Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"You're gonna have this baby in June."

That's what Dave said to me as I stood naked in the bathroom after my shower Sunday morning. Apparently, my belly is looking even huger these days. The "Wow, how much longer?" factor has increased greatly as I've had several strangers and many friends and family comment on my rapid belly growth in the last week. June is fine with me, as long as she waits until after the first week, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

I believe she turned head down over the weekend. Sunday night I could feel her moving like crazy, like she flipped over. Then Monday, I was suddenly feeling kicks in the top part of my belly where I had not felt them yet. Head down is a good thing, but I think it's also contributing to my extra bathroom trip in the middle of the night. It seems I'm now on a two trip schedule rather than just the one trip I've been taking for the last several months. Also, I can't seem to sleep in a way that doesn't make my back hurt in the morning. I think it's just the weight of the belly, and it doesn't seem to matter how many pillows I have. I'm up to four right now, but that's because I've had to have two under my head to breathe (I have a cold right now). Dave is envious of my pillow nest. :)

I can tell that the baby is getting stronger and bigger because the kicks and punches are much stronger now. I can also see my belly move most of the time when she kicks or has hiccups. Dave can feel it, but she's a sassy one already. Any time I put my hand on my belly while she's moving, she stops. This means that when he tries to feel it, she usually stops - unless it's bedtime.

I got a little worried over the weekend because I barely felt her move at all Saturday. I decided to sit on the porch and drink sweet tea and eat a granola bar and wait to feel her. I did. She moved a little, but was much more subdued than normal. I've come to the conclusion that the basketball tournament wore her out on Friday. She was moving almost non-stop all Friday morning and most of the afternoon. That's not her normal schedule. :) I don't know if she loved it or hated it, but the noise really got her stirred up. I think she slept most of the day Saturday.

We've also discovered that she likes music. When Dave plays the keyboard or when the music in church is loud enough, she moves all over the place. She went NUTS when the bands were playing at the ball games over the weekend.

We are 25 weeks today. I think my hunger has finally slowed down some, thank goodness. It's hard to practice self-control when you are STARVING all the time. I've decided that the guidelines they give you for pregnancy weight gain are a joke. I'm supposed to gain about 25 pounds because my weight before pregnancy was on the high side of normal. I am just a few pounds short of that goal today, and I have 106 more days to go. I had a meltdown about this after my last doctor's appointment, but then I started thinking about those women who started overweight and are only supposed to gain 15 lbs. I don't know if that's possible. I cannot explain to you the HUNGER. I was so blessed not to be sick the whole time, and I'm so thankful for that, but the trade off for that is hunger like I've never felt before. Are you just supposed to not eat when you are starving? Anyway, I evaluated my eating habits and found that the only thing I was eating on a daily basis that was really bad was Pop-Tarts. 410 calories for 2! And 2 come in a package together! I quit buying them. Luckily, my appetite seems to be almost normal this week, so maybe it will stay that way for a while so the weight gain can slow down. All in all, I feel good about my pregnant body. I think my belly is pretty and I can't tell that I've gained much extra anywhere else.

I still don't need to hear that I'm huge from every person who lays eyes on me. I already know it, thank you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Riddle Me This

HOW is my belly going to grow for three more months without my belly button bursting wide open? It's already flattened out to the point that the scars that used to be on the inside are now on the outside. Sometimes it feels and looks a little bruised. In my imagination, I see myself waking up one day to a beautiful and completely natural sun tattoo of stretch marks radiating from around my belly button. I hope that doesn't happen. I've also solved the mystery of how an innie becomes an outie. If I mash on the skin around my expanded belly button, it pops right out.

We, Timothia and I, are 24 weeks along today. According to my pregnancy calendar, she weighs about one and a half pounds and is about eight and a half inches long. She feels bigger than that to me. Also, some of my weight gain is now going directly to her so she can fatten up (Hallelujah!!).

I had a doctor's appointment last week and I finally got to see her face, sort of. She still tried to turn it away, but we got a good profile shot of it. She was sucking on her bottom lip. Her lips and nose look normal and her heartbeat was good. She is the picture of health; however, she is sucking the life blood out of me. Following a couple of scary near fainting episodes (one that happened while I was driving to work), I found out that I am a little anemic right now. Let me tell you that it was a relief to know that is why I've been so tired, faint, and short of breath - all the while thinking it was supposed to be normal and wondering how much worse it would be as I get bigger. I just had a feeling that it wasn't normal and when I pressed the doctor about it, he decided to test me. He also tested my thyroid, but I haven't heard the results on it yet. I have a feeling it will be normal. I started on iron supplements last week, and I can already tell a difference in how I feel.

I also started walking regularly (finally, thanks to Daylight Savings time) and I think that is helping me feel and sleep better. I read that it's also supposed to help the swelling because it increases circulation, and I hope that's true because my right foot (just the right one) has been swelling quite a bit. I am on a mission for a couple more pairs of cute flip-flops because that's all I'll be wearing soon.

I officially cannot see my feet anymore and I am so thankful for the warm weather because I can wear clothes that fit again! My belly has outgrown most of my long-sleeved shirts, but the short-sleeved ones feel great. Oh, I did manage to paint my own toenails over the weekend, but Dave will soon be taking over that job. He offered this time, but I wanted to try it myself.

We have a busy weekend coming up. Two days of NCAA basketball (Yay! We are going to the tournament Friday and Sunday) and the Spring Fling at church. I will be painting faces, and I think Dave is going to help me with that. It should be fun.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Guide for Talking to Pregnant Women

Disclaimer: This is a rant stemming from the snarky attitude I previously mentioned. It was triggered again recently. Since writing is a sort of therapy for me, I’ve decided to just write and get it out. I’ll feel better. The disclaimer is this - it might step on your toes, so if you have a problem with that, either put on your big girl panties or stop reading now.

I’ve heard about and have had several experiences that have convinced me that people don’t know how to talk to pregnant women. It’s as if all tact and manners leave them when confronted with the thought of new life growing in a woman’s body. I’ve been thinking there should be some sort of pamphlet given out at the OB’s office that these women can hand out to well-meaning, but clueless family, friends, and strangers when they say and do dumb things. These are the things I would include.

1. First and foremost, pregnancy is a state of wellness. Pregnant women, except in special cases, are not injured, disabled, or seriously ill. Thus, they do not need to be treated as such. Some fawning and special attention is welcome, of course, but it isn’t necessary to follow me around trying to take things out of my arms and asking what you can do for me over and over again (especially when you’ve never acted this way before). Also note that the question, “How are you feeling?” gets really old when it’s followed by, “Really? You feel fine?” If I say I’m fine, take my word for it. I promise you probably don’t want to hear all the things that make me feel occasionally miserable anyway. Remember, pregnancy is normally a healthy state of being.

2. This goes along with number 1 – Pregnant women are still capable of thinking. True, some blood that normally flows to the brain is redirected to the uterus, but that doesn’t mean I need scolding and instruction about every little thing. Believe me, I know my limitations all too well and I would in NO WAY endanger my baby out of sheer stubbornness. If I need help carrying/lifting/bending/squatting/selecting my food or beverage/resting/etc., I will ask for it. I don’t need a lecture about what I should or should not be picking up or carrying. I don’t need to a lecture about the food or drink you observe me consuming. Pregnancy doesn’t make a woman an idiot.

3. Unless you are their doctor, pregnant women do not need to hear your comments on their weight, belly size, or any other sort of expansion (nose/hips/face/butt/thighs, etc). Comments like, “That baby is just growing so fast” are okay, but “Dang, your belly is huge since the last time I saw you” is not. Can you see the difference? I am aware of every ounce that I have gained. I know how many more pounds I can gain before I go over the goal that my doctor set for me. I know how much I’ve gained in each month of pregnancy. I know what the average rate of weight gain is at all stages of pregnancy, and I know how that weight gets distributed. As you can see, I’ve thought a lot about it. Simply because of this fact, you should not say anything to me about my weight or size. This point also goes for the women who haven’t gained much weight at all. Believe me when I tell you, they are just as worried about their small size as I am about my big one. In this day and age when eating disorders are rampant, the very last thing that a pregnant woman needs to hear is your observation or criticism of her weight.

4. Pregnant women don’t need your commentary on the way they walk. A bit of education on this point: a pregnant woman might waddle for a variety of reasons. Number one, the distribution of her weight changes drastically as the pregnancy progresses. This alone changes her gait as she learns how to balance and carry the new weight. Number two, the ligaments in her pelvis become pliable so that her hips can expand in preparation for delivery. Some women might not notice this at all, but some are very well aware of it as it can be quite painful. Regardless, all her joints get a little more loose than normal because of this process (it isn’t just the ligaments in her pelvis that are affected), and this will change the way she walks. Number three, her feet and legs hurt! She’s carrying more weight and she balances differently. Number four, you have no idea what other aches and pains she may be experiencing. Most pregnant women I know try very hard not to waddle, so just don’t comment on the walk. If you aren’t convinced, try strapping a 10+ pound bowling ball around your middle and see if it doesn’t make a difference.

5. A pregnant woman knows when she’s out of breath; she doesn’t need you to tell her. More education so you will understand why she’s out of breath (and thus, not have to ask): In the second trimester, 40% of a woman’s blood flows to the uterus instead of to the heart and lungs as it normally would (normally, only 4% of blood flows to the uterus). Because of this, her blood pressure is low and she is often out of breath (just from normal things like getting out of bed). In the third trimester, she may still have low blood pressure, but the baby may also be pressing against her diaphragm (that’s the muscle under the lungs, not the contraceptive – she hasn’t used those in quite a while) making it hard to breathe. She probably already feels like a moose, so there’s no need to comment that she sounds like one, too.

6. Don’t press a pregnant woman for the baby’s name. If she doesn’t volunteer it the first time you ask, it isn’t your business. She might not know the name yet. She might have just had a fight with her husband about the name. She might have known the name for months but decided that SHE wants to be the first to call the baby by it’s name after it’s born (as opposed to having people ask about the baby by name while it’s still in utero). She might not want to hear your commentary on the name she’s chosen or the name you think she should use. If she doesn’t tell you the name, she has a reason. (A mini-rant that applies only to me and is in no way a generalization about all pregnant women: When I tell you that we have chosen to wait until the baby is born to name her, just shut up about it. I don’t need to hear that I’m crazy or I don’t know how hard it is to pick a name. We didn’t name any of our pets before we saw them, so it’s a little hard to imagine naming our child before we see her. It would be typical for us to pick a name and then change it once we see her. That’s how Dave and I work. If you need to call her something right now, she goes by Timothia.)

7. Pregnant women (really all women) don’t need to hear that they look tired. Of course they are tired. Growing a human being is hard work! I can’t speak for what happens in the third trimester since I’m not there yet, but I can tell you that early in the pregnancy she begins waking multiple times per night to pee. As the belly expands, she has to wake up to TURN OVER in the bed because it is such a production given all the pillows she must use to get comfortable enough to sleep in the first place. Just keep that observation to yourself and do something nice for her without making a big deal about it.

So, what should you say to a pregnant woman? Some good options are:

“You look great!”
“You are just glowing!”
“Your maternity clothes are so cute!”

I feel better now. :)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

An Update on Me and Timothia

There isn't much to report as far as the baby-growing goes. She's growing; so am I. Dave humored me and took a picture of my belly. I am 22 weeks and 4 days today. That means we are on the downhill slope, it also means that my belly is supposed to be this big. The t-shirt I'm wearing is one of my regular t-shirts - it won't fit for much longer, but it still fits now. Also, those are regular work-out pants. I feel the need to point these things out because there have been plenty of comments on how big I am and how much weight I've gained and about how I walk. Those aren't things you should say to a pregnant woman, even if your intentions are good. I'm working hard not to stress about my weight gain; I don't need to hear 10 times a day how big I am. Also, if you were suddenly carrying a bowling ball in your abdomen, you would probably walk funny, too. Not to mention that my feet hurt all the time now and my back gets stiff when I'm sitting. Anyway.... I still feel pretty good otherwise. There are some minor complaints, but I've decided that I love the second trimester. I feel mostly normal most of the time. I now have to make a pillow nest when I sleep to support both my belly and my back. The weight of my belly strains my back at night if there isn't a pillow stuffed behind me. I told Dave today that we may have to sleep in separate beds soon because I don't know how we will both fit with my expanding belly and all of my pillows. :) I am still sleeping well most nights, as long as the cat leaves me alone.

The baby's name will not be Timothia. As I said before, we will name her when she's born. However, due to the extreme number of times we are asked her name, we tell people that she will be named after Dave: Timothia Davida. So, now we call her Timothia. :)

She moves all the time now and she has hiccups pretty regularly. I like it when she does because that is strong and consistent movement. I enjoy feeling her move in there. It's the neatest feeling in the world, sort of my secret. It makes me smile when I feel her.

I go back to the doctor this week and I'll be getting another ultrasound - yay! It's fun to see her in there. People ask me where her head is and stuff, and I have NO clue. :) I hope that when she gets bigger I'll be able to tell, but it all just feels like flips and pokes and hiccups to me. I do know when she's on my bladder, but that's about it.

Some New Pictures to Share

I finally uploaded some pictures from my camera, so I thought I would share a few of them here.

This is the view of the snow from our front porch. It didn't last long, but it was beautiful. It snowed here again Friday night and Saturday morning, but we didn't get any accumulation.

This is our house from the street. I would have posted some pictures of Georgia playing in the snow, but she was so nutty that all of the pictures of her came out blurry.

This is my latest art project. I was asked to donate a painting for a door prize for our Spring Ladies' Night Out program. This is what I came up with, so hopefully they are worthy of giving away. The three are a set. The pictures of the paintings didn't come out too well with or without the flash, so forgvie the fuzziness. It's hard to take a picture of a picture.