Saturday, April 26, 2008

25 weeks, 1 day - I confess.

I forgot to mention that I posted a little slide show at the top of the Belly Gallery page (link on sidebar) that shows the grows of the belly from when you could see the bump up to the present. It's kinda cool.

Not much to report this week. The heartburn needed a little extra TLC to keep it under control, I walked ONCE and my uterus squoze up so tight I got out of breath and had to stop - it stays contracted the whole time and by the time I get back I just ACHE. No fun. Have to get some exercise, though. I'm wondering if the recumbent bike might be a better option and may try that out this weekend and see. I also wonder if something stretchy and soothing like some yoga might calm the contractions overall. I have many Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the day each day. The days I walk, I can literally have them every 5 minutes the rest of the day until I lie down at bedtime. The contractions themselves don't hurt, it's just that like any muscle, my uterine and abdominal muscles get sore from all the work. I will ask Dr. Howey about it when I go for my next check-up. If things get worse, I'll call and ask her before that.

I have another thing to ask her about, although asking her about it won't do much good, really, because I know the options already and I know what I choose of those options. I'm pretty sure. No, about 100% sure, that I have and have had for most of this pregnancy what is called prenatal depression. It's embarrassing and weird to say it here, where people will read it, but I need to just say it and admit to myself that it's real, whether I want it to be or not. I thought I'd feel better emotionally once I felt better physically but the cycles I'm dealing with (of being depressed and then being okay for awhile) have continued, and I know now that while being sick did definitely make me feel down, there's more to it than that. The good news, I know, is that I will be okay, maybe not immediately after I deliver, but at least within 6 months. I pray it doesn't get worse before it gets better, though.

Now that I know and am in touch with the fact that I AM, in fact, struggling with depression, I imagine I can deal with all of these feelings I've been having a little bit better - I can exercise more, try to get enough sleep, try to get things accomplished systematically despite the inertia the depression causes, (because a sense of accomplishment can help to lift me out of it for a time, I've noticed), and I can try to make myself talk or write about it more and quit beating myself up over it. No one wants to think of a woman blessed with a happy, healthy child growing inside her feeling sad. We want her to glow and be delirious with joy. No one wants that more than the pregnant woman herself, and for me, it's so shameful to admit I feel anything else. I feel ungrateful and like a spoiled baby, drooping and dragging when I "should" feel the opposite. The fact is though, I feel down. A lot. And it's hard, and I don't feel like myself, and I want out of it in the worst way. I wouldn't choose to feel this way - that I'm worthless and alone, that people no longer like me or care about me, that everyone, even God, is rolling his/her eyes at me and wishing I'd just get over it already. That I don't deserve my family or this baby and that they will be taken away from me, or should be, if I don't fix myself and stop being a lazy, selfish, useless brat.

The option a doctor will offer me is meds. I'm not really interested in doing that unless I become a danger to myself or anyone else, which I am a looooooooooooooong way from. I'm just blue, and unmotivated, and I want to sleep all the time, and I have a tough time interacting with other people because I can't TELL them how I feel - they wouldn't understand or wouldn't want to hear it or would make light of it. Little things wear me out, and many of the things I normally look forward to seem like huge major undertakings - insurmountable. Many days I don't want to leave the house because I know that just being out in public and managing Bean (who is well-behaved and full of fun and brightness) will wear me out. I feel worst for her, in all of this, because what must she think of this woman she lives with? This mother who used to love to play and sing and dance and laugh with her but who now can barely manage a smile some days?

The good days come though, and I feel such relief on those days - like my old self is back. I miss that old self so much. I miss her creativity and hope and craziness (the good kind of craziness). I hope she comes back to be Peanut's Mama. And Bean's. I hope she comes back to laugh with Al. I do love my family - they are the best things to ever happen from me, and this includes Peanut.

I do feel better getting this out. I'm sorry to have to confess it to those who read here. And embarrassed. But writing it out and facing it myself help me understand it better and honestly, I have to understand it and know it's somehow okay and normal in order to keep it from dragging me farther down.

(I did read about prenatal depression via several online sources before coming to this conclusion, and I do know that about 70% of pregnant women deal with some level of depression during pregnancy, so I am aware that this IS normal. And that it will end. And that is good news, to me, although it makes me sad for the rest of the 70% of women.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

24 weeks, 3 days - Been to the Doctor

Just a quick note to say I've been to the doctor today for my glucose screening. You know the one where you drink the sticky sweet "soda" and then have blood drawn an hour later. Won't have results back for awhile as they do ZERO of their own lab work in house, but I feel fine other than being slightly nauseous, but that's to be expected!

Their scales put me at 148 clothed, so I'm comfortable with my guess of 146 for my current weight. Dr. Howey noted that Peanut IS VERY ACTIVE. She even said, "WOW! He's all over the place!" And he wasn't at the time nearly as punchy and kicky and rolly as he usually is, at least not from what I could feel. She was amazed. She also noted that I have "lovely skin" and "not a stretchmark to be found," which was nice of her to say. I don't have any stretchmarks, she's right. I didn't get them with Bean, either. I still think it's possible I'll get them later in this pregnancy as I think that I will get bigger with Peanut. I have a feeling he may be a bigger baby when he's born, but who knows? He is kicking the stuffings out of my right side right now, by the way. He's done SEVERAL of those things that make my whole body flinch since I wrote about that time Friday night.

Dr. Howey also said I've really popped a lot in the three weeks since my last visit. I think she's right, too. I can still put on my own shoes and I even painted my toenails yesterday, but from the fact that bending over completely cuts off the circulation to my face AND the fact that my belly now rests on my lap when I'm sitting, I know I'm much bigger than I was even a few weeks ago. And I think my days of putting on my shoes and painting my own toenails are probably numbered!

I can't think of anything else from the appointment that needs to be gotten down other than that Bean was a complete riot the whole time I was there, cracking up all the nurses and the doctor just being her normal silly, dramatic, astute self. And she was so gentle and concerned while I was having my blood drawn. She stood right beside me and watched, and when the needle was removed she came around to that side of me and looked at the little hole and looked up in my eyes with a concerned look and asked, "Are you okay, my Mama?" I told her I was absolutely fine and it hadn't hurt a bit, but she was quick to assure me, "Well now we can go get you a treat."

She's a sweetie. And Peanut too. I am a lucky little Mama.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

24 weeks. Large baby. LARGE.

This one? He liketh to maketh his presence known. I hope he IS giving me his best hard times now so he can be an easy baby, Mari. 'Cause if he is anything on the outside like he is on the inside, I'm in trouble. Yeesh.

So this week I saw a return of some nausea, some headaches and a LOT of exhaustion. I was also extremely emotional yesterday - on the verge of tears all day long, and again today I'm not quite right. Sensitive, I suppose sums it up. In need of some true alone-time. I'd love to just disappear for 24 hours and be a hermit. Bean has been a challenge -- as much of a challenge as she can be -- this week. Lots of emotional outbursts and just not listening or obeying instructions. It'd be taxing if I were feeling my best, but the way I've felt this week, it's just been ridiculously frustrating. I was so tired out and sick feeling Thursday night I couldn't eat dinner. I just wanted to go to bed and curl up and have a nice long cry. But I didn't, of course. I don't know where all this stuff comes from. This pregnancy is SO DIFFERENT.

I have a list of projects for Peanut and for getting the house ready for summer/his big arrival that I've gotten about halfway done on and stoppped. I just lose the ability to pull the trigger on anything when I'm pregnant. I have to get started - buy the bedding and drapes and make the final painting decisions for my whole upstairs. It just has to be done before I have this little one. Has to. But whew! I can't get on with it. I hit a wall when I get to a certain point.

I did buy my first little package of tiny little Pampers Swaddlers though. Sigh. Didn't find it hard to pull the trigger on those at all. Had to have 'em in fact. They're so sweet and little. Cloth diapers are so appealing to me, but wouldn't be right for the whole family. I just know I have to choose some things based on how easily I can get them done and still have time for everything and everyone else who needs me, including, well, ME. I'm stubborn and don't accept help and trying to care for a newborn AND do the whole cloth diaper thing on my own while keeping up with Bean and making sure Al's got everything he needs - well... too much. Just too much. I just want to be aware of my own very human limits. I admire Jemma and Alice for using cloth - I just don't think they'd work for us. Maybe when he's older and not wetting as often and I feel like I have a handle on things enough that I can take that on.

I gained a huge amount of weight this week, and I ate really well and walked three miles three days in a row! Pregnancy weight gain is like a snowball rolling downhill! I'm just whizzing along up to 150, no matter what I do. I'm at about 146ish right now, give or take. I guess I should just accept it. I finished up Bean's pregnancy at 156 - I know crossing 150 was scary for me that time too, I just don't remember that well when exactly that happened. But I bought some new maternity capris (jeans) yesterday and could still fit into a nice small size without trouble. Oh and these capris are the best piece of maternity clothing I think I've ever bought - they actually look cute and shapely, vs. making me look like a Weeble. Overall, it feels like there is more of me in the middle this time and less everywhere else, which is what I've always heard happened with boys, but I'd always assumed that was a wive's tale.

The walking on those three days was TOUGH, though. My uterus STAYED contracted in a tight little gnarl the whole time I was walking, so hard I had to stop a few times and wait for it to loosen up a little bit because it was just SOOOOOOOOO scrunched and uncomfortable. It didn't HURT - there was no pain - it just felt tight like a really clinched fist. I've had these Braxton-Hicks contractions so often and they started so early this time. In fact I don't really remember having any at all with Bean, and now I have many of them each day. And they last a long time, too.

Anyway, after the second day of walking (which I had to do on the treadmill because the wind was blowing too hard to go outside), in the evening my hips and shins hurt really badly. On the third day I didn't stop hurting until about 15 minutes into the walk even though I stretched out really well before starting. By day's end that day my lower back was THROBBING and the rest of me was SO sore. It's just so different - I feel blindsided by all this. Is it because I'm 40? I mean it was only 4 years ago that I was this pregnant with Bean and I didn't have these issues then, except maybe a little hip pain, and that was later, closer to term, I think.

Seriously, that's enough whining. I have to walk whether it makes me hurt or not - I can't let my muscles get all weak and wobbly or delivery will be much too hard and it'll take me forever to recover physically from the pregnancy and the delivery. I know that. I KNOW IT. So I'll just press on and try to deal with it. This is all temporary.

Bean is still so excited about her baby brother. She's always kissing my belly and talking to him and asking when he's coming out and planning little things she'll do for and with him when he comes out. She makes me proud, how loving and positive she is about this (at least!). I'm actually really looking forward to sharing Peanut's little early days with her - I think she's going to be such an amazing big sister and helper. I really do. But this little tyrant thing she has going is going to have to be resolved before then.

I know it's mostly her age - a normal developmental phase - but I also know it's my job to channel this independence, this knowing-her-own-mindness, into a constructive ramification for her (and the people around her, God love us!) I love her so much - I want to do the right stuff for her. It's just HARD right now. I'd rather lock her in a closet and go to bed for a few hours. Hee hee. Sigh. I'm kidding. About the closet, though, not about the bed.

What else? So much of my brain space is taken up with Bean stuff right now it's hard to concentrate on Peanut stuff. He's as active as ever - yesterday I was driving to meet Al for dinner and Peanut did something - a kick or a whole-body flop - that made my whole body rock in my car seat. Literally! He's already so strong and big, it feels like. I wonder how much bigger he'll be than B was when he's born. I know boy babies are bigger, usually, and he just FEELS so much more substantial.

I am a happy mama - pleased to be carrying another child - he's a blessing to me already in so many ways. I get so tired of the tone I frequently have in this journal - it seems that 95% of the time I'm soooo whiny. It's hard to capture how I feel physically without whining, because I just haven't had many of those bloomy, pretty, glowing, ethereal days. Next time I have one, I should come right to this blog and post all about it! This body has done it's job so well so far, getting pregnant and making me a beautiful baby boy, a healthy new life, and I've been able to manage a normal life and take care of my responsibilities. I can eat healthy foods without being sick, and I'm healthy too. All is well! We've been blessed with another child! It's a miracle and a joy!

Hooray for reproduction!

The belly gallery has been updated with 24 week photos. Lots of belly growth the past few weeks! Maybe that's why I've not felt all that great.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

23 Weeks, 1 day. Just another pregnant woman rambling.

Not a lot to report, pregnancy-wise this week. Peanut continues to move about like crazy in there. He is SO much more mobile and active and THERE than B ever was. I feel movements NOW that resemble what I only felt at the last of my pregnancy with Bean. He's a flopper, a puncher, a kicker and a hic-upper, BIG TIME. Al's eyes get HUGE and he can't BELIEVE what he can feel his baby boy doing from the outside. This morning he put Bean's teddybear under his pajama top and had it flapping around wildly. "What are you DOING?" I asked him, "Trying to imagine what that feels like!" he said, pointing to my Peanut-filled belly. "You can't imagine, I don't think. It's like nothing else, ever," I assured him. But it was mighty cute that he was trying.

I do feel as if I'm finally beginning to bond with my tiny little man. I imagine what his eyes will be like - I hope they're like Al's: big, brown, almond-shaped eyes. And I hope that he, like his Daddy and his big brother and his sisters, has a GREAT BIG room-lighting-up smile. Can you imagine being the Mama in a family of five such smiles? Wow. I hope he's funny and silly and easy-going like Bean and Buddy, and not serious and stubborn like I suppose I was as a kid. (Although Bean's going through a not-so-easygoing phase right now, I have to admit.)

I still panic a little thinking of having TWO kids to be responsible for, take care of, entertain and keep safe, but Al has been very reassuring. In many regards, he says, having two can be a little easier than one, particularly in the entertaining arena. They will have one another, and Peanut, when he's Bean's age, will spend time with his big sister, whereas she spends all of her time and energy on ME.

In general, I am feeling so much better. I'm back in my kitchen cooking and loving it, eating much healthier, having more energy except the past two days when all I've wanted to do is sleep, and my overall outlook is better and brighter. I'm beginning to think about and plan and prepare for, even if it's just mentally, the first few months after P's born. It's easier to be realistic and practical, now that I know what it's really like to have a newborn around. I know I will need to ratchet my expectations of getting things done way down, that I will have to accept a certain amount of dirt, disarray, and disorder for awhile and this time I want to just try to be comfortable with that since I know now for certain that the time goes by quickly and soon I'll be able to get back to "normal" again. That there's no need to expect so very, very much of myself just days after my boy's born. Well, or to expect a different set of "very muchness" in his first weeks.

I would say I'm worried how B will adjust to not having all my attention, but she doesn't have it all right now. And in subtle ways I'm preparing her, I think, for what's coming. Slowly giving her some independence and responsibility for her simple day to day routine. She's responsible for making her own bed (not that she can really do it yet but she has to start somewhere) and for putting on the clothes I lay out for her and brushing her teeth. It takes her forever and requires many reminders to keep her focused and get these things done, but she's only three. These things take time, and I'd rather spend the time now with her than to dump it all on her just as P gets here. She's ready for and embraces the responsibilities and is a great help to me in general when I have the time to patiently show and tell her how to do things. I just have to be careful not to get ahead of myself, or of her. It's so fun to watch her learn, when I handle the teaching the right way.

I gained a couple of pounds this week, all overnight Monday night, I think, as usual. It's hard to get a real handle on how much I gain day to day though for many reasons. Nothing about my eating or digestion is ever exactly the same from one weigh-in to the next. I can't "control" for everything, so most days the bottom line is nothing more than an extrapolated, educated guess. I project I won't gain much more than I did last time, but maybe a little bit more, based on where things stand right now. Who knows... I eat even MORE healthily and get a ton more exercise in the summer months up here than I do in the winter. My arms and legs and waist are still the same as they were when I first got pregnant, and even my behind, despite Al's goof-up Friday morning, so right now it's just my belly growing. And it is GROWING.

The belly gallery has been updated and now I am going to take a nap!

Friday, April 4, 2008

22 weeks!

It still sorta blows me away that we're even in the double digits of this pregnancy, and is at times incomprehensible that the first of the two digits is already a TWO, even despite the fact that weeks 6-18 were so long and difficult. Everyone told me this one would fly by, and it has so far. There are two very dear friends of mine I still haven't even told I'm pregnant! I need to tell them SOON or they are going to get Peanut's birth announcements before they find out I'm expecting. I know the time will fly by even faster as spring and summer arrive and we get busier and more active during the days.

We went out shopping, all FOUR of us, this weekend, and bought our little baby boy many more cute clothes. It's nice this time, knowing more about what you REALLY need for a tiny baby, and what to stay away from, like things that button up the BACK. My only concern is that so many things have FEET, and I remember that Bean's tiny newborn feet and legs constantly came OUT of the feet in her outfits and she'd be all tangled up in no time. But I've had a really hard time finding sleepers that don't have feet. I'll pay very close attention to that when I start looking especially hard for the few little preemie outfits for Peanut's first week or so. Those will definitely not need feet as it'll be so hot, and Al and I would both be completely driven crazy not being able to get to those sweet baby piggies, anyway! Having a big pile of little baby clothes out where I can go look at them and hold them and imagine my baby boy in them is definitely helping me bond with Peanut. It's as if now there's something tangible to hone in on. It sounds shallow, maybe, but it's not the CLOTHES themselves, it's how they help me visualize HIM, here, with us. In my arms, kicking and waving. I also dug out a few little boy things I had for B, including some little Clemson Tiger gear in the perfect size for a special trip we'll hopefully be taking when my little man is three months old! Yay!

On the names front, we are still not 100% sure about Peanut's name. I'd say we're 75% sure, but there is one dear little name that I love that Al would go along with (I don't think he loves it) but that is uncommon and can't be shortened to anything I like and may result in some teasing, though I sortof doubt it. If the child could get through his first 16 years with it, he'd be golden, because it would be seriously cool for an adult male. Seriously cool. I wish it could be MY name. I'm not going to write what we've decided or tell anyone until he's born though, because there has to be SOME element of surprise!

The girl names we were seriously considering were #1 - (And probably what we'd have used for a girl) Lorelai Joy (Rory) and #2 - Catherine Rose (Katie). I also loved Felicity (no nickname) and Camelia (Cami), but Al was not as wild about those last two, and Sophia and Isabella were ones we both loved but never quite connected with for whatever reason. Both of the boy's names have family names for middle names, too. Alex still wants to call the baby Hoppy Feet, and I am secretly hoping his nickname will turn out to be Hoppy. It suits him right now, anyway!

Yes, the boy is quite a mover and a shaker right now. I have already seen him move from the outside now (last night), which only happened with B right before she was born. He makes my belly bounce and wiggle in spots when I'm lying down at night. Al is easily able to feel him move now, too. He moves SO MUCH and with SUCH vigor already, it's amazing!

I'm closing in on some decisions about Peanut's room, too. I think I'd like to use an alphabet theme for him. Pottery Barn has some cute alphabet bedding in primary colors (plus other colors), and I think I'd combine that with apple green gingham/chambray and other apple green accents, then paint the walls a denim-ish blue. We have some great toys and wooden and fabric blocks I can use to decorate the room, and a few nice framed watercolors with bold colors and frames/matting that'd coordinate well. So it IS all coming together well, as I knew it would, at least in my own mind.

We had a quick prenatal visit last Monday, just for a weight check and belly measure and to hear Peanut's little heartbeat. He sounded busy, as usual! I'd gained 4 lbs. since the last visit 5 weeks ago, but I still haven't gained any more weight in a couple of weeks. I'm sitting at 143 right now, and feeling good about it. That's 13 lbs. so far, which is exactly half of what I'd gained with Bean by 39 weeks. I feel like I'm maintaining my shape a bit more than I did with Bean, too. I still have a waist and my thighs and bummy and arms don't seem like they've gotten as pudgy as they did with B, but maybe that will come in the next few months. I'm comfy in my normal jeans still until the very end of the day, usually, when they get somewhat tight at the waist, but I don't have to undo them or anything. I'm also still mostly wearing normal clothes on top, sometimes with my Bella Band to add a little length, sometimes just with longer tank top or untucked t-shirt. Winter clothes are much more forgiving of a belly than spring/summer clothes will be, so I think I'll get to go directly from regular winter clothes into my summery maternity clothes without having to worry about that weird "transitional" wardrobe that kept me up nights worrying when I found out I was pregnant.

For some reason, I enjoy wearing maternity clothes much less this pregnancy than I did last time. Last time I was dying to get into them and felt so cute in them, and this time, on the few occasions I've worn them I've just felt kindof silly and much too conspicuous. Weird.

I think I've gotten a bit more energy back over the past couple of weeks, though it's hard to tell for sure because I've had another cold. I definitely feel better emotionally, though being sick this long does lend itself to a bit of a defeated attitude. I feel much better today, as I did yesterday, and I think if I can just shake this cold and spend some time outside in the sunny, 60 degree weather this weekend, I will really begin to feel like the REAL me again.

And that's all I have for the moment. I'm going now to get the camera and take some 22 week belly shots for the gallery.

My Lil Family