Afraid in the Dark

Last night as I tried to sleep, as my defenses began to slacken and wane, worry sneaked on tip-toe into my heart. Which, of course, made it impossible to sleep. Earlier when I told M I’d been freaking out a little, he told me “stop watching those shows!” and told me not to stress out because “the baby feels it”. (I'm not the only one watching those shows! I blame it on 21 weeks.)

After that, I didn’t think about it anymore. And I stopped Google searching whether my daily dose of magnesium gives me any added protection against CI. (It doesn’t. But it does help thwart pre-eclampsia and premature contractions, and provide some protection for the baby’s health too.) I started to read about labor and delivery, which really amounts to the long-range vision for me. I felt better.

But lying there with thoughts swirling in the emotional nakedness that darkness and late hours bring with them, the fear threatened to overwhelm me and I whispered to him that I might need a blessing soon. He told me again not to stress out, then after a few moments of silence, said “We’ve prayed for a healthy baby. I have faith that Heavenly Father will bless you with a health baby.” As I felt the strength of those words in the air and his faith in my heart, I felt comforted and laid my head on his chest and cried. Once again, the faith of my husband in this pregnancy saves me!

I did the Care Package for a whopping two days before fatigue subsumed me and I succumbed to a three day migraine, followed by a bout of laziness. But, after eating homemade (from scratch) chocolate-coconut-walnut brownies for 4 days straight, I figured I’d better get back at it. I feel stronger – if not more winded – when I make my body move and work a little.

My goal is to keep it up, along with keeping with my new penchant for taking better care of my teeth and skin (which is now a habit), so that when this babe is safely delivered into the world, I can commit myself to a new round of Couch to 5k. I would LOVE to be running 5k or more by the time I go back to work from maternity leave!




I got on the scale this morning and for the third straight day in a row, it was the same. Yeah! Sometimes I feel like it’s inching ever upward, then it will drop, only to go back up. I’m happy for this temporary plateau.

M was able to feel the baby kick for the first time a few days ago. He’s amazed that something that’s only about 10 inches long and 10.5 ounces can pack that much power. The acrobatics this kid performs! He’s a true underwater trapeze artist, if ever there was one.

I’ve been spending time at the crossroad of fear and paranoia, and long for the blissful, relatively worry free (sha-right!) days that were weeks 14-17. That sounds darker and deeper than I mean it, but I don’t know how else to say it. “Tenuous” is a good word to describe how I’m feeling. On one hand, all the kicking and the rolling and the moving has made this finally feel real. On the other, this finally feels real and I’m freaked out about how much I stand to lose if things don’t work out.

I think my previous losses make me particularly prone to this sort of illness. That and all the talk about cervical incompetence lately. Every baby show I watch on TV has some woman or another who lost a baby at 18 weeks, 22 weeks, 23 weeks to this stealthy killer. Then there’s my friend at work whose wife lost their baby at 20 weeks. Because it’s hit so close to home and because I’m smack in the middle of prime risk time, I’m worried. Not overly so, but in the back of my mind it’s always there.

As I fell to sleep last night, with my belly jumping and vibrating with movement, I prayed some sort of incoherent but heartfelt prayer about the safety and health of this baby. This morning, as I broke through the layers of sleep and struck back into consciousness, I saw two images: one of a tiny baby in a hooded blue sleeper being cradled against M’s shoulder and another of a baby snug in an infant carrier. I considered those images the reassurance I’m in desperate need of.

But still the thoughts nag at me. I Googled “signs of cervical incompetence” so I know what to look for. Turns out, there are really no signs or symptoms, since it often happens without the mother even knowing what’s going on until it’s too late. So, I called the ultrasound place and asked them if they have a written report of my visit two weeks ago. With all the excitement centered on the baby and making sure all his parts were there and functioning, none of us (ultrasound tech included) were really thinking about me and my cervix. So, I’m pretty sure I’ll be making a trip to the imaging center tomorrow to show my ID and get a copy of the report in person to review and analyze to death to see if it tells me whether my cervix was competent or not two weeks ago. Or maybe I’ll just finally play the “panicked pregnant woman” card and call up my doc and beg to be checked out just to ease my mind. Or maybe I’ll just do both since the imaging place is on the way to my doc’s office anyway.

In other news, another girl at church has joined the little Pregnancy Brigade that L and I started. She’s 8 weeks along and already announcing. I guess it’s just me that’s too paranoid to tempt fate like that. It literally freaks me out, especially when I hear of a friend of a friend going in for their 12 week visit and finding out the baby stopped developing. I think only those who’ve experienced pregnancy loss really think about it in that way and consider always the chances that “something could happen”. 25% of all pregnancies is not a small number. And it feels as big as the world when you’re the one becoming part of that statistic.

I got to see C’s new baby last Saturday. She’s SO cute! She’s perfect and healthy and well. It makes me realize that just because it happens every day, healthy babies being born is no less of a fascinating miracle!

As for me, I’m hoping my kid is the obedient kind and that he listens when I tell him not to dare come out ‘til he’s good and cooked. Also, if he could clue me in on what we should call him when he gets here, that’d be great.



Care Package

My attempts to take care of myself are not going so well. For instance, yesterday was kind of a crap eating day. Some days are better than others, but none so far have included the walking I was hoping for before my stomach distends and we’re all in trouble.

My current weight gain: 14 pounds

Using the handy dandy internet, I’ve found that this is pretty much right on track with where I should be. “Rate of gain should be 2 to 5 pounds in the first trimester, and about a pound a week thereafter up until delivery.” That’s paraphrased, but it's basically what it says. SO . . . according to my (bordering on obsessed) mathematical equation, 20 weeks - 12 weeks = 8 weeks = 8 pounds + 5 pounds for first 12 weeks = 13 pounds to date.

So there. I guess.

I’m managing on the protein and water front, at least. And trying to eat well, at least. Throw in some more activity, and we’ll be in business! (Seriously. Today I looked at my thighs and really, really missed the benefits of running.)

In that vein, I got up this morning and completed what I have come to call my daily “Care Package”. No kidding. I even have it written down on a piece of yellow note paper with that title at the top.

It goes like this:

· Breakfast (non-descript since it’s always in flux. Last week was egg whites, toast and orange juice; this week it’s Special K with skim milk, followed by a little bit of Cinnamon Life or something like that.)
· Starfish stretch on the ball (think of a starfish. . . then picture me sprawled out, face up, on an exercise ball. That’s a “starfish”)
· 50 regular ab crunches on the ball
· 20 chick pushups
· 20 low back/ab flex/extensions
· 15 tricep reverse curls each arm
· 15 tricep extensions each arm
· Groin stretch
· Piriformis stretches
· Shower
· 50 squats (while putting on my makeup)

· 25-30 deep ab crunches on the ball (as in all the way forward. . . and hold)
· 15 oblique crunches each side on the ball
· 20 chick pushups

· Continue on the protein and water kick
· Walking for 30 minutes a couple times a week (like 3 would be great!)
· Go to bed at 10!

Today was Day 1. I’m jazzed. But that’s always how it is on Day 1. And since I’m the worst about regimine or routines, I think I’ll feel better once it’s Day 10 (or something in the double digits). I Can Do It, though. If I got my sorry butt out of bed in the wee hours of the morning all last summer to run 5 days a week, I definitely can do this for 20 or so minutes a day!

In other news: I love feeling this boy move! When I feel him, I smile and think “Hi baby!” OK. OK. Sometimes I say it out loud, but whatever.



Pictures and Peepee

We've shared our pics with our families - most recently M's parents.

This morning I got this e-mail from Pop:

"C thought you might find funny what she wrote about the new Fdez boy in her journal:

'Thursday, June 11, 2009. There was good news today. M called happy to report that they were told that Nichole is pregnant and it's a boy!! So, the Fdez name will live on through M's progeny; another "piss in your face type". That's what little boy babies do when you change their wet diapers. What's funnier is when their diaper is off and they start peeing and it begins to splash on their face, and they sound and act like they are drowning.'

Have a great night. Love, mom and pop."

What's funnier is that just yesterday, having been amply warned about all the peeing by my MIL (who had 8 boys), I came across something called the "Peepee Teepee". It's basically a little tent that goes over little boy parts during diaper changes. I'm going to make some and hope they work to save both of us from drowning. . .



Boy Oh Boy

OK. We're better now, more adjusted to the idea of having a boy. I just keep seeing M's baby picture in my head, with lighter hair and greenish eyes. It works because he was a cute baby.

There's nothing like ultrasound pics (and tummy kicks) to make it feel more real. I've been studying those pictures off and on over the last few days, wondering what this boy will look like when he's ripe & ready for this world. I told him today he has to stay in until he's all ready to come out - then regretted my words lest he take me seriously and end up overdue.

Months ago, I clicked on a link from Facebook that said "LOST baby clothes" and I found the funniest freakin' onesies. LOST fans will love it. Some of the ones that made me laugh out loud are:

"I'm a complex guy, sweetheart."

"If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant."

"Bad Robot"

"You taste like fish biscuits"

"No you can't have peanut butter for the cute blonde and her poor island baby!"

"WWLD What Would Locke Do?"

"Rejected by the Others"

"You gonna beat me with your Jesus stick?"

"Maybe it's a pissed off giraffe"

"I am one of the Oceanic 6"

"Did that bird just say my name?"

I could go on. There's also one from Star Wars I like: "I'm the first of a clone army" and one from Harry Potter: "If you can read this, my invisibility cloak must have fallen off".

So, I guess, in short, we're having fun with idea of having a boy. That said, I'm already to the "M"s in the baby name book and, so far, no dice. . . .



Skip. Hop. Jump.

19 weeks.

Just a skip, hop, and jump from 5 month mainland. . .

Also, almost the halfway point.

In 20ish or so weeks, we'll be able to meet our little



See the whole story here.

By the way, I'm such a proponent of "finding out". Initially, I wanted to wait until the birth and tried the "because there are so few surprises in life!" argument. M wasn't buying it. He wanted to find out. I was easily swayed (because he was very adamant), and we opted to find out. I am SO glad we did.

I can't imagine if we continued to think this boy was a girl - to the point of M saying "she's going to be fun" and praying for the health of our "daughter", even as I backed off and went to gender neutral references a few weeks back - only to find that she's a he and now we have to think of names rightnow and decide on circumcision rightnow and have a bunch of girly things to return to the store rightnow. . .



Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: A Paradox

I was writing an e-mail to a friend the other day and was telling her how I was (aka with the pregnancy) and I wrote something like:

It's a paradox, really: I feel more and more like myself in terms of energy and ability, but less and less like myself as I no longer fit into my clothes and see my ever-growing belly.

Yep. Pregnancy's like that, I guess.

Last week, for the first time, I felt the little bubbly presence floating in the oasis that is my womb. Then, it went from bubbly to feeling like something is swimming in my stomach. Now all day long, usually when I'm leaning forward concentrating on something on the computer screen at work, this baby is a mover and a shaker, flipping and flopping all over the place, feeling like a constant fit of butterflies trying to make a hasty escape through my belly button. In just a week, we've gone from vague abstraction to bumpy reality. It feels real now.

Yesterday, I visited the doc. He gave me a "half way" handout, and as he checked the heartbeat (it was laying with its head toward my right hip), he warned me that my little episode of dizziness and feeling like I was going to black out yesterday morning was not, in fact, dehydration. He said I need to eat more protein, so I'm not getting the crash that comes with a plummet in my glycemic index (because of breakfast cereals and no protein for breakfast). Yup. That's what he said. So I obliged and stopped at Circle K and got a couple of Power Bars to have on hand. And this morning I made some hard boiled eggs.

On the day after tomorrow, we go for The Ultrasound. You know, THE Ultrasound. Yes, yes. We're all excited to find out the sex of this baby. (Have I explained yet that the seemingly PC term "gender" is really a psychosocial construct, and that the word "sex" is the correct biological term? Well, now you know.) But more than the sex, I just want them to make sure it's healthy, has plenty of fluid to swim around in, that the plug of my womb is staying put for a while. . . essentially, I want a green light for the next 20 or so weeks. Is that too much to ask?

Speaking of the next 20 or so weeks, I'm getting to the point where I think I'm big enough. I mean, this baby can find some way to grow larger without my stomach having to expand any more, right? No? Crap! I feel huge already. I'm thinking how I don't know what I'm going to think as the largeness that has become my belly ultimately becomes so much hulk and heft. And in the summer, too. Oy!



Pregnancy Archipelago

I've decided that weeks form the archipelago of pregnancy and that months are mainland. Months are the only thing that regular (non-pregnant) people understand, but we pregnant women mark our time by weeks and it makes perfect sense to us!

Weeks make pregos feel better because it gives us something to focus on while we're away from the mainland for 3 weeks at a time. . .

So, here's what's been up since I left the mainland of 4 months:

-My hair is getting so long! M says it's "too long" and I agree I need a summer haircut, but I'm secretly thrilled that I'm no longer shedding and that it's full and wonderful. But it's up 99% of the time, which is not so lovely and will be even less lovely as my face fills out.

-While not obsessing about my weight, I'm watching it. I started doing ab work on my exercise ball. I'll be adding weights for my triceps. And with M's new earlier work schedule, it means we're going to bed earlier, which I'm hoping translates into my getting up earlier and going walking a couple of times a week.

-I finally remembered to remind myself to remind my friend Janet with a Y to bring me her hand-me-down materity clothes. She did. As I suspected, she's tiny, even when pregnant (wait. I knew that.) I'm still gonna need to buy a few things: a skirt, a dress, a couple more dress capris, some more tops, a swimsuit. . . but at least I have a few more things I can wear thanks to her.

-Today, I've been so obsessed with my not having felt the baby move so far. My friend L said she felt it at 16.5 weeks, Janet with a Y said she felt it at 14 weeks, but it was her 3rd. I started thinking what if something has happened and they tell me when I go in next Monday? Then I'd think to myself that that line of thinking is just nuts, given the "range" of first feeling "something" is between 16-20 weeks and I'm only 17.5. Even so, I strongly considered calling up C, who just had her first a week and a half ago, and asking her when she first felt Ella in utero. I resisted.

-While I was driving to get M some food, I was contracting and releasing my abs (because I got to thinking about how my stomach is changing and wanted to make sure my abs still exist - so far, so good - but mostly I was thinking how my belly's rearranging to make room for baby and because in the last 3-4 days my lower abdomen has become surprisingly firm) when I paused the contracting and then felt this little blub blub blub just below my navel. I thought to myself "I'm pretty sure that was the baby and not just gas. . . I probably would have missed that if I'd not been messing with my abs." Yea!

-I'm still having trouble picturing myself with a newborn, but I'm getting more excited. I'm not so excited for what the summer heat + prego belly might add up to.

-Once we got back from camping, things - ahem - loosened up a bit and I've felt much better on the gastrointestinal front. Yea!

-I'm so much in the archipelago sitting off the shore of the 5 month mainland. . . but at least next week I get to see the doctor, at which visit he'll check me out, check my cervix out (to make sure it's closed and long), and give me a referral for us to find out What It Is. I'm pretty sure that'll go far to get me from 18 to 20 weeks!


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