Pregnancy Humpday

I have reached my pregnancy humpday.  I know it is not in the middle of my pregnancy, which I guess is good that it took me until 37weeks, 4days to it, but I’m definitely there.  You know the feeling you get on Wednesday when Friday feels sooo far away and you just don’t know how you will gather the energy to make it through the rest of the work week?  That’s where I am.  Tired, unsure how to make it to the end and really wishing for some sort of dramatic weather event that will give me a four day weekend.

Everyone I say this to tells me that it is good that the baby is still inside, growing strong.  I agree.  I’m thrilled to have a healthy, growing baby who seems content and unlikely to cause complications before birth.  But you know when your co-worker says, “ugh, humpday.  I wish it were Friday,” do you respond with a lecture on how we shouldn’t wish away our days, or that this is the perfect time to put their head down and really be productive before the end of the week?  No, you agree, maybe make a latte run to help the day pass.  So that’s really all I’m looking for here, a head nod, general grunt in agreement that it sure would be nice if it were Friday and you know, less lectures on the preferred timing of a “on time” delivery.

After all, I’m not pushing for a “vanity” c-section or induction, simply because my hips hurt.  I am happy for this baby to come in her own time.  I just wish that, like Friday, this baby’s chosen time to appear would hurry up and arrive.

When Doing Nothing is the Most Important To Do

A and I spent the night away last night, one last night before the craziness of the holidays hits and our family becomes a family of four.  We stayed at a very nice hotel downtown and ate at one of our favorite restaurants (Poppy) and ate breakfast at our favorite no kids tavern (Brave Horse).  A has a cold and I’m almost 36 weeks pregnant so after we finished dinner when A asked if I wanted to go anyplace else or just back to the hotel, I made it clear that the hotel was the only option.  A luxury king bed can be very appealing.  I fell asleep by 10 and A watched Homeland on his Kindle Fire.  It wasn’t an exotic get away, but the time away from all the to dos and upcoming stress was much needed.

Friday night, around 3:30am, when I was awake as my pregnancy insomnia often causes me to be, I had a panic attack that we were going away the next night.  I completely trust our babysitter, so it wasn’t the fact we were leaving LC with someone else, but it was just the fact that time is just crushing down on us.  We had the closets redone on Friday, which has created so much more organizational possibilities, but the contents of those closets are still spread all over the house.  LC loves her babysitter, but with approximately 4 weeks to my due date, I’m beginning to feel how little time I have left with her as my “only”.  There is Thanksgiving this week, which despite A’s constant announcements to the contrary, is not just a matter of sticking the turkey in the oven.  (To start, the turkey fairy doesn’t arrive with the turkey and all the fixings.  One must go to the holiday crowded store to find it all.)  I was ready to 1) wake A and make him start re-loading the closets at 3:30am and 2) cancel the babysitter.

By 4:30am, I had calmed down enough to know that if all of this stress can cause a middle of the night panic attack, a night away probably wasn’t a bad idea.  As they say, you must put your own oxygen mask on before you can assist others with theirs.  On top of that, with the busy season at work in full swing, new babies on the horizon and house guests arriving soon, some time for just A and I to sit and chat about things without toddler interruption, without work emails dinging in the background or a to do list staring us in the face was probably the most important thing we could do this weekend.  It’s hard to say that the most important thing to is nothing, but sometimes the answer is just that.

World Prematurity Day

November 17 is World Prematurity Day.  I don’t think it is coincidence that the day falls so close to Thanksgiving – parents of preemies often have so much to be thankful for – amazing medical advances to help keep babies inside longer, wonderful caring nurses and doctors for babies born too soon, a realization that your baby may be “normal” despite their early arrival.  With 1 in 8 babies born prematurely in the United States, not all parents get to celebrate all of that though – more than 1 million babies will die worldwide this year due to premature birth.

Looking at my own preemie now, you’d never guess at any of the troubles she had through pregnancy and birth.  There is no indication that she was born looking, as my doctor suggested, alien like with almost no body fat and glowing yellow with jaundice.  We are thankful for her health and lack of continued complications and also aware how lucky we are.  We celebrate World Prematurity Day with pride, happy to be able to see LC’s premature arrival as a “badge of honor” or battle scar and not an ongoing obstacle we must face everyday.

There are so many ways to honor the more than 15 million babies who will be born too soon this year and the March of Dimes is a great place to start.   When counting your own blessings this Thanksgiving, perhaps there is a preemie in your life for whom you are thankful, or maybe you want to celebrate the healthy baby in your life who avoided the complications of a premature birth.  Either way, keep all of the tiny babies born too soon in your thoughts.  Perhaps with just a small bit of attention from all of us, organizations like March of Dimes can continue to reduce the rate of premature births and help all babies have the healthy start they deserve.

Pregnancy Paranoia

We reached a milestone in BE2’s pregnancy this week.  It is officially past the point in the pregnancy when I went on bedrest with LC.  34w2d yesterday and still no apparent complications.  We’re thankful that BE2 has been so healthy and that we’ve had a really “normal” pregnancy.  This doesn’t mean I don’t panic or worry with every kick, lack of kick, funny movement, odd feeling, or black cat that crosses my path.

This is our third pregnancy.  Our first ended tragically at 12 weeks.  Our second was filled with complications from early on and ended at 36weeks with a beautiful preemie baby girl.  This one has had no complications and it is making me more paranoid than I have ever been.  I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and something to happen – blood pressure to spike, preterm labor, well the list of possibilities is really endless (trust me I’ve googled it all).  So I’m trying to stay positive, focus on the last few weeks we have as a family of three (plus the furbabies) and this healthy pregnancy.  But stomach bugs, Braxton Hicks and other normal symptoms of a late third trimester pregnancy have me doubting myself everyday.

There are a million books written on the subject of pregnancy but none of them tell you how to relax.  None of them truly tell you how to tell when early contractions are just “your body practicing” or really preterm labor.  (Really, look at the descriptions of late third trimester and then look at the description of preterm labor.  They are surprisingly similar.)  The good news is there is only about 6 weeks left to freak out about every little symptom.  The bad news – I have six more weeks to panic about everything flitter, cramp and lack of appetite.  We’ll take the good with the bad, so long as the good results in a healthy (moderately sized) baby girl born at no less than 37 weeks.

Pregnant Sleep Habits

Talking about the sleeping habits of pregnant women is really to talk about the lack of sleep.  The lack of sleep is very frustrating – made only more frustrating by the fact that many people tell you “sleep while you can” before the baby arrives.  (Not surprisingly people don’t tell you this when you already have a kid.  I guess they 1) assume you know what you are getting into and 2) know you probably aren’t sleeping already.)   Sure pregnancy is making it difficult for me to sleep, but I think there may be other factors contributing to my lack of sleep.  I think this pictorial representation may help to clear up why sleeping is sometimes difficult.

So as you can see, things tend to be a little uneven in bed.  A has a decent amount of personal space.  (A would like it noted that his beard connects to his hair and that he does not have a goatee as this picture may suggest.)  Cal likes to sleep curled up in a puppy ball behind my legs.  This is great until I want to roll over.  Or if I get warm.  Or if Cal decides he no longer wants to be in a ball and stre-e-tches his legs out.   B-Cat likes to be nested in my hair.  This is not so comfortable for me, she tends to drool.  She also likes to pad my hair until she gets really comfy.  This isn’t bad when she does it around 10pm when I am settling into bed.  But when she goes exploring at night and returns around 2am, it can be a bit more disruptive.  Oh, and A’s a snorer.

So you see, I can’t put all the blame on BE2 (though she should shoulder some part of it), it’s quite the community bed in our house.  A has suggested that we move the pets out of the bed, but at this point, I’m not sure I’d be able to sleep any more with them out of the bed than I do with them in it.  Only 6 more weeks of pregnancy to go (followed by at least a few weeks of newborn sleep.  I mean I seem to recall it just being a few weeks with LC, right?) and then my sleep should return to normal – or as normal as our family bed will allow.

Slow down or speed up

As I’ve mentioned (probably more than a few times), I feel very overwhelmed by my “before BE2” to do list.  Each weekend I feel the need to be able to check things off the list, but at the same time I want to enjoy the time we have left with LC as an “only”.  LC’s weekends are pretty booked – soccer, gymnastics, catching up on naps, play dates and the occasional birthday party.  We start each weekend morning up and running, trying to sleep as late as we can and still get up and get out for class in time.  (LC almost always sleeps later than A and I on the weekends, we usually have to wake her up to get ready for class.)  The end result is that things don’t always get crossed off the list and everyone is really tired on Sunday night.

This weekend I had planned that in addition to our normal weekend schedule, we’d also go to a pumpkin patch on Saturday and then do needed shopping on Sunday.  (After all, are you really a parent in the fall if you don’t take your kid to a pumpkin patch?  Facebook tells me no.)  We woke up Saturday (before LC) to pouring rains and a predicted high of 52.  After soccer and a cold, wet (hasty) walk through the dog park, we made the executive decision to go shopping on Saturday.  Shopping with an almost 2 year old is not a relaxing (or easy) task.  After a full, successful, but tiring trip to the mall complete with dinner at a new favorite (Boom Noodle.  Highly recommend, excellent for little ones and parents alike), we dragged ourselves home.  Barely able to walk from pregnancy aches and pains, I declared that the pumpkin patch was not in our future.

I felt guilty “robbing” LC of this seasonal pleasure, but I know she doesn’t know that a pumpkin patch was an option this weekend.  I also know how happy she was to hang out with us while we watched football and cuddled, or how happy she was to read about 35 different books on my lap after nap time.  LC’s just happy being a toddler – sure pumpkins make being a toddler more fun, but so does extra time pretending the dog is a baby.  

And that is the balance we are trying to strike as we prepare for BE2.  An acknowledgement that things will most definitely not slow down anytime soon balanced with the knowledge that so many things need to be done.  Sure, LC’s last trip to the pumpkin patch as our only little one passed us by, but we were able to do other things, like catch up on laundry and have a giant family nap time today.  These things might not make my master “to do” list, but they are just as important.

Checking it twice

It has been suggested that one way to focus on the task at hand and not become distracted by other thoughts is to make a list.  I’ve been trying to use this technique when all of the to dos for home begin to overwhelm me when I need to be focusing on work.  However, the other day when feeling overwhelmed about everything that needs to be accomplished before BE2 arrived and I made a list, it did not make me feel better.  In fact, it had the opposite effect of making me realize what a ridiculous list of things there is to do and how none of it will ever be accomplished in time.  I really should have just started my maternity leave at that moment if I wanted to have any hope of finishing.

Having a baby near the holidays is just poor planning on my part.  With a due date that could easily flow into an actual Christmas baby, my list includes:

– Plan Thanksgiving dinner to be cooked while 36 weeks pregnant. Find time to shop/order/store groceries for holiday.

– Do all Christmas shopping by Dec 1. (Be sure to remember babysitters, day care providers, neighbors who you may call on at 3am when your water breaks, dog walkers who may need to take dog to kennel after water breaks and co-workers who will be asked to do more than their share while you are on maternity leave.)

– Ship all Christmas presents to east coast by Dec 7.

– Plan Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas brunch, and Christmas dinner for family Christmas to be hosted at our home, either 41 weeks pregnant or with an approximately 5 day old baby. Find time to shop/order/store groceries for such events.

– Get and decorate Christmas tree.

– Ensure LC does not miss out on any part of the Christmas holiday.  Early Santa visit, holiday carousel and fake snow at Pacific Place.

– Order personalized stocking for BE2 so that holiday photos do not look funny with baby’s first Christmas missing her own stocking to match the rest of the family’s.

– Find baby’s first Christmas ornament (of which most designs are horrendous, so good luck finding one you can stomach) so that it can hang on the tree in time for baby’s first Christmas.   (as follow up, hope BE2 is not born at 41 weeks on Dec 26, thereby causing the need to purchase ANOTHER baby’s first Christmas ornament for the following year.)

I’ll stop there because I am dangerously close to not being able to sleep tonight just thinking about this list (and this is just the stuff in the “holidays” category.  We didn’t even touch on the “home” category.)

Nesting is a natural instinct as you reach the end of the pregnancy – I had just hoped it would be one of comfort and not one that keeps me up at night wondering why A thinks Thanksgiving dinner is not a “work intensive” holiday and why is there no Boston Market out here from which I could order Thanksgiving in a box.

 

Second Time’s a Charm

Today was our Lamaze refresher course in preparation for BE2.  I took two notes in class.  One, 5-1-1, which suggests that for second time mothers, you should go to the hospital when your contractions are five minutes apart, one minute in duration for one hour.  The other note read “cafeteria closes at 7pm.”  Different things are important with your second child.

In some ways, not having the time or ability to obsess over this pregnancy as I did with LC is a relief.  All of a sudden, here we are, on the eve of 32 weeks.  It is relaxing to not over research car seats and swaddle blankets.  There are plenty of other things to obsess about – but most of them focus on LC and how this new baby will change and affect her life.  There are so many ways in which I prepared for LC that I have not done for BE2.  We don’t need any equipment, we have it all from LC.  With a second girl on the way, I’ve purchased two clothing items for the new baby, both second hand – a pair of Christmas pjs and a sleep sack.  LC had a full closet of clothing well before this point in that pregnancy.

The lack of preparation does not mean a lack of excitement, but it is as my Lamaze class notes suggest, just a different focus.   I don’t know what size fruit she is this week and I have no idea what she will wear home from the hospital .In some ways it is freeing, but as the day gets closer and closer, I am beginning to feel the weight of all that time I didn’t spend thinking about the new baby.   I think it is just the beginning of a new balance of thought that we’ll need to adapt to.  After spending over two years of thinking about LC and what she needs, we’ll need to think about what LC and BE2, not always putting LC first.  Hopefully, just as we learned to put LC’s needs first once she was on the scene, it will naturally come to us to balance the needs of both girls – so less focus on the minor things like the “perfect” coming home outfit and more focus on the important matters, like making sure our hospital food orders get into the cafeteria in time.

Running on Fumes

At my regular OB appointment yesterday I mentioned that having attended the Seahawks game on Sunday may have been overdoing it and I was feeling the consequences.  (I didn’t mention that the one-two punch of the Nationals loss on Friday followed by the Patriots loss on Sunday had done some serious emotional damage to me as well.  #bullmoosecurse)  My doctor said I needed to slow down and focus on work and growing a baby.  You can see where there might be some fault in her logic – one adorable 20 month old named LC.

I went to bed last night, knowing I needed to stop doing more than what was necessary and ready to get up and face the rest of the week.  By noon today, I was miserable.  Day care drop off had gone poorly and I ended up barely making it out of the room, leaving LC sobbing for Momma, before I too began to cry, feeling awful about the latest phase of separation anxiety.  I went to have a delicious biscuit sandwich at Serious Biscuit to try to take some of the edge off, only to have them screw up my biscuit order.  Two meetings later and my back was killing me and it was only 1pm.

By bedtime tonight, I was tired and just willing LC to go to sleep.  All she wanted to do was cuddle, which just wasn’t compatible with how uncomfortable I was feeling.  I kept trying to explain to her she could either sit still or go to bed, but she’s 20 months old and of course doesn’t understand.  After cuddling and rocking for a while, I put her, asleep, into her crib.  And felt horrific.  My little toddler daughter just wanted to snuggle before bed and I was putting limits and restrictions on her,  telling her I didn’t want to cuddle if she was going to fidget.  Its not that I didn’t want to cuddle, I just could not physically take the toddler knees in my gut much longer.  But it made me feel like such a terrible mother.

I just didn’t have that much to give tonight and by bedtime I was on fumes.  I worry that in the next 9 weeks I will have less and less to give – to LC, to my job, to A, to the house.  I hate using being pregnant as an excuse – there are things that need to be done over the next 9 weeks and I just can’t decide to bow out.  Some of them are things like cuddling my daughter before she goes to bed, others are ensuring contracts get reviewed and signed or making sure that the milk delivery order gets in on time each week.  But I also need to ensure that I am being fair to the littlest of our family, BE2 and that there is something left for her to give each day.  I have no idea how to find the balance and I know there will be times when LC needs something extra or I have to put an extra hour in at night to finish up something for work, but in order to make it through the next (hopefully) 9 weeks, I know I need to reexamine how my energy is allotted and hope that is all balances out in the end.

As long as you asked

What was that?  A crying out of the masses to share my opinions on maternity clothes.  Well, then, I feel obliged to share.  I’ll use yesterday’s outfit to illustrate my point.

Let’s start with the prints.

Why is it that maternity tops have loud, bright prints?  As if being twice your normal size doesn’t draw enough attention to you, the prints ensure that no one can miss your midsection.  Sure, this print is cute.  But would you wear a top like this if not pregnant?  I wouldn’t.  And I don’t know why because there is simply so much more of it.

This particular shirt had a lot of ties.  Including on the sleeves, which resulted in a pirate/Shakespearean character look about it.  Again, I’m not sure why the designers of maternity clothes want to add more fabric and frill to a top that already attracts enough attention.  After wearing them for a little while, they did grow on me and no longer felt quite so pirate-y, but i still didn’t quite get the design feature that one would rarely find on non-maternity tops.

This flattering shot is to show how my pants should fit.  Full panel, over my belly, pants starting at my hips.  The shirt covers the panel, and the pants fit well.

So first, B-Cat photo bomb.  Second, I’m sort of happy about how not huge I look in this head on photo.  It suggests to me, at least, that I don’t look that pregnant head on.  Meaning I’m all belly, which for some reason is comforting.  But back to the pants.  This is the same pants as above, but after having walked around the bedroom.  While it is hard to tell in this photo, the pants have begun to slouch.  See this next photo for perhaps a better point of view.

After walking around the bedroom, the pants are slouched, you can see where the panel ends is way below my belly.  The jean part of the pants is no longer on my hips.  After taking say, 40 steps (approximately how far it is from my office to the bathroom), these pants are dangerously close to completely falling off my hips.  This past week I’ve run the gambit of pants and have yet to find one that fits appropriately, though this was one of the worst pairs.

So there it is in a nutshell, some of my issues with maternity clothes.  Sure, I have some favorite pieces, but they are few and far between lately.  Maybe it’s just frustration at getting bigger, or that I am growing tired of the limited wardrobe.  With 10 more weeks to go, I think I may need to hit the mall for some more inspiration.