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Posts tagged ‘second trimester’

Pregnant / Fat

Last week, at a lunch I was attending, a woman asked me if I had any children.  I replied no, that this would be my first, and she appeared surprised and asked when I was due, saying she did not even realize I was pregnant (mind you, I was wearing a very maternity-like maternity top). I replied “the end of July” and, in the course of her reply, noted that I was “wearing the pregnancy well,” implying that by not looking hugely pregnant, I was somehow winning at pregnancy.

A friend pointed out that she was probably just trying to cover her possible embarrassment at not noticing my pregnancy – and that might very well be true – but I think her statement is also reflective of the larger societal problem of how we view the bodies of women and how, in turn, women view themselves.  There is a problem when a 6 1/2month pregnant woman is looked at as doing well because she is not over-showing and just as great a problem when a 9-month-pregnant woman is told that she “looks ready to explode,” “is so big,” etc.

I think some of the problem is body image and some of the problem is pregnancy image. The body image problem is the same old story you know – in the USA, we value being small to the exclusion of healthy practices and that value seems to transfer right on over to pregnancy. The pregnancy image problem is one of either not valuing or not fully understanding pregnancy, expecting all women to fit into some ideal of what pregnancy is, and somehow being surprised when a woman GROWING A CHILD is bigger than that expectation. It’s also a problem of not trusting that women can make the right pregnancy health decisions for themselves and that being bigger does not necessarily mean unhealthy any more than being smaller and fitting into those expectations means healthy.

I am pretty lucky in that I believe I have a fairly good body image (but I also know that I have the privilege of having fairly good genes to begin with, which makes a huge difference in my life experiences related to body image). And I have largely enjoyed my growing body – see what it is doing, what it can do.  And recognizing that it will never be the same again, but accepting that easily as part of the gift that pregnancy is for me. But even I find that as I get bigger and my bump gets less bumpy and more bulgy that I judge my size differently and more harshly than I should.  And being surrounded by others who may be doing the same leaves me a little sad for pregnant women as a group, powerful and beautiful creatures that we are! (Funny that even as I write that, I feel like I’m “bragging” too much or too full of myself… but maybe we need to be a little strong in our self-praise, maybe that’s also part of the problem).

Anyway, it was an interesting experience.  I don’t want to disregard the importance of health during pregnancy, but I also don’t believe that most folks talking about size are also talking about health, even if they hide behind that thin veil of concern (perhaps while (humorously) consuming a double cheeseburger from the local fast food joint). I think that pregnant women – all women – – all people – deserve better.

26 Weeks!

This past week included our super fun weekend away along with continued preparation of the nursery. I realized just how much we have left to do (see last post) and today we made a list of those things and delegated tasks so that we can get more done.

Pregnancy signs this week mostly include feeling and looking bigger than ever. As I tell anyone who remarks on my size, “that’s good, it means the baby is growing,” but man oh man do I miss my cute little bump. Shopping for maternity clothes was more fun when I felt like me plus a little. Now I feel like me plus a lot and it’s weird to see so much of my shape giving way to baby belly.  Other signs include occasional nausea, mostly in the mornings and when I endure sudden temper changes, hunger galore, and continued fetal movement.  Today, the Cub even kicked when some music came on, though I’m not sure if it’s coincidence or reaction to sound. I also think I (finally) felt some hiccups earlier today… it was a short burst, if it was them, but there was definitely rhythmic movement for a couple minutes. Anyone have insight as to whether that might have been them?

More people are reacting to me being pregnant and I feel pretty squarely in the “she definitely looks pregnant” category, which is fun. I can’t lie, I’m looking forward to any additional attention I might get out of the deal and certainly the extra help.  I am also fascinated by people asking how I feel as though I’m falling apart… “how are you FEELING?” they say and they seem surprised when I say “I’m good, and you?” as though they asked “how are you?” which more demands that type of response.

I continue to gain about a pound a week, which would be fine except I had big gains in the first trimester and first half of this trimester (I don’t know how, I swear I was throwing up everything I ate!). I am fairly confident I’m going to get a little grief about it from the midwives during my appointment next week.  I want to incorporate more regular exercise into my life but work many long days and have been exhausted from the busy-ness of preparing for baby.  I need to just bite the bullet and do it.

Like I said yesterday, time is flying by and while I can’t stop it, I sure wish I could, just for a little while. Where has 6 1/2 months gone?

Never Alone

Warning: This is going to be one of those posts that is relative to me and my experience but has the potential to leave you annoyed (or worse). I don’t know if adding the disclaimer makes it worse or better, but it felt important to me to acknowledge.

There are moments during this pregnancy – perhaps hormonally driven – when I long for just a little bit of separation between me and the fetus and the constant, unending awareness of being with child. These moments are generally fleeting, but I sometimes find myself annoyed with being always aware that everything is going to change, always in transition. At times, I feel that I have lost my stability, my sense of self because it is so hard to find firm footing and be who I am when a part of who I am changes daily with the growth and development of the Cub and the forward march to the birth day. And then I get kicked repeatedly and I feel simultaneously grateful and irritated, which then leads to guilt for not being super grateful at all times (which, when I’m rational, seems like a ridiculous notion for anyone). And of course, the opposite also occurs, where I haven’t felt a kick in a little while and I worry that everything is okay (which, when I’m rational, is confirmation that I’m not heartless).

I think that many of these feelings are related to the general anxiety of pregnancy and parenthood. Will the baby be okay? Will we be okay?  Will be successful at all the aspects of caring for a newborn? How will we balance our helpful-but-sometimes-overwhelming family with our needs? How will our communication and relationship as a couple change? How we will manage our stress in a healthy way? Am I really ready to birth a child and how will that experience change my perception of self and my abilities? And on and on and on. For me, I believe the desire to be able to step away for a moment is more about the desire to step away from all of these worries.

On top of it all, I continue to worry about the impact of “bad karma” (in quotes because I realize karma is not as simplistic as I’m about to make it seem). That is, if I’m not eternally grateful, gracious, and glowing, will we be somehow punished? Will something horrible happen? And if I push that sense of karma aside and something does go wrong, will I regret not taking everything a bit more seriously? Again, in rational world, I confidently answer these questions; in the midst of anxiety, not so much.

Time does keep marching forward and we do move closer to the “big change” that all these little changes are leading toward. I am working to be in the moment because I know that despite the ups and downs and worries, I am going to miss this.

 

24 Weeks!

and feeling great! LOVING this part of the pregnancy. Baby is kicking, I’m not nauseous, I can still do things!

Biggest pregnancy sign this week is the kicking. And the occasional back pain that has made sleeping somewhat uncomfortable despite the presence of many pillows. And having difficulty getting up and down and up and down if I’m on the floor doing something (cleaning and organizing the house, building a closet, etc.).

Biggest non-physical sign is the stark realization that the Cub is going to just get bigger and bigger from here on out and will have to leave my body at some point.  Which sounded one (beautiful, life-giving) way in theory and sounds another (that’s-coming-from-where?!) way in practice. The other realization is that I won’t spend the next 16 or so weeks being this size with this level of ability – my size is going to increase, my abilities will decrease with each passing week… fun!

We’ve spent the last week engaging in preparation for the Cub’s arrival, first and foremost by working on the room that will be the nursery. Purchased a new toy in the form of a compound saw and, with my father’s help, began measuring, cutting, and putting together the frame that will be the baby’s closet. C also primed the (spackled, sanded) room. We’re still working on colors and themes, but that will come as the room comes together.

This past week has been all about gratitude. I am grateful that I am pregnant, that the pregnancy has come this far, and that we get to enjoy this life with these dreams in this moment. I still hesitate to make tons of definite plans for the future but I do indulge in the occasional “this time next year” and I recognize that I am fortunate in being able to do that.

Thinking good thoughts for all of you, no matter where you are in the enigma-wrapped-in-a-mystery that is ttc, pregnancy, and parenthood.

23 Weeks

First of all, thanks for the comments on my last post. Any additional input is welcome and very much appreciated!

At 23 weeks, if I didn’t have a protruding belly, occasional leg cramps, random knocks on my stomach, and a sudden influx of baby-related mail, I would not know I was pregnant. I don’t know that I have more energy, but I definitely feel more motivated and productive, even when exhausted. It could be the second trimester… or spring… or the fact that I’m realizing that we are running out of time to get the basics accomplished, like finding a pediatrician, securing day care, making the nursery at least livable, and spending time one-on-one together.

Where I don’t have more energy is work. I am finally finishing up my part time job (cannot believe I’ve worked there a whole year!) but my full time job is picking up speed. I have lots to do and not lots of time but also not a whole lot of motivation as my job requires a tremendous amount of emotional energy that I’m not willing to give at the same level now that I’m focusing so much more on myself and my family. I think that this is also a byproduct of spring and warmer, longer days and the general angst of wanting to be anywhere but in an office dealing with the random day-to-day happenings.

We had two check-ups last week, including a second ultrasound, and everything looks really good (and I am so grateful). I created my post asking about midwives because after three visits, I’m not sure I really like my midwives or the care that they are providing, but I cannot figure out if it’s because they are not providing adequate care or if it’s because I’m still used to a higher level of focus and care from trying. My appointments only last ten to twenty minutes and provide very little information about what I should be doing (outside of eating healthy). I want to be super confident in my own collected knowledge, but I have never been pregnant, am far from being an expert, and would prefer someone else to guide me and then allow me to make decisions. And while I do think I need to be better organized at asking questions, the questions I asked at this last appointment about medication and food were met with “Hmmm… I’m not sure about that…” and flipping through a book while I used my phone to look up active ingredients. There was also uncertainty about which vitamins to avoid in excess. We meet the last midwife in a month and I will do my part to be better prepared and am hopeful that I will feel better after that appointment. We’ll see.

Other than all of the above, my big focus right now is getting my ducks in a row at home and work. I reorganized my entire kitchen on Sunday and purchased lumber to build the baby’s closet. I would like to build my closet, plan and grow my gardens, and make time for C and I to hang out together. I also hope to get my house very clean and keep it that way and continue building good routines for our family (we’re eating more frequently at the table, taking more walks with the dog, and getting chores done more efficiently). The hope is that if we can get into the habit now, it may be easier for us once the Cub is here. Best laid plans, right?

Point of Clarification

C pointed out that my last post may have made her sound like a cold-cut-hoarding monster wife who ate gleefully despite my sorrow. In reality, I am very committed to the idea that just because I don’t do something doesn’t mean she shouldn’t… and we both love those subs. I think she probably enjoyed eating it less after my sad falling apart fit, but I don’t begrudge her enjoying it.

In other news, you cold-cut-eating mamas are tempting me to no end! Deli meat is both the biggest tangible sacrifice I feel I’ve made (I love me some turkey sandwiches with chips and a pickle) and also the least important in terms of possible impact (that is, the chance of impact is slight and fairly rare). It will only get more difficult as the summer months arrive and it’s too hot to cook and there are fresh tomatoes on the vine.  Also, I will admit that in December I definitely had the most delicious rare roast beef sandwich with Havarti cheese – both no-nos – and I relish that memory!

22 Weeks!

We spent most of the last week on vacation and while it was challenging at times (it was mostly a family visit but any time away from work is vacation) it was definitely 100 times better than being at work.

I’m having my most favorite pregnancy symptom so far, which is feeling the baby move and kick. And even more enjoyable is the occasional moment when C can feel the baby kick (to the point that she says “OH!”). And most enjoyable is when I find the baby, push a little, and get a push back. Love. It.

Nausea is still occasional but vomiting has disappeared since we got the very good blood test news. I’m achier and hungrier and moody-as-all-hell when my blood sugar drops (but that is not new for me). I definitely had a breakdown in the middle of our trip when C got a cold cut from our favorite place in the town we were in and they had no good hot options, no tuna (my option of last resort), and all I wanted was the cold cut that I was actively choosing not to have.

Other firsts this week include the first half wardrobe for our unborn child in the form of a variety of clothing from C’s mom and grandma (we had put a moratorium on clothing buying prior to the 20 week ultrasound).  I must say, even though we are acutely aware that anything could still go wrong, it was delightful to receive the gifts and think about the future Cub. I also had my first stranger ask me all about the pregnancy (after telling me I look “radiant”) and my first taste of pregnancy privilege from a stranger (a cashier let me make a purchase using a credit card under their limit “just this once because you are pregnant.”)

I am definitely in a place where I am enjoying being pregnant physically and emotionally and where I feel like I could happily be pregnant forever (except I do want the baby at the end of the tunnel). Just a note to C that she is more than welcome to remind me of this when I complain again in a couple months.  I am nervous about the second ultrasound we have later this week (again knowing anything could happen) but overall am hopeful and looking forward to what comes next.