I Never Read the Warning Labels

I have a confession to make:

As badly as I wanted to be pregnant, I was absolutely not prepared for pregnancy. Not one bit.

It’s mostly my stubbornness to blame. It’s not like people didn’t try to warn me that pregnancy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They did. I just didn’t listen. (Really though, when you want a baby so badly, are you even capable of being rational about it? I think not.)

They tell you there will be morning sickness. You think you understand, but quickly realize that you absolutely did not understand. You had no idea that the 24/7 nausea would render you useless and miserable. You had no idea that you could sustain yourself for SO many weeks on a diet of sugary beverages and food with no color in it.

They tell you that you’ll be tired. Of course you’ll be tired, you think to yourself. Growing a human is hard work. But tired can’t be all that bad, right? And then the next thing you know you’re breaking a world record for most naps taken on a single Saturday.

They warn you of impending moodiness as they glance knowingly at your poor, unsuspecting fool of a partner. You think, yes, yes—hormones. DUH. Then suddenly, you are angrily hurling laundry at that poor, unsuspecting fool of a partner as you run out of the room and throw yourself on the bed sobbing. You barely even recognize yourself. Your partner has no idea which of your moods is coming or going. You are either madly in love with him/her or you are blinded with (temporary) hatred because of the way they swallow their oatmeal.

And then there are the things that no one really warned you about. The headaches. (Not everyone gets them, but I sure as hell do.) The constipation. The hair—OMG, the hair. Clearly the bearded ladies of circuses long past were all just pregnant. And let’s not forget the sleeplessness!

Sometimes, it’s all a bit much. I had to lie down after less than an hour of light work in the garden yesterday because I was suddenly so sore and crampy. Last week, I had to stop and rest on a neighbor’s retaining wall 20 minutes into an evening stroll with Catch and the dogs. I constantly have to force myself to be even vaguely productive. I have no desire to see friends or do—well, anything.

There are these moments, though. Like last night when I was curled into Catch as she absentmindedly played with my hair and our baby girl was kicking away inside me. Or when my mom excitedly told me how the wall that she’s never been able to find artwork for has officially been declared the grandbaby wall. It’s those moments that make me wonder if there is any better feeling in the world.

Sometimes, I look at pictures from a year ago when I was running like mad and drinking wine with abandon and I crave that life like a pregnant woman craves donuts. (Trust me—I know.) On the surface, all of those photos look so idyllic that they can almost fool me into believing that the girl holding that glass of wine while the sun shines in the vineyard isn’t actually sadder and more desperate than she has ever been in her life. But I know the truth.

Now here I am—miserably and blissfully pregnant with a pounding headache, a wiggling baby girl who just reached viability, and a heart more full than it has ever been. And I’m glad I didn’t really pay attention to all of pregnancy’s warning labels because I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.

(Although having said that, will you hold it against me if I trade the headache for a couple of Tylenol?)

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Alien Belly, etc.

Poor Catch has been really frustrated because every time I tell her that baby girl is moving, the movement stops the moment Catch’s hand reaches my belly. I feel bad, but her movement is just so erratic that it’s hard to know whether a thump is going to be just a thump or if it will be a string of thumps.

Tuesday night, I was lying in bed while Catch was brushing her teeth. Baby girl was being pretty active, but I was hesitant to say anything because I didn’t want Catch to be upset if she ran over and the activity stopped. This time, though, I happened to be looking down at my belly and I realized for the first time that I can actually see this little monkey’s movements from the outside now. I really never paid attention before!

I laughed because it was just so incredibly bizarre (and amazing) and Catch came into the bedroom asking what was so funny. She absolutely didn’t believe me. Fortunately, she sat down next to me and watched for a moment and she was able to see for herself! Once she saw a thump from the outside, she put her hand on my belly and finally felt this little one move for the first time. Cue the smiles.

Two milestones in one evening. It was pretty wonderful.

I guess technically it was 3 milestones if you count the 5 minutes she spent using my bladder as a trampoline while we were watching TV on the couch. That was a first, too. What a crazy sensation that is!

Totally unrelated to all of that, I finished knitting baby girl’s little green dress yesterday. It still needs washing, blocking and some embellishment, but seriously… it’s a tiny dress. For my very own tiny human. I am in love.

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And speaking of clothes for tiny humans, I found a really cute (and brand new) Etsy shop (AelaAnneandCompany) via Instagram the other day. I bought a tiny little raglan shirt that says, “#TEAMTWOMOMS,” but I am equally in love with their You Are My Sunshine shirt.

WHY ARE MINIATURE CLOTHES SO IRRESISTIBLE???

23 Weeks

We reached 23 weeks on Saturday, which is a bit crazy to me. Didn’t I just get pregnant yesterday? When did the weeks stop dragging and start flying?

Baby girl is now about 12 inches from head to toe, and she weighs about a pound. I do not want to know what I weigh at the moment. I had the most intense craving for chocolate just now (probably because I have a horrible headache) and ended up using the work vending machine for only the second time in the 8+ years our office has been here. Even though I clearly don’t make a habit of it, I still wish I didn’t know that damn thing was there. Although I do feel a tiny bit better, so maybe we’ll just consider it highly caloric Tylenol and leave it at that.

Sleep is becoming ridiculous. Between getting up to pee and absolute insomnia between 3 & 5 am, a good night’s sleep is starting to feel like a distant memory. I can handle the bathroom trips, but the insomnia is killing me. Often, it comes along with severe anxiety over some silly thing that feels like the end of the world in the middle of the night, but in the light of day is actually no big deal.

My engagement ring is still on (for now), but my wedding ring came off last week. It’s about a quarter size smaller than my engagement ring, and it was starting to get very uncomfortable by late afternoon. I figured it was time to tuck it away for a while.

I haven’t been feeling well the past couple of days. It’s possible that it’s something I ate, but more likely that it’s some sort of a bug since people seem to be dropping like flies around the office. When I got home yesterday, I was absolutely miserable and I went straight to bed. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself because Catch had to leave to play softball and I didn’t want to be alone, but as I was lying in bed baby girl gave me a few good thumps. It was a perfect reminder that I am anything but alone. She’s always there with me, and vice versa. As anxious as I am to have her on the outside, I sort of love that right now I have her all to myself.

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The baby blanket is coming along. I finally finished with the boring colors and got to start on the pink last night. Right now it reminds me of neapolitan ice cream. I love that it covers my belly as I’m working on it. I look at it and all I can think about is wrapping up our perfect baby girl in this blanket that her mommy made her. Something tells me that it will be getting some pre-baby cuddle time with me once I’m finished with it.

A Tip for Supporting Your Pregnant Daughter in Law

DON’T

Private message her this pin on Pinterest:

MIL Pin

You had good intentions, and it may even be something your daughter in law was already considering, but really… just don’t do it.  She does not need unsolicited advice about shrinking her post-partum belly from her mother in law. 

——-

I am starting to fear the moment when Pinterest notifies me that I have a new private message. I blame two parties for this: 1) the coworkers who pitched in and got my MIL an iPad as a retirement gift, and 2) Catch for teaching her how to use the Pinterest app.

The Doppler

Baby girl has been pretty damn active the last few days, leading me to feel even more ridiculous about that middle of the night doppler purchase than I already did. Yesterday, she was doing chorus line kicks while I was in a serious meeting with my boss and it was all I could do to keep a straight face while talking. There is absolutely no question that I have a tiny little human growing in there no matter how hard it is for me to wrap my head around that reality.

Last night, Catch said that we should try to get a decent video of baby’s heartbeat before bed. We didn’t need it for reassurance; we just wanted to have it with us on our phones so we could hear her anytime we want. After a few minutes of fidgeting and searching, we got a good clip of a nice loud heartbeat that I have already listened to about a thousand times.

Then, I sent it to my parents. That’s when I finally got over my buyer’s remorse. They were both so amazed by that little heartbeat. They absolutely loved it. My dad is not a very expressive kind of guy, but he was thrilled. They kept commenting on how fast it is or how loud it is. It was pretty cute to see them so excited.

The doppler has paid for itself. Not exactly in the “peace of mind” way that I expected when I bought it in a panic at 2 am, but it got to help people who have not been to the doctor appointments or seen the ultrasounds feel a bit more connected to our baby girl. How could that ever be a bad thing?

22 Weeks

papaya

It is totally surreal to be over halfway through the 2nd trimester. As of today, there are 40 days remaining until the 3rd trimester and 124 days remaining until our due date. (Yes, I have a countdown on my phone!) Time is starting to fly! It’s moderately alarming. Baby showers are being planned by our families, registries are being tweaked, and conversations that were hypothetical a few months ago are becoming a bit more real and necessary. As much as I would love to linger in the land of car seat/stroller reviews, it’s time to get serious about things like:

  1. Maternity leave specifics (I asked HR to review this with me weeks ago so we can budget accordingly, but she keeps putting me off. Grrrrrr.)
  2. My advance health care directive (Catch knows my wishes, but I think it makes it so much easier for overwhelmed loved ones if these things are spelled out on paper)
  3. Day care
  4. Who will have legal guardianship for our child in the event that we both die or become incapacitated
  5. Additional life insurance

These are the things I can’t even look at without feeling anxious/overwhelmed. Hell, #3 alone has been giving me nightmares. $250 a week??? I die. Please refer to item #2.

Physically, I am feeling pretty good. Undeniably pregnant, and definitely feeling like I have a papaya hanging out in my midsection, but good. On Saturday, we cleaned the house and the yard and then had a good friend over for dinner. (I made some Greek-inspired things that were fantastic—will have to do another post with some of the recipes.) I had to rest several times throughout the day, and by the time our friend arrived I was crampy, uncomfortable, and close to comatose in a lounge chair out back. Note to self: You cannot go all day like you used to! We still had a nice evening, but I spent most of yesterday recovering.

We’ve had some setbacks on the house-buying front, but I’m trying not to let it get to me. At this point, it’s very unlikely that we’ll have time to find a place before the arrival of baby girl, which means we’re going to have to make do for a few months in our tiny 1-bedroom place until we sort things out. Our nursery “plans” have become nursery “hypotheticals,” and last night at dinner we had a serious discussion about how to rearrange the furniture in the house to make room for a bassinet, some baby storage and a few other baby necessities. I despise the idea of being stuck at home on maternity leave during the worst heat of the summer in 600 square feet with my wife, two dogs, a baby attached to me, and no central air conditioning. It’s not going to be easy or comfortable, but as tempting as moving may be, it really doesn’t make sense to toss the home-buying plans and move to another rental at this point. I’m just going to have to deal. But it sucks.

If you follow me on Instagram (houndmamas), you know that I’ve been knitting away on her baby blanket and the little dress/tunic I started a few weeks ago. I think I’m going to add a big pale yellow flower to the lower front of the dress once it’s done. We’ll see. It definitely needs something.

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Blanket colors… I forced myself to start with the dull colors!

So that’s 22 weeks in a nutshell. I’m hoping week 23 will lead with, “Catch finally got to feel the baby kick!”  So far, every time she gets busy thumping hard enough to warrant me grabbing Catch, she stops moving the moment Catch’s hand hits my belly.  Stubborn baby!

Just give me the prescription pad and nobody gets hurt…

I determined today that if I am going to mentally survive pregnancy, at least one of the following two things must happen:

  1. I need to be knocked into a drug-induced happy place until July
  2. I need to be allowed to stay home with my feet up all day just knitting and enjoying baby movement and not thinking about things like housing, daycare, work, maternity leave, savings account balances, the health of our baby, glass vs plastic bottles, cloth diapers, etc.

You know what I did at 2 o’clock this morning? I ordered a Doppler. I am almost 22 weeks pregnant. I have made it this far without one of those damn things, but at 2 am, it felt like the only thing in the world that was going to make me feel better about the fact that I hadn’t felt little miss GROUNDED FOR LIFE FROM BIRTH move since I left for work yesterday morning. (Usually, I feel her more often than I don’t.)

Pay Pal should really come with some kind of a 2 am shopping spree security feature. I guarantee that if I’d had to name the countries in Africa in reverse alphabetical order before I clicked the “Complete Purchase” button, I probably would have fallen asleep halfway through and I would be free of this ridiculous buyer’s remorse today.

WHO ORDERS A DOPPLER MORE THAN HALFWAY THROUGH PREGNANCY????

I do. Apparently.

And guess what happened 20 minutes after I clicked that damn Complete Purchase button? Little miss ALL PRIVILEGES REVOKED UNTIL ADULTHOOD did a flip and went right back to kicking. She’s pretty much been at it ever since.

You guys, I was doing SO GREAT with my new found positivity for two whole weeks before that damn accident on Monday. I was registering for baby things like a fiend. I wasn’t using the word “if.” I was thinking about what to wear to our baby showers. I was excited. And then BAM. (Literally.) All that positivity turned into massive anxiety in the momentary turn of my head during rush hour.

I am hoping that since little miss NEVER GETTING A PONY FOR HER BIRTHDAY EVER is back to her usual antics, I will calm the hell down (and not freak out like this the next time she pulls the same stunt). In the meantime, Google “anxiety in pregnancy” and you will find a picture of me browsing fetal Dopplers by the light of my cell phone at 2 am.

A Quickie

Just popping in for a quickie to say thank you for the kind words on my last post.  I am still recovering mentally from the excitement.  Baby girl is apparently absolutely fine, but she hasn’t been moving as much as she was last week, so I’m a little paranoid.  I took yesterday off from work to rest, and I won’t tell you how much of the day I spent lying on my left side trying to coax her to give me a kick or two.  It’s not that she’s NOT moving.  She absolutely is.  It’s just that last week she was a freaking gymnast and the last few days it feels more like she’s kicked back in a hammock with a drink in her hand.

I know I just need to give it a rest and stop worrying, but easier said than done.  Fortunately, I don’t have to wait long for my next doctor appointment, because I see the perinatologist on Monday. I know that if I’m still wound up by then, she’ll be able to talk me down from the ledge.

On a lighter note, Catch and I have been slowly but surely working on our baby registry. I popped on to Amazon this morning to add something that had just occurred to me.  You know how Amazon likes to make suggestions to you for things you should consider?  Well it does that quite a bit with registries.  Today, it gave me this:

registry

I mean what was I thinking? How could I possibly have thought that any baby registry would be complete without the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack? I think I will make this my go to baby shower gift from now on.

L & D

Hello from labor & delivery!

Don’t panic. We’re 95% sure everything is absolutely fine. 

I rear ended someone on the freeway (rush hour traffic) on my way home from work this afternoon. Not one of my finest moments as I’m sure you can imagine. 

The accident wasn’t that bad, but it was quite a jolt and I had some mild cramps afterward (probably more from the seatbelt). I called Catch sobbing and we agreed that I should hop over to urgent care just to be safe. Urgent care informed me that after 20 weeks, I need to go to L & D, so here I am. 

Baby was wiggling up a storm when I got here, but remained stubbornly still while the OB did an ultrasound. Her heart was ticking away though, so we’re not too concerned. Her placenta looks fine, too. 

They took some blood to check for any sign of either bleeding from the placenta or the baby’s blood, but I honestly expect that to be totally fine. 

Otherwise, I get to spend another hour or so being monitored for contractions and then they’ll check baby girl’s heartbeat one more time before I can go home. 

The view is lovely. 



I’ve had a talk with baby girl and she’s been reminded that it is nowhere near time for her to make an appearance. All I need from her today is some reassuring thumps and a nice strong heartbeat. 

Sigh. 

I can’t freaking believe I did this. I am so mad at myself. I wish I could have a do-over. I just want to cry.