Week 9

So I realized I should probably do these in reflection of each week….durr Steph.

How Far Along: 9 weeks, 31 to go!

Size of baby: Baby is about the size of a grape, or a green olive for the vegetable-inclined. (Are olives vegetables?)

Weight Gain/Loss: Still holding pretty steady right around where I started.

Body Changes: Still with the boobs.

Gender: Dunno yet! 

Movement: Nothing yet!

Sleep: Still fatigued and luckily still sleeping pretty good. Having some crazy vivid dreams too.

What I miss: You know, I’m not missing too much. My doctor gave me the green light on soft cheese as long as they are pasteurized, WOOHOO! Might just celebrate with some goat cheese tomorrow….ooh ooh or my twice baked potatoes with bleu cheese….mmmm.

Cravings: I’m still not craving anything in particular. More, what’s happening is if I see something or hear someone say they ate something, I want it. Which is kind of obnoxious because it makes it hard to decide what to eat at lunch!

Aversions: I am suddenly not crazy about tomatoes. The idea of pizza or spaghetti grosses me out. The other night hubby made a shrimp pasta dish with diced tomatoes in it and even though they were only one small part of the sauce, all I could taste was tomatoes. Yuck. 

Symptoms: Pretty much still the same…fatigue, sore boobs, have to pee every hour, a few more emotional ups and downs. I cried yesterday watching a Nightly News segment on shelter dogs….

Maternity Clothes: Still super stoked about my stretchy pants.

Appointments: I got to meet my OB for the first time today for a physical and a doppler. WE GOT TO HEAR THE HEARTBEAT!!!! AHHHH!!!! Of course he managed to freak me out for a little; I told him that I’ve been having some brown spotting for a few weeks and he said he was a little concerned about that. Then when he told us he was going to do the doppler he said “Sometimes you can’t hear it this early, so if we don’t hear it don’t freak out–but since you’ve had spotting, if we don’t hear the heartbeat I’ll do an ultrasound just to make sure.” Which of course scared me, because the spotting had been making me nervous (even though my OB nurse told me it was normal). So he starts poking around with the doppler and nothing is coming up….nothing…still nothing…Cameron said my face looked so scared. All this probably took less than two minutes but of course it felt like way longer. Finally we hear this little….thumpthumpthump and the nurse goes “Oh, there it is!” And the doctor moved it around to a different angle and there it was, really strong. Ahhhh….amazing. I was filled with such relief. There’s really something in there!

Baby Purchases: I bought some books on the Bradley Method and natural childbirth. No actual purchases for the babybut some friends gave us some gifts at a dinner party last week. One friend gave us some hand-knitted baby caps and another gave us a stuffed elk that bugles when you squeeze it. The cats are not so stoked about it but I think it’s adorable AND it made me decide I want to do a woods-y theme for the nursery instead of an aquatic one.

Best Moment this week: Heartbeat!!!! I was seriously not anticipating it. All I knew was that I was going to have a physical and meet my OB, I had no idea he was going to hear a heartbeat too. It was amazing. 

Pictures: Still nothing worth taking pictures of!

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Dr. Bumplove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Pregnancy

When I first learned I was pregnant, I was terrified. Not to be pregnant or to have a baby, but that something would go wrong. We were trying for a while, so naturally I had read all sorts of stats and studies and stories from women who’d had all manner of experiences with their pregnancies. And naturally, I got freaked out. Stats on everything from miscarriage to symptoms to anything you can think of filled my head and I started to worry. What if this happens? What if that happens? After all it happens to so many out of so many women….I started visiting baby message boards to check in with other pregnant moms, my reasoning being that I wouldn’t be as stressed about the strange things that were happening to me if I knew other women were experiencing them too. I wanted to find out what was normal. What wasn’t. 

But all I found, instead, was that my stress levels never went down. Even though I read plenty of other women saying they were spotting or hadn’t had any morning sickness yet or this that and the other things, and could compare it to my experience, it didn’t make me feel better. And I realized it was because in between those threads about spotting and morning sickness were the women announcing they’d miscarried. And even though I never actually read those posts, it still snuck its way into my head. Didn’t she just post yesterday that they had a heartbeat? Didn’t everything seem to be fine? What if I’m next?

In the end I came to learn two more statistics, though these were derived from my own research.

1. 100% of women will worry at some point in their pregnancy. If you say you don’t, you’re a liar. Whether it’s worrying about miscarrying, or worrying that you’ll be a bad mother, or worrying about how you’re going to afford a baby, you worry. 

and, subsequently,

2. 0% of women will be able to control anything about their pregnancy with worry. 

That’s the important stat I came to conclude. I cannot control a single thing by worrying. I will not be more likely to carry a baby to term, or not, by worrying. It’s not as if things will be more likely to happen based on the level of worry that I have. (Though some may argue that worrying will increase your chances of negative things happening, because it leads to stress.) I have a feeling that in pregnancy, just like many other parts of life, women are scaring themselves by constantly looking up facts and studies. We read a study that suggests that women who don’t have morning sickness are more likely to miscarry, so when we don’t have morning sickness, instead of thanking our lucky stars we’re not face-deep in the toilet every day, we panic and think we’re going to have a miscarriage any second. Don’t our doctors tell us not to self-diagnose on WebMD? That’s just what I and a lot of other women out there were doing. Did it help? Not a lick. It made it all worse, in fact. And I know I’m not experiencing a pregnancy after a loss. I know that’s a completely different ballgame. But still, there is nothing that can be done even in that situation by worrying more or less. So you might as well worry less. 

And that’s exactly what I did. I stopped. I stopped visiting the message boards and the statistic sites. The only thing I check my little iPhone app for these days is to see how big the baby is and what her growth looks like this week. Oh, and to double check that I can in fact eat calamari at my favorite Mediterranean restaurant. I came to realize that this is the most exciting, engaging, challenging and amazing part of my life and I am missing out on it if I am thinking about the negatives 24/7. I shouldn’t worry about what might happen because it will happen whether I worry or not.

What will be will be and there’s nothing I can do about that either way. So I might as well surround myself in the positive rather than the negative. And that’s what I hope to do from here on out. 

 

Week 8

How Far Along: 8 Weeks. 32 to go!

Size of baby: Baby is about the size of a raspberry. Teeny weeny!

Weight Gain/Loss: Even though I feel so bloated these days, I have miraculously not gained any weight.

Body Changes: Um, can you say holy boobs?

Gender: No idea yet. I am pulling for a girl. Cameron is pulling for a boy. As an aside, let me give you the run down of my family history as far as girls go. My mom has five brothers. My dad has three brothers. I have a brother. I have no aunts except by marriage. On my dad’s side, there was a 75-year gap between girls being born, and I was the first born after that gap. The other was my great-aunt and she passed away in 2005, making me the oldest family-born female on my dad’s side of the family. The only other female cousin is (I believe) 16 or so. So it’s been a good while on that side of the family since there have been any girls born. There are quite a few girl cousins on my mom’s side, but even there, the youngest is in her early twenties and if I’m not mistaken, there are only two great-grandchildren that are girls. Similarly, Cameron has very few girls on his side as well, though I don’t know all the stats in specific. All this being said, it is damn well time for a girl. The Chinese gender predictor chart says it is a girl. Both my parents want a girl. Out of curiosity, we looked up some old wives’ tales on predicting gender, and it seems to split right down the middle for boy/girl “signs.” So I guess we’ll see! We still haven’t decided how/when we are going to go about learning the gender. For a long time I wanted to wait until the birth, but then I started thinking how nice it would be to know the gender and have the name ready and all that. I also thought it would be cool if we did a secret gender reveal at the baby shower–but we haven’t been able to decide what to do yet. Luckily, we still have tons of time!

Movement: Nothing yet!

Sleep: I am sleeping like a rock these days. I used to be the lightest sleeper on the planet. I would wake up at the slightest sound or movement from the Better Half. He often sleeps with a fan on and I used to hate it. When his alarm went off at 4am to get up, I was awake, usually until he left for work because I could hear the shower. Lately I will sleep solid from about 9:30-6:45 when my alarm gets off (barring any midnight trips to the bathroom) and oftentimes I won’t even notice that he’s awake until he comes to kiss me goodbye. Not to mention I am in bed way earlier than I used to. I used to go to sleep to Jay Leno, now I go to sleep to John Stewart or Colbert. I am just exhausted by the end of the day.

What I miss: Soft cheeses. I am dying for a burger with bleu cheese on it. I know I can eat those things sparingly as long as they are pasteurized, but I’m trying to avoid it as best I can, though I don’t know how long I’ll last.

Cravings: Nothing in particular, really. Yesterday, my coworker made oatmeal and I had to go home and have oatmeal for lunch. If someone mentions a certain food I probably want to eat it, but I don’t think I’m necessarily “craving” anything yet.

Aversions: Again, nothing 100% noticeable yet. The other day my coffee didn’t taste very good and I’m worried I’m going to have an aversion for it (2 reasons why this is unfortunate: 1) I love coffee; and 2) Hubby works for Starbucks.). I am still loving Thai food even though the smell of it is kind of gross to me. Mostly I am having aversions to smells, especially when it’s on a customer–I know this probably sounds bad, and it’s not meant to whatsoever, but we have a lot of customers in the bank who run Nepalese or Indian restaurants, and when they come in, I can smell the spices and curry and stuff, and it’s really bothersome.

Symptoms: Fatigue, sore boobs, cramping, having to pee all the time, heartburn like woah, bloating like woah. I’m also trying to figure out what my stomach wants to do most of the time–for days at a time I’ll be totally not hungry at all, not in the slightest interested in eating, and then without warning, BAM I’m starving. I can also smell everything in about a 2 mile radius, which like I already mentioned is sometimes bad. It’s the worst at work–whenever customers walk in I can smell if they’re smokers, if they work in the mechanic shop, restaurant (what kind of restaurant!), it’s insane. The other night Cam was cooking dinner and I was sitting in the living room watching tv and I could smell that he had the spice drawer open.

Maternity Clothes: I am a little ashamed to say that today I wore my first pair of stretchy maternity pants. I am so bloated these days that most of my slacks do not fit very well and if they do, it’s super uncomfortable. So I figured, to hell with it, I’m not going to spend the day uncomfortable, so stretchy pants it is. So comfortable…. 

Appointments: No appointments this week. I originally was supposed to have an ultrasound yesterday, but we switched OBs to one in Estes and they don’t do ultrasounds until 18-20 weeks. Sigh. I’m dying to see the little blob but I’m reassured by my OB’s positivity that there’s not really any particular need to do an ultrasound right now. Still, the waiting is hard. 18 weeks is still 2 months away.

Baby Purchases: None this week.

Best Moment this week: Announcing to our friends.

Pictures: No pictures this week. Although I look like I have a belly, it is, in fact, just fat and bloat. Womp womp.

Dealing with the Ebb and Flow of Creativity

If you’re any sort of creative type, you know that the muse to create–write, paint, sing, act, cook even–is not ever-present. Fickle, even. She operates much like weather patterns in the sense that her comings and goings are often tides that take years to come and then go out again.

When I was in college, there was nothing to keep me from writing. I wrote so much when I was in school. At least four novel-length books that are currently waiting on my computer to be revisited, reworked, and hopefully some day find their way into the world. I wrote in between classes, during classes, until 3 in the morning, constantly. The summer I worked on the entertainment crew at the amusement park in Denver I was working 10 hour days (plus working at the renaissance festival, for a total of roughly 60 hours a week) and I would still sneak up to the booth in between shows and write during pre-show. And the simple truth was that I had to. Had to write. I was so full of ideas and the muse was definitely with me during that period of time. I was not beyond canceling plans with friends to stay home and write. And the crazy part about this is that I was so busy during these few years, mostly with school work. My senior year I was completing multiple theses at a time and I still finished the novel that ended up catching me an agent.

After I got out of school that manic drive to write kind of faded a bit. I spent several months after I graduated in preparation for sending my novel to agencies. A lot of editing and re-editing. But I was trying to work on new material too, a sequel that probably now will end up being finished much later on down the road than I originally anticipated, due to the new direction my agents have me going in. But it seemed like the harder I tried, the harder it was to work. I bounced back and forth from project to project but was never able to get a whole lot of work done on any of them. Sure, there was a lot going on in my life–I moved 3 times in 14 months, got married, changed jobs 3 times, and now am having a baby–and while I was always busy before, it was a different kind of busy. It wasn’t working 40 hours a week and trying to keep up with a household and find time to spend with my husband. (And actually, throughout 4/5 of my college career, when I got so much writing done, I was single. It does tend to make a difference.) Now, though I am working on a new track and I can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel (well…make that, I can see the tunnel) with this new project, it’s still hard to make myself sit down and work. By the time I get home from work (especially these days) I am exhausted and don’t have the brain space left to try to work on the book. I try to write at work when it is slow but often it’s difficult to get in a flow when I am being interrupted by customers. I know it’s only going to get worse once the baby comes so I am trying my best these days to really buckle down and get stuff done. I know it’s possible to do all of these things and still have a writing career. It must be or else nobody would ever write books. The trouble is finding the balance between work, life, and writing.

The reason I was inspired to write this post is because I was listening to some music at work earlier and several songs came up that used to be my go-to inspiration songs. I would make playlist after playlist that described scenes and characters and situations in my books, and just listening to them would put me in the right direction. It also got me nostalgic about the years I had in college when my biggest responsibility was a couple pages of homework. I could stay up as late as I wanted and write all night and still sleep in until my afternoon classes. I miss being in school. The routine suited me and my creativity far better than this whole working-to-pay-bills thing. Plus, let’s not forget the benefits of being in school on stimulating my brain. Because I was in school, thinking, reading, it made my brain work harder. Luckily, I am not going back to work after the baby comes–so though it will be hard, I will make this work. The life of the stay at home mom writing on the side has been a coveted one for several years and I’m very happy that I’ll finally be able to do that, even if it requires some figuring out.

Even When You Think You Know (Part II)

You definitely, definitely don’t know.

Sometimes that’s a good thing. A really good thing. Such as….

test

Which you might have guessed since the last time I posted about TTC was at the beginning of the last two week wait, and then I didn’t post anything. In fact, one friend told me she knew I was pregnant because I hadn’t posted anything after that.

Before I got a positive, I really, really didn’t think I was pregnant. I was absolutely sure, in fact, that my period was about to come. I tested on DPO10 (I think) and it was negative, which I thought for sure meant it was negative this round. And then the period never came several days later. I came home on my lunch hour that week and thought “well, period is two days late…let’s just take one for shits and giggles.” So I took it, and while I stood in the kitchen eating a roast beef sandwich, the second line appeared. Holy shit! I immediately texted a picture of the test to a friend of mine who is a nurse and works for Planned Parenthood and she told me to take another later that day but that it did in fact look positive. My second that day had two lines as well. Holy Shit.

I have been dying to post about this. Dying to tell all my friends. My family knew right away, and several close friends. I had to tell someone or I was going to explode. And though it is still early, the way I look at it, the more people who know, the more possibility there is for positive thinking and good thoughts. I am a big believer in the power of good intention. Not that I am worried that anything will go wrong (well, that’s a lie, of course I am in the dark at three in the morning)–but there is nothing wrong with filling my head with positivity especially on days (or nights) when I am lacking it. So, even though I am only at 7 1/2 weeks right now, I’m saying this. We don’t get an ultrasound until 18 weeks, unless I crack and go to Planned Parenthood for one earlier than that. Nevertheless, my OB was very positive at my last visit that everything was going to go just fine. So I thought, why the heck not. I posted this on my Facebook:

JoinTheRealm_sigil (1)

Because I’m a giant nerd and I thought it was just hilarious. But maybe that’s just me.

As for the details you probably really want, the baby is due right around Thanksgiving. I am feeling perfectly fine all things considered. Just a few moments of nausea on a couple mornings before work. Some heartburn and fatigue and I am retaining water like it’s going out of style. I can smell everything in about a 2 mile radius, which is sometimes not so good. But otherwise I really have no complaints knowing how much worse it could be and could still get. (Oh, and my boobs look fabulous if I may say so, so there’s that too.) I actually feel so good I have to remind myself that I am pregnant most days. It gets easier every day.

So naturally, this means that this blog will become a weekly “bump update” blog, but I promise to write about other things too. I wasn’t lying last time I posted when I said I was finally moving in the right direction with the new novel, and I’m still chugging along at full steam (while I have the time!) to get as many pages behind me as I can.

Happy Happy Joy Joy!