It’s been a whopping six months since my last post, and before that, I was posting very infrequently. Truth is, I didn’t want to elaborately blog about pregnancy.
Most women who blog jump on the opportunity to document every.single.moment and statistic of their pregnancies. And women like me, we LOVE those blogs. The weekly bump pics, the measurements, the craving updates, the gear reviews. We thrive on those. For those of us waiting and wanting to get pregnant, pregnancy blogs deliver a whole new fascinating world; one that we cannot wait to be part of ourselves. So much to learn and so many new things to experience.
For those of us already pregnant, pregnancy blogs are like the most popular girl in school whom you constantly compared yourself to. Am I bigger than her when I was 23 weeks pregnant? OMG have I gained [not enough] [too much] weight compared to her? Why haven’t I finished my nursery and registry at 13 weeks like her? Gosh, I suck as a mom. It’s total pre-mom guilt.
I am guilty. Of checking one bloggers’ photo log to see how big I would be at a certain point to judge if I should buy a bigger dress for an event or if I was safe to buy the smaller size. That sounds as crazy as it is as I write it.
I am guilty. Of checking one bloggers’ weekly update and comparing them to mine to rationalize my newest pregnancy symptoms and feelings. And on and on the list of guilt could go, but truth is, it’s important and healthy for each pregnant woman to learn as much as she can through whatever means she chooses. And if that’s blogs, then so be it.
Dear Little One
Knowing that I had limited free time, I decided to spend my precious pregnancy moments not writing and sharing it with the world, but rather writing to my little one. That was my number one priority (well, besides eating pizza bread and trying not to throw up). I wanted her to get a glimpse of what her mom and dad were like before she was born. I wanted her to read my words and know just how loved and anticipated she really was.
<Insert pre-mom guilt here>. Of course I didn’t write as much as I wanted to, because wow, was life full, but I did tell her every few weeks what we were up to, gave her advice and told her about her mom and dad before they were “mom” and “dad”, and how much she was loved. I know it’s something she will treasure forever, and so will I.
Here I am, five weeks post-partum. I wrote a few long letters to our little one about her birth and her first month. I plan to publish “blog appropriate” versions as I do believe in privacy. In the meantime, here’s one post to sum up my pregnancy. Disclaimer: Please don’t compare yourself to me. Comparison will only drive you CRAZY (or crazier).
Acceptance and Adjusting
Pregnancy (and of course actually taking care of a newborn, as I’m quickly learning) is all about Acceptance and Adjusting. I had a hard time with a few major changes along the way. I would hit a wall, come to terms that this was the new normal, and then embrace the change. Just when I got used to one thing, there was another one right around the corner.
Because it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the new things you need to learn about your own body and how to care for a baby, I recommend concentrating on one at a time. First, I paid the most attention to all the changes my own body was going to experience and took care of myself. Then, I focused on all the gear and “stuff” we would need for baby. And finally, I focused on learning about labor & delivery, breastfeeding, and other baby basic needs.
I like to break pregnancy into three phases. While they are not limited to the trimesters we are ever so diligently tracking, they do roughly ladder up to them.
Phase 1: Get Excited
For those of you who were in a sorority, you’ll appreciate this phrase. Everyone always says “Get Excited!” This applies to things that actually warrant excitement like, say, having your first baby, telling your spouse you’re pregnant (the sweetest moment ever), the doctor confirming your pregnancy, your first (and second and third) ultrasounds, telling your mom you’re pregnant, telling your best friends, and so on and so on. This really is the most exciting part of pregnancy in the truest sense of the word. However, “Get Excited” also applies to those not-so-favorite moments in the beginning, and hence, it’s used in complete sarcasm.
Nausea: “Get Excited!”
Headaches (and you can only take weak Tylenol when you’re used to 4 Advil): “Get Excited!”
Thirst that.cannot.be.quenched: (note this did not end for me): “Get Excited!”
Peeing ten times as much as you thought humanly possible: “Get Excited!”
Complete and utter exhaustion: “Get Excited!”
Disgust for all things that resemble a salad or other healthy food: “Get Excited!”
Hot. Just being totally, utterly hot. In November: “Get Excited!”
Craving for something so bad, getting it, then not having the stomach to actually eat it: “Get Excited!”
My advice: Take care of you. Eat whatever you want / can. Do not feel guilty about it. You are not ruining your baby by eating pizza bread and Zaxby’s four nights a week while your husband is out of town. Tell him you are eating all organic vegetables, lean meat and fruit and at least your thoughts will rub off on your unborn. Come home after work, get in your PJs, Google all the weird symptoms or thoughts you had that day, pin some cute stuff on your nursery board, and go to bed. That is life and it’s amazing. On the weekends, workout because soon you may not be able to…more on that later.
Phase 2: Get Stuff Done
Four words: Dominate Your To-Do List. This is the period where you completely crush your task list. I’m talking creating your registry, furnishing and decorating your registry, and learning the basic needs of how to take care of your baby. Those three tasks are big enough to take up the majority of the pregnancy, but I concentrated mine mostly in the second trimester.
I learned so much by researching all the gear and gadgets we needed or had to have. I rationalized all spending by saying things like, “We HAVE to have this custom bedding because I can’t find this perfect shade of coral anywhere else.” And if you’re like us, you will put together every piece of furniture for the nursery. Every piece of furniture is directly proportional to the number of fights you’ll have. We just do not do well with the whole furniture-putting-together thing.
This phase also consists of the shower and possibly a baby moon. These are the fun things! Cherish them!
I thought I would be able to play tennis and stay decently active through the end of my second trimester. This is where Acceptance and Adjusting came in. I got so big so fast that my balance was completely off. I had to stop playing tennis at week 22, and that was a stretch. Week 19 really should have been it. I forced myself to attend prenatal yoga classes to at least “feel active.” I’m grateful I did those classes for my body but it’s not the same as a tennis match. Overall, I struggled with the urge to be active but the physical inability to do what I wanted to. Working out is not all about my shape or my weight, but dealing with stress and feeling good about myself. This was the most frustrating part of pregnancy for me, but I accepted that my big belly was a gift to accommodate our cute and growing little one, so I would need to relish it and relax.
My advice: While your spouse puts all the furniture together, ALONE, (to avoid above-mentioned fights), go shopping for the fun stuff; feel free to stay up late researching strollers, swaddles and shushing. You are beginning sleep training now, except you can actually survive by only sleeping 5-6 hours a night. Wait, I really want to sleep 5-6 hours a night right now! That was nice.
Phase 3: Get This Baby Out of Me
For some, this phase could last the whole third trimester; for me, it was pretty much the last four weeks. All of a sudden, everything I adapted to previously became more difficult/challenging/annoying. Sleeping went down hill to include hours of insomnia. My maternity clothes didn’t fit anymore, so my uniform was my husband’s largest t-shirts and maternity capri leggings. Exhaustion reared its ugly head. Standing on my feet longer than 10 minutes was unbearable. Sitting or laying in one position usually only lasted a few minutes before I was uncomfortable. I didn’t enjoy cooking nearly as much as I normally do, but it got even worse in the last month. The constant obsession with “what am I going to eat for my next meal?” in the first trimester returned, but this time my focus was “what is easiest to acquire?” vs. “what won’t make me throw up?”
June was my last month pregnant; the good news is that it wasn’t July or August. The bad news is that it didn’t matter what month it was because I was ALWAYS HOT. I used to say, “I just want a good sweat and not from just being pregnant.” God bless all those who endure their final months pregnant in hot summer months in climates hotter than Atlanta. I commend you.
This is the one time in my pregnancy where I actually felt bad for my husband for dealing with me because I know I was a handful and then some. From the eating habits and tossing and turning to constantly using the bathroom and frustration over my clothes, he saw me in all my glory. He tied my shoes for me on many occasions and helped me get off the couch about 1000 times.
As miserable as this all sounds, I embraced it. I laughed at myself for being so clunky, hot and sweaty. I sucked up my lack of sleep. I told my boss I would bill more of my time to walking to the bathroom than actually billing my clients. I wasn’t at the complete “OMG GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME” point until my due date. Maybe it’s because mentally I prepared myself to be pregnant until then. I’m lucky that I was only three days late and did not have to use my induction appointment scheduled for a week after my due date.
So there you have it. The three wonderful, messy and amazing phases of pregnancy. I’m thankful for all the symptoms and challenges experienced in 40 weeks because I know at the end of it all, my reward was our precious, sweet little one. I prayed for her for so long that I tried not to complain about pregnancy challenges. I am truly a believer in selective amnesia as the human race would not have continued without it.
Now bring on the baby posts!
Here are some shots of me throughout pregnancy. Taking one photo in the same outfit in the same place every week proved challenging, so I embraced the idea of capturing my bump when I felt good! Which was usually leaving work on my way home each evening.