Pregnancy Update — 31 weeks

It’s been a while since a pregnancy update. Something like three months? Yikes. We’re into single digit weeks, folks (approximately…).

I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to write another update because all I’ve got is baby on the brain. I have several writing projects on hold and have trouble concentrating at work. I just haven’t felt like writing or really doing much of anything unless it is reading up on breastfeeding, adding cloth diapers to our registry, researching pediatricians or cooking freezer meals. I’m starting to panic that we only have nine weekends left until baby’s due date. Factor in the holidays and that really only leaves us with 6-7 Saturdays to do all of the things. That’s if the baby doesn’t come early, which like, it’s more likely that I’ll be late BUT STILL. My brother was like three weeks early. If everything is not perfectly prepared by the time of that first contraction, god bless my husband and anyone else who has to deal with me! I know it’s kind of ridiculous, but this is far too important. SORRYNOTSORRY. And so, I’ve become very protective of my time. Don’t take it personally. (Mostly concerned about the big things. I will be fine if say, all the baby’s clothes aren’t sorted or whatever. I’ll be fine. Fiiiiiine.) 🙂

Baby Shower

Baby moves a lot. So much that I’ve become really used to it and can often ignore it if I’m wrapped up in something else. I’m pretty sure Baby Hegz got the hiccups the other night and Steven was adorably fascinated by it. The movements have really only felt like punches or jabs a couple times. For the most part they’re gentle and feel more like rolls than punches. Sweet little baby must have Steven’s demeanor and not be very forceful. Or just too small to hurt me yet. Heh.

Babigurl getting in some baby cuddles.
Babigurl getting in some baby cuddles.

I’m starting to feel a little sick of being pregnant. I miss being able to go on walks (or runs!) longer than half an hour because I seriously cannot go that long without peeing. I miss being able to sleep on my stomach. I miss having more than four tops to wear and like two work appropriate pairs of pants (read: not leggings or yoga pants). Every single time I stand up, I feel like a bowling ball is resting on my bladder. I have a hard time getting comfortable and my lower back aches a lot. But really, these are minor aches and pains, and I’ve had a very manageable pregnancy. I’m thankful to have found a way to make the heartburn less intense (papaya enzyme tablets!) and to not be experiencing a great deal of swelling or stretch marks….although we’ll see what the next nine weeks bring!

When I start to feel frustrated with the aches and pains and inability to easily tie my shoes, I remind myself that I will never have this back. I will never be pregnant with my first child again. I will never again tell my parents they will soon become grandparents. I will never again, for the first time, wait those agonizing minutes for a very faint second line to appear or tell Steven he’s going to be a new dad. Those things have already passed, and I won’t get to experience them ever again. Right now it feels like this pregnancy thing is lasting and will last forever (like haven’t I been pregnant all of 2015? Yeah, kind of, mostly), but it will be gone before I know it. Time does pass. Even when you’re counting the days.

My sister and I at my baby shower in October
My sister and I at my baby shower in October

I’m mildly concerned about my weight, and I wish I could be more active. I just…..would love for my weight gain to stop right here (hiiiii this is enough! I’m good!), but baby has growing to do and the third trimester is when ya pack on the pounds. We had to quit our gym membership (dollabillz), so I haven’t been swimming. 😦 I do still walk at least a couple miles a day and go to yoga once or twice a week. I looooove my prenatal yoga classes. They’re amazing. I wish my walks could be longer, but I have that half hour contingency on my bladder. Heh. As with all things pregnancy, I remind myself that this is temporary. And fleeting. There will be time. Years actually. For running races, and 6 a.m. workouts, and pushing my limits, and maybe eating less ice cream than I am now (maybe?). Right now I’m growing a human. And that’s all I need to worry about.

In addition to prenatal yoga, which has been as much about mental strength as it has physical, we’ve also completed a five week birth education class, a childbirth workshop, a natural strategies birth class and will have a couple breastfeeding classes in December. All of these have been great, and I feel like I have the information, tools and support I need to create a positive birth experience. At least that’s the hope. I’ve been trying to prepare myself mentally, physically and emotionally for labor. As much as possible having absolutely no idea what to expect. I really think the worst part is the unknown. Just how bad will the pain be? Will I be able to handle it? How long will it last? It sounds quite silly, but I’ve started to really pay attention to my reaction to pain and how I manage it. When I stub my toe or shut my finger in a drawer (these are daily occurrences, heh), I actually practice breathing through it. I’m assuming this labor thing is like stubbing your toe times a million? But I’m trying to be mindful. Years ago when I thought about having children, I assumed I would gladly accept any kind of pain medication available to me. But then I got pregnant, started reading about hospital birth horror stories and the way childbirth is treated like a medical condition in America and not a natural process (more on that later — a whole blogpost), and I began to feel like maybe I wanted something different. I would like, as much as possible, to allow my body to do this without intervention, and to be connected to my body and the process. Although I’m having a hospital birth, I would like for it to be a natural one, and no, unless explicitly asked, I don’t really care what your opinion on that matter is. So well, right now I’m breathing through middle of the night toe stubbing on the way to the bathroom (for the millionth time). Who knows if that is really any kind of preparation, but don’t worry. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Steven created this for the wall above baby's crib.
Steven created this for the wall above baby’s crib.

Lastly, you see, there’s this crease in our couch. It’s an old couch — one we bought from a friend for our first apartment. I’m not even sure how old it is and it was of course used previously by the family we bought it from. It’s been good to us. Still very comfy, but it’s beginning to show its age. I see the crease every time I come downstairs and step into our living room, and it makes me long for nice things. For a house of our own to bring this baby home to. For a large gray sectional in an open living space with natural light and dark wood floors. Our rental has also been very good to us, but it’s old too. Has character. And our dishwasher broke this week. I truly don’t know when or if we’ll ever upgrade our living situation, and given all that I have and my biggest concern being washing a few dishes by hand, boy is it ridiculous to not think I have enough. But something about having a baby makes me feel like I’m not giving that child what they deserve. Which is silly, because things don’t make a life. And things don’t love a baby. People do. And really to think children should only come home to “real houses” is an incredibly classist and elitist thing to think. But it’s something that’s been weighing on me. Kudos to you, capitalism, for making parents feel inadequate for not having stuff they don’t need.

I don’t really have too many FAQ’s for this update. People have been very kind and tell me often that I look great. Bless you, people. Overall I’m feeling anxious and excited and I find myself saying daily to Steven that “I just want the baby here.” Soon enough. For now I’m trying to cherish this time when my first baby is so close to me. Protected from the harsh, sharp edges of this world. Surrounded by warmth and the beating of my heart. (If pregnancy makes me this cheesy, just imagine what motherhood will do!)

A bump photo from a couple weeks ago featuring the world's best big sister, Dixie Doodle.
A bump photo from a couple weeks ago featuring the world’s best big sister, Dixie Doodle.

A Mom

The air outside today is thick with summer. It’s the time of year when my sunglasses, which stay in my car, burn my face when I put them on. The AC works in overtime and still the sweat slides down my back. Dixie (our dog) lounges around, staying close to the vent. It’s even too hot for her!

It’s farmer’s market season, which, for me, is summer’s saving grace. Fresh fruits and veggies (and gnats…please tell me other people have this problem in the summer too) fill our kitchen. Every year after the 4th of July I find myself growing tired with summer, and it’s this time of the year that I feel passes the most slowly. Heat wave after heat wave, until you’re begging for fall to come.

The anticipation of a new season is even more profound to me this year. Maybe by the time fall rolls around I’ll be showing. And then as slowly as summer seems to crawl by, fall quickly turns to winter and suddenly it’s a new year. And in that new year, I’ll become a mom.

A mom.

These first few months of pregnancy have been a whirlwind. My mind won’t seem to calm. I’ve heard people describe parenthood as “living with your heart outside of your body.” For all the nights I lie awake worrying about my parents and two younger siblings, I cannot imagine the worry I will feel for the tiny, helpless human who is mine. It overwhelms me when I dwell on it.

Terrified. That’s an accurate way to describe how I have felt since seeing those two pink lines. There’s been joy too. Tears. Happiness. But I would be lying if I didn’t say what I have mostly felt is fear.

Fear that I might lose this one too. And fear that I won’t. Fear for everything that could go wrong in the nine months spent growing a human. And fear for everything that could go right. Fear for all of my own faults and shortfalls. And how those will shape me as a parent. Before he/she is even big enough to make my stomach stick out, I am already worried for the teenage years when my child will say he/she hates me.  And how that already feels like a punch in the stomach.

Fear that I might lose myself. Will I still be me after a baby changes everything I thought I knew about the world? Will I ever have time for myself again? Will I still have my own goals, or will all my life’s ambitions become focused on my child?

By making this deliberate and very much desired choice to become a mom, am I signing away my dreams of traveling the world? Will I ever visit Europe?

Will I ever like my body again? Or does pregnancy just cement the fact that your body is not necessarily something you can control? I feel ashamed and embarrassed to admit this (on the Internet no less), but I believe honesty is important in writing. I already do not like the way I look. In anything. In any mirror. I feel limited in what I can do physically (both real limits from my doctor and my own limits of fatigue and nausea and heavier breathing than normal). I feel like the active lifestyle I have worked for is slipping away. Will I even be able to run a mile when this is over?

Will I ever see my friends again? Sure, they will love the baby. They say they won’t mind the baby coming along to social gatherings. But when it is here, and it is crying and it is quite literally ruining the party, will they feel the same way?  I am the first in my close circle of friends, and many of them are years away from having children themselves. I am the first, and well ahead, of my siblings having children (if they even decide to), and yet I can’t help but feel as though I chose the wrong time. Having cousins my age and my siblings’ ages has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. Am I robbing my child of that because I insisted on my own timeline?

I weighed all of these questions heavily before deciding to get pregnant. I considered my lifestyle, my social circle, what I was willing to give up and what I wasn’t. I decided that now was the time, and I was confident I felt comfortable making those sacrifices. And then it was here, it was happening, it was real and there was no going back. And suddenly I felt suffocated by the weight of responsibility coming my way and I began to panic. In fact, a couple weeks after finding out I was pregnant, I cried to my husband that I was going to lose all my friends. Sure, maybe hormones were at play. But those feelings were also very real.

It’s a range of emotions I have never felt before. From inexplainable joy one minute to overwhelming panic the next. I know this is just the beginning. I imagine joy and fear are felt multiple times a day as a parent.

Mixed in with the fear is also a heavy dose of gratitude. Given what I went through to get here (and the even greater struggles many couples face in the journey to parenthood), I do not take lightly for a second the incredible gift I have been given. I think that is why I am so scared. Because I know what I have been given is sacred. And I must do everything in my power to provide for it, shelter it, give it happiness and help it grow. And good god. That, my friends, is simply terrifying.

By my side through all of this and everything to come is my calm and unshaken husband. As different from me as any other human could be. I fell in love with him and married him because I knew he would be an incredible father. I am lucky to get to do life with him. And I am lucky a million times over to get to parent with him. For all the anxiousness pulsing through my body, imagining him being a dad makes me giddy. It makes me want to skip all of this and wake up tomorrow in January.

I went to my first prenatal (or any) yoga class this week, and I am so very glad I did. It definitely calmed me. Toward the end of class as we sat meditating, the yoga instructor called us into gratitude. For this time in our lives. For the short period of time we are blessed with having our children so close.

And I finally felt like I could do this. And I said to myself, “It’s just you and me baby. We’re in this together.”  And I felt a calmness and a sense of peace. I am ready and I am going to be fine.

In the long, thick, sticky days of summer I am preparing myself. In the evenings that stretch into night with their burnt orange sunsets and fireflies. In between the burning hot sunglasses and hard-working AC units, I am preparing my heart and my mind to become what I believe is my calling in this world.

A mom.