I'm not really talking about the physical changes, exactly. We all know (or at least suspect) there's a baby growing in there.
Here are a few non-textbook things that changed about me when my second offspring showed up on the scene (many of these happened with my first pregnancy, too):
1. I can hardly stand spinach. I've had one or two green smoothies that were tolerable since the beginning of this pregnancy. Other than that, spinach turns my stomach.
2. I have less of a filter. For the most part, I like this. I've had a conversation with one of my best that I've been wanting to for awhile and I told another she's been doing a hell of a good job with her toddler + twin babies. I like this version of me.
3. I want CHEESE. I'm pretty sure a good chunk of our grocery budget goes to Organic Valley these days.
4. I get winded going up the stairs. Yikes! Blaming it on the increased blood capacity, but it's still embarrassing when I have to stop to catch my breath at the top of a single flight.
5. I have nicer hair. I still need a hair cut (as usual), but I'm overall happier with it...even when resorting to last-resort hair supplies.
...and carrying around a baby the size of a small pumpkin as of the time of posting. Baby Boy could be here any time between now and the next 12 days. (I have an induction scheduled on the 14th in case he doesn't come on his own by then.)
It has been an eventful week around these parts.
It snowed. My parents, Tim's parents, and my sister-and-brother-in-law all lost power, but we didn't...so we offered up our house to them (and a few friends) as shower/heat/hot meal/electronics-charging/laundry central. We had a lot of fun...after all, what's the point of owning a home if it's not going to be shared?
However, I gotta tell you, the real star of the show was without a doubt, my husband. He took care of everything. Encouraged me to go to a previously-planned get-together because we don't know when I'll get to do that again. Made sure I got to bed when I had a fatigue-induced tear-filled breakdown, even though family might be coming to sleep over soon.
This week was more difficult than others- more aches, more trouble sleeping, one much-needed vent session over everything that's been getting under my skin (thanks, Mom!)- and Tim handled it like a pro.
I mentioned that my city has been reported to be the poorest city in the nation. Last night, there was a town hall meeting in response that I really wanted to attend. I got to go (and I'm so glad I did!). Of course, the problems in my city weren't solved, but it was a start, and I feel privileged to have been a part of it.
Nesting. I've been doing my best to keep up with laundry, dishes, keep the house picked up and relatively clean (which has been somewhat of a challenge due to some construction projects we have going on, but still doable if I just relax. Yesterday, I chopped up the remaining carrots and celery in hopes that I would be more likely to eat them (I haven't yet- but I did make and eat kale chips to use up some produce!). I made pot roast, mashed potatoes, and meatless pumpkin chili. I restocked any food I deemed necessary (with the exception of the eggs I like to buy at the farmers market...which doesn't open until tomorrow.)
I am ready to meet this baby.
Today is my due date. And while I know "due date" is not synonymous with "expiration date," I want to meet my son...now, please.
He might still arrive (or begin making his way into the world) today ...but because I've reached my due date and don't have that "I think he's going to be born soon!" feeling, today I wanted to splurge.
I wanted to go to a Papillon Brasserie linger over a French meal with a glass of wine. I wanted to go to Winedown and get wine and cheese. But I didn't. Instead, I went to one of my favorite healthy food stores, took my sweet time perusing every aisle (some aisles more than once!) and choosing a few treats to take home with me. It wasn't wine and cheese, but for me it was on par.
I tend to think of myself as a backstage kind of person.
I'm not generally a spokesperson for anything.
I'm not the life of the party.
But I am an ideas girl. I will do whatever it takes to make a wedding or any event I am involved in run smoothly. I will throw around ideas. I will do prep work, create the atmosphere, cook the food...
Recently, though, I remembered that I love the stage.
I mean the literal stage.
I love the learning to forget inhibitions so I can harness something that's been sitting raw inside of me so I can help tell a story.
I love the belted notes that move alongside piano keys.
There is a moment- several moments, really- before a performance that are full of nerves. It almost feels like the thing about to be done can't happen. My stomach knots a hundred times, I breathe in and out, not quite sure when the moment is going to take place, but knowing it's going to.
And when it does, everything I've been practicing will come roaring out. The anxiety, the audience, the need to perform, even, is gone. What's left is the story. The raw parts of me I've been polishing in order to tell it.
I remembered this love recently because that feeling right before the play starts or the piano hits the first note? The excitement, the anxiety, the how is this going to go?
That's how I feel as I wait for this baby to be born out of me. For the two of us to to perform our big duet.
It's coming. I just don't know quite when.
This post is part of the Just Write link-up, a weekly exercise in free writing ordinary and extra-ordinary moments.
This post is part of the Just Write link-up, a weekly exercise in free writing ordinary and extra-ordinary moments.
I swear I felt cute when I put this outfit together.
I was so proud of myself- a new pair of shoes, but no other money spent for an outfit I felt good in. This is big news when your belly is huge, still growing, but likely to deflate (at least a little bit!) in just a few weeks.
Every trip to the bathroom reminds me of my expanded butt, thighs, and arms. That's a lot of reminders.
"Everyone" says I'm "all belly," but it isn't true. I am bigger- and not just in my belly. Perhaps I just look that much better in my preferred uniform of choice- a long tank top and a pair of jeans.
It doesn't matter. My bigger body parts are preparation- for cuddling, for lots of sitting, or "lifting with my legs!"
But tonight I am at a wedding.
The band is good. I'm not too picky about what I choose to dance to. I just want a song that's movable.
But this band is good. I find myself resigning to an evening of pulling my fun from watching people I love dance. It's too loud to have a good conversation. That's ok. The music is that good.
I am this big. I'm not really supposed to be on the dance floor. My back and feet probably hurt too much to enjoy it anyway. My husband will find other people to dance with- we are at a family wedding, so we know many of the dancers. Maybe we will get a slow dance or two in.
I am feeling a little boxed in, but I am resigning, trying to soak up the music anyway, swaying in my chair.
My husband turns to me.
"Do you want to dance?"
I dance as much as I can.
I smile and laugh a lot.
Maybe I am beaming.
I am rescued.
As I write this, I am crunching on an apple and waiting for lab results.
For the past couple of months, I have been downing bottles of Floradix and being careful not to eat dairy with high-iron meals (because calcium blocks iron absorption). I've been trying new approaches to raise my iron levels (like taking an extra folic acid supplement to help my body absorb iron better.) I know words like "hematocrit" (proportion of total blood volume made up of red blood cells).
I am (was?) anemic.
If that doesn't change, I don't get to give birth at my birthing center. I don't get the home-y feel, the kitchen, the day bed for my "team" to relax on.
But. If that doesn't change, I will still be giving birth in a way that is healthy for both Baby Boy and his mama. I will still have the support of people I love and the midwives I've come to love. I will still have all kinds of lessons and tools I've learned through prenatal yoga classes, birthing classes, and birthing center appointments.
But. I think I've always had an iron issue. The OB I was with prior to switching to the birth center was great, but my low iron levels were never mentioned. (Maybe because although low, they are presumably nothing the hospital can't handle.) My midwives, on the other hand, go above and beyond. Not only are they trying to help me raise my iron levels to necessary levels, but they also had my blood tested to find out why my iron levels are so low and how my body processes iron. Nobody, including myself, has ever even mentioned doing that before.
So. The nurses and midwives at my beloved birthing center + Tim and I are doing what we can to ensure a healthy baby, mama, labor, and delivery. And that's enough.
(Of course, I will be overjoyed if I find out everything lines up to make my coveted birthing center experience happen.)
Everything else points to the healthy baby, mama, and pregnancy I am after.
- Baby Boy's heartbeat and movements are strong.
- My blood pressure is good. (It's actually low, but that's normal for me, so it's considered fine.)
- My body is not having any problems processing sugar or protein.
- My weight is healthy.
- I'm not having any problems with excess swelling.
- Baby Boy is measuring pretty much right on target.
- I think he's head-down (which means it's his feet that are kicking me in the boobs at night!)
A few more happy thoughts to focus on while I wait for results:
- We have a crib! And a car seat. And an amazingly comfortable chair for the nursery. Baby Boy's room is coming together!
- It's fall! That means lots of pumpkin and apple everything. (I am obsessed. This is not a pregnancy thing, just something that happens every year and lasts...for quite a while.) and Thanksgiving. And Katie comes for a visit. And all the things I mentioned in my previous post.
- I get to meet Baby Boy SOON...at least it feels soon. Some days I'd like to meet him today and some days I'm good at soaking up the moments I have before everything really changes. Either way, there is excitement in the air.
Thank you to all of you who are on this becoming-a-mother journey with me. It's so much fun to share it with you each week.
Edited to add: I received a phone call shortly after writing this post. My iron levels are still too low, but they have risen. My instructions are to keep doing what I'm doing until we can discuss my options at my next appointment. Admittedly, some disappointment and tears came with such news, but my amazing husband reminded me of much of what I've written here (without reading it) and that really, the most important part in labor and delivery is a healthy baby and healthy mom. So...motherhood requires some flexibility, huh? Does someone want to volunteer to remind me of that for the next 20 years?
I like to think of myself as well-informed when it comes to pregnancy. I read articles, books, and blogs. I ask questions, take classes, and welcome stories and advice from seasoned mothers.
But for all of my preparation, there have been some aspects of pregnancy that I did not see coming.
1. I really like pizza.
I was a not a big fan pre-pregnancy. I would eat it, and even relish a particularly well-made slice, but I can't say it would ever have been my first choice. I'm still not a fan of every single variety, but I think I could easily go for pizza several times a week and not get tired of it. In fact, I am convinced my life would significantly improve with easy access to a pizza stone, a pizza peel, and a Mellow Mushroom franchise.
2. Not everything the experts tell you about what you're husband is going through will be true for him.
I read newsletters and articles include intentions of providing me with a heads-up on what Tim might be dealing with (related to pregnancy, birth, and becoming a dad). But just because a respected source says it's true, doesn't mean it is. There is one way to find out: talk about it.
3. I've become a lot more bold. I say more of what's on my mind (in person and not just in written words anymore). I aim to do it in a way that is considerate of others, but I'm a lot less...inhibited? I approach people I don't really know for conversation and I've attended parties where I didn't know anyone but the host (I've had a good time doing both!). I think I've lost some of my filter, and I really like it.
4. My thing with binging? It's been slipping away. I have had days where the amount of sugar versus the amount of substantial food I ate was way too high, but I'm not quite sure the last time I binged. I could guess at a few reasons for that, and I'm not counting my worst default coping mechanism as gone forever, but...it feels pretty good to know that while I'm doing what I can to give my baby a healthy body and environment, he's helping me get healthy.
5. My teeth are turning colors! It's not a direct result of pregnancy, but all that liquid iron I'm taking to try to up my iron levels? It's turning my front teeth a blu-ish/black-ish color. All in the name of a healthy labor!
(Photo credit for the pizza belongs here.)
I'm a fan of lists. (I know many of you out there are, too!)
So today, for fun, I'm doing my weekly pregnancy update in list form. Maybe you could choose a fitting category or two and fill them out for yourself in the comments? (It doesn't matter if you're pregnant.) You know, because we love lists so much.
Here we go!
five interesting tidbits about Baby K
1. he is estimated to be almost 17 inches long. *
2. he weighs roughly 3 3/4 pounds and is expected to gain about a third to a half of his birth weight from here on out. *
3. fingernails, toenails, and real hair (or maybe peach fuzz) are in place! *
4. he seemed to prefer my right side for awhile, but now it seems he's flailing and exploring in all directions.
5. he is already one loved little baby.
*taken from babycenter.com.
five things I like to eat right now
1. lentil salad wraps from Dosie Dough
2. fruit! lots of fruit! pretty much any kind will do.
3. something sweet (other than fruit). every day.
4. soup! the cold weather brought on the desire for comfort in a bowl, and this recipe fit the bill.
5. bread! bagels! nearly anything that allows me big bites of soft-on-the-inside-crusty-on-the outside goodness.
five things I miss
1. the ability to get out of bed without thinking through the best way to do it.
2. a quality glass of wine once in a while.
3. caffeinated coffee. Green Mountain makes some really yummy varieties, and while their decaf is good, their flavored caffeinated coffee is better.
4. my energy!
5. my body. most of the time, I enjoy the experience of pregnancy, but sometimes, I don't want to share any more.
five things on my to-do list
1. go crib shopping!
2. get the nursery completely put together.
3. finish (and send!) thank you cards. (i actually really like doing this, but it takes me a while because I want every note to be personal. add to that baby brain and feeling like i could just lay down and nap right now much of the time.)
4. prep for a get-together I'm hosting this weekend.
5. make plans to pick my niece up after school. (she requested it- isn't that sweet?) I already have visions of baking brownies and catching up on her life and then making dinner while the stories continue to float through the house.
five things I'm excited about right now
1. you might have already guessed that i'm excited to have my niece over.
2. i'm excited for my get-together this weekend. i think it's going to be a lot of fun. i'll try to remember to take pictures this time so i can share the experience with you- but you might know how poor my memory is these days.
3. going back to my prenatal yoga class. Tim and i have been taking birthing classes that just happened to fall the same night as yoga. i'm glad i went, but they're over now, so back to yoga, it is!
4. i'm borrowing my mom's car for a few days while she is in Georgia. while not having a second car (this is a recent thing- ours was totaled. but everyone is ok!) is not a big deal, it will certainly make shopping, appointments, and picking up my niece a whole lot easier...it will also make stopping by Dosie Dough for one of my favorite wraps a whole lot easier. i'll have to watch that!
5. i do still have a gift certificate for a massage. and i just might use it while i have the transportation.
Pregnancy brain is REAL, Everybody.
I'm going to need a baby sitter for these last few weeks.
Add inadequate sleep to the mix, and well...
Just finding the above picture took me way too long because I kept forgetting why I'd opened a new tab.
Tim and I tried our hands at preparing mussels for the first time last night. The sand (and maybe some shells) that sank to the bottom of a big bowl of water? I poured it down the drain. (Yeah, that's a big no-no.)
I knocked my glass of water all over the carpet while I was eating because I forgot it was sitting next to me.
The broth and shells leftover afterwards? I poured them all in a plastic bag to be thrown out. Yes, the broth, too. Yes, it leaked all over my counter and floor.
I did manage to get some good sleep last night, so maybe, just maybe the house will still be intact when Tim gets home tonight.
But I'm not making any promises.
After waking up early this morning just to pee (I say "just" because sometimes I wake up also to drink a glass of water or eat or do all of those things), I could not fall back asleep.
(I think it's time to cash in the massage certificate I've been hoarding since last fall. )
By the time I got semi-comfortable, I was wide awake.
I grabbed my cell phone: 4:50 am. Sure, I can start my day right now.
To those who attempt conversation with me close to the nap I'm going to need to take later, I'm going to need some grace. I may not remember what I said or I may say something completely ridiculous. This could end up being hilarious for you.
Energy has actually been somewhat of a hot commodity for me. I run out of it fast (unless I am running an event- then I keep going until my feet and back scream "no more!" at me and hardly take note of my need for rest). So much so that I (briefly!) considered hiring a cleaning service for my house. Me, the woman with no job and plenty of time to "get the house in order." Yeah, I nixed that idea pretty fast. Cleaning services are for families with busy schedules and 2 incomes, not women who have plenty of time to do it themselves.
My sweet tooth has been raging lately. I've been happy to comply, mostly within reason, but recently my sugar intake has been high. Sometimes that happens when I'm tired and not focused on making good choices. Too much sugar + not enough rest means an unhealthy mental state for me.
I found myself getting sucked into a "losing the baby weight" thread on a pregnancy forum I frequent. I found myself contemplating going on a specific diet plan post-baby, thinking maybe I should, when I know "just" listening to and honoring my body works best for me. Right now, my body is screaming,"no more sweets! But give me fruit!" So I'll comply, get some rest, and take care of the only body I have. That's enough.
(I don't think there is anything wrong with some of the eating plans out there. I just know from experience that choosing one labelled-in-capital letters plan leads to an unhealthy mindset for me.)
My physical activity this week has mainly come in the form of cleaning, shopping,and cooking (much of it in an effort to celebrate my mom's birthday), but I did manage to park myself in front of our TV for 2 yoga sessions.
Okay, now I see what people mean when they say I look like I have a basketball under my shirt. I know I've expanded at least a bit every where ,but this baby really does know how to carve out his own hangout!
Oh, the boy inside that belly makes all this tiredness worth it. I've read (here) that "he may be heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He's probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby's kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy."
Alright then, Baby Boy. You win.
Last weekend, Tim and I turned a wedding into an extended babymoon weekend. It. was. wonderful.
I love experiencing new things with Tim.
Seeing new places.
Trying new foods, taking it all in. Sleeping in hotels, exploring.
I feel reinvigorated. And calmer, maybe?
There is so much swirling around in my brain; I'm hoping some of it will spill out into legible words later this week.
And I'm so grateful for some very special time set aside for just me and Tim as us. I'm so excited to meet my son. I want to see him, feel him, touch him. But I have a confession to make: I'm glad that there's still 10 or so weeks to go. I'm not ready to share my husband.
In other news...
I think Tim and I are getting closer to choosing a name for Baby Boy.
He's measuring a week ahead- again!
I'm still working on getting my iron levels up, but you know what? If they remain too low to give birth at the birthing center, I can be ok with a hospital birth.
I'm still loving my yoga dvd.
Baby Boy is estimated to be almost 16 inches long and about 3 pounds (maybe a bit more?).
I'm considering filling my freezer with meals for post-birth. I've seen some related posts around the blogosphere, but I'm thinking it can't hurt to ask:
-Do you have any favorite freezer meals?
-Any tips for freezing meals for a month or more at a time?