15 June 2015

10 Things About This Pregnancy

1. This pregnancy is a lot like my first pregnancy (with Abigail). Mainly: lots of cravings, insatiable hunger, and an almost complete disappearance of my usually insatiable sweet tooth. Another way in which this pregnancy is like my first: it totally doesn't feel real. We had a thousand "oopses" that never went anywhere before Abigail, it took us a while to get pregnant with the girls, and now I'm just "bam!" pregnant when I totally wasn't ready. Plus there was so much space between the first two and so little space between these two. It's really, really difficult for me to wrap my mind around this.

I was all why has my weight loss stalled? Why does it look like this pooch is growing? Now I'm like Oh. Cause I was already 8.5 weeks pregnant and just didn't know it yet.

2. I eat a hearty breakfast around 8am, but I'm still ready for lunch by 10am. Not a snack, but a full-size lunch. I feel like I could eat forever all morning long. But it balances out: I only want a light snack-size meal at 2pm and for dinner.

3. When I was pregnant with Abigail, I gravitated toward a natural birth and non-medical pain remedies. You know, hot shower to relieve contraction pain, birthing balls, squatting during delivery. But then her heart condition made itself known. I was strapped in a hospital bed with IVs and a million monitors. It was a very medically-intervened birth. It was very necessary to save Abigail's life, but it was not something I wanted to repeat if I could avoid it.

Eleanor was a healthy baby and a successful VBAC was very expected and I didn't want to do anything to screw that up. So I ran in the opposite direction. I figured, if I avoided everything I did with Abigail, I would avoid another c-section. No pitocin. No epidural. No continuous monitoring. No being chained to a hospital bed. I read all the natural birth books I could get my hands on. "Those dirty doctors with their unnecessarily early umbilical cord clamping!" I went through my pregnancy with Eleanor with a very "me vs the Big Bad Hospital" mindset. But after 48 hours with no food, water, or sleep, I finally was in active labor and I was so miserable that all I wanted was to lay in a hospital bed! So I mentally prepared myself for a c-section and requested an epidural. But the craziest thing happened! I didn't need pitocin. Or a c-section. It was the most soothing, healing birth experience I could ever have imagined. And it happened while I was laying on my back with an epidural and some of the same heart monitors.

I don't really know where I stand now. I know that it can't get much better than it did with Eleanor or much worse than it did with Abigail (excluding, of course, death). So this baby will have to land somewhere in the middle. I know that epidurals aren't always as effective as mine was. I don't take for granted that I could end up with another c-section. I know that I'm still afraid of pitocin, but not epidurals. I'm no longer afraid of heart monitors or hospital beds, but I do know that I'd like to avoid them for as long as I can stand the pain. I know that I want to give birth in a hospital under the supervision of a doctor because the risk of uterine rupture scares me more than the risk of over-intervention. I wonder if I can even determine a course of action. So much is up to the way the baby is reacting to labor.

And in some ways, I kind of don't care. It'll go the way it goes and I can't even begin to make any decisions until my water breaks and we head to the hospital.

4. My #1 goal before November is to make some serious deposits in the Family and Husband Relationship Bank Accounts. Newborn days are super stressful and draining. So little sleep, so many crashing hormones. For the first four months, we kind of just live moment-to-moment - Matt giving, giving, giving to me, and me giving, giving, giving to the baby. It isn't until the baby starts sleeping in measurable stretches at night and a daytime routine starts to emerge that I can rub the sleep from my dazed eyes and resume the "wife," "house manager," and "actual individual with unique interests" roles. Matt and I are going on monthly dates. We're trying to figure out if we can take a day trip up to Mackinaw Island with the girls in July. We gotta build that bank account up so we have something to draw down on come November.

13 weeks along and getting ready to go out for my sister-in-law's bachelorette party.

5. I am medicating the schnikes out of my discomfort this time around. With the girls, I was all "Oh, I'm going to do this naturally. No chemicals for my unborn baby!" But this time around it's either some Rxs or a nanny. Seriously, I can't be that sick and any kind of a parent to a 1-year-old and special needs 4-year-old. My OB/GYN is super awesome about it, his opinion is that if I'm going to do this again, I might as well not hate life. So I've got my nausea, heartburn, and insomnia all taken care of. I've still got the fatigue, but at least without the vomiting and the heartburn, I can resume my morning cup of coffee.

6. We have formally decided not to find out this baby's gender. We did this with Abigail and I knew I wanted to not know again. I figured this is perfect timing. If I have a girl, I already have everything. And remember I'm due on Thanksgiving Day, so if I have a boy, I have enough gender neutral clothing to get through the newborn days and I'll just ask for boy stuff for Christmas.

7. We already have the perfect boy name picked out, the same name we would have used if Eleanor was a boy, actually. But girl names...yeesh, they allude us. I did have one runner up from Eleanor, but it's been rising in the popularity charts ever since. And then Princess Kate went and named her baby Charlotte and two friends on Facebook followed suit, and that just cemented it as a "no" for me. So after extensive searching online to no avail, we bought our first baby names book. Both Matt and I read it thoroughly and made a list of names we liked, but neither of us found anything we loved. More online searches, more re-reads. Sometimes we'd find a name we liked, but it would sound too much like Abigail or Eleanor or awful with our last name.

Yesterday I was re-reading Matt's name list and I said, "Well [this one] doesn't sound all bad." He nodded. As I went about making lunch, I though more about the name I'd just said. I actually really liked it! I paired it with my top-contender middle name and said it out loud a few more times. "What do you think?" I asked Matt. "It sounds good out loud. I actually really like it!"
"I don't know," came the response. "It sounds like a loose woman's name."


8. This is my fourth pregnancy, but my first time being pregnant in June and July. I was pregnant in south Florida, though, and south Florida during September, October, November, March, April, and May are pretty much like Michigan in the summer.

Real-time photo. Almost 17 weeks.

9. I bought some new maternity clothes, mostly skirts and maxi dresses (I hate shorts and the few pairs I had from Abigail weren't fitting quite as well four years later). Anyway, the new clothes are so comfortable that when we leave the house, I feel like I have to go put real pants on or something.

10. I used to hate it when people would say, "Oh, your such a first-time mom!" to me with Abigail. All I heard was, "Look at this little newbie try to play in the big leagues! Isn't she so quaint? Let's laugh at her naiveté!" I found it very degrading, especially since I thought I was just being myself, not one of those crazy, hyper-vigilante new moms. But I totally get it now. I recently went to visit a friend of mine who just had her first baby and then, six days later, my sister-in-law who just had her sixth. The contrast was striking, and I could see myself in both women.

Of course first time moms act like first time moms! They should! That's healthy! All the mama bear instincts are kicking in, every time they do anything from taking a shower while baby naps to running an errand with baby, it's the first time they've ever done that task with a baby. It's very logical for a new mom to throw away a pacifier that's landed on the floor or spend 10 minutes packing the diaper bag for every outing. It's just like your first day on a new job. "How do I do this? I don't know! I'll spend 20 minutes making sure the signature on my email is perfect!" The stakes with a baby are very high. So new moms want to do everything exactly right. It's logical. And hilarious to watch. Hence the "first timer" comments.

And the sixth-time moms? My sister-in-law honestly said to me as I held her son, "Oh he's turning purple, that's okay." When you've done it a few times, it's easier to discriminate between which floors are okay to eat food off of and which aren't. Donut from the church floor rec room? As long as there's no visible dirt. French fry from the restaurant floor? Not so much. This too is very logical. And still pretty funny. I mean, just yesterday I left Eleanor sitting in her unstrapped booster seat to clean off her tray and I thought to myself, "Well, it's not like she'll die if she falls out."

But in my over-reactive defense? I avoid saying "You're such a new mom!" to my new mom friends. Captain Obvious is no one's friend.

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