30 March 2011

A Few Ramifications of a Bulging Belly

Fitting in normal-sized spaces.
I can no longer sit so close to the table... or desk or exercise equipment pad for that matter.  This is fine because I'm forced to be more mindful of my posture. It's not so fine because sometimes I'm concentrating so deeply on whatever task is in front of me that I blink and realize my back has practically folded over... Wowzers!

On a related note, sometimes we eat dinner in front of the TV. On these occasions, my preference is to sit on the floor and use the coffee table as the dinner table.  Getting up and down without tipping our fancy table has become a verifiable challenge. As a result, I've decided to institute a rule: no eating in front of the TV.  This rule will surely change when the belly is big enough to serve as a table << who am I kidding- the boobs can already do that >>.
It is no longer so easy to squeeze myself between the front
of the couch and this pretty little table. Oh well...
Bump Variations.
When I stand up for a long period of time, the pouch pooches out.  It causes the effect of showing a little bit in the morning << thanks to glorious back sleeping >> to showing a lot more by the end of the day.  I promise the runt isn't growing so noticeably from morning to night.

I'm happy to report  the other night we had a work event where I stood up for 4+ hours. And guess what! Drumroll please.... I didn't have cankles when it was all said and done! That's something to celebrate right?!?
Cankle: A thick ankle, particularly
one that appears to be a continuation of the calf
And Crying.
I can cry at the drop of a hat.  Sort of like my bionic nose, it's kind of like a super-power.  Sappy love songs, cheesy commercials, emotionally manipulative movies....  if there's any inclusion of parents and children, I'm a gonner.

There are even a few hormone-induced tear jerkers that might surprise you. Take Lady Gaga's song, "Born This Way.  Not typically one to get you all teary-eyed, right?  When it's on the radio, I have this funny combination of passionate sing-along and on-the-edge-of-bursting-into-tears experience. This particular part of the song gets me every time.
Don't be a drag, just be a queen 
Whether you're broke or evergreen 
You're black, white, beige, chola descent 
You're lebanese, you're orient 
Whether life's disabilities 
Left you outcast, bullied or teased 
Rejoice and love yourself today 
'Cause baby, you were born this way 

No matter gay, straight or bi 
lesbian, transgendered life 
I'm on the right track, baby 
I was born to survive 
No matter black, white or beige 
chola or orient made 
I'm on the right track, baby 
I was born to be brave
Thank God for boxes and travel packs of Kleenex and a very understanding husband.

25 March 2011

18 weeks and growing

12 weeks looked more like chub.
Here we are at 12 weeks... a glorious first trimester, if I do say so myself. No vomiting, no nausea, no complaints whatsoever... just exponential boob growth and a bionic nose to boot.

18 1/2 weeks of belly: front and center...
well, from the side actually 
And at 18 weeks, there's officially a bump! I'm capitalizing on the 2nd trimester energy boost.  Evidently this 'lil nugget will double in weight during the next 2 weeks.  Guess who's gonna keep an eye on the bump?  This girl.  The hubs took my picture while I was in the throes of my morning << read: ONLY >> cup o' joe, and I was thoroughly enjoying it.  In fact, when I put the mug down for the photo, I temporarily blanked on its whereabouts: we came very close to a meltdown. In the end the crisis was averted- my coffee was hiding behind the cereal box.

24 March 2011

Pregnancy requires sacrifice (Part 3)

Restful Sleep.

When I travel, boy howdy am I a dreamer.  Put me in a high altitude city << like La Paz! >>, and I'm having a sleep-induced escapade all night, every night. I learned long ago to travel with a journal because the stuff that flies around my brain- I couldn't make it up if I tried.

When I'm in my own home, sleeping in my own bed, it's a rare occasion that I wake up and remember all of the dreams I had the night before.

It's like trying to sleep soundly in a bed like this.
Now get me knocked up, and all of that washes out.  Everyone tells you when you're pregnant, "You'd better sleep while you can". Trust me, I'm making a valiant effort. I love sleep possibly as much as I love coffee.  Yet every night, for the past 3 months, I've had some of the most gnarly nighttime adventures while attempting to catch some winks.  

I wake up exhausted.  It's like begging for a weekend do-over every Monday.  And every morning I blame it on the progesterone that's hijacked my system.

I've decided to go ahead and lean into some sage advice my mother told me:

"When you're a new mother, you'll learn to sleep when the baby sleeps."

Truer words might not ever be spoken.  Because growing this baby is exhausting << and altogether wonderful, too >>.

Could everyone please raise a cup in honor of this time-tested wisdom? Kthanks. 

23 March 2011

Pregnancy requires sacrifice (Part 2)

Sleeping. On your back, in particular.
Would all of the back sleepers of the world please stand up?  << Come to think of it, maybe I should have asked you to lay down. >>
Even Rolo's a back sleeper.

Personal confession: I'm a back sleeper. Not a side-sleeper. Not a belly-sleeper. Back. Only.  Occasionally I'll kick up a knee and, from a bird's eye view, look like a flamingo standing on one leg, while still sleeping on my back.  If I try to sleep in a position other than on my back, I wake up on my back.

I did a lot of reading once I realized I had a baby on board. Everything you read will tell you that if you are pregnant you should never, not ever, under any circumstance, sleep on your back.

Freak Out --> commence.

I was losing sleep over the whole, "Don't sleep on your back."  I'd put body pillows behind me in order to not lay flat, and I'd place a pillow between my knees. Yet I'd wake up flat on my back, horrified that I'd hurt my baby.

The doctor I spoke with at 12 weeks gently informed me the only time sleeping on your back may not be advisable is when you're in the last few weeks of pregnancy. She said that by that point, I won't be remotely comfortable on my back and will naturally pick a side. She also said, "Don't worry."

So I didn't. For about 3 weeks. Bad for me because my appointments are 4 weeks apart. During that last week, I made the egregious mistake of reading online about back sleeping preggo's.  I subsequently found myself, once again, horrified.

The next week I had an appointment with a different doctor (in the same group practice), and he took all the time in the world to clear the air.  "First thing's first: I don't want you to lose sleep over sleeping on your back. Second, I want to give you the history of this particular recommendation to help you understand where it came from and why it's out there."

<< This is me, all ears with bated breath on the edge of my seat. >>

"Around the year 1975 there was a study done on a group of women who had high-risk pregnancies. They all had either high blood pressure, diabetes, or both. The results of the study indicated that when these women slept on their sides, there was a slight increase in blood flow and circulation reported. Approximately 5 years later the guidelines that were initially issued for this specific, high-risk group, were systematically incorporated into recommendations for all pregnant women. No new research was done to back this up. Notably, there were no new studies performed. It was simply absorbed into general recommendations for all pregnant women without scientific evidence to back it up."

Hence the fact that everything you can get your hands on about back sleeping screams not to.  Now I'll be honest- I haven't corroborated all of this information. I'm taking the doctor at his word.  I'm trusting him not to fib.

And I'm sleeping soundly, once again. On my back.  Gloriously comfortable for me.  Thank God.

22 March 2011

Pregnancy requires sacrifice (Part 1)

Glorious: steamy, dark, and strong... with a splash of milk and a small spoon of sugar.  Mug in one hand, some thought-provoking reading in the other- that's possibly the best morning routine a girl could ever hope for. Place a sweet puppy at my feet and a doting husband to my side, and I'm flying as high as a kite.

Well, that is, until I found out I'm pregnant.  I was dreading the sacrifice of coffee looooong before I ever considered getting pregnant. Maybe even before I was married.

When I was growing up I always heard people say, "Pregnant women can't have caffeine."

I love coffee. I learned to love coffee in Bolivia. I made it through Architecture school on coffee alone << while the rest of my classmates were taking whatever pills or shots or snorts they could get their hands on to stay awake >>.  I was devastated at the thought of giving up coffee for a year or more- of course I was assuming you shouldn't caffeinate your breastmilk.

Then one Sunday I was listening to Zorba Paster, and a preggo called in to ask about caffeine.

What the doc said was this sort of obvious statement of fact, yet evidently I'd never thought of it this way before.

If caffeine were that bad for pregnant women, then every caffeinated beverage in the US would be covered in  labels with warnings that all "women who are pregnant, nursing, or may become pregnant" should avoid these drinks like the plague.
There would be laws and regulations on it, too. << Can you imagine? Barristas the world over being bound by a law forcing them to tell every preggo, "Hate to be the one to inform you that it's illegal for me to serve you. I'm going to have to ask you to leave this establishment." Talk about inducing a riot. >>  We simply cannot place caffeine in the same context as alcohol and nicotine.

Thank God.

Nevertheless, when I peed on a stick and saw a plus, I started wondering just what to do about my beloved coffee. I'm a daily two-cupper. After doing some reading regarding recommendations, and talking with the doc, of course, I've opted to cut back to one a day.  When I'm flying solo at the breakfast hour, it's typically a spoon of instant in a mug of hot vanilla soy milk << Don't gag! It's quite hearty and delicious. >>.  Other days when I've got company for breakfast, i.e. the hubs, it's a regular drip cup of java with a splash of leche.

Every day, it's delicious.

And every day the joy I find within in my mug is followed by grief. We're talking deep, provocative sadness << likely induced by the excessive amount of progesterone that has hijacked my emotional stability >>.  When I arrive to the bottom of my coffee mug, I pause for a moment to shed a tear. Not kidding. Every. Single. Morning. Just one. << Okay, so it's a metaphorical tear. Don't  judge a pregnant woman. >>

14 March 2011

My Dad got a Tat

and I think it looks pretty rad.
It's a white tiger with Daddy-O's name
in Chinese calligraphy below the paw.
My sister and I made the trek from Knox to Nash in order to hold his hand as he got inked for the first time in his life << I will not disclose his actual age, but I would bet that he's one of the most mature clients they've inked at this particular place >>.  The original appointment was for 6:30 pm, and after a multitude of delays, we ended up leaving Blackbird more than 8 hours later << for a preggster, this involved an emergency snack hunt, at least 12 trips to the potty, and a desperate hunt for a comfortable horizontal surface to stretch out >>. The original plan involved holding Dad's hand during the process and then going for ice cream afterwards.  Have you ever been too tired to want ice cream? We were. We left the place after 3 am, drove straight home, and promptly crashed.  It hurt a little extra because that night we lost the hour as we "sprang forward."  Losing that additional hour as we sprang from central to eastern time really didn't help either.

BUT. It was worth it. Dad's cool credibility just skyrocketed. We each held a hand. We distracted him with interesting conversation, entertaining stories, and the occasional back scratch.  We enjoyed a couple of delicious meals with Dad and S before and after the ink fest. And of course the drive across the plateau was filled with great sister-convo's and sing-alongs. We can't leave those out- Sugarland and Garth, you guys treated us right. The best part is that I get to tell Baby Boc one day the they were there when Gramps got inked for the first time.

11 March 2011

The Blues of Pregnancy... or are they Pinks?

There's a whole lot of lovely about being pregnant.

For example, everyone tells me I'm glowing. Sure, when everyone uses the same word to describe the same person, you might be tempted to think it's something in our programming or wiring, like we have to say that.  Whether or not non-pregnant people are exercising free will is entirely irrelevant.  I say bring on the attention!

And here's why:
I'm getting into this attention for one reason, and one reason alone: this is the only time in my life where the following statement is true. Everything's About Me. I'm the one growing a baby. I'm the one sacrificing my figure for the miracle that is taking place within my womb. I'm the one that's going to labor labor labor and then subsequently birth a squawking little half-pint.  And let's not forget the hubs, because he deserves attention too.  For the record, he's the one doing all the heavy lifting. He's the one sterilizing with non-pregnant-friendly cleaning supplies when I'm not home. He's the one offering me daily back-rubs and tolerating my mood swings. He's the one comforting me and reassuring me that I'm going to be a good mother.  And he's the one speaking to his baby the way only a daddy-to-be could.  Oh yeah, he's also letting me know when I find myself speaking hormone and not English or Spanish. Truth be told, it's all about us.

Soaking up all of this attention, I've simultaneously developed enough foresight to know that as soon as this little tyke debuts, all attention shifts directly to that less-than-10-pound sweet little sack of potatoes.  May as well enjoy it while it lasts, right?

Then there are parts of being pregnant that make me wish this were an anonymous blog just so I could really be, like, brutally, unabashedly honest. There's stuff that I'm just flat embarrassed to admit.  I'm working on finding some courage with this one, but for now, here's a teaser << and this also gets to the point of the post's title- it's not all sunshine and rainbows with a baby-on-board- there are legitimately un-lovely things about being pregnant >>.

Remember back in middle school, some of the later-to-bloom young ladies would stuff their bras with kleenex, or... God forbid... SOCKS? Well, I was never one of those girls. In fact, of my 3 sisters, I think my girls were the biggest when we were in high school. But all 3 of us have had boobie-size-changes for one reason or another, and I no longer have the right to lay claim to that title << well, obviously right now I'd take the cake, but pre-preggo there wasn't a chance >>.  It's all about cleavage and low back ache these days.

Sleeping with these girls has become... cumbersome. Since early on I've had to contain them in a nice, cotton sports bra for sleeping. That's right. A uni-boob inducing, unflatteringly masculine sports bra.  So now, even with the tata's in a sling, they're still all over the place.  If I lay on my side, they smush each other, and it's to the point that I'll wake up with a long, red, crease down the center of my chest **GASP**  << it's reminiscent of a wrinkle, which makes me feel exceeeeeeedingly old... don't judge. I know I'm getting old. I'm just now processing my body image shift into pregnancy... I'm not ready to process wrinkles... back off! Remember, it's all about me right now >>.  So the other night while taking a shower I started pondering ways to get around the daily chest crease each morning.

And I had a stroke of genius.

It hit me like a ton of bricks << okay, now everyone fall down, or sit down, or switch seats, or... how does that game go again? >>.

I've become one of those late-bloomers from middle school.
I stuff my bra with socks, at night no less.
SOCKS. Between the boobs. That's right. A soft, cotton barrier to keep one girl from flattening into the other girl. Brilliant, right?

It's worked like a charm ever since I came up with it.  And for the record, this is my idea. You may not steal it, copyright it, and then become rich off of it. Who am I kidding? They already make $100 pillows for preggo's to place between their knees in order to sleep at night- I'm sure there's a $75 boobie pillow out there already.

The other night I had the designated socks sitting beside me on my pillow while I was reading before bed. The hubs walks in and says, "That's a perfectly appropriate place to leave your socks," at which point I was forced to remind him of the purpose of said socks.
He just laughed and laughed and laughed, which is a good thing and is something we're doing a lot of these days.

In closing here's my grocery list sticky note from last week. When I think about my Ranch dressing, I fall into a giggle fit.  It's mighty fun(ny) being pregnant!
This was serious and altogether legitimate.

07 March 2011

Reflections from the First Trimester

Have you ever in your life been pregnant?  For the last 16 weeks, I have. First time. It's been eye-opening << and let's not forget waist-disappearing, chest enhancing, and physically exhausting >> in a LOT of ways.  Some comments I've heard run the gamut from funny and sweet to downright offensive. I've noticed that for the folks who are aware of the source of my shape-change, they treat me differently.  Also, being a pregnant professional has its challenges, too.

My greatest badge of honor related to this new life I'm growing has to do with my mom and her reaction when she heard the news. Everyone needs to know my mother. She's an angel, and I don't know anyone who can out-talk her. I've known her to be speechless no more than 3 times in my life as her offspring. All 3 of those instances were at the provocation of my two older sisters << they got into all the trouble in high school and college >>. One instance had to do with an April Fools joke that included a pink slip indicating my middle sister had been suspended from school. Another instance had to do with my older sister confessing to 2 tattoos << tutu... Humor me. After all those to's, I wanted to continue the fun >> while Mom was driving on a windy road on the side of a mountain.

I *finally* had my moment of glory.

Words that came out of my mouth provoked NO WORDS to come out of my mother's mouth, for a full 8 seconds.  It took her that long to compose herself!

I've never been more proud.  My mom ALWAYS has something to say.  It was a glorious crowning achievement as both a daughter and sister. I feel like I've finally joined the club with my older sisters of shocking the words out of my mother's mouth and mind. If you know her or have met her, even once, you know what I'm talking about.

Okay, so let's shift gears and break down some of the comments I've received.

"You looked like you were putting on weight!" 

Wow. Thanks.  Honestly, is that ever a helpful thing to say to a woman? Isn't this the one time that we should be celebrating weight gain?  I know our culture and the media pushes us all to expect women to look like air-brushed Barbies << I'm guilty of it too! >>... but REALLY?  There's a bun in the oven. A baby on board. My body's been hijacked. I'm creating new life every second of my life these days. CAN'T WE CELEBRATE THAT? Didja have to go and state the obvious?

With 2 cookies in hand after lunch, an observer says,
"I guess you better keep it up, now that you're eating for two!"

Really?  Eating for two, huh?  For the record, my total needed caloric intake has increased a whole 200 calories per day, since the 2nd person for which I'm eating is currently the size of a naval orange.  And loooong before I was pregnant I was enjoying 2 after-meal cookies. This is not new. Stop paying such close attention to what I'm eating. K'thanks.

Let's move on to the lovelier side: The attention.

For the first time in my life, I get this sweet little flutter feeling in my tummy << not the baby wiggling around just yet- it's still too early to feel that >> when people ask me, "How are you?"  They really, legitimately, sincerely want to know.  Years ago when I was a jaded, artsy, outcast teenager, I really struggled with people always asking how you are without ever really listening to the answer. As a more well-adjusted young adult << my own assessment >>, I'm only remotely annoyed by the question.  Now, I am shocked and surprised by the sincerity of the question that is coupled with the genuine listening ears that pop out just as my tummy is starting to pop too.

"What are you craving?" is a fun question.  My answer will vary depending on the day, but typically it's citrus fruit. Others that have made the list include pizza and ranch dressing, neither of which were legitimate emergencies. I'm certain those will come.  The hubs is learning quickly to check his vmail before driving home from, well, anywhere.

Finally, let's wrap up with what not to do when you know a pregnant woman.

If she's your colleague, do not put her on the spot to announce her big news in a meeting. It's her news to share. Announcing a pregnancy within a work context is not an appropriate agenda item.  It's not your news to make her announce. Especially if anyone in said meeting does not know the mommy-to-be.  << yup, you guessed it: this happened to yours truly... at least one person in attendance deserved to hear the news from me directly, and this particular situation knocked that train right off its tracks >> Kthanks.

And do not, under any circumstances, reach out and rub the belly of a woman you do not know. If we're friends, family, or colleagues, by all means, help me socialize my baby before he or she makes their debut. But if I don't know you and you rub my belly, I might just rub yours back. I'll probably take some extra pleasure if your beer belly is bigger than my baby belly, too. I'm just sayin'.

Advice. If you have advice to share, by all means << who am I kidding, you're going to give it regardless of my desire to have it or not >>, share.  Just know that I'm listening with a grain of salt.