Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First Trimester Recap

Whoa is that the most boring name for a post EVER!  But the dealio is that if I don't get this out of the way, I'm not going to do it, and with only my notoriously unreliable memory to count on I won't have a shot at remembering what happened during these lovely nine months of pregnancy.

Finding Out.  I took the first pregnancy test right on schedule, one day after my first missed period.  This was at least partly on accident - I knew that I was going to have a "fun" (read: intoxicated) weekend, and wanted to make sure I wouldn't be drinking for two.  Well, we all know how that went.  I ended up taking another the next day, and one more after Art got home.  I actually suggested that he might like to take one as well, as a "control," but he assured the crazy pregnant lady that everything was in working order.

"Morning Sickness."  I must say that I feel very lucky that I did not experience the voilent vomiting episodes that I witnessed as a young child while my mother grew my siblings.  In fact, I generally felt great in the morning, but gradually became nauseated and exhausted as the day went on, usually starting around 2pm and getting worse through the day.  The best way to describe it is that I felt constantly hungover.  Achy and dehydrated, with that kind of headache that just makes you want to put your head down on the nearest surface.  You don't feel so sick that you need to stay in bed, but you never really feel "well" and nothing that you can think of makes you feel any better.  Everything you do is an effort, and you can't stop thinking "Wow, I really shouldn't have done that last night" (which is, Ahem, an oddly applicable sentiment!)  This started around Week 7 got gradually worse and then gradually better until about Week 13 or 14.  The best way for me to stay on top of this was to eat every 2-3 hours.  I suppose I did have to undergo the "Rite of Passage" though, and had an awesome vomiting incident after going too long without eating.  I figured we'd do it right, so after frantically yelling for A to come to the bathroom I proceeded to stand in front of the toliet and throw up all over my feet, the floor, the rug, the trash can and the shower curtain with about 15% actually making it into the toliet.  A bravely cleaned up quite the mess after pushing my silently sobbing self into the shower.  I guess that counts as a Rite of Passage for him too, so way for us to kill two birds with one stone.

Exhaustion.  I think that for me, this was tied pretty closely to "morning sickness" in that every small thing that I did required what felt like a Herculean effort on my part.  This started pretty much right away, and lasted until around Week 14, although even at Week 17, I still feel very tired and easily exhausted.  Everyone said that one day I would magically wake up with so much more energy, and while I can tell a slight increase in energy from those first weeks, I'm still pretty tired most of the time.

Eating.  Starting around Week 6 or so, I began to have very strong feelings about food I wanted to eat and food I DID NOT want to eat.  I ate a lot of carbs - pasta, crackers, bread products, etc.  I also for some reason could almost always eat breakfast food, even if it was eggs, bacon, cheese, etc.  Also on the good list was any processed meat - chicken tenders (not like the real chicken, like McNuggets), meatballs, hot dogs, etc.  Meat that was not like meat.  On the bad list was any food that wasn't bland - basically anything that had any flavor, as well as pretty much any meat and chicken.  Chicken was the big surprise since I had pretty much lived on it for the first 28 years of my life.  Couldn't even bear the thought of putting it in my mouth.  This also lasted til about 14 weeks or so.

Weight Gain.  I lost about 4 pounds or so pretty quickly after becoming pregnant and am still working on getting those back on.  By Week 10, I was still -4 lbs, by Week 14, I was -2 lbs.  At Week 17, I am still mostly -1 lb.  I had the weight to spare, so it's an okay situation, although I was warned at my last midwife visit that it's about time that I start to gain a little.  On a similar note, I'm still wearing regular clothes even at Week 17, with the exception of jeans, which are just generally uncomfortable anyway.

Letting the Cat of the the Bag.  As I've written in seperate posts, I told A a few days after I found out, and we told our parents and immediate family over Christmas, when I was almost 7 weeks (although at the time I still thought I was 5 weeks).  I told my boss around 8 weeks, and we waited until our appointment and ultrasound at 10 weeks to tell close friends and other family.  It wasn't until around 14 weeks that we started telling the more general public, and by 16 weeks we were offically "out."

Emotions.  This probably deserves a post of its own and I'll likely write it at some point, but to be brief for the sake of this recap post, I initally felt pretty shocked and panicked.  I mean, we had PLANNED for this, and were TRYING for this, but that is all well and good until you see those two pink lines!  I was a lot more nervous than I had expected, while I was excited and thrilled, I still struggled a little bit.  I also had a very hard time believing that everything would "work out."  I was nearly convinced that I would have a miscarriage, and this was a little bit hard to balance with everyone else's excitement, especialy at first.  We also had a little bleeding episode around Week 9, and while I won't share the gritty details on the old blog here, suffice to say it was a little tramatic and didn't really help matters any.  It was probably around Week 8 that this started to fade and around Week 12 that I started to really believe that we were going to have a little person at the end of all this.  For me, the first trimester was a tricky time - I was both excited and terrified - going through all these emotions PLUS the physical rollercoaster, but nobody (well, pretty much nobody) even knew about it.  There was no physical evidence that I wasn't making all this up, that there was really a small being growing in there - and that was tough for me. 

What I Miss.  I did want to address this, at least briefly, because it's something that I wondered a lot about before becoming pregnant.  I obviously stopped drinking immediately after I found out I was expecting.  While I thought this would be really difficult, it has not been nearly as hard as I thought.  I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that when I was sick that I didn't feel like drinking any way, and I couldn't even really tolerate the smell of wine.  What I have found is that I miss isn't really drinking as in feeling drunk, but I miss the social aspect of it.  I mean, A and I still go out the same way, but when everyone is drinking and I'm not - it's not really that I feel left out, but kind of.  That has been the most difficult part, but even that, honestly, has been pretty minor.  I can't tell you that I don't ever want to come home and crack open a bottle of wine, but it hasn't been as much of a sacrifice as I was expecting.   Quite honestly, I find myself missing my morning coffee much more than wine.  And that's something - coming from me!

Planning Ahead.  We didn't do a whole lot of planning in the first trimester other than start to think about the nursery - colors and fabrics and designs.  I did find the crib that I wanted pretty quickly, but are waiting to order it until after my scan at 20 weeks.  We started buying the baby a couple of small things - a few cute little outfits, and actually more than a few books, but it is never too early to start good reading habits!  Now we're only about two weeks til we find out Baby's gender, and I just can't wait!  I hope that A is prepared for the shopping spree we'll be going on!!!

So that's my first trimester review.  I can't say that I'm one of those women who love love love being pregnant, but I don't hate it either.  In the first trimester it went from being very abstract to much more real, and my level of enjoyment has definately increased as that has changed, so I'm very interested to see how my thoughts and feelings change through the next few weeks.  Oh Baby!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dear Baby

Last night you and I went to our first prenatal yoga class.  I wonder if you will laugh about this when you're older - the thought of your Mama stretching and bending into a pretzel while trying to be zen about it.  I'm laughing myself even as I write this.

Honestly, I wasn't really looking forward to going.  I knew that it would be healthy for me and good for you, but your generally sociable Mama absolutely hates going to new places to do things with strangers by herself.  Especially things that involve stretching and bending into a pretzel.  I sent a desperate email at the last minute to a friend who isn't even pregnant begging her to go with me.  I told her it would be a great "try before you buy" experience for her - pretend to be pregnant for an hour while getting a front row seat to my attempt at flexibility and balance.  I actually think I almost convinced her and if she didn't live so far away we might have had a partner.  But she did convince me to go, so I went to Target and bought a pink yoga mat, put on my pink sweatpants and was on my way.

I arrived at a lovely strip mall in Delaware County and found the studio quickly thanks to a neon YOGA sign blinking in the window.  I went in and was a bit shocked to find two grown man in full Japanese garb yelling loudly in another language and beating each other with bamboo sticks.  Seriously.  You just can't make this stuff up.  I thought about just turning around and leaving, but clearly with my bright pink yoga mat in tow I couldn't act like I wandered into the wrong place.  About ten minutes passed, and finally the men did some elaborate hand shaking ritual that involved fancy bowing and what may have been kissing, removed their headpieces and one walked towards me, asking with a smile, "Here for prenatal yoga?"  Um, yeah.

It didn't get better from there very quickly, I did my paperwork and met the instructor and worried that I would be the only one in class.  I laid out my mat and tried to stave off an anxiety attack as two other women finally arrived, both hugely pregnant and not particularly friendly.  Here was my worst fear - I was all alone!  In a room full of strangers!  Preparing to bend into a pretzel!  It was clearly too late to run away, so I listened as the instructor directed us into the child's pose.

I bent over my knees and breathed deeply.  I tried to relax, and thought about what you were feeling at that moment.  And then I realized.  I wasn't alone at all!  You were with me!  You had been here the whole time!  I smiled as I thought about us in this adventure together, just the two of us.  I began to breath through the exercises and enjoy this time with you.  I thought about how lucky we were to have so many people supporting us.  Your Daddy takes such good care of us.  He keeps our house so neat and clean.  He cooks us delicious food.  He rubs our (well, mine, I guess) feet at night before bed.  Your grandparents are already so in love with you, they are always checking in on us, getting us anything that we could possibly need.  Even your aunts and your uncle think about you all the time and are so excited to meet you.  We have so many friends helping us and encouraging us.  We are so loved, so blessed, so very very lucky.

But you know what I was thinking about yesterday, Baby.  For some of this journey, it is just going to be me and you.  There are some parts that nobody can help us with.  I'm going to have to depend on you, and you're going to have to count on me.  And I'm not going to lie to you.  Some of those bits are going to be a little scary, for both of us.  The most trying parts of this experience, the most physical - well, I'll just say it - the most painful parts of this journey are just going to be between me and you.  But as we stretched and reached to the sky together, I felt a confident knowledge that we'll both get through it, that we'll figure it out together.
At the end of the class, we spent some time meditating, and our teacher shared that yogis believe that at the moment of conception, a baby chooses its parents.  That you, sweet Baby, picked me, of all the millions of people in the world, to be your Mama.  From what I know of you already, I have great faith that you made the right decision.  This crazy yoga class is just one of the many great adventures we will have - you and me, together.

Your Mama