Thursday, May 27, 2010

pregnancy in a nutshell

In the last days of pregnancy I thought I would write some thoughts on this journey, as it is soon to come to an end (enter sigh of relief).

Early in pregnancy:
I was so excited to tell Donovan! I found out at work one day via email from Kaiser. I called him and I think he thought it was a joke :) He had to ask "really?!" a few times.

I kept the pregnancy a secret at work for a while (I wanted to at least wait 12 weeks) but eventually the whole staff knew. They liked to tease me about being out of breath when I walked up the two big flights of stairs. I was a little frustrated that my coworker had the great idea of walking personal notes up to the 2nd and 3rd floors at the end of every work day as a "plan B" to our daily email reminders for the same information. Somehow even though the baby was so small my breathing was so seriously labored, even by week 10 or so. Sometimes I had to sit down in their offices and just laugh at myself.

One day at work I ate a big plate of pineapple and a box of mushrooms for lunch. I definitely got some stares. My coworkers didn't know yet.

During the first difficult weeks I spent a lot of time in our filing cabinet room taking quick naps while other clinicians were in session. I could hardly stay awake enough hours of the day to drive myself to work, work, and come home and crash on the couch. Apparently baby making is quite the chore, even when it's the size of your fingernail!

Donovan did a lot of cooking and ordering pizzas for us when I was in my first trimester. The kitchen made me sick and the thought of walking around and cooking sounded so exhausting. I would be hungry but I would rather starve at that point than make myself something to eat. Poor baby, it didn't get the best of nutrition then. I did take my vitamins though!

We had a little habit of going to Five Guys during that time. I couldn't help but feel really compelled to eat fatty and protein rich foods. (Yuck! This sounds so gross to me now!)

I felt the baby move for the first time just before Christmas. So sweet! At that time it was like a little belly gas moving around... just the faintest jitter and if you tried to feel it from the outside you couldn't.

My first thoughts of the baby are... who is this person going to be? How do we want to parent? What are some values that we want to stick with in parenting?

Mid Pregnancy:
We took a trip to Oakland, Don found new work, I put in my termination notice, we moved, I lived alone for five weeks, we Skyped... what did we not do?!

I found out my sister was pregnant too, and only 7 weeks behind me. It's so cool that I'm going to be an auntie! I'm really excited.

I think I felt pretty normal during this time. I was growing, yes, but no more food aversion or nausea and I had my energy back. It was like someone flipped a switch and I was myself again.

I looked into birthing centers and doulas only to learn that my research was not applicable since we would be in the Bay area, but it was an interesting journey. I did more reading and learned even more about myself, babies, development, birth, breast feeding and nutrition.

I really let some things go with my work situation. Where I had otherwise felt frustrated and trapped I started to learn to laugh at it and let go, knowing I am only one small piece to a big agency and it takes more than just me to change things. I got a lot of interesting comments from clients and families about my growing belly, some were very anxious about what was going to happen when I left and when I would be back.

I made a creepy movie of the baby moving in my belly in sent it to Don. You could see an extremity (foot?) move from one side of my belly to another. Aliens are taking over!!

I think my thoughts of the baby during this time were somewhat distant. Labor did come to mind once in a while but it still seemed too far off to think about. I think God provided some clarity for me during this time to worry about other stuff (work, packing, moving, etc) which was really good.

Late pregnancy:
People are so funny. East Bayers are much more talkative with strangers than Portlanders and will say the craziest things to me. Last week a homeless man just kept shouting "BEAUTIFUL!" at me. Of course I'm feeling more like a boat or an elephant so I just have to laugh and be grateful. One guy in Portland during my 4th or 5th month was not as nice and said "Pop, pop, pop, looks like you're going to pop at any time!" Of course I was thinking, no "Mr, I'm not, I have another 20 weeks to go."

My back is in pain. I will leave it at that. This kind of pain cannot be described and I can only say Donovan has been a great support with this and has put in a lot of hours to help me.

The baby is so heavy and so strong! I used to feel the baby kick and try to get others to feel it. Sometimes I felt a little crazy... yes, there really is a baby in here! But now it is so big and so strong that you can visibly see my belly move around, there's no guessing. Today I was reading with a book propped on my belly and the book was doing the roller coaster movements. How strange how it all happens without me trying or moving!

My feet are enormous. Most of the time it's funny. Like last night at the party we went to and how long it took me to put my shoes on at the door before we left. Sometimes it really hurts though. Think diabetic feet. When I wake up in the morning it's the worst and I have to get my blood moving. It's like I have a leather boot on all the time and it's strapped on really tight. I can't wait for the swelling to go down. Any new moms know when this happened after birth? I hope it's instant. It's been 7 weeks now of this swollen craziness. That makes the constant urination, limb numbness, lack of sleep, and indigestion all seem like a piece of cake in comparison (note: back pain does not make this list :))

We got a doula. It's relieving to have a plan and a team. We will work in the coming week or two to solidify my "plan" and to work on positions and other education that is helpful to have before labor. Yea!

My thoughts about the baby now... it seems so big and so real. I can't believe it's still in there and content. Lately I've been cheering for the baby, "come out and meet us," "come visit us," "when are you going to come see us?" It seems incredibly human and responsive, unlike the way it did when we first got pregnant and saw that little jellybean shape on the ultrasound. For example, last night it came right next to Donovan's belly and kicked him when we were lying down in bed belly to belly. Then Donovan started talking to it with his face next to my belly and it moved around and kicked by his voice. This reality makes labor all the more real and daunting. It's on my mind daily. In so many ways the pain of late pregnancy makes me want to go in labor soon, yet in other ways when it is mentioned that it could come at any time I am always thinking, "Not right now! One more day!" All in all I consider the pain a gift, without it I would have no motivation to go through the crazy pain of labor.


Julia said...

SO exciting!!!

Aaron said...

Everything you are experiencing sounds so similiar to everything I experienced. The horrible back pain, numb limbs, indigestion, rolling belly, etc. It may take a few days after birth before the feet swelling goes down because your body is releasing all the water is has been holding onto. And yes, the back apin goes away instantly after birth, it is fantastic. The craziness of a newborn is so much better than the pain of late pregnancy. I would rather be able to sleep, not be in pain, not have heartburn, etc, and be taking care of a precious newborn than live another day with late preggo symptoms. If everything is healthy and goes well, life with newborn is not as hard as people say it is. But I will say prepare yourself for the bleeding after birth for the next 6 weeks and that area down there will ache like there is no tomorrow! It might be difficult to go to the bathroom #2, but the pain will get better after a few weeks. Take your tylenol and definitely use the pain relieving spray down there every time you go to the bathroom. Nobody told me these things when I went through it and I don't want you to be in the dark there.


The Lewis and Ruby Blog World said...

Wooowhooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Babies are so awesome.