Pregnancy is…

Being able to pee on command at any given time, day or night.

Having an insane craving for something then taking a bite and finding it revolting.

The constant feeling you are in a sci-fi movie and an alien is going to burst out of your stomach any moment.

Waddling.

Being willing to sell your left kidney to get a good night’s sleep.

An ugly belly button.

A perfect reason to wear yoga pants for every situation as maternity pants are made by the Devil. *Please note I did not say leggings.*

Thunder thighs.

A constantly runny nose.

Your belly being deemed fair game for perfect strangers touch.

An invitation for anyone to give you unsolicited advice about your body parts and birth choices.

Not glamorous.

Not being able to tie your shoes.

Forgetting every lesson you ever learned about modesty.

Being unable to watch the Hallmark or Lifetime channels without crying at some point.

Having only 9 months to decide on a name that a person will have their entire life and hopefully not hate.

Alternately wanting the being taking over your body OUT IMMEDIATELY and wanting to stay pregnant because you’re not ready yet.

Weird. And amazing. And completely worth that tiny precious person you receive at the end.

This is a Public Service Announcement

For many years I’ve been on anti-depressants. I’ve gone off them a few times and find that I just do better on them. I’ve never been suicidal – my symptoms generally manifest themselves into lethargy, low energy, and an unwillingness to go anywhere or do anything. I cry easy, am more easily affected by things that happen to me and have increased anxiety. It’s something my friends and family are all aware of and love me just the same even if they don’t totally understand it.

I stopped my meds about a month before trying to get pregnant. I knew that anti-depressants weren’t recommended or considered safe while pregnant so we knew that it might be a struggle but it was something necessary in order to try and have children. I did ok for the most part except for the first two months that I ended up not pregnant. The first month was the hardest and I cried bitterly off and on for a few days. The second month I fared a little better but still spent several hours crying in bed. I don’t tell this to many people because I’ve found people judge you very harshly when it comes to your emotional reactions to situations in general but trying to conceive and pregnancy specifically. Someone always has it worse and you should never complain or be upset. This is what I’ve found being on pregnancy blogs and boards. We got pregnant the third month but I still had a high anxiety level and worried a lot those first 12 weeks. But I fared emotionally very well until the situation happened at work and I fell into a deep dark hole that I couldn’t climb out of. That, coupled with the fact that I was disappointed about not seeing my family for the holidays, caused my husband and I to wonder if I needed some help.

The final event that sealed the debate was the ultrasound that showed us we were having a boy. I tried not to, but I had my heart set on a girl first. I knew from the beginning of the ultrasound that it was a boy – I had “seen” and spent the rest of the time trying to keep myself together. When she confirmed it was a boy, I teared up. After that I just couldn’t stay composed. When the doctor asked me a little bit later how I was doing, I broke down. That’s when she suggested I try going back on the anti-depressants. I had held off and debated and told myself I could be ok; that things would get better and I’d find my way out of the hole. But the rest of my evening was spent mostly in tears. The floodgates had opened and I couldn’t shut them. Please don’t get me wrong – I love my little man already and I will never love him less than I would have a girl – I had my hopes set on a girl and my emotionally worn out brain just couldn’t let go. That combined with everything else I had been feeling the previous weeks was more than I could manage. It was literally the straw that broke the camel’s back. If I thought of myself as a camel.

I made the grave mistake that night of writing a post on a pregnancy/baby-based board about my disappointment and how I was feeling. I suppose in my less than stellar state I forgot how hateful, judgmental, and downright nasty people are. I know, really? How could I have forgotten that? The responses I got back were just short of verbal stonings. I was called every name in the book and basically made out to be a disgusting person who shouldn’t be allowed to procreate.  I also took for granted that my depression would be understood and my already damaged emotional state taken into consideration. But often, those who don’t understand, judge. This, dear friends, did not help me feel any better. I thought that these women, who were all in the same position I was in, would understand another woman’s fears and feelings. I was, unfortunately, very wrong. It took me a lot longer than I like to admit to get over their hateful responses.

What’s interesting is people ask all the time “what do you want?” in reference to the baby’s gender. This is disguised as a real question, as though the asker truly wants to hear what you have to say. What’s even better is when you tell them what you ARE having and they ask you if that’s what you wanted. Then you’re REALLY in trouble. But apparently though the politically correct mommy response is “Oh, we just want(ed) a healthy baby!”  Then you win the good mommy-to-be award and you get a cookie and a pony. Ok, not really – you just don’t get publicly flogged. Now, I’m pretty sure no one has ever answered that they want an unhealthy baby. People just don’t do that. And I understand not having a preference. But why is it so bad if you do have one? You can prefer dark chocolate over white, paper over plastic, trucks over cars, but you most definitely cannot prefer to have a girl child over a boy child (or vice versa). Shame on you for thinking of it.

So back to my mental state. I started a very low dose of Zoloft that night and have been on it since. The first few days were rough as I was dealing with the fallout from my online verbal diarrhea, continuing hatred for my job, and the typical anxiety that comes from starting new anti-depressants. I also had some internal struggles as, like I mentioned earlier, anti-depressants during pregnancy aren’t proven to be 100% safe. My family was also concerned and I struggled with that as well, feeling like I was disappointing everyone and risking hurting my baby. But the medicine helped – is helping. There are risks either way as stress hormones can cross the placenta and also harm the baby. I’m entering my third trimester now and I am weaning off as everything I have read shows that the main risk is during the third trimester and near birth. I am now on half a dose and am doing ok. I’m praying I will continue to do well after I am completely go off of them.

Depression isn’t something a lot of people talk about or understand. You hear about postpartum depression a lot but you don’t hear about the depression that happens during pregnancy very often. It’s like one of those things about pregnancy no one ever tells you until you are in the middle of it, but worse. You must be happy you are pregnant and happy you’re having a healthy baby and you cannot have bad thoughts or wish things were different, because, dang it, YOU ARE BLESSED. Ok, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s close. Pregnancy makes you extra emotional to begin with, so determining what is “normal” and what is “too much” is not an easy thing to do. It’s also not an easy decision on how to deal with it. I think I’ve done the best I can do for my little boy and me. So now I will foray into the third (and thankfully, final) trimester med-free. I have an appointment tomorrow and plan to find out the final weaning steps. Keep us in your thoughts, and more importantly, your prayers. I’m sure we’ll need them.

8 Things that don’t all have to do with pregnancy. Just mostly.

1. I hate handwashing dishes. Hate hate hate. I also feel like handwashing them never gets them as clean as my dishwasher. I know lots of people handwash their dishes. I believe they are more proficient than I am and therefore should come handwash my dishes for me.

2. I don’t like the direction in which my belly button is heading. I liked my very innie belly button. I’m not looking forward to it being flat. Or an outie. I also wish someone had told me years ago what my belly button piercing would look like once my belly button stretched out. Not pretty. Don’t like it.

3. I plan to do a natural birth. I am a little nervous about this but no less nervous about having a needle shoved in my spine and a catheter shoved somewhere else. Neither one sounds wonderful. I do think it’s a little weird that this is a question random people ask you though. “So, are you planning to get an epidural?” This question generally comes right after “What are you having?” and “Have you picked a name yet?” Then, when you say you’re going drug-free they look at you pityingly and say “ok.” But what they are really thinking is “Oh, you poor delusional crazy pregnant person. I will try my best to not say ‘I told you so’ when you are writhing in pain screaming for the anesthesiologist to put you out of your misery.” Very heartening.

4. I am obsessed with my nails in their current state. I’ve never had long nails that didn’t peel and break off that weren’t put on by someone else. I look at them all the time. I’m constantly filing and trimming them to keep them neat and tidy. I will be sad when they go back to their pre-pregnancy state of peely and thin. I also wish my right hand looked as nice as my left hand.

5. After almost 8 years of working retail, I am amazed how people can still surprise me with their rude, ignorant, and often offensive behavior. I should not be surprised. Retail has taught me to dislike people (which is sad, I know) but for some reason I can still be taken aback by their ridiculous behavior and comments. A few days ago, a customer who I have known in the store for several years said to me “You’re only 26 weeks with as big as you are? Are they sure it’s not twins?” Ok, really. Who says that?? And it was a woman. I feel I handled it very well. I didn’t punch her in the face or call her names or burst into tears. I gave some random answer that hopefully accounted for my apparent ginormous body and then proceeded to cry several times later that afternoon. This is just one example of how stupid people can be. I have many more.

6. I love Bruegger’s Bagels jalapeno cream cheese. It’s delicious. Especially on a toasted jalapeno cheese bagel. *drools* I have been looking forward to breakfast tomorrow morning since yesterday. It’s that bad.

7. I don’t always “feel” pregnant. My belly is smaller in the mornings and when the baby isn’t kicking a lot I don’t truly feel pregnant all the time. This changes as evening approaches though and my energy level drops drastically and all of a sudden I FEEL pregnant. I notice that it’s harder for me to walk and not waddle, stand with good posture, and get up and down from sitting to standing. My lower back hurts at night and it’s like all energy has been drained from my body. Then I honestly don’t feel so pregnant as just wimpy.

8. My brain is like a sieve. It holds some pieces of information (name, where I live, where I work, how to drive) and lets everything else go through. I can’t remember where I’m going, what I’m going there for, where stuff is. I feel dumb. A lot. Pregnancy Brain is real. It should be studied. Heck, we probably wouldn’t even remember we were being studied. Or to show up for the study. Maybe that wouldn’t work.

Who fed my baby jumping beans??

Someone fed my baby jumping beans when I wasn’t looking. Seriously. Most days he just lays in there and sporadically kicks. Today, on the other hand, my child truly earns the nickname Thumper. Before he would just kick me. Today, he is a whirling dervish of unexpended energy. Maybe he’s still hyped up on all the sugar from all the Party Punch this weekend. Now, before you go thinking that Party Punch is something I shouldn’t be drinking (although I really shouldn’t from the sheer amounts of sugar in it), it’s really just a tasty punch recipe that uses pineapple juice, gingerale, and a couple other things. But it’s really tasty. And we made a LOT. So therefore someone had to drink it.

This weekend was my nephew’s second birthday party and I flew down to Tampa so I could be there for it since I missed Christmas. Cool thing was EVERYONE was there. Well, not everyone. My poor husband was here all alone and lonely.

So when I flew out I was just past 24 weeks. I had gone to the doctor earlier in the week for a checkup and to make sure everything was ok for flying. They had already said travel up to 36 weeks was fine but due to the Braxton-Hicks I wanted to make sure flying was still safe. Which, thankfully, it was. While I was sitting on the table waiting for the Dr. I was so tired I laid back and rested. I felt Thumper kicking so I laid my hand on my belly and got rewarded with a pretty hard kick to my hand, right around my belly button which is much higher than I’ve felt him before. He still won’t kick for his daddy (the little toad) but as soon as the Dr. put the Doppler on my belly he aimed a kick at it a few times too. Apparently he was feeling a little feisty that day.

So onto Tampa. It was awesome to see my whole family and to get to hang out with my nephew. He’s so cute and so smart!! And we made the coolest cake and cupcakes for him! He was so cute running in and out of the kitchen asking if we could eat the “Mater cakes” and the “race car cake.” He thought they were the coolest things! His party hat was a traffic cone and dinner was Dad’s delicious chili (tamed down for the tasteless masses though – the rest of us had to add habanero sauce to ours).

     

We had so much fun the whole time and laughed so much I almost wet my pants several times. Which, these days, isn’t anything exceptional. I think it’s more exceptional that I didn’t actually wet my pants, truthfully. We were laughing pretty hard. The weekend was great if not a little tiring – we didn’t do much relaxing the whole time, but it was totally worth it. But I think all that fun unleashed the beast within and now my little man has turned into the Tazmanian Devil.

Christmas is over, I am getting fat!

Ok, I know you’re going to say I’m pregnant, blah blah blah… but really, Christmas makes me fat every year. I thought that due to my aversion to chocolate I would be saved from the Christmas munchies and wouldn’t gain a bunch of extra weight and be perfectly on track for my next check up. I was wrong.

At Christmas I like to bake a bunch of cookies and put together cookie “baskets” for my friends. Except the baskets are actually plastic tubs. And since I am giving these cookies out to friends, I obviously have to taste-test them to make sure they are edible, right? So here is a list of what I made: chocolate mint delights, soft molasses cookies, chocolate brownie cookies, chocolate chip cookie mini-muffins (they are just chocolate chip cookies made in a mini muffin tin), thumbprint cookies, lemon cookies, mini cheesecakes and mini-loaf-pan sized carrot cakes. Everything came out really good and the carrot cakes looked and tasted wonderful. In addition to all these things, I also made a carrot cake for the husband’s work holiday part and for our niece (since she has been asking for one since last year).

I had great ambitions of taking pictures of all my baked creations but never seemed to manage to get it done. In fact, I only managed to take pictures of my tree and most of the decorations on Christmas Day itself.  I’ll post those eventually. I really am lacking in motivation this year.

As for Christmas itself, I had a good day. The husband, kitties, and I slept in a little and got up lazily. I made fake pinch cake for breakfast (which was super tasty, even if it was the bootleg kind) and then we opened presents. The kitties got a stocking and have had a blast playing with all the wonderful toys in it. I got most of the things I asked for and was very happy with my presents. The husband was surprised with his big gift from me and was happy with the rest of his presents too. The only thing missing was my family. I had a little meltdown after presents got opened as I was missing my family and feeling left out. But my sweet husband understood and held me until I pulled myself together. Then we were off across town to have dinner and open presents with my in-law family. Dinner was turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, corn, and rolls. And we got the leftovers. Whoo hoo! That’s the good thing about having a sister-in-law who doesn’t eat leftovers. After we digested a little we opened presents and then had a slice of carrot cake *drool.* It was as good as it looked. The downside to the day was the horrible coughing fit I ended up having that really wore me out.

My current craving is citrus. Specifically oranges, tangerines, and clementines. I have eaten a ridiculous amount of them over the past week and see no end in sight. I’m addicted. But I figure, as a craving, oranges are probably not such a bad one to have. It’s better than ice cream, cookies, or other sugary or salty things one could crave.

Needless to say, the weight gain I mentioned in one of my last posts might not be totally accurate at this point. But I shall not enlighten you on the current total. I don’t think it’s horrible, but we’ll see next week at my appointment.

As far as the baby, he is a jumpy bumpy baby. He does most of his acrobatics while I’m sitting still or trying to sleep. I’m still sleeping on my belly but I’m pretty sure I’m not far away from needing some kind of pillow. Maybe it will help me sleep better as I’m currently having a lot of trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. I feel tired all the time again and can never seem to sleep enough. I’m not as tired as the first trimester but seem to get worn out a lot easier than I had been over the past two months. My belly has also “popped” and I definitely look pregnant. One day when I regain some motivation I will have the husband take new pictures to post. I can’t promise that will happen before the baby is born though.

Symptoms, curiosities, and decisions.

For the last few days I have been plagued with severe calf cramps. I believe this is another one of those things people forget to tell you until after you’ve already started experiencing them. I’ve had calf cramps off and on for the last few weeks but it was the worst the last few days. Not a whole lot seems to help either.

Another new thing is not being able to breathe after I eat. It’s like between the baby, his accoutrements, and my stomach, there is no longer any room for my lungs. So it’s either breathe and starve or gasp for air and eat. If you even know me a tiny bit you’ll know which one I choose. I mean, gotta feed the baby, right? Also, when I tie my shoes I notice that I’m having trouble catching my breath too. Too bad I can’t wear flip flops to work.

An interesting thing I’ve noticed in the past week or so is my belly will get really tight and hard sometimes. I’m guessing it’s when little man is shifting around. I don’t feel him moving, just feel a hard knot on my belly. The other night when I laid down to sleep I couldn’t seem to get comfortable. I kept trying to adjust my nightgown and pajama pants until I realized the problem was me. Well, in me. He had shifted over to the left side and was pressing into the bed. It took a few minutes for him to shift away. I told TJ I think it’s time to get a belly pillow.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that Holly is very attached to me these days. If I’m on the couch she’s on my lap or sitting next to me. She’s very proprietary of me and prefers to lay on my belly if she can. If I have the laptop on my lap (usually I’m reclined on the chaise part of the couch – especially now after I eat) she has taken to laying across my arms since she can’t get to my lap. I’m waiting for her to get kicked a few times to see how she reacts. She’s also become very jealous of Powell and doesn’t really like it when he’s around me or getting attention from me.

So, in light of the fact that the shower is only two months away, we have been trying to finish our registry and have gotten stuck on the stroller aspect. We started out at Babies ‘R’ Us who had about 15 strollers total and then went to Target who had about 7. Then,  tonight, we went to Buy Buy Baby. It’s a baby store that’s owned by Bed Bath and Beyond and has tons and tons of baby stuff. They had about 60 strollers. At least. There are travel systems, three-wheeled strollers, strange space-aged orbiting strollers, and $1500 strollers that I couldn’t even afford to push. You can get a stroller that holds an infant carseat or one that comes with it. Some of them fold up one-handed, some of them are lightweight, some of them lie flat, and some of them have adjustable height handles. Seriously, I had no idea it would be this hard. We like the maneuverability of the 3-wheeled strollers but they are a little big and often bulky.  You have to look for construction, wheels, the storage at the bottom, the ease of taking the infant carrier in and out, the weight, how big it is, how it folds/unfolds, and of course, how much it is. So some we liked but felt “cheap,” others seemed really nice but had one or two crappy things that might be deal breakers, some folded badly… I’m telling you, I felt like my brain might explode. So we thought going there might help us decide and I think I feel just more overwhelmed. So we are no closer to picking a stroller than before. I guess we have a few more months to figure things out. But if you have any wonderful advice to give regarding strollers (or any other baby gear for that matter) please feel free to share it!

Things That Go Bump in My Belly

(Written over a week ago)
So I think I’m finally feeling little man kick. I’m 20w 2d and this past Sunday night I was laying on my stomach trying to sleep (trying is the operative word; I don’t always sleep well, especially if I know I have to get up early) and felt a few “pops” inside. Today as I’m relaxing on the couch, I have felt a few more but in a different spot. So I’m not sure if he’s what I’m feeling or not. The placenta is on my belly side so the doctor said that could hinder me feeling little man until later. But it’s not a sensation that is familiar to me so I’m
assuming he’s finally making himself known.

(Back to today)
Almost 10 days later I’m sure it’s him I’m feeling kick. It’s such a strange feeling and it often takes me by surprise. I never felt the fluttery feeling people describe; just the pops and bumps. Sometimes it almost gives me the “stomach drop” sensation like you get on roller coasters. I don’t really know how to describe it.

So far I’ve gained 10lbs. At 21w 5d I don’t think that’s so bad. I am trying to eat as well as I can, but considering this kid has a penchant for pasta and potatoes I’m not getting as many veggies as I should be. Recently though I’ve started craving chocolate milk so I have at least a glass of that a day. I’m sure that counts for something. That’s really the main craving as of right now. My mother-in-law is here for Christmas and made us a batch (ok, two) of potato soup and I’m having difficulty not eating that every meal. I really should have known this kid was a boy simply for his food choices. Meat, potatoes, pasta… no sweets or veggies. Definitely a boy.