Enjoying Pregnancy

We are quickly closing in on the third trimester! It’s so hard to believe. All of the sudden I find myself thinking, this pregnancy may be actually flying by. Just kidding, I have 13 weeks left. It’s definitely not, but realizing that this is my last pregnancy has had more impact on me than I would have expected. I’m relishing in the moments I didn’t soak up before. Every little kick and somersault, the little pains that irk me when I move from seated to standing, and the times Haines pulls up my shirt to check out my belly. (No, he has no idea what’s in there. I’m sure he thinks I should lay off the snacks.) I’m even thinking about having maternity photos taken… although in fairness, I’m still really cheap and very uncomfortable in front of a camera so I have a friend who wants to take my photo for free, call me!

I didn’t enjoy being pregnant with Haines. It wasn’t particularly painful or tough but the emotional turmoil I felt was constant. I really struggled with what becoming a parent meant, what it was going to do to my life, to my identity. I felt obsessed. My first pregnancy and many of the months afterwards was almost solely focused on processing what it meant to embrace my evolving sense of self while making room for the needs of another life. It was easy and insanely difficult all at the same time. There is nothing like being needed by your child to put aside your own needs without another thought. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t hard to power forward, go without sleeping, live on snacks, etc. You can’t power on forever without a toll and I have learned to make the most of the moments I have to myself- even if it’s just nap time.

This process is not done, of course. I have no doubt I will learn this again with #2 and continue to learn with each phase of our lives.

But these days at least, I’m finding joy not only in Haines but in this pregnancy and anticipating the littlest member of our family. Where before I thought I might burst with fear, now I am a strange combination of calm and elation. I want to celebrate this time! But as baby #2 grows, I’m doing my best to make time for the two of us (me and the tiny, growing bun in my not-so-tiny oven). Once I have two children out in the world, there may not even be nap times to catch a moment of quiet.

Prenatal yoga// I won’t go on about this any more. If you’ve read any post I’ve written in the last few months, it’s been all prenatal yoga is the best thing since sliced bread. This is still true.

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Baths// When I was pregnant with Haines I was able to take a bubble bath every week. Now some tiny toddler keeps dirtying up the tub with his playground dirt and leftover dinner in his hair. For these last few weeks, there will be more baths. If I tell you I can’t hang out because I’m washing my hair, it’s a lie. I’m just reading a magazine in the tub.

Beauty regimen// I don’t know what else to call it, but I’m trying to slow down and actually pay attention to taking care of myself. Haines keeps me busy enough that repeatedly I get to work realizing I haven’t brushed my hair, put deodorant on or checked my outfit. I won’t look in the mirror until my first bathroom break at work. Clearly I’m not vain but I’m often disappointed when I get that first look. It makes me feel like a slob. So I’m slowing down. I’m remembering to rub almond oil on my belly, put mascara on in the morning and a couple bobby pins in my hair. It’s not impressive for sure, but I’m hopeful less people will look at me like I’m an injured whale.

Friends// These weeks I don’t get halfway through the week without mentally formulating a plan for some weekend social activities. I don’t care what it is as long as I’m chatting to someone else for an hour or two each day. It’s not enough to really satisfy my needs but it takes me from surviving to enjoying life. This weekend my husband sent me to beach yoga, we had friends for dinner, checked out a new coffee shop with a neighbor, and we’re going to a goodbye party.

Date night// Since Haines turned 3 months we’ve tried to take a date night every month. We have mostly been successful in this mission, but with number 2 on the way we’re trying to get in more whenever we can.

Only 13 more weeks to go y’all. No one panic.

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Pregnancy Update: Halfway!

So we finally crossed over the halfway mark in pregnancy. According to friends my pregnancy is flying by… I’m not sure I feel the same way, but I’m enjoying it more than I did with Haines.

With Haines I was incredibly stressed about what it was going to mean to be a mother. I assumed I would feel an insane love for him but I didn’t know what that meant. I couldn’t imagine what that felt like and I certainly didn’t understand what a driver that would become in my life. I was worried about experiencing a loss of identity and missing out on the things I enjoy.

They weren’t unreasonable concerns. I did feel lost for a while in the fourth trimester. I felt overwhelmed and without purpose. My sole activity was just to keep Haines alive which wasn’t very fulfilling despite the joy I felt holding and loving him. I still struggle with finding time for the things I enjoy. This blog post will probably take a week to write and yet it’s all fine. I have a better sense of “this is temporary” and more excitement rather than nerves this pregnancy. Although the idea of having two children to chase is terrifying.

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Pregnancy has treated me very well so far. My nausea was worse in the first trimester than with Haines but it was still manageable. Our anatomy scan showed a healthy baby in there and so far our only concerns are:

  • My placenta is underneath the baby which is not where it’s supposed to be. We’ll get an additional ultrasound at 28 weeks to see if it moves, which is apparently very common. Worst case scenario is a c-section which is not the end of the world.
  • Making sure I get antibiotics before delivery to reduce the risk of group strep b this time. I definitely want to avoid another sepsis experience!

This are both things we can prepare for and although I think about them from time to time, I’m not overly worried. We’ve chatted with the midwives and the pediatrician on our concerns and feel pretty good.

I’ve discovered I’m waddling already, much to my chagrin. I’m just a waddler apparently. I’m making a bigger effort to exercise despite hating it more and more. Today I went to a High Intensity Interval Training class and made so many modifications that I wondered why I was there. Still, it helped to be in a class setting and I did exercises that I wouldn’t have thought of to do on my own. With Haines I severely reduced my exercise starting at 32 weeks. I’m hoping to make it that long again.

Otherwise life is pretty much:

  • Drinking gallons of water every day (Okay, I average around 90-100 ounces) and peeing every 45 minutes
  • Obsessively coating my skin in sweet almond oil to prevent stretch marks
  • Hosting family- tis the benefits of living at the beach!
  • Surviving 90F+ days with 80% humidity
  • Re-reading Great With Child for the second time (recommend!) as well as reading Fever Dream (recommend!), Educated (recommend!), And Now We Have Everything (3 out of 5 stars), and What We Lose (don’t recommend). My night stand stack of books is shrinking… but I have a back up pile ready!

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Every day I feel more kicks and somersaults which I am relishing. It’s a total gift to know this little guy who is a total mystery and yet I know more about him than anyone else. What a strange thing to be a mother, isn’t it?

I finished this all in one sitting. I’m beyond impressed with myself.

 

How Did I Get Here?

I cannot believe we are in the third trimester. This year has been a total whirlwind. There has been zero crafting, little baking, minimal biking, and many of the other things I normally strive to do. This year has been just straight up pregnancy. How did we get here?

 

First Trimester:

Having few friends who are parents I did not understand what the first trimester would be like. Disclaimer: it’s different for everyone. For me, it was exhausting. I got on the couch as soon as I got home from work. Staying upright during dinner was asking a lot. I got put to bed almost as soon as I stopped eating, which was never at the end of the meal. Eating a full plate of food was out of the question.

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I don’t know this baby but we are kindred spirits.

Luckily though, I didn’t have morning sickness. Queasiness, yes. Overwhelming nausea or vomiting, no. To those who have to deal with this, I bow down to you.

What I’ve learned:

  • Sleep, sleep, sleep. Don’t fight it. Just embrace it. This trimester drags on but the others do not.
  • Carry food everywhere. Do not leave the room without a snack in hand. Keep a snack next to the bed for when you wake up.
  • People don’t know what they’re talking about. Everyone starting telling me all sort of bullshit about exercise and whatnot but if your pregnancy is straightforward (high risk people, do not listen to me) you are fine. Your baby is the size of a grape. You can still pretty much do what all your activities. No freaking out necessary.

Learning I was pregnant also gave me an incredible amount of empathy. In addition to being exciting, it has also been scary and overwhelming. To every woman doing this alone, I wish I could offer you my support. To every teenager facing this, I wish I could talk you through this. To everyone who doesn’t speak the language where they are, trying to navigate medical care, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. Once I get on the other side of my own pregnancy I want to find an organization that to work with to offer support for women making reproductive decisions- whichever route they choose.

Second Trimester:

It was around 15 weeks that I started feeling fairly normal. Someone falsely advertised to me that I would feel like superwoman but I really just felt normal. Not exhausted, not queasy- just regular. The baby started kicking during this time which has been really weird and incredible. This is my favorite part of being pregnant, although I don’t think I’m going to miss watching my stomach move back and forth.

What I’ve learned:

  • The Internet is awesome. There aren’t nearly as many pregnancy or mom blogs that strike me as “real” where women talk about their concerns about parenthood but there are some and it is a huge relief. Between Twitter, Instagram and blogs I have felt much less alone when I don’t feel like a glowy, Stepford wife (which is not a thing that has ever happened to me). Start here-
  • I should have started looking for daycare the moment we peed on a stick. We are now on 3 waitlists, only one of which we have a reasonable chance of getting into around the time I go back to work. Yay.
  • Picking out childbirth classes or a pediatrician should also not be delayed. We have gotten the last available spot for a December baby at the pediatrician of our choice and barely got into childbirth classes. We arranged these somewhere around 27 weeks. Apparently we’re slackers.
  • What I am still learning is that my emotions are overwhelming and that is totally okay. At times I felt incredible fear, confusion and despair at being pregnant. That doesn’t make me a bad person. This is scary. This is overwhelming. Life is changing and chances are I will never regret that but doesn’t mean I can’t look at the parts of life that stay behind with mixed emotions.

Third Trimester:

Oh, my. How did I get to third trimester so quickly? How do I get all the millions of things I think I should do done in the next 11 weeks?

I’m hoping to learn to ease up but… no guarantees.

You Are Clearly Not a Drinker

Pregnancy in the early months is sort of strange. A lot is happening but you don’t feel any fun stuff, just weird things like your organs being in new places or your uterus growing. It is pretty much just uncomfortable.

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As soon as I shared the big news, several women (mostly with grown children) got a little misty eyed over memories of their pregnancies and tiny babies. They immediately told me about baby’s first kick and talked of loving the life growing inside. Women with smaller children still seemed excited for me but wary eyes held back their true feelings. Each congratulations came with a bit of “Oh girl, you have no idea what’s coming.”

I have been so lucky thus far. I did not have morning sickness, just a queasiness that I could squelch with a handful of trail mix or a banana.  To date not a lot of heartburn or other forms of indigestion common in pregnancies. I have the upmost admiration for women who experience this and still manage to function like a human being. The first trimester I laid on the couch so much it practically molded to my body. I would quit eating dinner to slowly slump onto the table. Tyler would put away the unfinished food and put me straight to bed.

I haven’t gotten that burst of energy I am told comes in the second trimester. Phrases like “superwoman” and “nonstop nesting” have been thrown in my direction but haven’t taken root. Regardless I am glad to just feel like myself. I haven’t given up on naps but going to bed after dark no longer makes me feel hungover.

Now that I don’t go to bed at 7 pm I am faced more often with the reminder that I am living an alcohol free existence. For those who say abstaining from alcohol isn’t that bad, I say YOU ARE CLEARLY NOT A REGULAR DRINKER. (Imagine a really loud voice there, not necessarily me shouting.) Yes, it is easy to make the decision not to drink but that doesn’t mean I stop salivating over the smell of my husband’s hoppy IPA. I have to wipe the drool away when I see friends sipping a chilled glass of vino verde. I do indulge in a “taste” of their drinks as there is much evidence pointing to occasional drinking being safe but I haven’t felt comfortable making the choice to go beyond the rare sip.

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I’ve spent the last 13 weeks trying to find fun replacements for my sober drinks. Where once I scoffed at mocktails, now I’m scouring the internet to find them. So far I’ve replaced an evening libation with:

La Croix– It’s an obvious choice. It’s bubbly and has just enough flavor to make you feel like a person who is actually choosing to drink this voluntarily.

Martinelli’s Sparking Apple Cider– This must be served in a wine glass or you will not feel fancy and that defeats the purpose. As a child sparking grape juice was what children were served at Thanksgiving. Always in a wine glass! Even as an adult apple cider is delish and the bubbly takes it to a new level. There came a point where this became a little sweet for me to drink regularly but it made the transition into sober living very helpful.

Izze Sodas– This is another choice on the sweet side but it comes in a glass bottle and in a million yummy flavors. Cover it up with a Freaker and you can pretend you’re drinking a beer like everyone else.

Whole Foods Italian Sodas– Get the blood orange one! It is delicious! It is not as sweet as an Izze but enough that it feels like a good treat.

Flavored waters- I always make flavored waters in the summer to help me increase my water intake but this summer it is especially helpful. Right now I’ve got one small cut up cucumber floating in a large mason jar of water in my fridge. I’ll also be making water with mint, watermelon, lemon, lime and who knows what else! The choices are endless! I can make as many as I want because I’m sober and have a ridiculous amount of time for this kind of thing!

I was drinking kombucha in the early days of my pregnancy but unfortunately the smell puts me off a bit now. I’ve had to take a hiatus from making it. Next time I’ve got a backyard party of some kind I’m going to make a pitcher of one of these drinks I’ve recently discovered. Recently I went to a porch party where they had horchata and kept the booze separate because that’s what the best people every do!

(If you think this was post was sponsored because I am making product recommendations- bless you. Go ahead and believe that. )

Oh tiny, insignificant pregnancy woes! In other news we have a sonogram this week which I’m really looking forward to. We have an app that tells us what size produce the baby is and it is nice to have evidence that our baby is not actually an avocado or a turnip or a sweet potato (current produce size status). I’m having a hard time this week not imagining a Mr. or Mrs Potato Head floating around in there. Also, I felt my very first baby movement which is really strange to wrap your head around but also pretty cool.

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18 weeks bathroom selfie. I apologize if you can tell that I haven’t cleaned the mirror.

If anyone has a pregnancy blog to share with me, I’d appreciate it! Only slightly dysfunctional moms please. I need to be able to relate.