Wednesday, January 30, 2008

12 weeks, 5 days - easy come, easy go

The late comment from Jemma on my last post reminded me to come back and say that the "baby bump" has all but disappeared! I guess it was bloating or water retention or something because the next day when I woke up I was back flat and unpregnant-looking again! I do remember this from last time, though, so it totally doesn't worry me. Besides, I'm still nauseous to beat the band and I made a pan of brownies today that Bean declared "Deewishus" but to me, they just taste bland and yuck. So my chocolate aversion hasn't eased up at all. And I can still feel Peanut, a. k. a. Hoppy Feet, bubbling around down there. So, all's well, I just apparently somehow expelled whatever was causing my mock baby belly. You're right though Jemma, it did look like a girl bump. My Bean bump was always round and flattened against me.

Hey! I shook things up a bit, diet-wise today. Bought my mac and cheese at the hot food counter of our local "fancy" grocery store. Yep! And I think it might even have had some ACTUAL REAL cheese in it. (However it didn't taste as good as the boxed kind to me. Oh well!) While I was perusing the hot foods there I also saw some crisy fried zucchini and bought a few slices of that. I came home and made some horseradish sauce (I have had some noticeable cravings for horseradish lately!) and slathered that on the zucchini strips. And ate them. Somewhere under all that creamy fatty sauce and that fried crispy breading was a vegetable! My standards for healthy eating have sunk to an All Time Low. But when you consider that that fried, fatty zucchini is the first vegetable I've been able to choke down since Sunday, you have to kinda be proud of me. Well, I'm a little proud, anyway.

So yeah, still nauseous. Lots of that kindof hiccupy, gaggy burping, too. Oy, vey I hope ... meh, you know the rest.

Well, there was more but somehow I lost it in the process of supervising Bean with a roll of tape and a pair of scissors (eek)!

Oh yes! I have been having headaches for a couple of days. Early Tuesday morning I woke up with a very scary one that hurt so badly I was shaking. Al woke up and took one look at me and said, "We need to call the DOCTOR!" but I asked him to wait, got up and got a glass of water then came back to bed still shaking, but shortly after I'd lay down and gotten warm and cozy next to him the headache went away. I suspect it was the water. I never ever drink enough, even for a non-pregnant person. I'm surprised I ever bleed when I get cuts or anything as it seems like my blood should be like jelly I drink so little. (Gross, huh? I don't know why that came to mind! But I will point out that generally speaking when I have to give blood or have an IV put in, it's the hardest thing to find one and then once they've found it they generally won't bleed long at a time and the phlebotomist or nurse generally says, "You don't drink enough WATER!" and no, I don't. So anyway I'm making a concerted effort now to drink and especially before bed because those headaches were coming on mostly in the morning and I assume it's because my already dry self was REALLY drying out over the course of an 8 hour sleep. But it means I have to get up again in the night, and it's COLD right now, so that's no fun. But since I've been doing that I haven't had a single additional headache, so I guess it's an okay trade-off.

I need to be getting at least a little more sleep than I have been. I do get 8 somewhat broken hours' sleep (but not badly broken) per night, but that's what I normally need to stay healthy, so I'm thinking I probably should be aiming to get at least an additional hour per night this trimester. It's not an easy thing to do though because Al gets up SO early to go to work, and that always wakes Bean who comes immediately into our room all ready to start the day. So I can't go back to sleep after Al leaves, and I probably wouldn't anyway even if I could because I always feel like if HE has to get up and get to work that early then I should too. Because it's only fair and wouldn't it drive me nuts to get up and drag myself off to work and leave HIM still all warm and toasty under the covers snoozing away? Yes, it would. Whether it's exactly the same thing or fair or whatever or not, it's how I feel. I don't know if I'll still feel that way after the baby is here and I'm getting up to feed him/her in the night, though. But I doubt I'll have the choice then because I doubt Bean will change her own habits before then. She is pretty much a sworn early-riser so far. All things being equal, so am I. But this being pregnant business has put a crimp in my early-rising nature.

And there's more but that's all I have time for. Sorry for the false alarm on the belly. I'll try to get a picture up late tomorrow night since I won't have time to do it Friday because we'll hopefully be on a plane headed South.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

12 weeks, 1 day - belly itcher

There's a new picture in the belly gallery today, and I think you will notice a change this time. To me, the difference is huge, at least in feeling it from the inside. The skin over my entire abdomen itches off and on, and at night I feel gigantic! I think my uterus has definitely sprung up and out of my pelvis, not only because of the bloomed belly but also because I haven't had to get out of bed in the night for a pit stop since last Saturday night. The pressure is off down there for awhile, which is nice. I will most likely start wearing my new maternity tops while we're on vacation week after next - I could get away without them for awhile yet, but they are cute and comfortable and should be perfect for the temperatures down there since I've been buying things for springtime mostly so far. I bought a pair of khaki maternity pants today that I can wear now, really, even though my jeans are still fitting okay. I have maternity jeans and a pair of corduroys from last pregnancy but they are WAY too big for me right now and hopefully will remain so for many more months. I doubt I'll get much use out of those at all this time, actually. The majority of summer stuff I'll want this time will be casual dresses, I think. That's what I preferred with Bean.

I remember reading somewhere last pregnancy that a baby girl already has all of her eggs stored up in her own little body before she's born. It occured to me then and has struck me again recently that in a very real sense, I actually carried my own little potential grandchildren inside my body! And Nana carried Bean. And GeeGee (my grandmother) carried ME. Think about it - isn't that so amazing? Well, I think it is, anyway. If Peanut is a girl, I'll get to say I carried THOSE potential grandbabies, too. Neat.

Anyhoo. I have an itchy belly. The nausea has been back off and on. I want to say it's not quite as severe at its most severe, though. Maybe. And I've had a headache for two days, too, but it's mostly controllable with Tylenol.

WHEN I have the nausea and WHEN I have the headaches, I feel sad and depressed. I don't know if it's ONLY the headaches and nausea that cause the sadness and depression or if the depression comes along with the hormonal surges that cause the increased nausea and the headaches. I can say though that the weather, which has been extra cold, grey and, dare a hard core winter-lover say the word? miserable the past week, probably helps the depression find its foothold. Not being able to get out into the fresh air and/or just enjoy some sunlight makes the days so much longer for me and for Bean. Actually longer for me BECAUSE of Bean, I think, because I just get so weary of coming up with ways to entertain her and keep her stimulated.

When we're stuck inside all day, she gets stir crazy and begins literally tearing the house apart - drawer, cabinet and storage container contents get emptied out, my every task and activity gets supervised and meddled in, and she is constantly asking rapid-fire questions. It wears me out and makes me so grumpy! I do try to keep her occupied with games and books and coloring/drawing and so on, but when she's not been out to run around and burn off energy, her attention span's really short and her ability to focus and enjoy an inside activity limited. It's every mother's challenge and I know that, I just think it's doubly hard when the mother in question feels sick and exhausted and just wants to shrivel up in a corner alone for awhile.

I feel guilty - so guilty - for not being a FABULOUS Mama to her ALL THE TIME. She is such a gift and I want to "earn her" and help her develop and grow and learn and become every minute, but OOOOF! I have a fuse about a centimeter long and when she doesn't want to cooperate I just get SO put out with her. It's silly to feel that way about a three year old, but I do. ARGH.

I didn't officially mention it here, ever, but I got my hair cut pretty short last weekend. I'm not sure if it's the new style or hormones or a little bit of both but this stuff will NOT take or hold curl for anything! It won't even stay wrapped around a curling iron! I get it all rolled on there and little by little it just comes flopping back up and out, straight as a stick. Usually my hair curls easily and well, and has a bunch of natural waves and curls on its own.

I've noticed a tiny little dark spot like a freckle on my forehead, on the left side (my left) that I haven't seen before. But I don't have any skin tags anywhere so far, and I got several of those while I was pregnant with Bean. Several of THOSE have remained and are still there.

I still feel the baby moving occasionally but since the big uterine shift the movement isn't as detectable and it isn't in the same spot all the time like it was before. I guess little Peanut must've been squooshed up tight before the expansion project was completed and now he/she has more room to swim around. Good for Peanut!

My hands stink again. DARN IT. That's actually, in a way, worse than the nausea.

I've been super sleepy this week. Dozing off whenever I'm still for awhile and sleeping like a ROCK at night. The past two nights I've gone to sleep before 9:30 and slept straight through until morning without waking, even with snowplows working right outside the bedroom windows almost all night. One morning I slept through Al getting up and taking a shower, which is completely unheard of generally. I usually wake up because I hear his eyes open. SERIOUSLY. I'm a very light sleeper. But not lately.

And the DREAMS. Wow. So vivid and so full of memories and people/things/situations from my past. Old boyfriends who come back into my life and I'm dating them and all I can think the whole time is OH THIS IS AWFUL! I DON'T WANT TO BE WITH THIS PERSON I WANT TO BE WITH AL! (Which is really great, you know, when I wake up, because I AM WITH AL and he's right there beside me and WHEW! I wouldn't have it any other way!) I just recall thinking when I was pregnant with B and had these same dreams that my subconscious must need to test out all these different scenarios and want me to once again BE SURE that Al is THE ONE, because you know with a kid and now another one on the way, it'd stink to figure out that he wasn't. Even though my conscious, intentional mind KNOWS he is, somewhere in there my subconscious has to test it all out again. And man, do I ever pass the test every time.

I sortof enjoy it. It validates me. And makes me appreciate the bond Al and I have even more, and believe in myself and my loyalty and commitment even more. I feel sortof even more WHOLE in an area where I have felt very broken in the past. That's a good feeling.

I've also dreamt about all my kitties that have come and gone from my life. My first "babies." In my dreams they are happy and healthy again and I'm caring for them and loving on them. Those dreams are just simple and sweet and nostalgic. They're harder to wake up from because I love being in the moment with them and it's sad to have them leave me again. But you know, peacefully sad.

I guess the overarching theme is maybe the re-tying up of loose ends? I don't know. I am not one to spend much time dwelling on the past in my conscious mind.

I've spent a few moments these past few days being scared something will be wrong with Peanut. Like a major chromosomal problem like Down Syndrome or Trisomy 18, etc. Normally I don't worry but it creeps in on occasion and I ponder how we'd handle it - what it would do to us. Would we be the same people we are now if we had to deal with a tragedy? Would we cling to each other and get through it together or would I pull away from Al (which is what I've always done in the past when bad things have happened) and retreat into myself? I don't know. I am a very different person in many ways than I was the last time I dealt with a very sad or difficult situation. I pray Peanut will be healthy and normal, of course. What mother doesn't?

I have one more thought sortof rolling around in my brain but it's part of a major topic that needs to be addressed in another post, so I think I'll just wait.

One more week and I'll call it a trimester, I think.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

11 weeks, 6 days - hanging in there

Bean went to a friend's house for a tea party today. She was gone about 2 1/2 hours and in that time I cleaned the WHOLE HOUSE. Obviously just the basics - vaccuum, dust, clean bathrooms, move stuff back into proper places. No really deep cleaning. But it looks and feels better in here, and I even already have dinner planned out for everyone, so that's good. Oh, and I did a load of laundry in there somewhere, too. I fought off quease off and on during the process but it wasn't too bad.

But now I'm absolutely worn out. And waaaaaaaaaaay nauseous. Oh well! At least it's almost time for Al to be home.

My stomach is round now. Well, I mean, it's not the baby I don't think, it's just the pushed-upness of everything else in there. At night the past couple of nights it's felt all itchy and been tight and round and puffed-up. Seems sooner than last time, but everyone says that's what happens, so it's okay.

Went out with the girls last night for a few hours. It was nice to chat and catch up - but also so nice to come home and climb into bed with my sweet husband and go to SLEEP. I am still SO tired out/sleepy. I've been taking about a 20 minute nap every day lately and I feel better for a few hours after that but around sun-down I just get BEAT again and want to go to bed at 7:30. I am also very very into my COZY right now - I just want to be snuggled up next to Bean or Al all the time, feeling their nice soft skin and the THEMNESS of them - my two best people. Lately at night after we've tucked Bean in, I HAVE to go back into her room after 10 minutes or so and snuggle her and smell her and press my lips into her soft cheeks and just SOAK her up. I just have an intense need for closeness to my family right now. Why is that? I can't get enough of them now, after several weeks of feeling so isolated and wanting to just be alone.

We just keep talking about names. And nothing much gets resolved. I'm sure we'll come up with something! (Tap tap tap nervous tapping.)

I've been extra thirsty for a few days AND I've also put on a couple more pounds - I think I'm now up about 7 pounds total in this first trimester.

NOTWORRYINGNOTWORRYINGNOTWORRYING.

I'm not. Worried. Whatever, right? Seven pounds. That leaves me 19 to gain in the next two trimesters to stay at the bottom of the normal and healthy weight-gain range. I haven't been getting any official exercise most days, either. I am just plain taking it easy this trimester because that's really all I can do. When I feel better and have more energy, I'll go back to working out and I'll be able to eat better.

This all, of course, hinges on me FEELING BETTER and HAVING MORE ENERGY.

Any day now.

Any. Old. Day.

Whew.

Twelve weeks tomorrow. Some sources say this was the last week of the first trimester and others say next week is. Which should I go with? Hmmmmm.

Monday, January 21, 2008

11 weeks, 3 days - you didn't hear this from me

(After this is posted and all 4.3 of you have read it, we are all going to pretend it was never written. We will never refer to it in any way from this day forward. Because you know what happens when I acknowledge in writing that I think I'm starting to F--l B----r. Right?)

Today my hands, which as I've written about before have been one (well, two, actually) of the leading sources of stinkiness to me no matter how often or how vigorously I've washed/scrubbed them, are not stinky. Not LESS stinky. But not stinky at all. See? Sniff sniff sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiff. Nothing. Just plain old hand smell with a little soap thrown in.

We went to Biaggi's today for lunch. And everything except ONE kind of bread in the bread basket was ... wait for it ... DELICIOUS! Now, granted, I was very careful about what I selected from the menu, but still. To have an entire meal that was delicious and NO SMELLY, STINKY, GAGGINESS. Well, it was sump'm.

The dirty laundry I sorted today? Also not stinky. Al's breath, after consuming HIS meal at the restaurant? Perfectly bearable.

Also. Hardly a twinge of nausea today.

Lest we become worried that something is WRONG, allow me to also add that The Girls feel like they have been run through an old fashioned printing press and then set on fire. Usually they just hurt if I touch them, or you know, when Bean body slams me, or if I jump up and down. Yesterday and today, they just ACHE. Allatime. Non-stop. And they've done that fiery electrical thingy a couple times, too.

And my belly's big. YESTERDAY I took a belly picture and put in in the gallery. (It's there.) Today I look huge. Possibly just bloating from eating Mexican food last night, though.

We have been talking names again. This is so much harder than with Bean! (Whose name is completely wasted on her because we call her Bean!) I have a name that I simply adore, have adored for years, and want to use above all others for a girl. I mean like, THIS IS THE BABY'S NAME TO ME IF IT'S A GIRL. That strong. The one I "feel" in my gut for this baby. And Al just doesn't like it. I keep dripping on him to see if he might change his mind. And I'll keep dripping. But I don't know if he's going to budge. And man, it bugs me to think I'll end up having to go with some second or third string name.

The solution is NOT for this one to be a boy, either, because we have NOTHING for a boy. All my favorite boy names are taken already by my nephews, or Al doesn't like them. Sigh.

Kid's gonna end up with PEANUT on its birth certificate. I used to criticize people in my head for naming their kids weird things, but I think I'm starting to understand how happens.

Let's see. What else? Oh, we bought Peanut his/her very first outfit of all his/her own today. When Bean was born she weighed 6 lbs. 14 oz. and the 0-3 months clothes we'd bought and been given for her were all way too big. I think we started off with three things that fit her and only one thing that was a whole outfit. So I decided Peanut might need a few things of his/her own in a tiny little size just for the first few weeks. We were in Baby Gap at the mall this weekend and I got all squidgy and mushy over a little white kimono wrap top with little and pants set with a little brown bear on it. So simple. And it's super super tiny - for babies under 7 lbs! It's yummy though.

And I bought another maternity top, too. A light green v-neck with ruching (spellcheck doesn't have a suggestion for that word) along the sides and long sleeves. It's another one with the faux wrap look, too. I like that look. So now have two new tops that will work in the coolish springtime months and on cooler summer evenings, of which we generally have plenty. (Please may we also have plenty this year? Please?)

I can still feel a squiggly little bit of movement on the far left side of my abdomen toward my hip bone, below my belly button, especially in the evening when Al and I are just lying together talking or watching TV. I THINK it's the baby. Sometimes when I press in right where the feeling is I can feel a tiny firmness there. I never feel this sensation anywhere else in or around the area except really that one spot, so maybe it's not the baby, although when I could feel Bean while I was pregnant with her, the sensations were almost all in the same places too. When I compare her movement during my pregnancy to others I read about, it seems like Bean was always really contained in her motion. She was not one to change positions or squirm and kick a lot, unless I am just very well insulated and didn't feel those things. So maybe this baby's like that?

Oh, and Bean continues to talk about her baby sister like she is a sure thing. There's still NO room for the possibility Our Baby is a boy. Oh no. She's a sister. "No, I don't fink I care for a brother. I care for a sister."

Funny Bean!

I am off to taste some chocolate and see if it's still bitter and un-delicious to me.

Remember. Mum's the word.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

10 weeks, 6 days - this portends trouble, methinks

I have that tell-tale curd in my throat already this morning, so I suspect it may be one of the bad days, nausea-wise. Bean was up and into our bed at 5 AM and never settled down so we could all get back to sleep. That may be the culprit, or maybe it truly is just random.

I feel especially grateful that my friend Katie is bringing us dinner tonight - that will save a lot of gaggy struggles later in the day! She'll make something good that Al and Alex will enjoy, I know, and maybe I'll be able to eat it too, since I won't have had to cook it.

We're expecting some very cold weather the next week or so (probably longer than that but I'm only going to think as far ahead as a week at this point!) so I'm goign to try to get Bean out this morning for a chilly trip to the playground to "air out" before we're cooped up inside for days on end. Plus she's already a big GROUCH thanks to her early morning. But that in combination with the romp outdoors will mean she takes a really long nap this afternoon, probably, which will give me some time to rest up, as well.

I could seriously go back to bed right this very minute and sleep all day long!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

10 weeks, 5 days - more positive stuff!

I know! Two days in a row with good stuff to report! It's almost like my old self is back but SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I'm not saying a word.

This morning after I woke up I could feel my uterus contract a little. (I was never in tune to such things with my first pregnancy, thank goodness for a little experience this time!) Anyway, I got to FEEL the whole thing (well, except the part in the back.) I'd say it's about a small canteloupe now, and while I was lying there flat on my back, it seemed like it was about 1.5 to 2 inches below my belly button. So fun!

Bean and I ventured out to Target today and poured over the maternity clothes. I don't need them yet, and it will likely be another 2 months before I really do, but I like looking at them frequently to catch the really cute (to me) stuff while it's available. I did buy one little lavendar wrap style long sleeve shirt with a pretty satin tie. I tried it on when we got home and it's really really great on. Maybe I'll start wearing it before I actually need to? It just looked like a tunic on me without the belly.

Bean and I were having a love-in this morning, rolling around giddily on her bedroom floor together in a big bear hug, declaring our undying love for one another. It went like this, "OH BOY HOW I LOVE THIS SWEET LITTLE BEANIE!" OH BOY HOW I LOVE MY SWEET LITTLE MAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! "AND OH BOY HOW WE BOTH LOVE OUR SWEET LITTLE -------------???" (expecting DADDDEEEEEEEEEEEEE.) Instead? PEANUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

10 weeks, 4 days - I forgot to say!

I keep meaning to say here that over the past weekend, I think I have begun to feel the flutters of this Peanut. I know many "experts" would say it's too early/I'm not feeling what I think I'm feeling, BUT, I've felt this before and wouldn't you say it's a pretty much unmistakeable feeling? Like nothing you've ever felt before?

So I remain convinced, despite the opinions of "experts."

10 weeks, 4 days - thank you

Thanks for the sweet and supportive responses to yesterday's tortured, melodramatic post. I actually teared up and cried reading them. (Does this surprise anyone? It didn't surprise me a bit.)

By and large (and I hesitate to even write this) I think I may have felt slightly better yesterday. Doesn't mean it's ending, because a good day can be immediately followed by a seriously awful day, in fact frequently is. We'll see what today holds.

It's funny that yesterday (and today, so far) I've wanted to eat the things I mostly wanted to eat during my pregnancy with Alex. Bland things that are sortof childlike - boxed mac and cheese, a can of baked beans, Jello with whipped cream. That makes me hopeful. Also, I'm figuring out that the way to go with eating is to eat my big meals in the morning when I'm least sick and then taper off as the day wears on and that gross curd in the my throat gets bigger and ickier. I had cheese grits and a hotdog for breakfast yesterday. I feel bad eating so much JUNK, but then I think it surely must be better than eating NOTHING. I think I'd like to try a BAKED potato sometime today - although potatoes in general have grossed me out now for weeks. Maybe a baked potato will be different. And it's not unhealthy, either.

I am hoping to see a decrease in all this - the nausea and exhaustion - by Feb. 1, when I'll be thirteen weeks along, so that I can enjoy the beach trip with my whole family. And eat seafood. And ride bikes. And laugh and feel "present" the whole time. And blog about the certain hilarity at FriedOkra. Heavens I miss that place. But I go there and I feel like an intruder - a stranger. I'm just not HER right now. Come back, FriedOkra person! Please?

Oooh that reminds me, I need to buy my new camera before our trip!

I've noticed a lot of the ladies on my due date boards talking about being gassy, and all of a sudden I'm right there with them (yes, even BEFORE the can of baked beans!).

My weight gain has finally leveled off - I haven't gained any weight in a little over a week now. I remember this from last time, too. I think my total weight gain is 5 lbs. now, which is a lot for a sick woman who's only 10 weeks along, but I think my body just does that. And I wouldn't be surprised to find out that at least 2 of those three are in The Girls, because they are once again inflating like they're hooked up to an air-mattress pump. No kidding. HUGE. And hurty. And how do you explain to a three year old who is an avid and very emphatic hugger than she's KILLING YOU when she runs up and tackles you chest-to-chest? Over and over and over again. YEOW.

I thought of the name Sophie for a girl last night and mentioned it to Al. He liked it. Haven't thought of anymore boy names. Bean is CERTAIN and FOR SURE this baby is her SISTER. She won't even consider the possibility she's a he. I hope she's not disappointed if she turns out to have a brother. She's taken to giving baby sister a kiss each night before she goes to bed. It's so cute and sweet!

And with that, the Bean is ready for breakfast and it's time to feed her delicate flower of a self (she said sarcastically as the child hangs over her, grunting and growling.) Love those three-year-olds. Completely uncivilized.

Monday, January 14, 2008

10 weeks, 3 days - what's it all about

It was a rough weekend with loads of nausea and a headache. I dealt with it by just folding into myself and spending both days up in our bedroom, on my bed, alone. It's difficult - I feel pulled to be with Al and Alex even though I'm miserable, yet even when I'm with them, I'm NOT with them because all can't focus on them at all. I begin to wonder if they will still know me and love me much longer when I am not at all the woman they have come to know as their wife and mother. I'm empty and passive and unsmiling, and it terrifies me. I do not feel worthy of this family and wonder as well why God is giving me another person to care for when I am doing a very poor job of caring for the people I already have.

But then I think that is ALSO likely just the hormones - many things I've read even say this can be a period of intense self-doubt and depression for a woman. It WASN'T for me last pregnancy, or at least if it was I was smart enough not to write it down.

I try hard to laugh this off. I know one day it'll all be a distant memory and I won't even be able to recall in my own mind the depth of my own misery, sadness, frustration with my body. How the smell of the downstairs of my house is so awful to me that it makes me BOIL WITH ANGER to go downstairs into it. How the simple little tiny things like leaving a few bits of Alex's uneaten lunch or a small container of leftovers from a restaurant in the fridge for later turn into huge, gag-inducing landmines hours later. It should be funny, shouldn't it? But it's not.

My mind has wandered the past few days off on trips I've taken over the years - I've remembered a trip to Europe with my friend Carole - how we were both young(ish) and single and just hopped a flight to Europe for 10 days where we skipped from London to Germany to France and saw beautiful cities and rolling countryside and drank beer and wine and champagne and coffee and ate panini and pasta and heaven knows what else and rode on trains and buses, our feet carrying us between, rolling our luggage, our backpacks slung on our shoulders, thinking of nothing besides ourselves and the experience just behind or just ahead of us... living in the moment, taking everything about it for granted, never knowing the lives ahead of us would find us glimpsing back at this freedom and wanting it recaptured, even just for an instant.

It is not that I'm so burdened by my family. I know I carried with me on that trip which literally spanned the final official days of my first marriage, slung over the other shoulder like another, more sinister backpack, the fear I'd squandered my only chance for a family - for a forever love, and I worried I'd be alone for the rest of my life. I am thankful that was not the case, and I would not trade this family for another youthful unfettered romp around the globe - not even for just the feeling of it. I am heavy with the weight of myself - of the pressures of not measuring up to my own standards, of the pain of not being perfect, or perfectly happy and accepting, of this comparably small trial of life. Morning sickness - pregnancy nausea - so common, so simple, so fleeting, yet in the midst of it completely consuming and threatening. Countless women suffer from it and none of them die.

I hate having these days of my life eaten away - I hate that the baby inside me - my child until the day I die and beyond - gets only the occasional passing thought, and rarely a truly grateful and loving one - among the depression and longing for this all to end. I do not research my baby's growth or development, I research How Much Longer? I do not leap for joy at the thought that my child is no longer an embryo but a fetus, I rejoice at an hour of feeling normal in my own skin.

I want to stop writing here - disconnect myself from pages of words of which I can never be proud, as they will forever remind me of my own failings - my inability to rise above and see beyond. I want to erase the record of this weakness. I do not like this person I've become.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

10 weeks, 1 day - it's ba-ack

Okay I am now certain I have pinned down what makes me nauseous.

It's writing here about not being nauseous.

Because every time I update to say things are going BETTER, they get WORSE shortly thereafter.

I am hoping that the return of the nausea (pretty bad but not as bad as the worst days so far) is just my body reacting to a cold I started fighting on Thursday. I'm sure being tired and a little sick and worn down might contribute to a resurgence of tummy-ick. Don't you think?

I was also VERY tired yesterday and am again today.

So I'll just rest and wait it out. And be hopeful.

Friday, January 11, 2008

10 weeks - more about the appointment

Okay, the ladies have left for the airport. (No, we are not happy with that but we will see them again in a few weeks at the beach.)

Now where was I?

Oh, after the weighing and the measuring. In the exam room, a nurse went over paperwork for testing to see if I'm a cystic fibrosis carrier (not) and the early blood test for chromosomal abnormalities and AIDS testing, etc. I consented to AIDS testing (I don't know why I did, in retrospect, because how would I have gotten AIDS since Bean was born?) but declined the others. I already know I'm not a carrier for CF and well, a chromosomal abnormality wouldn't change how I deal with the rest of this pregnancy so why cause myself additional stress with a potential false positive, etc? Eh.

The nurse took my blood pressure (110/106) and I got undressed because I was due for my annual pap smear, etc. I had mentioned (on numerous occasions, because I wanted to be sure everyone knew this so I'd get an ultrasound) that I wasn't sure about the date of my LMP and that I was further uncertain about my ovulation dates as my cycle had been wonky since I went off the pill a few months ago. I sat on the exam table in that cold room, naked from the waist down with nothing but a large paper towel to cover my lower extremities and literally watched my feet turn blue for about 15 minutes, with 100 people's worth of urine specimens collecting quickly in my bladder. And I silently said in my head, "You just don't leave a pregnant woman in a cold room, naked from the waist down, after having told her to DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS, for 15 or 20 minutes. It's cruel." JUST as I was about to get dressed and make a hasty trip to the ladies' room again, the doctor, Dr. Howey, knocked at the door, and I very happily gargled out, "Come in!"

I have met Dr. Howey before and she is a fantastic lady. I LOVE, ADORE, CHERISH the fact that she was a registered nurse in Labor/Delivery and Pediatric ICU settings for 12 years prior to getting her MD. I secretly believe that nurses are, in general, far more skilled and knowledgeable than doctors (perhaps excluding surgeons), to tell the truth. So I am very happy to go through this pregnancy with Dr. Howey, knowing full well that she will (as she has been up til now) be an advocate and a help to me as well as my physician. I'm actually excited to work with her to bring this Peanut safely and peacefully into the world.

We discussed the hospital where she will deliver Peanut. It's NOT the one many of the women around here have told me is the BEST. I was concerned about that so I asked the doctor about the one she uses. Why she'd chosen it over the other. She explained that it is a smaller hospital and that all of the OBs on staff there are one-doctor practices, and that she feels very comfortable with them because she knows ALL of them well, has worked and consulted with all of them countless numbers of times and that they have a sort of "family" together, all helping out as needed to cover for one another and so on. And that she likes the nursing staff and the administration of this hospital as they are very down-to-earth, kind people. She also said they are equipped to handle high-risk births and/or sick babies.

We also discussed my age as a factor of risk. She was SO reassuring to me about this. She DID show me the stats on the likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities in babies born to women my age, which are frightening of course, just from a numerican standpoint, but she also said that since Bean is only 3 and I'm pregnant again now, vs. with a 12 year old child and a new baby on the way, she feels very happy and confident about my pregnancy and she feels confident that we will be fine. She says she is delivering more babies to women aged 34 - 42 than in any other age group these days and she doesn't see any more sick babies in that group in any other. She talked to me about all this forever, and touched me on the arm several times as we chatted, as if to put me at ease (which I was already, as I've sortof come to terms with my fears for this baby and am resting easy knowing God is in control). We had some great laughs, too.

She did the pap smear and then, without saying a word, rolled the sonogram machine over and before I knew it, we were seeing my tiny Peanut on the screen. But before that, let me tell you, she gave me a huge scare!

She felt around for my fundus and said, "Feels like 11-12 weeks?"

And I said, "Well, that would be way off by my calculations, they have me at a little over nine weeks, but my calculations could be wrong."

And she said, "This is really high for less than 11 weeks. Hmmm... you sure you couldn't handle twins?"

At which point I began to hyperventilate.

But there was only one lovely Peanut in there. A healthy looking, normal, one-headed little Peanut with a pretty heart beating away. And Peanut measured exactly to the day where I had guessed he/she was, so according to his/her measurements I really AM ten weeks today, no adjustments necessary.

The reason the fundus was high, as the doctor pointed out to me when she scanned over it, was that my BLADDER WAS UNBELIEVEABLY FULL, which I could have told her but was too polite to do!

Dr. Howey smiled through the whole sonogram, like she was HAPPY to be looking at my Peanut with me. It was just so nice. I was sad Al wasn't there, but at the same time I sortof liked the bonding the doctor and I did over it (isn't that silly???). I never felt a connection or any warmth with any of the doctors I saw during my pregnancy with Bean, so I am thrilled to feel good about my experience with this doctor so far. Really, really thrilled.

Peanut measured right under 3 cm. Everything looks healthy and normal so far with me and with the baby. After the sonogram I got dressed and the nurse came back and took vials and vials of blood until I felt weak (psychological, I'm sure) and dizzy. Then I got dressed and set my next appointment and left to come home. Al called once while I was bleeding into tubes as he was nervous the appointment seemed to be taking so long, and I called him right as I got into my car and told him what I'd seen. I got two pictures to take home, too, by the way, and I tried to reproduce them so y'all could see, but it doesn't work that great. Go get your early sonogram photos if you have some and look at them. Mine look exactly the same! Don't they all?

Way too early to make out bits, of course. Just a little sexless but adorable Peanut.

And I came home and my sister had lunch waiting for me and I ate like I hadn't eaten in three weeks.

Al seemed disappointed we're not having twins. He keeps saying there's another one hiding in there, but Dr. Howey assured me she looked around thoroughly and one is all we get. Phew!

Now that we've seen Peanut, I feel better emotionally. And Al has been kissing and patting my abdomen several times a day, loving on what he now KNOWS to be his new little baby.

And Bean was delighted to see the baby's picture too. She smiled but didn't say much as she was busy talking to and playing with her cousins when I showed her. The cousins and Aunt Jackie all looked at the sonogram stills as well and cooed a little. I am happy they were here for the experience. It made me calmer and happier and was nice to come home from the doctors office to a house full of loving, friendly faces and listening ears.

As the day wears on today, I am feeling a bit nauseous for the first time really since Tuesday, but I'm trying not to worry about it. I'm fighting a cold and am VERY tired out today from all the activity yesterday and the previous days, but happily tired out vs. depressed and deflated tired out. I will sleep while Bean sleeps today, and then have my sweet husband home for a cold, snowy, cozy, relaxed weekend.

We are having a baby. And it's all good.

Oh yes! And I've added the 10 weeks belly picture today, as well.

10 weeks - first prenatal appointment

Ten weeks! Ten Weeks!

I like the even numbered weeks better for some reason.

I have quite a bit of news to write about and want to get as many details written down from my first prenatal visit to my OB before they start to slip away from me. The BIGGEST, BEST news of all is that I have found a very simple, safe, doctor-approved way to drastically diminish the nausea I've been dealing with and therefore I am feeling about 600 times better today than I felt just four days ago! I've been taking a combination of Unisom (Doxylamine Succinate) and Vitamin B6 every night before bed and waking up each day feeling really great - well-rested, strong, ready-for-action, and, dare I say, even HUNGRY. Like, I am hungry AND I want to eat something.

I still have a strong aversion to certain foods like anything garlicky, potatoes (my normal favorite food!) and a few others, but nothing as pronounced or horrifying as it has been. Last Monday was the WORST day of all for the nausea. It was just sheer hell. All I could do was lie on the floor or the bed and sleep or toss around, with Bean beside me watching hour upon hour of television. I decided THAT DAY that I HAD to find something to help me. Fortunately Wednesday was my doctor's appointment so I had that sortof ace-in-the-hole just in case, but I'd read many times about the combination of Unisom and B6 as a cure for morning sickness and many of the women who'd tried it had had fantastic results (and they'd all had perfectly normal, healthy babes, as well). I bought some Unisom several weeks ago and tried a tiny sliver of it during one day but all it did was make me groggy and weird-in-the head, so I'd given it up. But since then I'd read that if you take a larger dose and take it at night before bed, it worked beautifully. I had my sister and her kids coming in for a visit on the following day and decided to try the Unisom Monday night.

And Tuesday I felt SO much better than Monday! So I tried it again Tuesday night and Wednesday I felt almost NORMAL. Did it again Wednesday night and yesterday my sister and I and all three of our girls got up and rode the Metra train into Chicago and walked/ran/strolled all around the city all day long, rode the train back and didn't arrive home until dinner time and lo and behold I felt GREAT the whole day, no issues whatsoever, ate regular meals, no snacks, no nothing, and was just happy and smiling and full of life and enjoyed it all as if I were just plain old Megan.

It is a miracle!

Backtracking to the doctor's appointment Wednesday, I was so nervous to tell my doctor about my miraculous cure lest she make me stop immediately because of any risks she knew to be associated with the Unisom (I didn't think she'd have an issue with the B6). I MADE myself tell her, even though I seriously didn't want to even face the possibility she'd call an abrupt halt to my two-day nausea vacation. She laughed though and said, "That's what I'd have told you to try first, had you asked me. I'm so glad it's working for you - don't worry at all - it's fine." Period. End of discussion.

So, I am thrilled to be back to at least about 75% of my normal nausea-free self. It's amazing how this has changed my perspective on EVERYTHING. I am a much happier soul now. I imagine for those of you who know me pretty well, that fact was already fully evident to you after you caught the tone of the first few paragraphs of this post, wasn't it?

Let's see though. I should start from the beginning at the doctor's appointment, shouldn't I?

I went into the office after having consumed my requisite PLENTY OF FLUIDS, ready to burst at my little seams. But I had to fill out paperwork! And more paperwork! And hand over my ID and my insurance card! All as I shifted about squirmily in my seat, tap-danced around the lobby, and grimaced the "gottagogottagogottagorightnow" grimace for all to witness, had they been paying me the slightest bit of attention. I KNOW I could easily have shot out, "MUST. PROVIDE. URINE. SAMPLE. NOW!!!" and I'd have been delivered from my misery immediately, but far be it from me to inconvenience anyone! I think it was 20 full minutes before I finally was called back into the office and escorted to the gates of heaven ladies room, where I proceeded to provide urine samples for myself and about the next 100 patients through the door.

And then I got weighed. And measured.

By the way, I'm shrinking, heightwise (5' 5"), but getting heavier by the moment (138.5 with my clothes all on). In 5 years, I'm going to be shaped like a checker. Sigh.

Oh, poo. I'll have to sign off for now and come back later to write more. My sister and the girls leave this morning to go home so I need to go help coordinate departure and manage my little dirvish.

Friday, January 4, 2008

9 weeks!

Another reason to love Fridays, by the way, is that I move from week to week of this pregnancy today! Nine weeks seems big to me. It feels big, too, as today is one of those sausage casing days where my abdominal skin feels too tight for its contents. Still not down where my womb is, but way up under my breasts down to right above my belly button. Things must be really REALLY getting pushed up somehow.

The nausea was REALLY bad the first few days of this week. Like the worst so far. I was likely tired out from the excitement and extra work of having Sissy and Buddy here for a visit. By Wednesday, though, it was better and manageable. I had a weird blip in my weight, too, where for two days I was up around 140 lbs (that would be an 11 lb. gain since Thanksgiving!) and then in these three less sicky days I got back down to 135ish, which sounds more reasonable. So a couple days of concentrated nausea, exhaustion plus water retention. Kindof like a period, almost. Weird. I'm glad that's over for now.

I posted a new photo in the belly gallery at 8 weeks, 2 days. Not much to see, although I look thicker in the middle. There's no bump to look at, so don't get excited.

I'm looking forward to my first prenatal appointment which is coming up in 5 days. I don't know if that office has a sonogram machine or technician. I suspect not, as it is a very small practice, so I may have to have an appointment elsewhere on another date for that. I think it will be interesting to see how far along I actually turn out to be vs. what I've calculated using my vague memory of the dates of my LMP and you know, the um ... things we did that we can ultimately point to as the cause of all this excitement.

I don't feel particularly bonded with this baby. I don't mean that in a negative way, though. It's not that I feel disconnected or passive at all. I talk to him/her on occasion and I'm already starting to gently place my hand over my womb on occasion (when I'm alone or in a private place and it's appropriate to do so, of course. It's pretty low right now and if I did it in public people might construe my maternal caresses as a "gotta pee" dance.) But I mean that not having seen the baby in an ultrasound or heard his/her heartbeat, I suppose the fact that there's a little person inside me is still a somewhat vague notion. I'm looking forward to a glimpse or a listen to confirm and solidify things for me, in a way.

I am sleeping very well now, thank goodness, although having to get up at least one if not two or three times a night to go potty. I have very very vivid dreams almost every night, and I can sleep THROUGH noises and activity that would normally wake me right up. That has been quite a blessing, as getting enough sleep seems pretty critical in keeping me feeling at least human right now.

I still have that AWFUL taste in my mouth. It gets worse later in the day, and by day's end I have the awful taste PLUS everything gets SO STINKY. Really those two symptoms are harder to deal with than the nausea, because it's the taste and smell issues that make it so hard to EAT, or at least make it so hard to figure out WHAT to eat. The smell and the taste are very starchy and gooey and thick, like really gross potatoes. I've been cooking huge meals for all of us (since we have the big kids) and our bedroom is right above the kitchen, so at night I wake up and am just overwhelmed by the smell and taste of whatever I've cooked lingering in the air. Except that the smell has morphed in those few hours, as if whatever it was has spontaneously partially rotted. The best description I can think of is how, after you've just eaten a really big meal, with a huge serving of something you really love, a way too huge serving, so huge you've nearly made yourself sick from indulging, and then when you even THINK of that food, it makes you just feel completely ill. That's how it feels. Only worse, because I can still SMELL it, and now, it's rotten.

Why I feel it's necessary to explain that with such rigour, I do not know. I am certain that when this feeling goes away for good, I will NOT want to remember it.

Happy Nine Weeks, Peanut. This week you'll go from an olive to a small plum.

Mmmm. A plum sounds yummy.

My Lil Family