. From, "When are you due?" to, "Are you going to have them cut or tear?" the pregnant woman must be prepared for a variety of queries. When you start getting into the topics of birthing and raising a child, there are so many different opinions and theories, I simply plan to do as much research as possible, then draw my own theory from what works best for our family. However, other people (people I am not friends with, and who I don't care to be considered as my acquaintances) have my birthing and child rearing techniques figured out for me in advance.

The other day someone asked me if I planned to breastfeed. I gave my usual answer when this question comes up, "Yes, I'm going to try. Neither my mom nor sister were able to, so I won't be too surprised if it doesn't work out." The normal person would nod and move on to the next topic, but...we'll call her Sandy...decided to take the conversation to the next level. "Well, you know that feeding your son formula could lead to childhood obesity."

Hmmm...this is something I have not heard. I was a formula baby back in the 80's, a time when formula was not nearly as nutritional as it is today. Does that mean I was a fat child? I'm pretty sure I was one of the skinniest kids in my class until I hit puberty, so maybe I was one of the lucky ones? My nieces (also formula fed) are tiny as well. Oh Sandy, do you know what you're talking about? Because I'm pretty sure childhood obesity is caused by parents who are under educated about nutrition. Not to mention the fact that it is cheaper to buy junk food than it is to buy fresh produce, whole grain, and organic products; and State benefits like WIC just happen to cover formula for low income families, who in general fall through the cracks when it comes to nutritional education. I could be wrong, but I think it is a bigger issue than formula Sandy.

Her lecture, lasting about 10 minutes, also included this fun statement: "You know, breastfeeding is really hard. Maybe your mom and sister just didn't try hard enough." Maybe she's right, but I always consider my mom and sister to be fairly strong women when it comes to parenting. My sister has even expressed to me that she had intense guilt and sadness when she switched to formula. And do you know why she felt this way Sandy? Because of people like you! And what about parents whose children have severe reflux, and suck (literally) the life out of their mothers? I know one person who had this experience, and she told me, "I had my shirt off all day because he would feed, then throw up, then want to feed more. My body couldn't handle it. I had to switch to formula."

I ventured to change the subject before I yelled at her: "So Sandy, you must have kids then." And guess what...she does NOT! But she is considering having kids sometime, but hopefully not soon. Then she went into a very awkward monologue about why she doesn't want to have kids yet. I think she deduced that my having discovered her lack in parenting meant I did not value or appreciate her feedback, because the next topic of conversation was about the game Monopoly.

This experience has made me very cautious when people ask personal questions about my pregnancy. The other day, while having dinner with a good friend she asked, "Are you going to get an epidural?" I tiptoed around the topic for a few seconds before she recognized my embarrassment and followed up with, "Not because I want to judge you, but because I was just curious." Phew!

I want everyone out there to know that any decision I make in the birthing and parenting of my baby will be centered around what is best for us. If I need a Caesarean section, I am fine with the procedure as long as it is what is best for Baby. If I let Baby cry in the process of teaching how to self-soothe himself to sleep, it is because a sleeping baby makes a happy family. I will attempt to breastfeed, and who knows, maybe I will like it so much and be so good at it that I will do it until he's 7. Hopefully not, but you never know.

In conclusion, I think my go-to answer for breastfeeding questions in the future will be: Breastfeeding is SO bourgeois!

Monday, August 13, 2012

On Nesting

There is no doubt about it: pregnancy can make you crazy. I am likely driving my family and coworkers crazy too. As if life this summer hasn't been hectic enough, my downtime (when relevant) is being completely monopolized by the nesting instincts that occur when new life will soon be joining a family.

When I look around my newly cleaned and sanitized home, all I can see is the dust bunny that managed to creep out from underneath the couch. The cat was just sitting on the kitchen table, so I have to sanitize it with warm water and vinegar. There is a toothpaste stain in the sink that needs to be wiped. Jeff put the throw pillows on the ground when he was watching TV, so they need to be fluffed and put back on the couch...and don't these pillow cases look like they need to be washed again? I really should de-shed the dog because I need to vacuum again already, and maybe I should just give her another bath while I'm at it. Now that the laundry is all done I need to sanitize the laundry baskets. While those are drying I can make earrings for my girlfriends. Wouldn't it be fun to sew a skirt? I forgot to dust before I vacuumed! I really should pull those five weeds in the front yard...

The problem with "needing" to complete all these tasks is that I physically can't. I have said before that 3 chores a day is my limit - on some days even one chore has the potential to throw out my back for the next few days - but my mind will not let these tasks go unfinished! I want everything to be perfect all the time, and my brain refuses to dismiss the dirty pillow cases.

Luckily we have many people in our lives who love us. The other day when I was lamenting my nesting blues to Mom, she looked at me like I was crazy and followed me home to help around the house (even though she already committed to doing a million other things that day). In my current condition, a task like changing the sheets would put me out of commission for hours, but she was there to help out and even carted the dirty laundry downstairs AND did the wash. There were towels and sheets that had not been folded since I washed them 2 weeks prior, and she helped with those as well. We divided my clothes into two categories: those that no longer fit, and those that will do for now. She even folded and put away my clean underwear. These were all simple tasks that I could normally do in my sleep, but even with all that help I could barely walk for the next 24 hours. She was only there for about an hour, but the house was completely transformed after she left. Moms really are super heroes.

Also, Mom brought my niece Allie with her (since she was also babysitting that day). To keep the little one entertained we put Babe on...I was a blubbering mess.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Week 24 - "When Your Due Date?"

We all made it to Katie's wedding week, and no one died! Someone did end up in the hospital, but that was only semi-related to the wedding. Getting through the day was an exciting feat for me because I still somehow fit into my size extra small bridesmaid dress. I was practically busting the seams (you could barely see the patent leather belt tucked between my belly and my chest), but I walked down the aisle with a step full of pride, hearing the sound of whispers: "...Pregnant." "Pregnant?" "...Pregnant!" "Pregnant..."

The preparations were crazy, but everyone's hard work paid off because the day of the wedding was fantastic. The highlights: I got to spend more time with Katie's lovely friends, we hung out with Jeff's friend Trent from the good ole days, AND I got to eat pizza at the reception. Hopefully the photographer caught some of my pregnant moves on the dance floor, because they were pretty swell in my opinion. By the end of the night, I was mostly just swaying on the dance floor and limping to the water station (to the beat of the music mind you) every 5 minutes or so. 

People at the wedding were still claiming I didn't look pregnant, BUT the little lady at the nail salon could certainly tell. Five minutes into my pedicure she asked, "When your due date?" It took me a few moments to process what she was asking. Then it dawned on me: she could tell I was pregnant! I contemplated how beautiful the awkwardness would be if I told her I wasn't with child. The next 20 minutes of her rubbing my feet would have been glorious. However, I got so excited she could discern my belly was not from beer consumption that I responded with pride, "November 22nd!"

By the end of the wedding weekend I could barely walk and my back was giving out every time I bent over, but my nails looked incredible - thanks Yen.

Hopefully someday I'll have wedding photos to share, but for now...the 24 week bump:

Turns out this was a terrible day for us to attempt a bump picture. 

How do I feel?
Feeling pretty great despite that fact my back is killing me, I waddle when I walk because Little Boy is resting on my bladder, and I can barely get into and out of bed at night.

Weight gain?
18 lbs

Food cravings?
Love me some pizza. I've been wanting French toast for a while, maybe I'll need to give in soon.

Food aversions?
Not really. I do need to find out what's causing this heartburn though.

Sleep is good. My dreams have calmed quite a bit. I mostly attribute this to the fact that I'm no longer reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

Definitely punching me in the bladder, and the kicks starting to move higher. Also, I'm no longer seeing patterns in his waking/sleeping hours - he seems to be moving most of the time.


What have I learned?
One cannot dance as one used to while pregnant. Also, it's still fun to go wine tasting when pregnant. Even though you cannot drink, you can still partake in the merriment.

Katie downing a glass of wine the day before her wedding. I dared her to.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Necessary Benefits of R&R

When I look back on the summer of 2012, I will remember it as being both fun and hectic. So far I have driven down to Oregon four times, and I have been out of town almost every other weekend since May. We still have one more road trip planned to Montana for mid-August, then are home until Baby arrives (I think). Although I enjoy traveling and visiting with loved ones, the stress of packing, maintaining a home while away from home, and the constant change of my daily routines has finally started to ware on me physically.

At 23 weeks I traveled down to the Oregon Coast for my sister-in-law's bachelorette party. I was a little nervous to go down there for a couple reasons. Not only would I be the sober pregnant lady at a bachelorette party, but also I had never met any of the girls who would be there. However, I was determined to make an appearance to support Katie, and I figured I could at least provide a responsible designated driver. When we picked up Katie's maid of honor Helena, I was immediately relieved. This girl was one of the sweetest, most beautiful women I have ever encountered...seriously someone that hot should not be so's not fair. Over the course of the day, more and more girls started to show up. I loved each and every one of them. No one got out of control or dramatic, everyone was incredibly hospitable, and I felt completely supported in my lack of alcohol consumption. To put the cherry on my sundae, there was another pregnant girl in the group, as well as a mother of two. The three of us had so much fun sharing pregnancy stories and exchanging parenting advice (Selena is the kind of mother I want to be!). It ended up being one of my favorite trips I have ever taken to the beach, and I don't think I've laughed so hard in months.

This experience was a great reminder of how important it is to have female companions. Although Jeff is my best friend, it was great having the company of 8 other girls for a weekend. Katie is very lucky to have such a strong community of women to which she can turn.

I mean it was a bachelorette party...

After beachin' it up with the ladies, my brother Joe and his girlfriend Sofi came to meet Jeff and me in Portland. Sweet, beautiful Sofi is from Monterrey, Mexico, and had never been to the Pacific Northwest. Joe spent most of July showing her all the hot spots, which necessitated another trip to Cannon Beach. Again, this was one of the best trips we have had in a long time. Joe and Sofi make wonderful travel companions, and we spent a majority of the trip playing games and making each other laugh.

Unfortunately, after a relaxing and semi-long walk on the beach with Jeff, Joe, and Sofi, I returned to the house to discover I had started spotting. Although this is normal in early pregnancy, it is in no way normal during the second trimester. I made a hasty phone call to the doctor, and was instructed to sit on the couch and take it easy for the rest of the trip. Although going to the Oregon Coast is not in any way a stressful vacation, any form of travel can take its tole on a pregnancy. With the heavy lifting of suitcases, multiple trips up and down stairs, and of course volunteering to help with wedding preparation while staying in Portland, our vacation quickly turned into a pregnant lady laying on the couch.

Though I was not experiencing severe pain or contractions, there was definitely discomfort. My lower back was strained from all the activities we had been doing (even though they were not strenuous), bending over became a nightmare, and even sitting on a hard chair was difficult. The doctor assured me everything was okay in the meantime as long as I relaxed, and we would check to make sure things were normal at my 24 week appointment. The wait over the next few days was excruciating. I was weepy and irritable, constantly worried, and 100% convinced that the baby was no longer moving as much as he was before the incident. I made the mistake of agreeing to sing at a funeral, and was picturing my baby in the casket the whole time (it took dark thoughts to keep myself from breaking down). I even started crying during my yoga class when the teacher asked how things were going. I shared my story with him, which some men might consider to be over-sharing, but I swear he intuitively knew I was having a difficult time just by looking at me. He was loving and supportive, and even adjusted the class to be gentle enough for my current state.

[Quick side note. For any pregnant women (and/or partners of pregnant women) in the Spokane area, Lila Yoga Studio has a wonderful prenatal class. I find myself scheduling each week around attending. I highly recommend! I have been to Harmony as well, but coming from someone who practiced yoga before pregnancy, I prefer Lila.]

At my 24 week appointment, Baby's heartbeat was strong. I breathed a sigh of relief, and have been feeling okay since. Though all is normal, I am not willing to take any more chances, and will not allow myself to be overexerted (except for dancing at Katie's wedding).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

You're Pregnant? Life At 22 Weeks

Remember how I had a hard time hiding my pregnancy early on? Well, now I am having difficulties convincing people I'm pregnant. I get sideways [judgmental] glances from coworkers while washing my hands in the bathroom sink. I can see the wheels turning in their heads, "Is that a maternity top, or did she just eat a big lunch?" I bought a Snap N Go stroller from someone on Craigslist (I might be a little too excited about this purchase). The seller looked at me and said, "So are you buying this for someone as a gift, or are you just really early?" When I tell people I am 22 weeks, they look at me like I'm crazy.

People: my doctor - who has the most important opinion in my book - is convinced I am 22 weeks pregnant, the tumbling and turning of a creature in my stomach convinces me I am 22 weeks pregnant, and I've gained upwards of 15 lbs (well above average for someone my height). So yes, I am in fact pregnant...and 22 weeks at that.

I think part of the problem is the disbursement of weight gain. Between 12 and 16 weeks, my chest had gone from being large to gargantuan. Maybe people just can't see the baby bump because it's hiding under my giant rack?

And now for a fun hormonal story. When I expressed frustrations about my teenage boy appetite to my sister-in-law Angie, the clever girl had many great suggestions, one of which was to drink a serving of Muscle Milk when I get my mid-morning craving (10am on the dot!). They are semi-nutritious and filling, while providing a dose of much needed protein to a vegetarian. I made a trip to Costco for this specific item. As much as certain family members of mine love this store (you know who you are...Dad), I get frustrated and overwhelmed by the amount of overweight people standing in the middle of the aisles. Call me rude, but you're being rude and I have better things to do with my time than watch you wait for a sample. Anyhoo, the whole affair took nearly two hours when you factor in driving and the fact that I couldn't find the product I was looking for, and I was more than ready to start my experiment the next day.

At 10am the next morning (snack time!), the Muscle Milk was nowhere to be found. I remembered taking it out of the refrigerator, and I could have sworn I put it in my work bag. My confusion and hunger quickly turned into rage as I threw all the possessions out of my purse and work bag, then stormed around the office in a fury, frantically searching for something that would not be found. WTF Emily, why can't you ever do anything right! You spent two hours of your precious time getting this stuff only to leave it at home?!?! I have always been hard on myself, but at this moment I could think of no better solution than to slap myself as hard as I could. I mean, REALLY slap myself. I needed to cause myself intense physical pain because I deserved it for my utter stupidity. I made the freakin' trip to Costco only to forget the goods at home!

Don't worry folks, I didn't cause myself any harm. But I did get a good look at the capability of my hormones. As I type this blog and sip on my Muscle Milk, I can look back on the experience, wonder why I started crying and freaking out over such a stupid thing, and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Lesson learned...beware the pregnancy hormones!

How do I feel?
For a few hours I thought morning sickness had returned. Then I realized this is how heartburn feels. The old wives say heartburn means your baby will be hairy. I believe it, because Jeff is not the smoothest man out there. I just hope all those little hairs are on the darker end of the color spectrum.

Weight gain?
17 lbs

Food cravings?
Gimme some Muscle Milk! Also, I am starting to realize my day isn't complete unless I've eaten a banana and had a glass of OJ.

Food aversions?
Fish. Ew.

Still getting up to use the restroom. Jeff's mom gifted us a Tempurpedic pillow that I just remembered we had in the basement. The thing is huge! I would never use it as a real pillow, but it feels amazing tucked between pregnant legs. I can even prop up one leg and roll over far enough to make it feel like I'm sleeping on my stomach! I do not know how much these things cost, but it could be worth the investment for pregnancy.

So much! And I'm starting to notice waking/sleeping patterns.

Still a boy!

What have I learned?
If you feel a hormonal attack coming on, it's best to warn people in advance. For example, earlier today I had to use the following statement, "This is the third time I've called about this issue today, so I apologize in advance if I sound frustrated." I find people are usually more receptive to you when you admit to being a bitch.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week 20

What can I report for week twenty? For the most part I feel amazing. In fact, I feel so amazing that sometimes I forget I am pregnant. I will start exercising, then wonder why I am suddenly so tired. I now catch myself saying, "Oh yeah, I'm pregnant!" Now that I am able to move around, and now that my stomach is officially starting to grow to accommodate a full-sized baby, I am also starting to experience those intense aches women are talking about in my prenatal yoga classes: round ligament pain.

For me, round ligament pain is similar to menstrual cramps, but it feels like more of a stretching and pulling sensation along my hip line. My doctor says the pains should go away soon because the nerves will eventually DIE from the intense stretching of the ligament, but I have heard women say these pains can last through the entire second trimester and well into the third. If you are unlucky enough to experience this sensation as a pregnant woman, beware the sneeze. Any sudden movement can cause enormous amounts of pain, and I have started groaning from severe pain after every sneeze. I am just glad I do not have allergies.

Like I mentioned before, one of the hardest parts about being pregnant is the long list of things you are not allowed to do. If you are sick or in pain, you can basically take a Tylenol and deal with it. Under normal circumstances, a woman can take a hot bath or use a heating pad if she's feeling abdominal pain. Pregnant women, however, are not allowed to do this. Hot tubs, heating pads, hot yoga, and any other relaxing form of heat are all off limits. However, one night my round ligament pains were so bad I had to heat up a rice pack in the microwave and put it on my stomach. (Don't tell the pregnancy police! Someday you will know who I'm talking about if you've never been pregnant before.)

At week 20 we also had our official ultrasound, and it is in fact A BOY!!! He was moving around like crazy, and showing off his man package like it was going out of style. Jeff was so proud.

I think he has my eyes.

How do I feel?
Fantastic! The round ligament pains are worth mentioning, but they are not bad enough to keep me down for long.

Weight gain?
~15 lbs

Food cravings?
Chips and salsa.

Food aversions?

I am not sleeping as well these days. I wake up multiple times during the night (mostly to use the bathroom), and find it hard to get back to sleep.

So much!

It's officially a boy!

What have I learned?
I cannot do everything I could before pregnancy. I am finally starting to come to terms with the fact that I can only do (at most!) 3 chores a day. Jeff has been amazing, and has definitely took over a majority of the household chores. Ladies, if your husband is the kind of man who expects you to do all the work around the house, even when you're pregnant, I feel for you...I feel deeply.
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