Home Stretch

Well, here I am, 39 weeks 5 days pregnant, and there’s no sign that this kid is preparing to exit my body. For the past three weeks the doctor has given me the same news upon checking my cervix: 50% effaced, no dilation, head down but not engaged in my pelvis. I know that not every woman dilates before she goes into labor but it is really discouraging to hear that there’s been no change in three weeks. Three weeks, mind you, that I’ve been taking Evening Primrose Oil, drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea, walking and rolling around on a yoga ball to try and get things moving along. I even spent Saturday pulling weeds in the garden, which I was hoping would open up my pelvis and make it easy for a certain someone to lock her head in. No luck.

Arlo doesn’t mind cuddling up to the belly a bit longer

I did have three timeable contractions on Saturday morning. They weren’t painful so I was pretty sure they weren’t going to lead to real labor but it was exciting to finally feel something happening! And it really motivated Zack and I, who’d been enjoying a lazy morning, to kick it into gear and get some stuff done around the house just in case it was Baby Time!

Surprisingly, it’s not so much that I am REALLY DONE being pregnant, which seems to be how many women feel at this point, that is making me anxious to get this show on the road. It’s that I am over anticipating labor and delivery. Not having any idea when I might go into labor is no longer a fun thing to think about and guess at – it is really beginning to stress me out! In part because I don’t know what to expect of myself and my body, but also because the thought of having to be induced if labor doesn’t happen on its own causes me some pretty severe anxiety. I’ve read so much about the increased odds of a c-section when a woman is induced and I DO NOT want a c-section if it’s at all avoidable.

I finished a short-term temporary office job last week and while it was a really good experience, I am thankful to be done working and to have these last couple days, weeks, whatever, to be able to finish preparing for Baby’s arrival. Today I finished sorting and laundering the hand-me-down clothes we’ve received and with the exception of a couple small things, baby prep is pretty much complete. I’m also pretty focused on trying to keep my house clean for after we bring her home from the hospital and have a stream of visitors who want to meet her…I’m guessing we won’t feel much like cleaning then! I would really love it if I’d stop finding the cats chilling in the Pack-n-Play the baby is going to sleep in at first in our bedroom. I’m guessing it’s pretty comfortable since I am constantly chasing one of them out of there!

Sappho would like to know why there was no mint on her pillow?

So, now that the end is [somewhat] in sight, here are my stats:

Weight gain: +23 lbs. Still all seems to be in the boobs and belly.

Stretch marks: Yep. Mostly over the lower part of my belly and extending to my sides. I’ve been smearing Vitamin E oil and Palmer’s Stretch Mark Reducing lotion on my skin for months, but this is something doctors and research say pretty much happens regardless if it’s in your genes. Bummer.

Most bothersome symptoms: Carpal tunnel in both hands; swelling in the feet, ankles and calves (SO MUCH SWELLING OMG); back paaaaaain (finally starting to strain the ol’ back with all the added weight in the front); peeing every 60-90 minutes or so at night; occasional insomnia.

Funniest thing about pregnancy so far: Well, pregnancy is just sort of weird and funny in general, but I am constantly amused by the fact that my belly button now resides slightly to the left of center on my stomach. I do have the linea nigra, or dark line, bisecting my belly from ribs to groin, but my belly button is too far to the left of center for the line to touch! My innie is also a slight outtie at the moment, though not a super prominent one.

My doctor has scheduled us an induction date, September 6, if I don’t go into labor on my own before then. She thinks it might help me relax and get my body going on its own to have an end date in sight, but so far I think the idea of induction being on the table as an absolute is stressing me out more than helping me calm down. If labor still doesn’t seem imminent at my 40 week appointment on 9/5 and the baby is doing well being stubborn and refusing to greet the world, I might decide to put off induction another week. Zack is pretty much on board with whatever I feel most comfortable with and I feel lucky to have such a supportive partner in all this craziness.

Here’s hoping I have some news to report in the next few days – I sure would love to tell you that she decided to come on her own!

 

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Changing My Health (And My Attitude)

I am a big girl. I’ve never been skinny or scrawny and unless I am throwing up my toenails I’m hungry at regular, maybe-too-close-together intervals. I don’t eat dainty portions and I almost never order salad at restaurants. I stopped playing sports when I entered high school but I was never overweight until college, when I discovered that I really enjoy beer and that Alfano’s delivered delicious pizza even at 4am to drunk college kids. I gained about 25 lbs. in college but I couldn’t admit to myself that I was making some pretty unhealthy choices.

Something that took me a long time to realize about myself is that I look to what and how much other people are eating and make those decisions for myself accordingly. If we are together and you want McDonald’s, great! But if you prefer a healthy homemade vegetarian meal I am up for that, too. Not to make any of you who know me in real life self-conscious, but I am always aware of people’s food and portion choices. I am more willing to load myself to the gills with spaghetti if you are serving yourself a generous portion. I’ll take that second (or third, or fourth) piece of bread at a dinner party if the other women are helping themselves to multiple servings, too.

When I moved in with my now-husband after college I began to eat portion sizes that were much more appropriate for a man’s body (not to be sexist, but men do require larger portions than women because of body size differences). I don’t say any of this to absolve myself of the responsibility of what I put in my body, because I don’t feel like it does or should. I am responsible for my food choices. It’s just easy for me to allow myself things I shouldn’t (and don’t need) when other people are allowing themselves first – I feel like it gives me permission. Does that make sense?

Since leaving college I’ve gained about another 25 lbs. and a pretty dysfunctional attitude about my body (and food). To be honest, the attitude has been in the works as long as I can remember.

I know I began this pregnancy overweight – not just heavier than I wanted to be for my self-esteem, but heavier than I wanted to be for my health. I figured I was going to gain a bunch of weight when I got pregnant anyway, so why bother trying to lose it before? I would make the effort to lose the weight all at once, after the baby came.

I’m telling you all of this because pregnancy has really begun to shift the way I feel about my body and how I think about body-image issues in general.

Pregnancy has surprised me. I feel very good about myself, generally speaking. My weight gain was almost non-existent until the third trimester, and at my last doctor appointment I’d gained about 10 lbs. so far (I’m not positive of my pre-pregnancy weight so that’s a best-guess estimate). All of the noticeable gain has been in my boobs, which are quite impressive these days, and my belly. My mom and Zack swear that I’ve even slimmed down through the hips and butt. I feel proud of my body until I see photos like this one:

When I look at this photo (taken Saturday as I learned to drive my in-law’s new boat) all I can see is that flabby arm and back roll and the maybe-beginnings of a double chin. I don’t feel chubby anymore, so it’s a shock to see that I still am. And then it bums me out that I’m not as thin as I feel which, believe me, I know sounds weird coming from a lady who’s popping a kid out in approximately five-and-a-half weeks (!). I think because my stomach feels so tight and UNflabby after it being, ahem, not unflabby before the baby bump, it’s lulled me into a false sense of fitness. I don’t even see the chub when I look in the mirror, only in photos. I have to say, it has been quite a nice vacation from my norm to feel good about how my body looks (and that’s nothing compared to how impressed I am with the work my body is doing, which I could fill a whole separate post about! Women’s bodies are so fucking cool, you guys. It’s more than a shame that our bodies are judged so harshly and trash talked so much).

After this baby comes, I want to lose the pregnancy weight and then some, because I want to be healthy and I want to be happy with my body FOR ME. But since we found out at 14 weeks that we’re going to have a girl, there is another reason I want to be happy with myself: I never want my daughter to hear me say things like “I am so fat” or “I hate my body” or “I look disgusting.” I don’t want her to see me squinting at myself with disdain in every photo and I don’t want to hate every picture of myself because now pictures of me are a documentation of her life, too. I don’t want her to witness me on a constant dieting loop or to think that the only thing routine about exercise is how often I begin a new one and abandon it. I want her to grow up with a healthy attitude about food and about her body. I don’t ever want her to look at herself and think she’s ugly or not good enough for any reason, but especially not because of her body and ESPECIALLY not because she has learned that type of self-hate from me.

It is hard to lie to someone you live with. In fact, it’s damn near impossible. If I hate how I look, my daughter will know. It will leak out no matter how carefully I try to hide it. If I overindulge every day she will think it is healthy and fine to do so. She will have a harder time making exercise a regular part of her life if her parents don’t model that behavior.

Our daughters will spend their lives hearing from other people that they are not good enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough just like we do. It is our job as mothers to make them know that they ARE good enough, in every way, and to give them the tools to love themselves. If I can spare my daughter even one moment of self-doubt or self-hate by learning to love myself, then it will be worth all the struggle to get there.

After I have this baby I am going to make the effort to lose weight and get healthy. But if I don’t slim down to my pre-college weight that’s okay. My effort to get healthy – in body and attitude – is going to start now, with trying to love my body as it is right this second, for the incredible work it is doing. It is possible to be large AND beautiful, and I am. I am going to work on loving myself at every size and I’m going to teach my daughter that her self-worth isn’t tied to the number in her jeans – no woman’s is.

 

 

Decisions, Decisions

Good news! My blood pressure has come way down and I am off bed rest. What a huge relief! Two and a half days was more than enough to make me realize that I need to do everything in my power to prevent the doctor from putting me on any more bed rest. I really need to stay active for the duration of this pregnancy, as much for my mental and emotional health as for the physical benefits. While I don’t do a ton of traditional exercise, I am very active; I walk a lot at the airport, I mow and garden about once a week for a couple hours, and I do the majority of the regular household upkeep. I’d love to take more walks through our neighborhood but with the heat and humidity, plus my propensity for swelling, we’ve put that on the back burner at least until I am done flying.

Now that we’re down to just eight weeks before my due date (!!!!) we’re beginning to get into crunch time for some decisions about what we want out of the birth experience and immediately afterward. Here are a couple things we know for sure:

We want it to be just Zack and I (and any necessary medical personnel) in the room for the actual birth.

We’d like at least an hour or two to ourselves immediately following the birth, with both of us having skin-to-skin time with the baby for optimal bonding. Luckily our parents all seem to understand this, which I was nervous about. Everyone’s excited to meet her!

I’d like to go as long as possible without pain medication, but I don’t have a problem getting an epidural if I feel like the pain is too intense or if labor is so long that my doctor thinks I would benefit from getting one in order for me to be able to rest and recoup some energy for pushing.

I don’t want an IV port put in unless I am receiving something intravenously. It’s routine for them to insert a port when you check in even if you don’t immediately need any IV medications or fluids. The idea is that if there’s an emergency they have an easy access point in place. However, I have a huge amount of anxiety about needles, particularly if they stay in the vein (like having your blood drawn as opposed to getting a shot) and I can’t imagine it would be easy for me to forget about that. People have told me I’ll be so wrapped up in labor pains that I won’t notice the needle, but my thought is why add to my anxiety during an already stressful time if it’s not completely necessary? I still need to talk with my doctor about this but ultimately I have the right to refuse the IV port…it IS my body, after all. If there’s an emergency I imagine at that point I will be less worried about my phobia and more concerned with whatever’s wrong.

If everything goes well and we have a normal vaginal delivery Zack would like to “catch” the baby as she is born. We both like the idea of him being the first to touch her on the outside of the womb. Our doctor is on board with this as long as everything about the delivery is text book.

There are some things we have yet to make a firm decision about, but are considering:

Placenta encapsulation: To eat or not to eat? While there are no official studies on the benefits of a mother ingesting her placenta after birth, it is a Traditional Chinese Medicine practice dating back thousands of years. Many women today swear by the benefits and since there are no risks if the placenta is prepared correctly, why not? The potential benefits include staving off post-partum depression, stopping or slowing after-birth bleeding, increasing milk supply, and supplying mom with a whole bunch of vitamins and nutrients lost during labor and delivery. Plus the gross factor is helped considerably by the fact that you’re swallowing the placenta in pill form after it’s been dehydrated and crushed to fit into the capsules – no raw consumption for this lady. At this point our biggest obstacle is going to be cost (it’s around $250 to have someone come to your house and do the encapsulation). There are lots of places on the Internet that could show us how to do the encapsulation ourselves but I’ll admit to being skeeved out by that and, if I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t get it done if I try to do it myself. I imagine we’ll be pretty preoccupied in those first couple of days! We also need to investigate whether our hospital will allow us to take home my placenta, since it is considered biological waste.

We have to find a pediatrician. Which I keep forgetting about and then panicking when I remember but I’m always somewhere dumb like in the car or on an airplane or at a party and I can’t do anything about the fact that I remembered again. And then I forget. Again. You see how this is a problem.

We’d really like to donate our baby’s cord blood. Banking is just too expensive for us and after doing some research and talking to our doctor about it, we learned that even if this kid ends up with an illness where she could potentially benefit from a cord blood infusion, it’s unlikely she’d be able to use her own anyway. My doctor even went so far as to say that she thinks it’s preying on parents’ emotions and desire to do what’s best for their child to have the constant influx of BANK YOUR BABY’S CORD BLOOD (!!!!!) commercials and literature thrown at them. Every time I shop at Motherhood Maternity I get (ANOTHER) brochure for cord blood banking and I’ve received numerous emails from babycenter.com about it – and that’s not even counting all the other places I see the ads. Anyway, we learned that while banking is costly and not likely to be very useful long-term, you can donate your baby’s cord blood for free and it will go to some other person who can benefit from its use. We figured that, karmically speaking, that was a really good idea. However, it seems that Red Cross doesn’t do cord blood pick ups/donations at our hospital anymore, which brings me to my next point…

When to cut the umbilical cord? There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this topic but to me it makes sense to wait until the cord stops pulsing to cut it (this wouldn’t be possible if we were going to donate her cord blood, since they would need to clamp the cord immediately to collect the blood). By waiting at least the baby will receive as much of the oxygen-rich stuff as possible, which can help prevent anemia and continues to provide some nutrients to her after a pretty big physical trauma! Plus another positive is that by waiting and not clamping/cutting the cord right away it can help slow my blood loss. Wins all around!

Clearly we still have lots to do in preparation for this kid! I can’t believe we are down to the last two months before she’ll be a real live person on the outside. I guess I better focus on accomplishing another task that I’ve already got pretty planned out: finishing the nursery!

Under Pressure

Greetings from my couch! Where I am about ready to drive the TV remote through my skull from boredom.

I’m on day two of doctor-ordered bed rest and man, it really sucks.

I flew home to Illinois for my baby shower on Friday evening and by the end of my shower early Saturday afternoon my feet and ankles looked like sausages about to burst out of their casing, I had one toe instead of five at the end of each foot, and there was some nasty pitting going on in my ankles (pitting is when you swell and push on the swollen body part and it leaves an indent; your skin should pop back up immediately after you remove the pressure and you shouldn’t be able to see where you’d just pushed).

My mom and my stepsister are both in the medical field and insisted that I encouraged me to call my after-hours care line and make sure I didn’t need to go to the ER. After a lengthy conversation with the nurse we determined that I needed to keep my feet up and drink lots of water. My blood pressure has always been on the low side, around 110/60, but since my 28 week appointment it’s been trending slightly upward, which the nurse wasn’t thrilled with, but she said I’d be okay to fly home the following day. So I did.

By Sunday, after being laid up since 2PM the previous day, my feet were FINALLY looking normal and feeling almost normal. Then the plane ride home went and sent everything to hell. I arrived in Minneapolis nauseous, headache-y, and with swollen, pitting feet. Blurgh.

We called the after-hours nurse line AGAIN and I was told AGAIN to stay off the feet, drink water and take some Tylenol with food. The nausea and headache eventually subsided and the swelling got better as I stayed off my feet. We were also asked to go have my blood pressure taken at Walgreens, where I got a higher reading than I’d had yet, though not what would normally be considered too high. I’ve taken my BP so many times since then I don’t remember what the reading was exactly. The following day I went back to the drugstore, took my BP three more times and received even higher readings, prompting my doctor to put me to bed until my routine office visit tomorrow afternoon.

I am really confused by the ups and downs of my blood pressure. I don’t know what to be worried about other than my very serious desire to not be put on bed rest past Wednesday. I’d also really like to continue working for a couple more weeks so we can utilize my flight benefits a bit longer. I’m having a tough time staying occupied on the couch and not being able to do anything around the house has been KILLING ME. I don’t know if it’s nesting or what, but having a messy kitchen and a cluttered living room and a fur-filled floor is making me crazy. Everyone that lives here who isn’t me works 10+ hours a day and doesn’t really give a crap about cleaning when they finally come home. Understandable, but no less crazy-inducing for me.

All this lying around has given me ample time to hang out with the pets, though.

Ella + Lopsided Baby Belly

Please keep your fingers crossed that the doctor gives me the all clear to get out of bed tomorrow!

 

28 Weeks

Today I’m 28 weeks pregnant! It feels like I’ve been pregnant forever and yet the time has flown by so fast! I can hardly believe there’s a 2 1/2 lb. PERSON in there (even when it feels like I’m growing a kick boxer it’s hard to believe).

Technically 27w4d but close enough. I promise I look the same today but not as well dressed & not on an awesome beach in Ft. Myers.

Yesterday we had our 28 week doctor appointment and let me tell you, that one is no fun for a Mama-to-be that’s got a problem with needles. We had to do the glucose test, where you drink the nasty sugar drink then wait an hour and have your blood drawn to screen for gestational diabetes (Got the results back – no diabetes for me, thanks!). This is also the appointment where, if you have a negative blood type, you get a Rh immunoglobulin shot – which thankfully since my blood type is O+ I did not need. However, I did receive a Tetanus/pertussis vaccine, known as a Tdap. Apparently pertussis, a.k.a. whooping cough, is very contagious. Despite most of us having been vaccinated during childhood, doctors think the initial vaccine isn’t as effective long-term as they’d hoped it would be since it’s still pretty prevalent among adults. Pertussis is essentially just a long-lasting, irritating cough for adults but can be fatal to infants and children. Since babies can’t be vaccinated until 15 months and my daughter will be born right at the beginning of cold and flu season, that was pretty scary to hear! After some nervous wringing of hands on my part Zack and I decided it would be best for both of us to receive the booster (I was long overdue for a Tetanus shot anyway and a booster won’t hurt him even though he’s not really due for one). I got mine right then and there but Zack will have to schedule his and go back since he’s obviously not an OB-GYN patient. I was surprised the shot didn’t hurt even a little bit but my arm is very sore today at the injection site, which is common.

We also got an impromtu ultrasound at our appointment, which was very unexpected and cool, since our doctor has some sort of ultrasound certification he needs to keep up and likes to “stay on his toes” when he has time. The baby seemed pretty chill in there, I was a little disappointed we didn’t catch her at a more active time in her schedule (Ha! “Her schedule.” I’m so adorably delusional.)  but we did learn that she is head down – good girl! – and facing into my back. Which is how it’s been almost every other ultrasound and this time meant that we didn’t get a look at her little face. We did, however, discover that HER HEAD IS MEASURING AT 30 WEEKS. I repeat: HER HEAD, which will soon be divesting itself of my body via my vagina, is measuring TWO FULL WEEKS ahead of her gestational age. And before you ask me if maybe my dates are wrong and she is due earlier than we thought, let me stop you right there. Nope. There is absolutely no way my dates can be wrong, she is just her Daddy’s daughter. His 10lb. 4oz. body, preceded by a giant thunderdome, left his mom with over 130 stitches. IS YOUR LIFE FLASHING BEFORE YOUR EYES, TOO, OR IS THAT JUST ME?

Despite gestating what is apparently a gigantic-headed child, I was surprised to find that I haven’t gained any weight since my 24 week appointment, at which I was up 5 lbs. So I’ve gained a total of about 7 lbs. as best I can figure from my pre-pregnancy weight. I don’t weigh myself on the regular so I only had a rough idea of what I weighed before I got all knocked up, though. I’m happy and surprised by my weight gain during this pregnancy. I’d always thought I’d be one of those pregnant people who has trouble with the weight portion of things because I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my adult life. To discover that I’ve really only gotten bigger in the belly and boobs has been a major relief. I worry about losing the pregnancy weight when I’ve struggled so much to get down to a healthy weight WITHOUT adding baby poundage. Hopefully breastfeeding will help me reach my goals after the baby comes and Zack and I have a plan to help us both get healthier. I don’t need to be super fit or skinny, but I would like to be healthy to set a good example for my daughter and to feel good about my body. I have a lot to say about body image in relationship to my kids, but I think that topic warrants its own post!

A pregnancy symptom that’s cropped up just in the last couple of weeks has been swelling. SO MUCH SWELLING. I’ve suddenly been flying all the time, beginning with a four-day trip three weeks ago, and since then my feet pretty much swell every time I’m on them for any amount of time (my fingers get puffy, too, but not nearly as bad).

The left is always worse than the right.

My doctor says it’s nothing to worry about unless the swelling is accompanied by pitting or severe pain and so far mine is just strange and uncomfortable. One thing I’ve learned about myself since this pregnancy began is how bothered I am when my body does anything out of the ordinary. Even though I know the swelling isn’t something to be concerned about at this point I can’t help but be weirded out and distracted by my feet when it happens. I’m also not really sure what to do about exercise. I know I need to get my heart rate up, and I definitely want to be able to do a significant amount of walking toward the end of my pregnancy to help induce labor, but it really sucks to be swollen and uncomfortable. Not a great motivator.

At 28 weeks I think I am doing pretty darn well. I’m not so big that I’m awkward but I am noticeably pregnant, not just thicker-than-usual looking around the middle. I don’t have very many pregnancy symptoms and am sleeping, eating and feeling well overall. Bring on the next 12 weeks!

 

Gardening Champions

We have a very large yard. Well, we have what I consider to be a large yard; it is almost an acre of grass and mature trees and every kind of hosta known to man and what used to be probably very nice and well-tended gardens.

Now, our neighbors to the north are snow birds and pay people to come take care of their yard. Our neighbors to the south spend in hours what is at minimum equivalent to a full-time job working on their not-insignificantly-sized yard and seem also to rope various strapping young family members (grandchildren?) to help with the heavy lifting.

Needless to say we’re by far the neighborhood’s weakest link in the whole yard-attractiveness thing.

We cannot afford to pay people to come pretty up our yard and we are calling in all our favors for house-related help for work on the nursery, which had to be gutted, re-insulated, and put back together before I can even get in there to slap a coat of paint on the walls. (We are at the mudding and taping stage, in case you are curious).

This year I’ve discovered that I really enjoy the riding lawnmower and I mind weed whacking the perimeter of the yard and around all the trees far less than I ever imagined I would. Up until this year I had mowed a lawn exactly two times (with a push mower) (BOO.) and hated every moment of every type of yard work I’ve ever done.

Anyway, one of the first things you see when arriving at our house is a garden that until today looked something like this:

In my zeal I forgot to take a before photo of the actual garden

Doing something – anything! – about this garden that’s front and center in our yard has been hanging over my head since the first day of warm weather this year. And because of rain or vacations or laziness I’ve put off doing any work on it. Today I was determined to at least get a decent jump on the weeding.

Jan helped.

Even though I am not moving very fast these days, and the whole kneeling-to-standing-to-kneeling business is getting super lame because of my blood pressure fluxuating, the weeding didn’t take nearly as long and wasn’t nearly as assy a job as I’d expected. After about an hour Zack came out and helped me and then we decided to just go for the whole thing. We bought a shit ton of mulch – because while the weeding wasn’t AS BAD as we’d expected it is still not a job I plan to do on the reg – and some annuals to plant in the window box. We also bought a tomato plant and a couple of strawberry plants (did you know strawberries are perennials? Neither did we but we are extremely happy about it!).

I’ve decided that even though gardening kind of sucks while you’re doing it, it’s also very satisfying because it’s an instant gratification type job. You can see your progress immediately and may I say that the finished product is SO FREAKING AMAZINGLY AWESOME (at least in comparison to what it was this morning) that I’m inspired to keep going and clean up some of the other gardeny-type areas lurking around our yard.

This garden is so sexy I’m a little turned on just looking at it.

Catching Up

I guess there’s a lot to catch up on as far as this blog is concerned, seeing as I haven’t posted in about ten months. I am just as avid a blog reader as I ever was but for a long time there I wasn’t doing anything with myself that didn’t sound totally boring even to me, so it was less depressing to stop trying to make my life funny than it was to just stop writing about it altogether. As I mentioned in my last post, work has kind of dwindled into mostly no flying for me so I’m housewifing it up a lot and that has been cool-slash-terrible as I realize how fucking futile trying to keep the house clean actually is with three adults and four animals living under one roof. But being home during the day to run errands and do the whole lunching-with-my-lady-friends thing has been pretty rad. I also find that on the rare occasions when I DO do a lot of flying I really miss having all that time to myself. I am getting alone-time stingy and that is going to be an issue for me because…

Well, look what I made!

I was trying to think of a way to make the All Important Blog Announcement but then I realized that at almost 27 weeks it’s kind of ridiculous to think it’s still a secret even from the Internet. EVEN THE INTERNET CAN SEE MY BOOBS ARE UNNATURALLY GIGANTIC. And I now freak out the occasional passerby who notices my belly moving of its own accord as if there’s a guy with a BB gun trying to shoot his way out of there.

It’s kind of awkward, but I still make everyone I’ve ever met poke my belly to feel where the baby’s sitting and to feel the baby kick. I am not one of the pregnant ladies who wants nothing to do with anyone touching her, although I do not invite or encourage strangers to approach my stomach with anything even slightly resembling an outstretched hand. But since most of my friends don’t have kids and our baby will be the first grandchild on two of three sides of our family, it’s really fun to see the surprise on our friends’ and family’s faces when they feel how hard my belly is or when they can FEEL THE BABY IN THERE, HOLY SHIT, ALIENS!

Zack is very sensitive about people pushing on my stomach; he’s afraid we’re going to squish the baby and she’ll come out misshapen or something absurd. I keep telling him that she’s going to come out squished but it won’t be from people poking at my belly. I mean, do you even understand how narrow a vagina actually is?!?!

Oh yes, we are also having a girl! We’re not very good secret keepers, even from ourselves apparently.

In amongst all this baby excitement a couple other awesome things have happened, the first of which is that my sister, Meredith, peaced out of San Diego in November and has moved in with us. While the circumstances surrounding the move were very much not awesome, it has been so great to have her here. She and her English bulldog, Jan, have settled in nicely and Mere has a very cool job that keeps her busy about 12-15 hours a day. She’s positively ecstatic about my loinfruit and I can’t think of a better person to be a live-in nanny aunt for this kid.

In February Zack and I took a two week vacation to Thailand. If you’re doing backward math in your head, let me save you the trouble: yes. I was already pregnant. Eleven weeks, to be exact. When we decided to go for the whole baby making thing we thought it would, ahem, take us awhile to succeed. So we planned this elaborate vacation to Thailand as a sort of last hurrah before baby and approximately ten seconds later I was pregnant. Which, of course, was a huge blessing and we totally know how lucky we are that it happened so easily for us. After a big ol’ long discussion with our doctor and A LOT of Internet research and tweaking of our plans, we decided to go anyway.

It was awesome. And I could not eat a thing over there. But that is a post unto itself and maybe I will even talk my lazy ass into posting some pictures from our trip. Stay tuned!

I think those are the top three highlights from the past couple of months, so now we are caught up on the basics. I am going to try really hard to not disappear from this blog for months at a time again…we’ll see how it goes!

 

Havin’ My Baby (All Day, Every Day)

It’s funny how, the closer we get to having a baby, the more I mood swing about being a stay at home mom. For a long time that was my dream and I never doubted that being home was where I’d want to be. I still want that to be how I feel about being home with my babies. But.

Lately I’ve had a LOT of home reserve. Which means I am on call at home. Where they haven’t been calling me. So I was doing a lot of cleaning. I really hate cleaning my shower, though, so that  kind of fell off the radar. BUT HOO BOY YOU COULD EAT OFF MY FLOORS.

At first it felt really gratifying to be on top of the house work (mostly) and to be able to sleep in every day and not have to find a new neighborhood kid to take Arlo out midday because the old one moved to California at the end of July.

Now, after a good six weeks of being mostly at home all the time, being home most of the time is losing its charm. Cleaning house isn’t enough and going shopping just to get out of the house while virtually everyone I know is at work is rather detrimental to the ol’ bank account. Also Zack told me I need to stop doing that (I may or may not be one all-natural food item away from opening an in-home Whole Foods).

Cleaning is starting to fall by the wayside again because I just can’t bring myself to wash ANOTHER round of dishes that I’ll just have to wash ALL OVER AGAIN  after dinner. “Sleeping in” is slowly becoming “spending half the day in bed reading and Internet-ing” because why not? And every-other-day showers are totally in this summer. I have organizing and settling in projects I could work on but more and more my attitude is “Eh, no thanks” for no particular reason other than because I can put it off, knowing I’ll probably be able to do it tomorrow. (Spoiler alert: It never gets done tomorrow) (And not because I am called in to work)

I am rather prone to having Those Days – you know, the ones where it’s hard to motivate, hard to reach out to people, and you feel sort of down and antisocial and crabby and ICK. Will having a baby make me feel more purposeful at home? Or just more isolated? I’m hoping I just feel really, desperately lucky to be able to stay at home and that I’ll be in love with being with my kid all the time.

Because regardless of what I decide to do, I AM lucky to have the choice that so many mothers can’t afford to make.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I think the best mother I can be for my children is to be a happy mother. I want to set an example that it’s good to be well-rounded and fulfilled and it’s important to be honest with ourselves, especially as women, about what’s going to accomplish that for us as individuals.

So I’m giving myself permission to have a job if I want one or not if I don’t. Maybe I’ll work part-time, maybe full-time, or maybe I’ll give the working world the finger and not think about having a job until my kiddos are in school. It’s not really something I can decide before I have a baby and know how it feels to be home with one every day, but it helps to think about it now and begin to weigh the pros and cons.

 

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Less Employed Than Usual, Sort Of

Lately it kind of feels like I am unemployed.

You see, I had this eye thing. I woke up last Wednesday at my mom’s and it felt like someone had stabbed me in the eye with a fork, but my eye looked totally normal. My mom convinced me to go to acute care around noon, when it felt like I’d been stabbed with a fork, then splashed in the face with salt water and punched, all at the same time. Which was exactly as pleasant as it sounds.

The doctor said he was worried about my vision, which was cloudy in the left [forked-sprayed-punched] eye, so he sent me to a specialist, who couldn’t find anything wrong with my eye except some inflammation after many, many tests.* The fancypants specialist also couldn’t seem to understand the fact that I am an adult and he should address information about my medical condition to ME, not my mother who was present as my mode of transportation and supplier of family history (lots of eye issues in the ol’ family tree, big-worded ones that I would never remember). My mom had a pretty rockin’ game face, though, while I was shooting her absurd looks and gesticulating wildly as the doctor continued to discuss the application of prescription eye drops and the fact that I really should probably get some damn glasses with his back fully turned to me.

All of this to say that the good doctors conferred and decided I should be grounded from flight for three days, lest my eye problems worsen while I’m on a plane giving a safety demo – or serving cocktails, whatever – rendering me unable to get to an ophthamologist in a timely manner.

Coinciding with these three glorious surprise days off, in which I felt only the occasional twinge of eye discomfort, were three previous days, which I spent at my mom’s doing wedding things with this lady and hanging out with this guy:

Squishy face!

Then I spent three days at home getting stuff done and getting a kick out of hanging out with my own silly animals.

Sitting on the back of the couch, cat-style, to maintain lookout duties

Accidentally launched herself over the railing and onto the beam in the living room. Approx. .03 seconds before PANIC! set in.

I had one day of airport reserve (one twelve-hour sit? PSH!) in two weeks, on Sunday. And unless Christ was rising to 32,000 feet I was unable to partake of the Easter festivities this year, which were sadly lacking in Cadbury eggs. Then it was my regularly scheduled days off again!

Now, I hesitate to even bring this up, because it kiiiiind of feels like I am going to jinx it and I yell at Zack if he so much as breathes the words “crew scheduling” in my general direction, but I’ve had a lot of home reserve lately. Which is exactly what it sounds like: you sit at home, on call, and if they need you to fly they call and if they don’t it’s like a day off. Only where you can’t drink at all because you’re on call from 6AM until 10PM.

I was supposed to sit 12-hour airport reserve shifts today, tomorrow, and Saturday. At 6:42AM scheduling called to change things around, which is almost never good news. Usually it means they have a trip for you, which is good if it’s not a long one, or they are adding to your schedule and trying to work you to death.

Almost never is it to give you a break.

But today! Today the clouds parted and a light shone down from the heavens and God said “Since you didn’t get those Cadbury eggs you wanted, Austin, how about a little less airport reserve?” And I was given evening reserve tonight, which is a shorter shift, and home reserve the next two days.

Which could totally become a long-ass trip or airport reserve every day, because crew scheduling owns my ass and can do whatever they want with me forever and ever, amen.

EDITED TO ADD: I am totally sitting airport reserve today, you guys.

*Side note: Wearing sunglasses around the grocery store for ten minutes while you struggle to decide which desserts to buy for family dinner, then deciding that your dilated eyes aren’t THAT noticeable and you probably look like a douchebag wearing sunglasses indoors and take them off, only to have the woman at the bakery counter stare oddly at you when you ask for JUST ONE CUPCAKE, YOU ONLY NEED ONE (for your three year old niece, you are such a good auntie) might possibly make you look like a semi-deranged stoner. Did I mention The Day of Eye Weirdness was 4/20?

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So This is Apparently Happening

On Sunday I signed up for a bike ride to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. It’s a ride that my in-laws have participated in for about 10 years, as they know a couple of people with MS and most of their friends are involved with the event in some way. It’s a great cause. It is also 150 miles long, spread out over two days.

I cannot stop thinking about how purple my crotch is going to be.

Also, I have not been on a bike in oh, about 10 years. Maybe more. I do not own a bike or a helmet or padded shorts that make you look like you’re wearing a diaper and walk like someone just jammed an orange traffic cone up your butt.

You wanna put that WHERE?!

I borrowed a bike from Zack’s aunt. It is a really nice bike, I’m told (not that I would know the difference, but it somehow makes me feel better to know that other people say it’s good). It comes with these swanky shoes that you clip into the pedals and I’m already having daytime nightmares (daymares?) about slowing down and not being able to unclip fast enough and falling sideways when I can’t get my foot undone, taking out everyone around me who just wanted to RIDE A RACE FOR CHARITY FOR CHRISSAKES and I’m the asshole who just broke everyone within a twenty foot radius of my clumsy ass.

I also wonder about the chafing. I mean, I am no twig. I have thighs that rub together and big boobs and while I’ve heard about the chafing that happens with runners, I am unclear about the extent of the biker chafing issues. Do I need some sort of anti-chafe product? Will spandex shorts be enough protection? (OMFG I am going to wear SPANDEX in PUBLIC)

Holy balls. Somebody hold me.

Another issue I’m trying to work around here is that I am only home like…two to three days a week. The rest of the time I’m sitting airport reserve and gone 15 hours a day or I’m on a trip, and believe me when I say that a bike doesn’t work as a carry-on item. This leaves precious little time to train, which I’m told is not really THAT big a deal, except I can’t imagine how that is even remotely true.

Luckily there’s a sag wagon, which is a bus that follows the riders and picks up anyone in distress or anyone who just needs to rest for a little while. In the most ambitious part of my little in-denial heart I like to think that I won’t need to use the sag wagon, but the realist in me knows that I should probably bring my own cooler and some pillows because I will likely take up residence there for the majority of the ride.

 

 

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