Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Prepping for Motherhood

It’s pretty miraculous to me how much pregnancy helps you prepare for motherhood. While most days I think “why the hell does it take almost a year to grow a baby?”, I’ve been shocked by how much the changings in my body have already prepared me. To be sure, I will still be in for a rude awakening (literally, lots of awakenings) once our little boy comes. But, the blow will be softened by some of these adjustments I’ve already had to make.

      1. Sleep. My biggest fear in having a baby was in not being able to get my much needed sleep. I used to need a minimum of 9 hours every night in order to be fully functional. If I got any less than 8 hours, don’t talk to me or you will get your head bitten off. Just ask my husband—the whole day, I would be thinking about those extra hours of lost sleep and basically the day was a waste.
Now, I’m sleeping like crap. I have to get up to pee at least once every night. I can’t fall asleep when I want to. And I’m getting really uncomfortable. I still sleep on my back when it’s not too uncomfortable, because a friend told me that you’ll adjust your position out of comfort before it gets dangerous. So, I’m sticking to that! Our baby is a SPAZ when I lay flat on my back, so I’m pretty sure he’s getting enough blood supply.
And now I know that I can go work a full day with only a few hours of sleep and actually survive. I actually can’t sleep in past 9 AM anymore, which if you know me, is a miracle. (I know the moms reading this are like “9 AM is sleeping in!”, but it takes baby steps to get to full zombie Mom mode, okay?) And the fact that he loves to kick me the hardest when I’m trying to relax or sleep brings me to my next point…

      2. The conflicting of wills. This baby is so uncooperative. I have been trying to film my belly movements for the past 2 weeks, because you can literally see my belly shake when he kicks. As soon as I get my phone out to record it, he stops. He’s really good at responding to Billy’s touches, but he never responds to mine. He basically never does anything I want him to. At our 20-week ultrasound, I was really excited to get some cute profiles of his face and pictures of his tiny hands and feet. But, he would not hold still long enough to be photographed. We watched him do a full-on somersault on the screen—not even exaggerating. So, we are mentally preparing ourselves for how stubborn and headstrong he will be. I’m telling you, this child is going to be a psycho.

     3. The snacks. I have had to learn to eat every couple hours to keep my energy up, to prevent headaches, and to prevent nausea. I used to eat 2 big meals a day and I’d be fine. Now, my body will start attacking me if I don’t keep it fed. In my purse right now, I have an apple, a sandwich, a protein bar, a protein drink, and a bag of carrots. And I always have my 40 oz Hydroflask on me. My body has trained me to be always prepared with snacks on hand like any good momma should be.

      4. The constant worry. I’ve been lucky enough that I haven’t had to worry too much this pregnancy. Even after losing a baby and being prone to anxiety, I have been so comforted and laid back in almost every situation.
But just last week, we found out that I have a marginal cord insertion. This means that the umbilical cord attaches to the placenta on the edge instead of the middle. What it means for the baby is that there is a risk he isn’t getting enough nutrients through the cord. At our last ultrasound, the doctor said he was in the 83rd percentile (!?!), so at least he’s been growing at a good rate up to this point. There’s nothing much they can do except give me ultrasounds every 3 weeks to monitor his growth—which I am more than happy to get!
It also means that if I deliver vaginally there is a high risk of the cord ripping out of the placenta which could cause hemorrhaging. So there is a higher chance that I will need a C-section. Don’t judge me, but I really wanted a C-section anyway, so no heartbreak over that news. It seems less risky to me and labor has always terrified me. Plus, scars are cool. But now I’m in constant fear that my body is starving my baby of the nutrients that he needs and there’s nothing I can really do about it. And if that doesn't happen, then I'm just as terrified of delivering a 10 pound baby. Which is hopefully preparing me to be a mother and to worry incessantly over things I can’t control for the rest of my life.
 We had another little scare on Thursday where I was leaking unknown fluid all day long. Since it was more of a constant trickle like how I've been warned amniotic fluid leaks, we decided to go to the ER at Billy's hospital. We weren't really that worried, but we decided to go because we are in the middle of switching doctors and so it's been 4 weeks since my last ultrasound--after I was told to have an ultrasound every 3-4 weeks. We were super glad we went, not because anything was wrong, but because we got to meet our new OB. He was awesome and made me feel way less stressed about the marginal cord insertion. He also told me it was good to come in and if I leak like that again and I'm not sure if it's pee then I need to come in again. 
The staff there was amazing. I don't know if it's cause we went during the night shift and everyone was just excited for something to do or whether they just really love their jobs. But our ultrasound tech tried for 20 extra minutes to get a profile picture for our stubborn little boy--and we didn't even ask her too. She also walked us through everything, describing and reenacting all the different movements and poses he was making. We got to watch a little yawn and watch him swallow some fluid. He even peed--just like his momma. She kept telling us how beautiful his organs photograph--he was quite the showoff in that aspect. But she could also tell he REALLY doesn't like to be touched--also just like his momma. Which makes me worried that I'll pass on all my awful traits to him. So, pregnancy has taught me to worry when things are good and worry when things are bad. Or maybe that's just who I am, regardless of pregnancy.    

      5. All the STUFF. I try to be a minimalist. If I haven’t used something within the last 6 months, I donate it or throw it away (of my husband will let me). Clutter shoots my anxiety through the roof. I don’t even believe in decorating for holidays, because you store the crap for 11 months out of the year and then pull it out and use it for a month. I LOATHE storing things. I’m all about efficiency. I don’t even want a crib, because I feel like it takes up so much space and it’s another thing we will have to move. I’m thinking of putting the baby in a pack and play so it’s at least portable and has more than one function.
Has anyone been to a baby store before? There is so much CRAP in there. We got a car seat and stroller a couple weeks ago, and the store made me want to cry. I was legitimately considering getting those Finn Bin boxes for our baby to sleep in. If you haven’t seen them, they are just a cardboard box with a mattress in them.
According to all the bloggers, I need a bassinet, a crib, a heavy duty stroller, a lightweight stroller, a car seat, a glider, a bouncer, a rocker, a play mat, a tummy time mat, a pack and play, a hand breast pump, an electric breast pump, a lightweight baby carrier, a heavy duty baby carrier, 1,000,000 diapers, etc., etc., etc. I’m sweating just typing these all out. Right now, we only have a car seat and stroller that hook up to each other and they are taking up two corners of our apartment and it’s already stressing me out.  While I’m definitely not going to get even half of that crap, and I still haven’t learned to be okay with this clutter, I can see how it will be a big adjustment when my child takes over my life and leaves his toys everywhere. Oh, and don’t even mention the fact that once he grows out of certain things, I’ll have to STORE IT for my next child. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Let's Play..."Guess That Fluid!"

We had a little scare the other night. I made the poor choice (yet again) of deciding not to get my nausea medication refilled. I figured that I’m at 22 weeks--there’s no way I should still be getting sick, right? WRONG! I take Diclegis every night and it’s worked wonders on helping me not feel nauseous. It makes me really drowsy, so I can only take it at night. So, after letting my prescription lapse, when I discovered that I am in fact still getting sick, I had to wait until the next night to get relief because it makes me so drowsy. 

Anyway, I was sick all day and dreaming of going to bed so I could get some relief. Going to bed is my favorite time of the day every day, but this day especially, it was all I could think of. Billy had only slept a few hours the night before and then of course had his longest day of surgery yet (7:30 AM-8 PM). Needless to say, we were both giddy to get into bed at 9 PM and watch Vikings until we fell asleep. Now, when I say I was sick all day, I mean nauseous. For some reason, I never throw up when I’m nauseous (even though I really want to). The times that I've thrown up during my pregnancy have been from my heartburn. So my nausea combined with my nightly heartburn really set me over the edge. At 10:30 PM, I ran to the toilet to puke my guts out. When I was finally done hurling, I notice that there was about a half a cup of fluid on the floor beneath me and my pants were all wet.

At first, I thought I peed from the force of throwing up. But as I was cleaning it up, I noticed that the liquid is extremely clear—no yellowish tinge whatsoever. I went in for a sniff test—nothing. So, that’s when I yelled to Billy “Come smell this weird fluid! I’m 65% sure it came out of my vagina!” Oh, the joys of marriage. Poor Billy was so tired and did not want to get out of bed, but got up to smell whatever came out of my body. He couldn’t smell pee either, which made us both think that I may have been leaking amniotic fluid.

So, we got back into bed (after washing up and changing pants, of course) and started Googling. I found a lot of posts about women who throw up so forcefully that they pee their pants. That made me feel better and made we think I was probably fine. But then Billy started looking at his doctor crap and he was getting more and more convinced that it was amniotic fluid. And when Billy gets nervous, that makes me nervous. I’m usually the nervous one telling him that I’m dying and he tells me I probably just need to drink more water. He never suggests going to the doctor. But, since we couldn’t know for sure what the fluid was, we decided we better play it safe and go to the ER. So, we got out of bed at 11 PM and saw our fun evening plans of slipping into a coma fade away. I put a bra on, grabbed my phone charger and kindle and waited for Billy to be ready.

We were both so annoyed at having to go, but we tried to remember we were doing it for the good of our baby. Is that what parenthood is? Trying to keep your child alive, but all the while being annoyed about it? As we were headed out the door, I remembered reading on Dr. Google about a woman who took her soiled pants to the doctor to be tested for amniotic fluid since she wasn’t sure if her water broke or not. So, I grabbed my dirty pants to bring with us for testing and took another whiff just to be sure and whaddya know? PEE! I’ve never been so happy to smell urine. I excitedly made Billy smell. He HATES smelling things. And I LOVE forcing him to smell things. After he confirmed it was indeed my urine, we went back to bed and slept peacefully. Even though I’m pretty sure we had traces of urine on our noses and who knows where else. So, don’t worry ladies and gentlemen. My water has not broken yet. I simply peed all over the floor. I have lost all control of basic bodily functions. And the moral of this story is: drink LESS water so it’s more yellow and fragrant and so you can always tell whether you peed your pants.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Where Did March Go?

This is for people who have been worried or who have been pretending to be worried how I’ve been feeling. My nausea has finally subsided for the most part. Except I get extremely bad acid reflux every night which makes me feel nauseous because I feel like I’m constantly in the middle of throwing up. Luckily, it’s not bad enough that I can’t fall asleep, so maybe I just need to go to bed earlier before it even starts. I’ve been getting awful headaches that I’ve been somewhat able to manage by eating and drinking more consistently. And I even got my doctor to prescribe me neck massages from Billy! One of the things I love the most about Billy is that his hands don’t ever get tired from massages. I’m not even trying to be dirty by saying that. I pride myself on giving pretty good back and neck rubs, but they still get tired pretty easily. Billy could rub my neck for hours and it makes me love him so much more.

I still haven’t reached the phase where I’m hungry and can’t ever get full. That is one of the things I’ve been looking forward to the most in pregnancy. I would love to just eat nonstop. I usually have to force myself to eat just so I don’t get headaches. And I don’t really enjoy the food unless it’s hummus and garlic naan. Very weirdly specific, I know. People keep asking if we’ve eaten at all these awesome places in Chicago, but I’m scared to try new places for fear that I’ll hate them simply because I’m pregnant. I don’t want to ruin these awesome places with my palette similar to that of a toddler’s!

I’m getting quite anxious to have my belly button pop out. I never thought I would say that either. But right now, my belly button sort of just folds in on itself and looks like a belly roll—which makes it look like I’m just fat, not pregnant. I’ve also been having pain in my tailbone whenever I walk—which is fun for living in the city. I think I need to get back into yoga. I thought this stuff wasn’t supposed to happen until I was much larger! I have been able to go to the gym and lift weights and power-walk until my tailbone started hurting. I can’t run at all because my boobs hurt too much when they bounce and my injection spots on my bum from all the shots still hurt pretty badly when I run. I feel like they should have been healed by now, so it’s probably the baby’s fault. As is everything else. If I didn’t love this little shit so much already, I might be pretty angry at him when he finally gets here. He’s getting guilt trips for life. ;)

We found out we are having a boy on March 23. I finally convinced Billy to go to a private ultrasound place where you just pay $50 to find out the gender—I’ve been begging for him to go since I was 14 weeks. Our ultrasound at the hospital wasn’t scheduled for a few more weeks, so he got as impatient as I’ve been. The place was a little creepy, but they had the equipment, so I guess that’s all that matters. It took forever to find out. At first, little guy was spread eagle for the camera, but the cord was going right between his legs so we couldn’t get a good view. Then, the ultrasound tech made me do some twerking to get him to move and the cord moved, but he stuck his foot right into his groin, so we couldn’t see anything. Then after twerking some more, he had put his foot down but turned all the way around so we couldn’t see anything. The tech thought she knew what it was the whole time, but she wanted to make sure before she told us. But she called him a “He”, so I knew that’s what she thought it was. Then we finally got confirmation and a little picture. I was shocked, because I had felt like it was a girl. I’ve been calling him “she” for the past few weeks. Poor guy. I started crying when we found out, so Billy thinks that I was upset it’s not a girl, but I would have cried no matter what she said. I cried during the new Fast and the Furious trailer, for hell’s sake! Obviously I’m going to cry at that special moment. It just makes it so much more real now that I can picture my little baby as a toddler and in elementary school and high school (YIKES). We also got a 3D ultrasound since it was only $10 more. I’ll spare you the pictures, because it is freaking creepy. I’d recommend waiting until later in pregnancy to get one of those done. He is so scrawny still.

We had friends and family come visit over the weekend and it was the best! Billy is doing an ophthalmology surgery rotation and his hours are ridiculously nice, so he actually got to hang out with all of us. He usually gets a 3-4 day weekend. So, on Friday, it got up to 82 degrees and Billy’s brother was staying with us, so we went to explore the Lincoln Park Zoo. We were so hot and sweaty, it was delightful! I forgot what it was like to be hot and looking for air conditioned buildings. This is the first winter in maybe forever where I haven’t gone somewhere warm on a trip. We had to miss our Cabo trip because of the little life-sucker growing inside me. I didn’t realize how much I needed a tropical vacation for my mental health. Anyway, the Lincoln Park Zoo is pretty awesome, considering it’s free. I mean, it’s no San Diego Zoo, but we still enjoyed it. There were people jogging the trails because it is literally a park. It made me wish we had a little toddler already so we could just go on a stroll through the zoo.

            My best friends from high school were also in town to see Hamilton (and me, of course), so we had the best time being tourists and eating everything we could find. They also spoiled our baby with his first shopping spree from the Magnificent Mile. He’s gonna be such a little stud. Although, I will admit that baby boys get kinda ripped off with their fashion selection. Does anybody have any recommendations for places to shop for baby boys? Toddler boys have a great selection, but baby boys’ stuff is so limited! And I seriously HATE the onesies that say “Daddy’s Little Sidekick” and “More Milk!” and “Slugger” or whatever. I don’t know why, but they make me angry for some reason. Although, I did contemplate getting him one that says “Pants Optional”. I feel like I could design baby boy’s clothing to be way cuter than anything I’m finding.

I’m very curious what you moms have found to be NECESSITIES for baby items. I keep seeing all these sponsored lists by bloggers for items to have in your baby registry, but it seems like SO MUCH CRAP and I prefer to be a frugal minimalist (especially since we could be moving right before/after the baby is born). I had a friend suggest getting the Dockatot, since it can be used as a bassinet, tummy time mat, or lounger.  And to just keep one of the pink bins from the hospital as a baby bath. I’m really interested in getting the Doona infant car-seat stroller that converts to a stroller in seconds. There is nothing I loathe more than carrying those bulky infant car seats around. They are so awkward and I am so weak! And I feel like if I have a stroller in the back of the car, I will just end up carrying it instead of pulling out the stroller because I’m lazy. So, those are the kinds of tips I would really love to know. If anybody has any suggestions, please send them my way!

I start a new job on Monday, which is really exciting, but also terrifying. I really need a job badly to make sure we can pay our rent, but I’ve been such a freaking bum for the past couple months. I don’t know how my body will react to working full time. I don’t even have the energy to sit full time most days. I’ll be working as a bookkeeper/development associate for a nonprofit organization that fights homelessness in Chicago. It’s actually exactly what I wanted—a job that will help me gain experience in the accounting skills that I’ve learned through my classwork. I’ve been a little worried about being in the accounting industry and the stereotypes that come with it. It would have been great to get an internship or a job at one of the large accounting firms, but I was worried I’d get sucked up into that world. Working for a nonprofit has always been my long-term goal, so I’m really excited.

I even told them I was pregnant in my interview, and they didn’t seem to mind. They are a pretty liberal organization, which I obviously identify with. Their whole philosophy is to give housing to homeless women and their children with no strings attached. There is no requirement to get clean and sober, no requirement to get a job, or to meet with a case manager. The do have to be accountable to landlords, so if they are doing anything illegal like dealing drugs out of the apartment, they can obviously still get evicted. They offer programs for the participants to use if they would like, but it’s not a requirement in order to live at the apartment complex. But they have found that it encourages them to do these things on their own time. And they have really great success rates of people who have turned their lives around and eventually go on to get more education and become home owners. Plus, they have determined that it costs about $17,000 per year to house one woman. The cost of running a homeless shelter for one woman is about $40,000 per year. And the cost of incarcerating one woman is about $70,000 per year. It’s something I can really get excited about!

The real miracle is that I still got the job even with my random blushing attacks. Has anyone else ever started blushing more when they are pregnant? It is so bad! I blushed at the most random time during my final interview! And I blushed after I gave a comment in Sunday School. And in my pregnancy class. And then I get actually embarrassed because I’m blushing over nothing, so I go an even deeper shade of red. I feel like I'm an awkward middle schooler again. It’s awful!

I know this is super long, but I have to tell one last story. I’m in a pregnancy support group since my doctor is worried about me since we have no family around here. Anyway, our first class was this week and we learned about nutrition. At the beginning of the class, we talked about making sure this is a safe place, so no making fun of anyone or attacking them or anything. Then, we all went around and told what we ate the day before. One of the husbands/boyfriends was there and he said that for lunch, he had his brother’s leftover cereal. As if it were a reflex, I yelled out “Gross!” and laughed. I’m such a dick! This poor guy probably hates my guts now and doesn’t feel safe at our support group! In my defense, there is nothing that makes me more nauseous than someone else’s cereal milk. My brother-in-law lets his dog drink his cereal milk after he’s done eating and it makes me dry heave, which I have said to his face multiple times. There is a place that actually sells milk flavored with cereal flavors, so it’s like the leftover milk after you eat cereal and I have no idea how they actually sell any of that. I know I’m probably weird, but that is the grossest thing I can think of. So, I embarrassed some dad-to-be and now he won’t want to go back to the class. I’m the worst. I also went and got Taco Bell after we learned about pregnancy nutrition, so I am the literal worst.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

And 6 Years Later...

I am pregnant and due August 26th! And the baby is Billy’s! Well, it is as long as we don’t have a perverted specimen collector who switched out Billy’s sperm for his own. That is one of my biggest fears. We used our last two frozen embryos back in December. This is going to be so annoying to anyone having fertility problems, but this was our last attempt before we changed the game plan to adoption.  We tried to plan it so that there wasn’t too much pressure on the cycle. Billy is always worried about me getting my hopes up. So, we planned it so that if the cycle didn’t work, it could end up being a good thing. I graduate from my Master’s program in May and I would love to get a few years of experience in my career without having to worry about whether I should be at home with the baby. Now that I’m pregnant and due in August (and we may be moving at the end of July), we have to really make some big decisions and sacrifices. Basically, we made it harder on ourselves, but we are so ecstatic that it finally worked and we wouldn’t want it any other way, even if we tried to trick ourselves.

For some reason, this cycle was so much more relaxed for me. This is also going to be so obnoxious to anyone that has had fertility problems. I can’t tell you how many people told me to relax and it would happen. Just so you know, it is physically impossible to relax when you want something so badly. And it’s rude to tell someone that something they are doing is preventing them from having kids. Because I guarantee they have tried EVERYTHING. But I think I was relaxed because we didn’t have too much hope for this cycle, so I wasn’t as concerned. I even missed some of my injections some days! And I am usually a psychopath about sticking to my schedule. Plus, Billy was with me this time for all of the appointments and injections, so I had a punching bag.

 Does anybody else remember when Kim Kardashian was first pregnant and she would whine to reporters about how hard pregnancy was? She acted like she was the first woman to ever get pregnant. Well, this whole post is going to sound a lot like Kim K, unfortunately. As soon as the nausea and cramps and headaches and fatigue and heartburn hit me, I had a hard time remembering why I wanted to get pregnant for so long. And I used to get so pissed at women who would complain about being pregnant, when it’s all I ever wanted.  You probably didn’t know I was upset at your whining, but I understand you now and I’m sorry if I flipped you off behind your back. I thought I was sick with my first pregnancy, but this one has been soooo much worse. I’m constantly whining to Billy that I feel nauseous or tired or I have heartburn or cramps. There has literally never been a time when I didn’t have at least one of those symptoms.
At least I don’t have to experience my awful period cramps for the next 6 months, right? WRONG! I can literally feel my uterus expanding. They call them “round ligament pains”, but it feels like someone is grabbing one side of my uterus at a time and yanking on it. With pliers made out of razorblades.

Let’s talk about boobs now. My boobs. They are their own life forms now. How does anyone with big boobs ever run? Or find shirts that fit? Or find shirts that don’t make you look like a porn star? It’s awful. Billy usually cracks my back for me, but he hasn’t been able to for the past 4 months, because the girls are always in the way! I’m sorry to say this Billy, but I will NEVER be getting a boob job. I can’t wait for these bad boys to shrink back into their training bra and get out of my way.

I’m terrified to stop taking my nausea medication. It’s called Diclegis and it seriously saved me from being curled up in bed all day. Instead, I was just curled up in bed half the day. Anyway, I needed to get the prescription refilled a couple weeks ago. But I was approaching my second trimester so I figured I’d try to not take it and see if maybe I didn’t need it anymore. That was a mistake. That was on Valentine’s Day and I ended up puking all night. I tried to take some expired pills I had from my first pregnancy to see if it would stop the puking, but I threw those up too. Delightful. Luckily, it didn’t ruin Giordano’s deep dish pizza for me. I still want it every day. So, I ended up refilling my prescription, but it isn’t working as well as it used to for me. I still get pretty sick on it, so I may need to up my dosage. What the hell, second trimester? Where are all the good times you have waiting for me?

I’ve been told I need to start sleeping on my side. Not by a doctor yet, though, (since I’m still waiting on my insurance to approve me) so I’m politely ignoring the advice. I’m a back sleeper and I have no idea how I am going to start sleeping on my side. Like, I don’t think it’s possible. Hopefully when I have more of a belly, my body will figure it out.
I’ve also recently been informed that I’m not supposed to eat deli meat, but I think that was all I ate from weeks 6-11. Whoops. I’m starting to crave sushi too and so I feel like our kid is gonna be a rebel.

I have an at-home fetal Doppler that I use probably a little too often. If I ever feel a weird twinge or I’m worried because I need something to worry about (but, I LIKE to worry!” as my nephew, Sawyer says), I just find that sweet little spastic heartbeat. Billy gets mad at me, because one night I couldn’t find the heartbeat since I was digesting SO LOUDLY. It’s actually kind of hilarious how loud my body can be. Anyway, he could tell I was worried until I found it again in the morning, so he thinks it’s bad for my mental health. But it’s really the only way I can be reassured when doctor’s appointments are so few and far between. And so much can happen and I’ve been eating a LOT of deli meat.

My nails are growing like crazy, which is a challenge for someone who is trying to stop biting her nails. I seriously have to trim them twice a week. It’s a good thing I can’t afford to get manicures. Oh, and my armpit hair gets a 5 o’clock shadow about two hours after I shave. Which should be fun once summer rolls around. My head hair better be growing this fast too, although I haven’t really noticed it since I never get ready anymore. See how I’m very skilled at taking positive things about pregnancy and making them negative? It’s a god given talent to be able to do that. Maybe I should teach a workshop.

On that ambitious note, does anybody in Chicago want to hire a pregnant lady who has a hard time waking up before 11? The other day, I was livid because squirrely Jeff Session’s stupid press conference interrupted Ellen interviewing President George W. Bush. Like, I was fuming. I was so upset about it and I realized that was the most eventful thing that had happened to me in days. So, maybe I won’t say that in my job interviews, but I think it shows how badly I need a job. In case you’re worried, I still got to see the part when she asked W. about the ordeal with the poncho, so it didn’t completely ruin my week.