You Only Live Once, This Is How I'm Doing It!

33 weeks

33weeksbelly

I’m getting to the feeling huge stage. And I have so much growing left to do. Oof.

One thing I’m fascinated by is my belly button. It’s still in but I can feel it stretching, mostly in my belly button ring scar. I’m wondering, for those of you who have already done this, when did your belly button pop out? Or did any of you have it never pop out? Because it seems like there’s quite a lot left to go.

The highlight of this week was this past Saturday we got real (aka not iPhone) maternity pictures taken. I was super nervous for some reason but I’m thrilled with how they turned out. I can’t wait to share them with you all. The photographer should be mailing them out soon. They definitely deserve their own post so be on the lookout for that, hopefully sometime next week.

The rest of the week didn’t live up to the good start unfortunately. Nothing bad happened, I’ve just felt like crap. My nausea and food aversions kicked it up a notch for some reason. I’ve basically been living off Chobani, grapefruits, nachos and Nutella sandwiches. Those are eaten separately by the way. No crazy food mixtures for this pregnant lady. I have been forcing myself to try to eat other things, because ya know, growing a human takes nutrients. Nothing really goes over well though. I am grateful that I’m not actually getting sick or anything. It is frustrating to be SO HUNGRY and have nearly all food sound disgusting. I am over it.

Despite my horrible nutrition this kid is growing. How do I know? Because he’s squeezing my lungs. This week I’ve had the pleasure of the holy crap I cannot get a breath feeling. That and my heart racing. That’s fun too. They seem to be related and stretching out, either by lying down or standing, seems to remedy it. It’s still incredibly unpleasant. Yay, pregnancy!

Another pregnancy milestone I hit was buying some Tums. I have never in my life had to take them. I have been incredibly lucky in that any heartburn I’ve experienced has been remedied with a glass of milk. The other night the only thing I could think of to eat were nachos with tons of jalapenos so I figured it would be wise to pick some up. I didn’t end up needing them but they’re on my nightstand just in case.

Sorry this post is basically a big fat whine. I try to be positive but every once in awhile pregnancy symptoms wear me down. Every time this little guy kicks and wiggles, especially when he does it because Joel came home, my heart melts and I know it’s worth it. Not going to lie, the uncomfortableness is making me all that much more anxious to meet this little guy. I suppose that’s the point.


Why we waited

ultrasound 6w4dswI wrote this post awhile ago but couldn’t seem to find the right time to hit publish. I hope by publishing it now it might help someone else who is struggling after a loss.

The first time we got pregnant we shared with the world right away. The day I peed on a stick we excitedly drove literal hours to be able to tell our family in person and not long after that we started posting about it.

And then we lost the pregnancy.

The support and love I got from everyone in my life, including virtual strangers was overwhelming. I honestly am not sure how I would have gotten through it without the unbelievable outpouring of support. I have absolutely zero regrets about sharing as early as we did because otherwise we would have had to walk through that dark time alone.

I honestly didn’t expect to do anything different this time around.

Then I got that positive test. And instead of joy and excitement I felt complete terror. The only person in the world I told that day was Joel, and since he had left for an out-of-town business trip I told him via text. Over the next few days I told a few members of my immediate family but just over the phone, trying to sound happy but choking back tears the entire time. Their excitement almost startled me.

It was not the happy time I felt like it should have been. Instead I felt depressed and scared. I sobbed into my pillow at night. It was so confusing. There was a tiny part of my that was cautiously hopeful. I wanted to be excited. I just could. not. get there.*

My doctor was so understanding and ordered blood work immediately to check that all my levels were where they were supposed to be. I passed with flying colors. You’d think that would have encouraged me but since I didn’t get blood work done the last time I didn’t know if it was truly a good sign or not. For all I knew my hormones were perfect then too. Or not. Who knows.

Joel seemed less apprehensive than me, but still he always phrased his excitement in mights” and ifs.”

I’m so excited that I might be a dad…

If this baby is born…

I hated those mights and ifs. They stung. I can’t blame him though, I talked the same way.

The three weeks from the positive test to when I could finally get an ultrasound seemed like an eternity. Still, only my very immediate family knew. There was a part of me that wanted to share with others but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The pregnancy did not feel real to me. I could not let myself get attached. I couldn’t let myself feel any real excitement.

That was why I stayed so quiet, why I didn’t share with the world. I could not bear to hear excited congratulations when I couldn’t muster up any excitement myself. I felt enough guilt over not being over the moon about my (potential) future child. I couldn’t imagine faking giddiness for someone else.

I refused to let strangers be more excited about my pregnancy than I was.

That first ultrasound I nearly crawled out of my own skin sitting on that table. When the ultrasound finally began I strained to see anything in that round black blob on the screen. It wasn’t empty. Or at least it didn’t look empty to my inexpert eye. Of course my doctor took what felt like years to say anything and when he did he began with the exact same Well…. in the exact same tone that started the bad news last time. But this time that well ended in “…there’s the heartbeat.

I stared at that tiny, flickering blob through tear filled eyes and finally felt the first surge of attachment. Hope. Excitement even.

It would still take me awhile to feel excited enough to share with my extended family and even longer to share with you wonderful internet people. I’m eternally grateful this pregnancy has turned out to be healthy so far because I definitely would not have wanted to walk through another loss alone. But I needed to always feel that I was the most excited about this pregnancy, no matter how little that was. I couldn’t rush the excitement. I’m glad I didn’t rush it.

Because trust me, now? There is no one more ecstatic and in love with this baby than me. I’m glad that’s the way it always was.

*The post I linked to was something I wrote anonymously on Band Back Together just after I got the positive pregnancy test. It is an incredibly raw look at how I was feeling at the time. I’m so grateful that I had that resource to voice my feelings and receive some support, even though I couldn’t thank those people at the time since I wanted to remain anonymous. It really is an invaluable resource.


32 Weeks

32 weeks belly

32 √∑ 4 = 8

Eight months pregnant you guys!

It’s kind of blowing my mind that I hit eight months today. I mean, I’m 8 weeks from my due date. I guess 8 is my lucky number this week.

I had another check up yesterday and everything looks great. Baby boy is finally head down again which means I don’t feel like he’s trying to headbutt his way through my side anymore. Of course I am ridiculous and was a bit worried that, even though I was feeling him just as much, I wasn’t feeling him as strongly. So, ya know, my brain instantly goes to oh em gee what if that means something is wrong?! My midwife said he switched positions though and that’s likely why I’m not feeling him as strongly. Then naturally last night he was back to trying to kick his way out, only this time his escape plan was my ribs. I’m such a silly pregnant lady sometimes.

I’ve still been dancing at least twice a week. We’re currently rehearsing for a performance in about a month and while I’ve been planning on performing I thought I better ask just to be safe. When I asked my midwife when I should plan on stopping dance her answer was my favorite thing ever. “When you’re crowning.” Well okay then. So if you want to see a nine months pregnant lady performing in a hip hop version of Alice in Wonderland let me know and I’ll get you the details.

This coming weekend we’re going to get maternity photos taken. It’s a birthday present from my mom and I’m incredibly excited to see how they turn out. I’m not sure if we’ll have them by next week but as soon as we get them I’ll be sure to post.

Short update this week. I think it’s mostly because I’m in shock over being eight freaking months pregnant. Eight.

 


The doula dilemma

When we started this pregnancy I never questioned whether I wanted a doula at my birth, it was just a given. I’ve read the statistics about reduction in c-sections and requests for pain medication etc. Add the fact that Joel was so nervous about my childbirth that he actually asked if I’d be mad if he waited in the waiting room like they did in the 1950′s (Obviously my answer was hell yes I’d be mad!). It just seemed like a no-brainer.

When I realized how expensive they can be I was a little discouraged but I found out the practice we’re going to has doulas on staff at a much lower rate than hiring a private doula. Win!

Except now I’m having second thoughts.

While the practice doula is significantly less than a private one it’s still a good amount of money for us. So, I’m going to try and sum up why I’m having doubts and hopefully you all can tell me if there’s some big thing I’m overlooking that will make it worth the money.

1. We won’t get to have a personal relationship with the doula. There are three that rotate on call so we get who we get. We’ve met one and she was really nice but I’m worried we’ll end up with someone we’ve never met and end up clashing personality wise somehow.

2. A big benefit I keep hearing is that a doula comes to your house and helps gauge when you should actually go into the hospital¬† so you’re not “on the clock” sooner than you have to be. The doulas from the practice don’t do that. They get called to come in once we’re in the hospital and confirmed in active labor. If I’m not very dilated they won’t come even if the hospital decides to keep me there.

3. No home post partum visits. I’m not too concerned about this but it’s a benefit I keep hearing about so I thought I’d list it.

4. Only halfway through the Bradley Method classes Joel is feeling pretty confident about being my primary coach.

5. My mom will be there as a secondary coach. She is an RN. She also has had 6 natural births, 5 of which were at home. She has been a coach for six of my two sisters’ kids. I have watched her interact with the nurses at some of those births and she is very good at understanding exactly what is being recommended and explaining to my sisters why it is necessary or not.

6. I trust the doctor and midwives of the practice. They have an extremely low c-section rate and are huge advocates of natural childbirth. I trust that they will not recommend anything out of convenience or because they “want to get to their golf game.” If they feel I need an intervention I trust they will explain the reasons and that it will be in the best interest of me and the baby. I don’t foresee us needing a doula to advocate for us.

Given all those reasons I’m not sure what purpose a doula would serve that isn’t being served by Joel and my mom as coaches. Wouldn’t a doula just be redundant? Or am I missing something big here? I will spend the money if I can find a really good reason because I want my birth to go as smoothly as possible. At this point though I’m feeling like the support network I have set up is sufficient and adding a doula would be doing nothing more than adding an additional expense.

Am I wrong?

 


31 Weeks

Just wanted to start this post by saying a huge thank you to all of you who signed and shared the petition from yesterday. Plus all the wonderfully thoughtful birthday wishes. It made my day incredibly special. If you missed yesterday’s post, please sign and share this petition to help my friend with a debilitating condition. She really is amazing and I want to do anything I can to help her.

31weeksbelly

Anyway, this week was pretty low key, which was actually nice. Joel and I had no plans for the whole weekend, other than our regularly scheduled Bradley Method class on Sunday night. That meant a lot of lazing around and soaking up some of our last times together before our world is rocked by this little guy inside me.

joelandmecuddling

Bliss. Seriously.

Joel is getting more comfortable with talking to our little guy through my belly. It took him awhile, which is understandable honestly. I mean, if I want to talk to Baby Boy I can be as goofy or silly or serious as I want in privacy. Joel on the other hand has to talk to him in front of me. I can see how it would be awkward to know what to say. I generally try to be quiet and let them have their own time but we were trying to get Baby Boy to move for a video (seriously, it looks like alien sometimes already) and I managed to snap this during that time. It’s completely candid, he thought the video’s focus was on my belly and he certainly didn’t know I was taking a picture within the video.

joelandbelly

My heart practically explodes when I see it.

This kid is so strong. I know I mentioned it last week but it still surprises me. The other day he poked his head out so far into my hand it actually made me gasp out loud. Seriously, I’m surprised I couldn’t see his facial expression. He is also quite opinionated. He goes nuts after I take a shower. Not sure if the hot water wakes him up or he’s protesting it ending or he likes the massages he gets when I lotion my belly but no matter what time of day he has some of his most active times after I take a shower. His other most active time is when I go to bed. He often has strong opinions about which way I lie down. He has protested me laying on my left or right side so hard that I’ve had to roll over. Sometimes neither side is okay with him. Of course I’m not supposed to lie flat on my back and the whole, one hip propped up with a pillow position, can really kill my back. So going to sleep at night is… fun. Thankfully he has yet to really wake me up from kicking. My bladder takes care of the waking me up part.

My lower back has been feeling better thanks to this sexy thing.

maternitybelt

I know, down boys.

But seriously, if you’re pregnant and experiencing lower back and hip pain I highly recommend purchasing one. My pain was to the point of me barely being able to walk by night time, and that’s when I took it easy during the day. Joel’s nickname for me is Ducky and let’s just say I earned it with my pregnant “swagger.” With this belt things have gotten way better. I didn’t wear it yesterday and I noticed a huge difference. I only wear it around the house because it’s a bit uncomfortable without a layer of clothing between it and my skin and it’s not exactly the fashion statement I want to make. Still, it’s been a lifesaver. This is the one I have. This isn’t sponsored and that’s not an affiliate link, my mom gave it to me for Christmas. I just really like it so I thought I’d pass on the information.

This weekend should be a lot of fun. I’m going out tonight with Joel to celebrate my birthday (since he had work and school all. day. long. yesterday) and tomorrow I’m celebrating with my family. Because just one celebration for my birthday? Psh.


A birthday wish

Postponing my regularly scheduled belly update because it’s my birthday!

confetti

Woot!

And since this is the one day of the year I feel entitled to ask for something I’m asking that you all do something good for a dear friend of mine.

This is my friend Melissa with Joel and I on her birthday in 2011

Melissandmebday

And this is Melissa back when we met as dorky little teenagers.

melissa and me

Not pictured: the giant thumb covering 1/8 of the picture. Ah the good old days when we had no clue we needed retakes for blinking or fingers covering the picture.

melissa and me shakespeare

We met doing community theatre together. Or I just had really awkward fashion sense back then. Probably both.

She will likely want to kill me for posting the above pictures but I’m posting pictures of my ridiculous, awful short hair so I’m calling it even.

Anyway, Melissa is one of the most amazing, vibrant people I’ve ever known. She’s been a successful actress (you’ve probably heard her voice in commercials), excelled at college and has led a group of youth that loves her to pieces. It’s basically impossible not to love Melissa if you’ve met her.

She now has been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) which means a lot of complicated things that I don’t really understand. All I know is, she’s in a lot of pain and can’t do the things she used to do. Her mom posted this status to Facebook last night:

“Bad EDS day for Melissa today–worst since Mayo. Too tired to the point of feeling comatose, too tired to eat, too tired to walk up the stairs, too tired to use laptop or watch TV–not to mention the pain. As a mom–feel quite helpless as I can do nothing but wait 2 months for the specialist in Chicago…”

And reading it broke my heart.

Melissa is a fighter. She’s seen many doctors and specialists but part of the problem with figuring out the best treatment is that this isn’t a “popular” disease. I know I’d never heard of it before. In order to find the best treatments so she can go back to living her life to the fullest it needs to be recognized.

And that’s where you come in.

I’m not asking for money, just a few minutes of your time to sign this petition:

Recognize Ehlers Danlos Syndrome: Create awareness and have EDS recognized as a disability.

Recognize Ehlers Danlos Syndrome: Create awareness and have EDS recognized as a disability.

Recognize Ehlers Danlos Syndrome: Create awareness and have EDS recognized as a disability.

You do have to register on the site to sign the petition but the email only takes a few minutes to show up and they don’t ask for much information. Just your name, email and zipcode.

There’s a long way to go to get to the necessary number of signatures so that this actually gets an official response. This disease needs more awareness though if real treatments are going to be found. If ridiculous petitions like asking the government to build a Death Star can get enough signatures then I think this one can too.

Please help. I want nothing more for my birthday than to see my good friend get back to living a normal, happy, healthy life.

 

 


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