5.21.2009

Sweet 16

So, I read back through my history and my pregnancy chakras have aligned such that I am feeling much better (emotionally and spiritually, not necessarily physically) about this pregnancy and a baby. L and I visited Babies R Us the other night, which also helped. Seriously, if you’re 4 months prego and you walk into that store and don’t feel the chi that is cute little baby clothes, you have no heart. And me? I have one. So, it worked. That and the history review. And the chakras.

A few weeks ago, I was joking that my tummy pooch had popped. Little did I know that 2 weeks later, my “loose” clothing would no longer be loose and I’d be running home at lunch to change my capris because they were making my round ligament pain worse. And thanks to the regularity of that ligament pain, my belly is officially out there. No going back. Today, I’m in maternity clothes for the first time in my life. And can I tell you? I feel comfortable!

Well, except for the ongoing bouts of windedness, constipation, headaches, fatigue, and smell sensitivity. But, those are all getting somewhat better and I’m feeling more and more like myself. Well, like myself with a popped prego belly. And ligament pain that makes me catch my breath and go “oh!” and lean forward at a 45 degree angle until it passes, holding my hands on my lower abdomen all the while. (Think pulled muscles in both sides of your lower obliques, spasming at the same time.)

Just a couple more weeks until the next visit, and The Ultrasound, and feeling this kid swimming in the bathwater of my uterus. Until then, I’m SO looking forward to napping whenever I want this weekend and hoping I don’t have to get up to pee to many times during the night (because it’ll involve unzipping sleeping bags and tents and walking through the forest by flashlight in the cold to get to the bathroom. . . )

~Nichole

5.19.2009

Born by Blood

After months of talking about it, we finally got up the courage (and the cash) to have M take a blood test to determine his Rh factor.

Right before he returned to work, he went to the lab where, for one tiny little blood test, they drew an entire vial of blood.

He came home saying "I think I'm negative". Which would be good, because I'm A negative, and in the world of blood and babymaking multiplication, a negative and a negative can only equal a negative - unlike in mathematical multiplications. Plus, you know, I'd like to know whether this baby has any chance of having a positive blood type with an Rh negative mother (and whether I'll have to have any more Rhogam shots), even though Rh sensitization is usually not a problem with the first pregnancy, but can be for subsequent ones.

The day after the test, we visited with his parents. I knew from a conversation last August that his dad has a positive blood type. I was pretty sure his mom was positive, too, given that she'd successfully birthed 8 babies and none had any hemolytic problems to speak of. Sure enough, she's O positive.

So, finally, after a week's wait and 4 phone calls, M got the results: O positive. Just like his mom.

Which means the baby could have positive blood. Which means I'll have to have a Rhogam shot at around 27 weeks and again right after delivery. Which means the baby'll have to be screened for anemia and might have bilirubin problems (i.e. jaundice).

But, now, at least we know.

Oh, and M says that maybe his O positive blood is why he's "so positive". I didn't ask him what that means my A negative blood type makes me. . .

~Nichole

5.18.2009

Read. Laugh. Snort.

Have you read this yet? If not, you really should. It's the most hilarious birth story you might ever read.

I read it again the other night. I giggled and laughed. M, sitting next to me on the couch in the wee hours of Saturday morning (my defiant night up, 'member?), must have thought I was laughing at Molly Shannon's performance in "Serendipity". I wasn't. I was laughing at Alice Bradley's performance in the Birth of Her Son.

And right about the part with the eyelashes, I lost it. I mean, really and truly. LOLing and everything. Then, as he often does (and which I try not to be too impatient with him for, given that he's a youngest child and "just wants to see"), he looked over my shoulder to see what I was reading online. As he started reading out loud, I started laughing harder and harder until I made noises I've never heard myself make before. I was snorting louder and longer and with more consistency than I've ever done to date. Which made me laugh and snort harder.

Seriously, though. Read it. You'll laugh until you cry. Or snort.

~Nichole

5.17.2009

My Husband, the Daddy

M was once opposed to being called "daddy" and we joked about our kids calling him "papi" instead. But do you know what "papi" means in Spanish slang? Well, it's slang for "father" - but also it is "a slang term that is similar in effect to Daddy in the phrase 'Who's your Daddy?'. Often given by women to their boyfriends/husbands or to their sex partner". Well, so says Urban Dictionary.

There's a certain Ick factor there, yes?

So, for now, whether he opposes or not, he is the daddy.

And so far, he's awesome at it!

He's taken care of me and the house and the yard and the dishes and the laundry for months on end until I could resume helping. He even went to the grocery store several times, which I think is pretty cool in its own right.

After we heard the swishy, he walked around making the swishy noise for days, admitting that when he needed a mental break from studying, he'd make that noise and it would calm him.

He has dreams about this Whosit. What she'll look like. Who she'll be. He's taken to talking to her (via belly phone) so that she'll recognize his voice when she's born. He e-mails me at work to see how "both of his babies are doing today".

He fantasizes about having her lay sleeping on his chest so she'll hear his heartbeat. About showing her the world and all the lovely things in it. About blowing raspberries on her belly. About getting her up early and taking her fishing (please, for his sake, let her not take after her mom so she'll actually like early mornings and have the patience for fishing).

Then, yesterday morning, as we lay awake at the crack of stupid (seriously 6 a.m. is just too early on a Saturday morning!) he admitted that he's in deep smit. (shameless movie reference. . . . quick! where's it from?) He's already so in love with this girl and she's not even been born!

This means several things: 1) I was right when I told him he'd be totally wrapped around his little girl's finger some day (though, admittedly, I had no idea it would happen so soon); 2) I can have my disillusioned days and live to tell about it because he's very secure with all this and I don't have to be strong and centered and Mrs. Pregnancy Hero for the both of us; 3) at least one of this baby's parents loves her totally and completely already (the other's just too scared to love/hope/lose); 4) he's recently convinced himself this means he knew her long before this life, which I think is pretty freakin' cool.

He's pretty much the Best Dad Ever already. We're both lucky girls.

Now, where are the kleenex?

~Nichole

5.16.2009

The City-state of Disillusionment

So, you know, I've been a living in the Land of Disillusionment. Only a little. And even then, mostly part-time. But still. . . Not where you want to be living when you are decidedly and purposely 4 months pregnant with your 1st.

Now Sue, on the other hand, deserves to be mayor of this little city-state I just manufactured out of thin air. . . Sue is undecidedly and accidentally 6 month-ish pregnant with her 4th. (You can read a little about it here. She's freakin' hilarious.)

Mental note: do not give away baby stuff until after one of us is fixed. . .

I've decided that, not only did I not truly have a clue about pregnancy - given that I simply thought about the end result (baby), kicked off my knickers, jumped on the party bus that is the the babymaking bandwagon and never looked back - I also did not think about life with a newborn. Sure, now it makes me go a little gooey inside when I see those little babies in those magazine pics. But, really I think I just pictured myself with a two-year old. Or at least an 8-month old. Definitely not a newborn. And last I checked, they don't wait to come out only after they've passed that mewling, underdeveloped (it's a fact!) newborn stage.

I remember when I was reading Girlfriend's Guide to Baby Gear and it talked about caring for the cord stump. I was all "whaaaa??" And that's when the reality of having a tiny newborn in our house hit me. I remember because I did a mental "oh crap!" and had to take the next few minutes to calm down.

My husband, too, loving dad he already is (more on that in the next post) I think just pictures a toddler rather than a newborn. Truly we're in for an abrupt and strange reality.

Kind of like the reality that has become adjusting to my changing body. I continue to belch constantly at even the smallest provocation - bowl of cereal, nectarine, chocolate cake - and there are many willing to testify against me on this point. Thankfully, there's just me and one other witness to the fact that I am really beginning to dislike the way my boobs look. Not cool. Not cool at all. Oh! And also, what's with the profound lazy streak? Also not cool! And, and! I can't wait until my pee smells normal again. (see? this is what happens when you get too used to your own self for too many years. perhaps I should have started this whole thing in my 20s?)

I think I need to get together with L and hang out a little more often (like we used to) and let her earth mother ways soak into my tired (but not-yet-overstretched) pregnant skin. She has a keen ability to focus on the long term (i.e. baby at the end of the tunnel). Or at least that's what she tells me. Only when I dare to complain does she admit that she, too, would get out of the shower and rush back to bed, unable to finish getting ready because she was too exhausted or nauseated to go on.

btw, can you tell I only got 4 hours of sleep last night? That's what happens when you get a burst of energy and milk it for all it's worth, glorying in the fact that you haven't stayed up until almost 2 in the morning for at least 4 months now. . . but your body wakes up at 6:00 with a full bladder and no desire to return to sleep.

~Nichole

5.14.2009

Different

Today marks the beginning of my 15th week. I felt ill at work. And tired. So, I came home. The smart thing to do would be to take a nap, so as to avoid a sick stomach or a throbbing head. But my brain's racing, so here I am blogging and listening to "Love Song" by 311.

I've been doing more chores since M started work 4 days ago. I got really spoiled with him being off for 5 months and doing the brunt of, well, everything. (except picking up the clutter. it's a little overwhelming at this point.)

Today has been a day of nagging thoughts. The surreality of pregnancy continues, with the added pleasure of "what on earth have I gotten myself into" intrusions. Panicky thoughts. And then the other voice in my head says "remember you wanted this so badly? remember how defiant you were? remember how you willed your body to do what it rightfully should?"

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I blame the panic on low defenses. I'm tired. My waistline is starting on its path to burgeoning bulge, despite my only having gained 6.5 pounds so far (right on track). I'm hot. I'm hormonal.

About a month ago, we were watching Whale Rider and I cried at all my usual parts. No biggie, I thought. I always cry when she dedicates her speech to her grandfather. Whatever.

But then I cried while watching some sports or action movie. And today I cried on the way home. Mostly from the exhaustion, the headache, and the heat. But also because my brother spent portions of the last three days fixing his almost-4-months-now pregnant sister's air conditioner for the cost of parts. And I'm so grateful, I cried.

Every now and again I have a strange sense of longing. . . for my period. Strange that I miss its cyclical regularity ticking off the passing months, but there it is.

I also miss running. I've just passed prime running time (spring in Arizona) and am feeling a loss. I spend a lot of my time trying to either convince myself to do something else ("any activity is better than none") or convince myself that I'll be able to lose the weight by running post-baby ("the weather will be perfect!"). It's exhausting, really.

I see pictures of babies in some of these parenting/new parent/baby magazines and it's about the only time I kind of go "awwww". The rest of the time, I'm just trying to keep up.

I don't know what I thought pregnancy would be like, but I'm sure I thought it would be different than this. Not that it's bad. It's just different. Then again, maybe I didn't really picture pregnancy at all. I think I really only pictured having kids, and pregnancy was the means to that end, so my thoughts were bent on getting pregnant and staying pregnant, not on what pregnancy would be like. Yeah, that sounds about right.

No wonder I've been taken by surprise! Only time will tell if I'll become one of those women who really love being pregnant or one of those who really don't care for it at all. I've known both and found both to be pretty amusing, truthfully. I'm not so amused now that it's me. . .

Also, is it weird that all the reading I've done (other than the occasional reference to What to Expect) was before I was pregnant, and abruptly stopped once I was actually knocked up?

Thought so.

~Nichole

5.11.2009

Day of the Momma

Yesterday, Mother's Day, I sat in Sacrament Meeting and heard from a self proclaimed Momma's Boy about the influence of moms. I heard from another son about how you don't have to bear children to be a mother. I also heard about how mothers can have quiet strength and pass this trait and that of kindness on to their children. . . .

And even though my mind and body were tired and in desperate need of a nap, all my hearings distilled downward so that by the time I sat in Relief Society and looked over at the sleeping baby next to me, looking over her doll face features, I thought about how . . .

. . . right this very minute, I'm gestating a whole new person, with her own unique features, with her own personality and her own eternal identity. . .

and after I teared up for a few seconds, it boggled my mind so completely that I came home and took a 3 and a half hour nap.

~Nichole

5.07.2009

Hearing the Swishy

Woke up early this morning to get to another appointment. We got to hear the swishy heartbeat and the doc said it was good (150 bpm).

I asked about soy protein (whey would be better, since soy manifests itself as estrogen and may increase headaches). I asked about massage and reflexology (it's ok so long as the therapist knows I'm pregnant). I also asked about screening for cervical incompetence (no such thing as screening - they'll look at my cervix in 4 weeks - but nothing much more can be done to prevent this. "Lightening does strike some people" he said.)

I go back in 4 weeks and will get a referral for The Ultrasound - the one where we find out the sex, the one where this Whosit is confirmed to be a Shesit.

Going swimming tonight with L. Going swimming again tomorrow with B. Need to get some quality cardio in somehow and it's too dang hot (already) to be outside. I hear the multi-gen center calling my name so I can go and do some yoga and pilates classes and use the treadmills for all the walking I hope to be doing in the coming months. That's the hope, that's the plan. We'll see. . .

~Nichole

5.02.2009

The Magic Number

I've done it! I've made it past 12 weeks.

I've also had horrible migraine headaches that have marked each of the past two weeks.

It's made me think. I don't think I was really, fully prepared to enter this pregnancy thing. Obviously, we had the trying and the failing and the trying and the losing and the trying and the succeeding - so it was all very planned. I've read vociferously over the last 2 years, but I still feel like I didn't really know what it would be like. Not really.

If I had to write my own version of "What to Expect", it would be something like this (at least for the first trimester):

Fatigue: You will be more tired than you ever thought possible. You will daydream about taking naps. You will waste what precious little energy you have on devising ways to fall asleep at your desk or disappear for 30 minutes or an hour without anyone noticing. You will actually fall asleep at your desk while reading legal case summaries. You will lie down during your lunch hour only to discover what you knew all along: 20 minute naps were made for someone other than you, since it takes at least that long to actually fall asleep, by which time your nap alarm goes off and you drag yourself back to work. After work, you will lay around and do nothing for weeks because you only have the strength to make it through a 6 or 7 hour day. You will feel very accomplished when you hit 11 weeks, get a little strength and energy back, and start working the 8 hour days your employer pays you to work.

Potty: Once the epitomy of Lover of Uninterrupted Sleep, you will now count yourself lucky if two mid-night potty pilgrimages are all you have to get up for. Four will be more likely. Since you are constantly yucky in the stomach, your water consumption will decline drastically. No matter. Your bladder will make up for it and you'll have to pee like you're still drinking 3/4 of a gallon a day anyway. You'll make up an arbitrary 8:00 p.m. cut off time for anything slightly liquidy in hopes that it will stave off the sudden wakefulness at 12:00, 2:00, 4:30, 6:30 in the morning when your bladder pronounces to your tired brain that it is, in fact, full and needs to be emptied. You'll lift your sleep laden body from the bed and stumble to the pot, only to think "seriously!? I got up for that!? no way my bladder was full on so little fluid!"

Nausea: Prior to falling pregnant, you tolerated food. You will now loathe it. You will think about it constantly, trying to divine what your body wants/needs and what, simultaneously, will not make you want to puke, give you wicked indigestion, or won't taste nasty when you're still burping it back up 3 hours later. You will crave spicy, tomato-based foods, but you will only be able to tolerate bland, boring ones. You will have to have a snack on hand always, much to your disdain. You pump something into your body whenever you feel the least bit ill, much to your disdain. You will no longer be able to drink slightly warm water, and especially not from your Nalgene bottle, which you'll hide somewhere under the backseat of your car and inexplicably and secretly hope to never see again. You will not throw up (phew!), but that's because every time you feel the least bit queasy, you slurp in air and hold it so that it fills your belly and forces out a huge belch (much to the embarassment of your husband who's walking with you in Wal-Mart) which eases the queasiness ever so slightly. You will feel better at 10 weeks, with spells of nausea popping back up randomly at your stomach's whim.

Cravings: You will crave Cheezits, crumb donuts and chocolate milk, seedless green grapes, spreadable cheese and crackers, vanilla ice cream, cinnamon raisin bread, pizza, mall pretzels, fire roasted tomato soup (bad idea, btw), and ice water (must be ice). You will tire easily of the "standby" foods, like ginger ale, ginger snaps, saltines, etc. etc. But seedless green grapes, Ramen noodles, and baked potatoes will help. You will scour an art fair for over an hour on a Saturday morning looking for something that might be palatable. Your 2nd trimester pregnant friend will eat fried noodles, and you'll eventually settle for a croissant and some apple juice. Oh, and just when something sounds good and you go to the store and buy all the ingredients and make it, you'll not want to eat it and the leftovers will sit in your fridge and die a slow and painful death until your husband is forced to throw them out lest they stink (see "Smell" below). You will discover that you can no longer eat chicken, ground beef, fish. . . or basically any meat products. And even though you HATE to throw up, there will be times when you will fantasize about it in the hopes that it will just make you feel better.

Smell Sensitivity: You will hate the smell of sunscreen on your husband's face when you kiss him upon his return from fishing. You will be grossed out by any semi-strong scent or smell, which only enhances the nausea problems and food aversion issues. Drive thrus, now a staple, will be particularly challenging as you will have to drive to the back of the restaurant, where they keep the trash, to order. When you roll down your window and your Super Nose sniffs that, you will be torn between wretching, ordering, or driving as far and as fast away from there as possible. Given the whole nausea/cravings conundrum, however, you will probably hold your nose while you order.

Weight: You will bore your husband with discussions about your weight and your plans for gaining slowly, because you're a little obsessed about not gaining too much. At the end of the first trimester, you'll be right on target, having only gained the recommended 4 pounds. But in week 13, all bets are off and you'll put on an additional 2 pounds - 1 more for that week than recommended. You will then make a mental note to lay off the ice cream and homemade gelato.

Constipation: Get this: nothing will move. Period. You can eat all the Grape Nuts you want. You can eat more fruits and more veggies and drink more water and (try to) walk more. Nothing. You will feel so gross that a colonic will eventually sound like a bit of heaven. That is, until you take too much mag glyc for the migraines. Then, everything will flush out of your system inside 24 hours, make you lose 3 pounds, and lead to the discovery that your "bump" is mostly just gas and poop. Aaaannnnd repeat.

Reality: Despite your trying to get to this place, you will have moments of surreality in which it doesn't feel real. And you will have moments of panic. Place your head between your knees and breathe deeply and the latter will quickly pass.

~Nichole

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury