Friday, March 28, 2008

What's in a name?

My mom put in a request that I talk about baby names. We haven't officially decided on names yet, but we have a couple front-runners with some backups in mind. I'm not going to reveal them here, however. I may tell close family near the end when (if) we're 100% settled, but we shall see.

Craig is probably more settled on them than I am, because I have a couple reservations when it comes to the front runners. My reservation with the boy's name is a popularity issue...that it's too high on the baby name lists. My reservation with the girl's name is that it's a little long and doesn't have a simple nickname to shorten it.

The frustrating thing about all of this is that we never thought we'd be in the position to go back and forth over names. We settled on baby names way back when we were first dating. It wasn't one of those creepy "it's too early to discuss this" conversations, though...we just sort of fell into it. And right then and there we settled on names. the meantime, someone stole our boy's name and pretty much wrecked it for me. The girl's name ended up getting really popular, and I have more of an issue giving a girl a popular name than a boy. I'm not sure why, but I think it's because boys fall into nicknames easier and are less competitive anyway, so it's less of a potential for a complex later on if the boy is one of a few in his class with the same name. But again...the popularity thing is my one reservation for the boy's name, so it still does bother me a bit.

We still have a few months to get past any issues and decide for sure what we want. It's a big decision and we don't want to saddle our first child with a name that could eventually lead to ridicule. We know of a couple examples where initials or nicknames that other people have left their kids with could be trouble down the road, and we'd really like to avoid that. For that reason alone we'll probably have to let a few people in on the secret before the baby's born, just to make sure we're not missing anything. We shall see...but sorry, for now, no name news :)

In other news, however...another month, another doctor's appointment. I will now be going every two weeks, until the last month, when it's every week. Hard to believe I'm hitting that milestone already! Anyway, all was well with the baby, so that's good. Heartbeat was good, and once again the doctor specifically mentioned how active the baby was. Considering I've had many different people say that, I'm starting to get nervous that this baby is going to be hyper! Maybe they say that to everyone, but seriously...the ultrasound tech, at least two doctors...yikes. I guess it's good, least I know the baby's in there and doing ok! I did find out that I'm just slightly anemic (the cutoff is 35, I'm a 34), so I do have to start taking an iron supplement. Unfortunately, it's a little more complicated than just popping another pill in the morning. I have to take the iron at night with some juice, because vitamin C aids in absorption, while calcium hinders it. So considering I take a prenatal vitamin and have a bowl of cereal with milk each morning, that's not the best time to take it. Before bed is the only good option, so hopefully that becomes an easy routine. I just wish iron was in more foods I like so this wouldn't be an issue in the first place. Oh well. Small price to pay.

Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bittersweet Milestone

I discovered last night that my belly now sticks out farther than my chest. Even in my chest's slightly enlarged state, even with a nicely padded bra on...the belly still extends farther. Obviously this is a good thing because it means the baby is growing and things are progressing nicely. It's just tough to think back to the good ol' days when my waist was small enough to make my chest look more impressive than it probably was :) I hope that someday it goes back to that. As it is I'm hearing two sides of the story. Many people are telling me that my body will snap right back into shape, mostly by virtue of it starting out in good shape and me continuing my workouts all through the pregnancy so far. However, you always hear people say that no matter how hard you work out afterward, your body will never be the same. I suppose the truth is somewhere in between...that with some work my body will get back to a good place, almost to the point where outsiders would hardly know I've had a baby, but that looking at it naked, I will know that it's not what it once was. The key is learning to live with that, and minimizing the impact of future pregnancies and the lack of exercise time that will come with having kids.

I've come to understand in the last few years that my perception of myself is different than what other people see. I think most people are probably like that. While I could always see a lot of flaws in my body, most people that saw me on a day-to-day basis didn't notice them. In clothes I looked fine...and out of them I probably did, too...but like most people, I tended to focus on what I'd like to see improved. However, I was probably happier with my body in the past 2-3 years than I even had been, so that was nice. I'm sure my post-pregnancy world will (eventually) be similar to how it was clothes I'll look fine, out of them I'll be eager to get back to the gym.

I will say that I'm still pretty happy with how I'm progressing so far, though. I've only gained about 15 pounds and I'm still not noticing any extra pudge in other parts of my body. Everything's still pretty solid and the belly area is pretty much the center of the action. Although, I suppose it would be tough to tell if other things have expanded because the proportions of my belly throw everything off, and I'm no longer wearing any non-spandex pre-pregnancy it's tough to actually judge. But nothing looks too out of whack, so that's good. At this point, I'll take it :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"How are you feeling?"

I find this to be a tough question to answer, and it's one I get multiple times daily. I get that it's the normal question to ask pregnant women, mostly because it's so well known that pregnant women feel like crap in the beginning (often before they can tell people WHY they feel like crap) and get worn out by the end. I guess I'm in that odd stage in the middle, where I actually feel pretty good. I mean, I get tired (like everyone else...but maybe it just happens quicker when I do something to actually tire myself out), but my only complaint other than that is just adjusting to my ever-expanding belly. Physically on a day-to-day basis I feel fine, almost like a non-pregnant woman...until I look down or feel a good kick. So I guess I'm not sure what to say when I get asked that question, because 1) If I answer it truthfully, it's really uninteresting; and 2) If I really pick into any little issues that might be bothering me, I run the risk of sounding like I'm complaining (about something almost insignificant, nonetheless). I guess I have yet to find a good, middle-of-the-road, courteous response that shows I'm grateful for their concern and happily doing well, but without sounding like I don't want to have a full conversation. It's odd. And by no means am I saying that people shouldn't ask, because I think it's nice and friendly...I'm just saying I have no idea what to say back, and that's my own problem to figure out.

The "phantom movement" thing is really becoming a pretty common occurence these days, although I'm getting used to it so it's less phantom-esque. It's funny, because normally when I type, the area of my arms just below my elbows rest on the sides of my belly. And for whatever reason, on the right side the baby seems to gravitate to that area a lot. I'll just be sitting here typing and I feel my arm getting displaced ever so slightly, as the baby moves into that area and pushes out. I have no clue what part of the baby it is, unfortunately, but it happens quite a few times a day. I am feeling a lot of pressure all over my belly these days, but mostly on the right side. Like I said the other day, I think the days of the roomy uterus are over. When the baby's pushing out, my belly gets really tight in that area. It's not particularly painful, though it's a little uncomfortable at times.

Last night I was getting frustrated because I'd felt a lot of pressure all day, and then when I put on my maternity jeans, the band up top was feeling really tight...which is a whole other issue. Just when I was finally getting comfortable with my maternity wardrobe, I think some things are getting too tight, but only in the belly, so going up a size is going to make the rest of the pants too big. Ugh.

So anyway...the easy answer to the question should probably be: "I'm feeling good but still adjusting to my belly--the size, the activity inside, and all these odd new sensations." I know that stuff is only going to continue and get more intense from here on out, so I'm just going to try to brace myself and keep formulating a better answer....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The difference 30 years can make...

Ok, picture #2 isn't the most flattering (I think I have to work on my angles with this new body), but I thought I'd have a little fun for Easter. A few weeks back I figured out that back on Easter 1978, my mom would have been about as pregnant as I was at that point (depending on when Easter fell), so I decided to pull out the family photo albums to see if there was any photographic proof. Sure enough, there it was. It's tough to tell how big my mom was at that point, but considering it was baby #2, she looks pretty good and fairly similar to where I was. Yesterday morning I had the brainstorm to snap a picture of that picture, then use it as an excuse to post a new picture of myself. I know I don't need an excuse, but seriously, it helps to have some sort of specific reason to bother. It's tough to tell how big I am in yesterday's picture, too, actually. Rest assured, the belly is getting bigger and bigger. It's still not huge, but it's a big change from where I started this process. I know I look very good for the point I'm at, though. Not much chub has migrated anywhere else, so for that I am grateful.
Anyway, I thought the Easter now and then thing was sort of funny, so I hope you enjoy it. Not much new to report, though yesterday my dad debated my use of the term "phantom" in my last post. I do know that it's a real baby and not a ghost (or nothing) making those movements, but I still think "phantom" is an allowable term because the baby plays the ghost, moving about without my knowledge and suddenly "appearing"!
I've been getting a lot of random body parts pushing on the inside of my belly today, so I'm thinking the baby is starting to lose its extra space in there. Things are only going to get more cramped from here on out!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Phantom Movement

One of the newer phenomena that I've been experiencing lately is phantom baby movement...that's the only way I can think of to describe it. It's stealth movement, almost unnoticeable. See, on one hand there's the obvious movements...kicks, thumps, ripples across my belly...anything that is totally noticeable, either because I can actually see it happening or because I can feel it hitting my insides. I find that sort of movement really entertaining. Watching your body do things when you're not making them happen is such a strange thing, but it's really cool. I like watching my belly move and knowing that it's the baby moving around inside. Craig can enjoy that now too, which is nice. We still can't really identify body parts yet, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

Phantom movement, however, just seemed to start recently. It's really odd. All I can describe it as is a strange sensation inside my body. It's not visible, and it's really not even identifiable while it's happening. I just sense something strange, and usually I can pinpoint where it seems to be coming from. When the sensation passes, I can usually feel in that area of my belly and that's where the baby is hanging out. That area of my belly can go from being soft one second to rock hard the next, because there's a baby hanging out just beneath the surface.

The closest example I can give to describe it is a gas bubble. You ever have a funny feeling in your stomach, a feeling you almost can't put your finger on, and seconds later you hear or feel a gas bubble gurgle through your insides? That momentary pre-bubble feeling is what this phantom movement is closest to, but it's even more subtle than that. It's not necessarily painful, but sometimes there is a slight discomfort, which seems to be a baby appendage poking into something. If there is discomfort, it doesn't last long. I generally just rub the area for a little while to see if the baby responds, and eventually one of us loses interest and moves on.

I noticed it happening periodically over the past week or so, then really started noticing it while sitting in church on Thursday night and Friday afternoon. It even happened while I was sitting here typing this entry. The ironic thing? When I'm getting ready to sleep in a little while, that's when the obvious movement will kick in. It's already starting...mommy's getting ready to sleep, and the baby will do anything but!

Have a Happy Easter, everyone!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Reality TV

It always amazes me to think about how reality TV has shaped our perceptions of certain life experiences. Way back in the day, I think your average person generally had little idea about things like plastic surgery, drug rehab/addiction, or any other life-changing experience. However, reality TV has given us insight into all of those things--from the numerous plastic surgery shows, to VH1's Celebrity Rehab, A&E's Intervention and MTV's True Life. I'm not saying that these shows give a completely full and accurate portrayal, but I think it gives normal people a glimpse into experiences they wouldn't otherwise have, enough to have a vague sense of what actually happens in those circumstances.

Back before reality TV was everywhere, TLC was getting the ball rolling with its daytime lineup of A Wedding Story and A Baby Story. I recall watching a LOT of that stuff back in college, and it's been a normal part of my weekday mornings off (the few I have) ever since. Back in college A Baby Story was a little beyond our comprehension. That just seemed so far off, but we formed a lot of important ideas about childbirth at that point. More on those in a bit. At that point we were pretty fixated on A Wedding Story, because marriage was a foreseeable goal (ok, we didn't have the guys, but kept hoping we'd find the right one soon) and we did know some people who were getting married, so it all seemed a little more relevant. It was funny a couple years ago when I watched A Wedding Story for the first time in a while to realize I had leap-frogged that show...that the show portrayed something that seemed so huge and important back then (wedding planning and marriage are huge and important, but it was merely a big dream back in college), and that I had already survived it! Watching it now is like, "Yeah, been there, done was great but I don't miss the planning!"

A Baby Story is a different story, however. And these days they have another show, Bringing Home Baby, about the first 36 hours home from the hospital. I've seen enough of them over the years to know exactly what I'm going to see each episode...but watching them now takes on a whole new meaning, because that will officially be us in 3-1/2 months. It's a little mind-boggling...almost can't wrap my brain around the fact that after all these years, I'm going to be that screaming, sweaty woman in labor, then a couple days later we'll be those parents trying to figure out why the baby won't stop crying at 3am. You can watch it a million times, but only when it's actually in the forseeable future does it really start to set in. It's one thing to know you're going to be the screaming, sweaty woman at some point...but it's another to actually know WHEN. Despite the scary stuff, watching these shows can also be comforting because you see that everyone else goes through the same thing and survives it.

This morning I got to see a couple episodes of Bringing Home Baby. Nothing new or life-altering, but it just reminded me yet again that it's going to be quite the experience...I'm just happy we won't have a full cameras crew documenting it. I'm actually a little relieved I didn't come across A Baby Story today. Back in December I watched a couple episodes on the plane down to Florida (thanks Jet Blue) and managed to see two straight episodes of women going through natural child birth...water births, no less. Lots of pain, lots of screaming, lots of bloody water...not really what you want to see when you're pregnant. Let me see the nice happy woman sporting an epidural and no purple stretch marks, and I'm a happy camper. I just have to keep those images in my head, rather than the scary ones...because even if my experience is more like the scary ones, hopefully it'll all be a blur anyway. Maybe it's ignoring the inevitable, but I'm trying not to think too much about labor. I don't want to spend the next three months worrying about it because 1) it's too late to turn back anyway; 2) it'll drive me nuts; and 3) I might psych myself out for nothing.

Anyway, I just think it's funny that reality TV has given women like me insight into this whole childbirth process like our parents' generation never had. And who says reality TV is all crap?

Oh, and in case you're wondering...what jewels of wisdom did A Baby Story teach us back in college? 1) Epidurals hurt, but they appear to be worth it. 2) Babies are covered in goo when they pop out, so really, it's perfectly ok if you clean the baby off right away before handing it to me. 3) Hats are great after the baby gets cleaned up...not only are they cute, but they cover unfortunate labor-induced coneheads. 4) One or maybe two family members are the maximum capacity for the delivery room. Any more than that is just weird. Having your current children watch the new one pop out is just weird. Pardon my saying, but no kid needs to see that much of their mom's vagina, nor something that traumatic and bloody at such a young age. I'm 29 and pregnant and didn't like seeing it in Knocked Up. I don't care how much of a miracle it's frightening. And as Mary used to say every time we'd see a delivery room full of people: "Hel-lo, I'm not wearing any pants...get out of my room!" Well said.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More progress...

Last night Craig and I took another baby step to getting the baby's room up and running. Over the weekend I put together Craig's new dresser (the one that would help make room in our office for a guest bedroom), and when Craig got home from his roadtrip he sorted through the stuff in his old dresser and moved things into the new one. Last night he moved the old dresser down into the basement storage room and we moved one bed into the office. My ultimate goal is to figure out how to do a trundle bed setup...without spending a ton of money. I'd like to have two beds available for guests without having to worry about air mattresses or anything like that. And hey, if we can pull that off, it's one less thing we have to store somewhere else in the basement. I'm not sure it's possible, though. IKEA used to have a cheap bed-trundle bed set, but they ditched the trundle a year or two ago....darn it. Worst case scenario we just trash or donate the other bed, because both the mattress and frame are old, but it would be a shame to have to get rid of it.

But anyway, one bed out of the baby's room is progress. I also moved one picture out of there to the office, and will try to move another (my prized eyeball picture, for those of you who have seen it...I know it's freaky but it's still cool) one of these days. The picture and frame are really heavy so it always takes a little planning to hang that one...studs and everything. I think I'm going to move one series of five little pictures from the office to my cubicle at work to free up some wall space, and I'd still really like to find some curtains that will tie the whole office's a bit of a mish-mash of stuff right now (different wood colors, a dark green rug, a bluish comforter on the bed, pink window valances...yikes), so anything I can do to make that room seem like it wasn't just thrown together would be nice. On the bright side, it's nice to have a bed in there so we have somewhere to lounge while watching TV online (when we miss an episode of something, generally).

It's nice to make progress, but each step like this makes all of this more and more real. We're making real changes for a major life event, and that's a little scary. Good scary, but scary nonetheless! Lots to think about, and less and less time to make it all happen!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Belly Issues...

..and this time it's not about the size! I noticed two odd trends over the past few days that have me a little worried. And no, don't's nothing really serious...just little things that are a tad frightening to me. First, my belly button is flattening out. I've always had an innie, and recently I've noticed that it's getting shallower. The bottom hole from my belly button ring was never visible before, and now it is. And just in general I can tell that it's not going to be too much longer before it's not concave at all...and we all know what happens after that...yikes. All this time I've been annoyed that my belly button shows up as an indent under fitted clothes...and now I have a feeling it's going to go the other way before I know it! And I know that freaks some people out, so I'm really not looking forward to when that happens. Regardless...the mere fact that I can tell that my belly button is getting shallower is just...weird.

The other disturbing trend is that I'm suddenly super-snacky. I didn't have a great food weekend in general, but having some Easter candy around (it's only once a year...and as we all know, Cadbury eggs disappear after Easter!) has not helped matters. First it was malted milk robin eggs (my favorite), then Craig got me a couple Cadbury eggs as a treat before he left for Edmonton. Then I went to Tops on Saturday for my "stop-in-and-get-what-Wegmans-doesn't-carry" trip, and they had these yummy gummy bunnies with sugar on the outside (like sour patch kids, but not sour) and I had to try them. Then I had some left over Rice Krispies from making treats a while back, and decided to use up some leftover melting chocolate that had been in my fridge forever (the house was too warm to keep them anywhere else in the summer) by making chocolate rice krispie now those are sitting around the house, too. Then I come into work today and there's three dozen Tim Horton's donuts and two dozen green bagels sitting in the kitchen. While I usually try to steer clear of donuts, my one exception is my favorite donut ever, Tim Horton's chocolate glazed. So, I had to have one. But all day the remaining donuts and bagels have taunted me...and then someone brought out brownies. UGH! It's one big conspiracy, and I'm finding myself lacking my usual willpower. I'm hoping this is just a hormonal swing or something and I will go back to my normal, moderate-eating self sometime soon.

On the bright side, Craig is currently on his way back from Edmonton, so seeing him will be my reward after tonight's workout to work off a measley 200 calories of the 200-million I feel like I've eaten (or wanted to) the last couple days...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Feeling weak...

It's been tough lately watching my strength, endurance and general physical ability go downhill. I'm a small person, and despite being in good shape and being fairly strong for my size, it's always been frustrating when I couldn't do things on my own. I was infamous at my old job for always being the girl running around the arena with a cart full of heavy boxes, moving them from the loading dock to storage, and although it wasn't a fun part of the job, I did take some pride in being able to do things like that...and it used to kill me when something was too heavy for me to move myself.

Now that I'm pregnant, I'm running into obstacles like that more and more. Originally it was just an energy thing, but now it's turning into a physical issue on top of it. My energy is ok now, but I will say that the physical thing can be a bit draining mentally after a while. For example, earlier in the week my belly was feeling really tight. It wasn't pain, exactly, but it was almost like the muscles were a little fatigued from carrying around the extra bulk...and although that fatigue didn't directly affect my energy level, constantly feeling that tightness made me feel a little worn out.

This week I really started noticing how quickly I wear out these days. As I've mentioned, I've been working out this whole time. The class that I attend once a week got me into shape a few years ago, and I've been using it to keep me active during this pregnancy. I knew that at some point I'd have to modify it a bit, which I have. I now take more breaks, do more stretching, and do my chest exercises from an exercise ball rather than flat on my back. It takes a lot of restraint to hold back, but like my instructor says, "Don't be a hero!" This week specifically, I noticed that I couldn't do something that I could do (albeit briefly) last week. A plank is an exercise where you hold yourself up on your elbows and toes while keeping your back flat, in essence making your body flat like a plank of wood. It takes a lot of ab strength, and I have stopped doing abs, so I knew eventually they would get hard. Last week I couldn't hold myself up for long, but this week I couldn't do it at felt like my stomach was just pulling me down to the floor. A difference like that within just a week was a little scary. I know I will have to give it up fairly soon, but I think I'm going to still go to the gym at that time and do cardio or something, just to stay in the social circle of the class. They're a good group of people.

Then last night I put together a new dresser for Craig, one that's helping to make room in our office for a guest bed. I know that furniture assembly isn't exactly an easy task for even the most normal people, but man, did I get worn out. I was very ready for bed when it was done. Weekends are actually tough for me these days, because it's a delicate balance between productivity and boredom. If I try to do stuff, it's easy to get tired out. If I spend too much time on the couch, I feel like a lazy blob. Back in the days when I worked weekends, I got used to having to fit all of my weekend tasks into a day, or just an afternoon. It's tough to get out of that mode, but I am getting better at it. I try to split up things across days, or even weekends, to at least give myself a few hours of nothing at home here and there. I'll get over the lack of productivity feeling at some point, but when it comes to baby stuff, time is limited so I can't get too relaxed!

Long story short, I am still catching myself before I get too wiped out, so don't worry. But it's tough knowing you can't rely on your energy or abilities to be what they were just a few months or weeks ago...and that it's only going to get worse. Like everything else in this experience, it's just a temporary inconvenience and will all be worth it in the long run, but it's definitely taking some adjustment.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wishing for Spring...

As much as I love the early daylight savings changeover these days, I think it's just a bit of false hope. I definitely love driving home in sunlight, and being surprised when the clock hits 5pm because it's still so bright out. However, daylight saving time used to correspond better with the coming of spring, so I suppose whatever mental benefit I'm getting from more daylight is being equaled out by the disappointment that it's still 30-some degrees out and there's still a foot of snow on the ground.

For years it seemed like DST came in right in time for Easter, to steal a precious hour of sleep when I needed it most--before getting up at the crack of dawn for sunrise service on Easter. I know that usually that happened sometime in April and April can still be awfully chilly around here, but by then we'd probably had a couple 50-60 degree days in a row, and there was some hope that spring was coming. But obviously, with DST being so much earlier this year and last, it's this false trigger that it should be getting warmer...and it probably won't for a while yet.

I keep hoping it will, however, not just for the obvious reasons, but because it will make things easier going forward with this pregnancy. No more fear of slipping on ice, no more agonizing over not being able to shovel (and with Craig going on the road a bunch coming up, that's a real concern anyway), no more wondering how long my winter coat is going to keep fitting around my stomach, and more freedom when it comes to clothes-buying since I won't have to worry as much about trying to keep warm but getting things that will work for the months to come.

Of course, the sooner spring gets here, the quicker the baby will arrive...and we're definitely not ready for that yet! I'm trying not to wish away these weeks (being busy at work tends to do that), because I know this whole experience should be savored...and like I mentioned in my last post, I'm trying to enjoy as much sleep and relaxation as possible before our time is completely monopolized by this new little person! It's coming quickly enough...and anyway, I just know that the second it gets warm, it's going to get HOT (happens every year), and I don't really want to be roasting for months either!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Bright Side

In an effort to get away from my complaining ways and prove that I really am enjoying this experience, I've decided to do a list about the good things about pregnancy :) These are in no particular order...

1) Maternity pants - The ones I have are really comfortable...plenty of room after a big meal, too. And because the waists are elastic and most maternity tops are long, the fit doesn't have to be perfect. Thank God for that, because finding pants normally is bad enough, let alone when your body has taken on a life of its own.

2) Baby movement - This might get a little less fun sometimes when the baby gets big and strong, but right now it's pretty stinkin' cool. Kicks are neat, but one of my favorite things is when the baby's just moving around and my whole belly sort of moves on its own. I could watch it all day...too bad the baby's already picking up the "do it when mom's not looking" thing, because the second I look away during a lull of an active period, the baby will move again!

3) Eating - I know for a lot of women this perk doesn't start until 1/3 of the way through, but I've been able to eat all along. Early on I couldn't shake the nausea, but it was never more than a feeling...the food always stayed where it belonged. I may not have enjoyed eating it as much back then, but one way or another, the appetite has always been there. At first I was a bottomless pit, though I stayed full forever if I ate too much. Now I have a good, healthy appetite, and I don't have to be a crazy person about what I eat. I used to be very careful a lot of the time, pondering my food choices quite a bit. I still don't overindulge too much, but I eat pretty much what I want without feeling guilty. Still no bag of chips or entire candy bars, but if I have a good meal out or happen to have an extra piece of candy or something, it's ok. I have some extra calories to work with and try to make the best use of them...but slip-ups aren't nearly as problematic.

4) Break from working out - It's easy to get tired with your workout routine, so it's been nice to have it forcibly changed up a bit. It's nice to not kill myself every time I go to the gym (or feel guilty if I didn't), and hopefully I'll come back from all of this with a renewed vigor to get back to the gym and enjoy it. Having a differently shaped body also stops me from completely scrutinizing my figure, as well. I still look at it, of course, and get freaked out a bit by it, but it's not like I'm freaking out about every roll of fat.

5) Constant topic of conversation - There's almost always something to talk about now, even with people I wouldn't normally have full conversations with. I generally try to let them bring it up or only bring it up myself with a good segue, of course, but it's nice to have a backup. Even with Craig and me, there's always something else to talk about besides it baby names or room setups.

6) Shopping - This hasn't always been a fun part of the process (see my last post) but it's still sort of cool to always have something to shop for, be it baby stuff or maternity clothes. I hadn't bought many clothes in the months leading up to this because I knew they might not fit by next year at that time, so being able to buy clothes now has been nice. The expense sucks a bit, but I've been really good about shopping clearance racks. I always used to get a little extra oomph from wearing a new outfit, so being able to have that almost every day is sort of nice. Of course, wearing them as much as I have to will probably make that wear off extra quickly...but by then it'll be warmer and I'll be bigger, so I'll probably have a set of new clothes again then anyway.

7) Getting out of things - I don't use this often (in fact, like my shoveling issue the other day, it can be frustrating), but it's nice to know the excuse is there when you need it. Whether it's not doing something because I feel tired or because I physically can't, it's not a bad thing to have an "out" in your back pocket. Craig's been really great, by the way. He'd probably be even better if work didn't take up so much of his time or tire him out. But all things considered, he's been wonderful.

8) Constant source of amazement - Whether it's the wonder at how my body stretches, or the coolness of watching/feeling the baby move, it's nice to have an ever-present fascination to keep the days interesting.

9) Sleep - Though it's still not what it used to be, it's nice being able to enjoy the thought of this baby in our lives, feeling the movements and anticipating its arrival, but still being able to get in a full night of sleep. I guess the sleep is a fair trade-off for the joy a baby brings into one's life, but right now the sleep is greatly appreciated.

10) The End Result - This is an obvious one...that we get the pleasure of meeting this little person in a few more months and spending the rest of our lives with him/her as a part of it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Weekend

Well, Saturday was one of my more frustrating days of this whole pregnancy process. It all started when we woke up to a good six inches of heavy snow in the driveway, and Craig had to go out there and shovel it all himself. Though you would think I would be happy that shoveling isn't part of my world this winter, it's incredibly frustrating. Shoveling was a great source of exercise last year, and being able to clear out the driveway myself at times was very gratifying. But this year, with Craig's busy schedule and me being unable to do it, the driveway has had some rough times. I hardly ever try to get the mail anymore because finding a safe path down the driveway and across the street (the street is always awful) is nearly impossible. And with it being so heavy on Saturday, I felt so bad that Craig had to do it all himself. He was exhausted by noon, and we still had a long day to go.

This weekend was Craig's only weekend off for a while. I think he had a Saturday and Sunday off in late January, but has been working pretty much solid since then, barely a weekend day off anywhere. And starting now, other than Easter Sunday, his Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through the end of April are full with either home games or traveling. Doesn't leave a heck of a lot of time for baby preparations, so this weekend was our only shot to get a good solid start on our baby registry. While I realize I could do that myself, I felt like it was something we should at least try to do together, to get his input on things and just experience it together as parents-to-be. Believe me, not something I should do alone. For those of you who are unaware, I am terribly indecisive and when it comes to stuff like this that I have no clue about, it's even more of a disaster.

We were probably only at Babies 'R' Us for a couple hours max, but it was darn near torture. That sounds awful considering it's all for our baby, but was not fun. There are so many things to consider, with so many options for all of them, and it got really overwhelming really fast. As I've mentioned before, we don't have a lot of real baby experience, so most of this is totally new to us. We did what we could, guided by the checklist that Babies 'R' Us gives you, as well as a list of suggestions from my cousin's wife and her best friend, who have both been through this process in the past couple years. While both lists were helpful, there's just so many things to think about. Fatigue started to catch up with both of us after a while, and eventually I just gave up. There's still quite a few more things I need to go back and do, with more patience and more research. Target was right next door, but all we could muster was actually signing up for our registry there...we didn't even get the scanner. I was all scanned out.

Just a side note: If you're one of those get-ahead-of-the-game people, please don't run out and start buying up things on the registry, because it still needs a lot of work. I got online yesterday and changed up a bunch of stuff already, so I have no doubt that much more will be added and more changes will be made.

Anyway, after making those changes yesterday I did feel a lot better, but I'll probably continue to dread working on it again. However, it ended up being a fairly productive weekend, with moving more stuff out of the office and reorganizing our basement storage a bit. I even brought out my Easter decor and cleaned out some old paperwork from a filing cabinet, which felt good as well (once I recovered from my exhaustion). I guess I should just keep working on my to do list, because I have a LOT of weekends on my own coming up and should have plenty of things to do to fill them. Crazy.

Friday, March 7, 2008

In Living Color...

Finally, for those of you who have been waiting patiently, here is a picture of me and the belly. Not the most flattering look from the front, but hey, what can you do? :) A lot of people remarked how pregnant I looked today...not sure if it's the shirt or what, but like I've been saying, it's been getting more obvious by the day! This morning I was thoroughly entertained while sitting at my desk, as the baby was moving around a lot and I could see my belly move accordingly. Nothing quite like watching your body move when you're not the one moving it!

While we're all checking out my body, I did want to address a comment I got about my post from a couple days ago. The comment was saying I was being too hard on myself about my body. I hope not everyone has been getting that vibe, because really, I don't feel that way. I guess there's a couple reasons behind postings like that, the ones that may seem like I'm scrutinizing my new shape. First, since a lot of you don't see me from day to day, I guess I'm just trying to be descriptive to give you an image of all that's going on. Second, as I've mentioned on here before, it probably seems like I do a lot of complaining about the less fun parts of pregnancy. It's not my intention, but the bad stuff tends to crop up more because it's something to talk about, and again, it's all part of trying to communicate what some of my experiences have been...and the bad ones tend to bug me enough that eventually they make it here. I probably tend to use this blog as a bit of a place to vent or sort through my reactions to what's happening to my body on a daily basis. For example, my post the other day was spawned from my belly having felt tight for the previous couple days...from growth as well as the full stomach/bladder issues. It happened to be on my mind when it came time to post, so there it was.

In reality, I'm actually pretty proud of what I've got going on. I know I look good for this point in my pregnancy. Part of the key, mentally and physically, is dressing this new body flatteringly. The other day when I wrote that post, it was an off-day. And pregnant or not, little things like what you're wearing, a bad hair day, or a huge zit can really impact how you view yourself from day to day. I haven't really felt like I've had the pregnancy glow going on, but I think that's because I've been too distracted by the case of acne I've been battling for the last month or so (seriously, worse than when I was a teenager). I guess if it's not one thing, it's another.

I guess my point is that it's all relative. I'm female, and usually that comes with some body image issues, pregnant or not. Pregnancy is just unique because it turns everything upside down. Before pregnancy I paid a lot of attention to my figure. I still eat well and work out a bit, but my body is getting bigger and there's nothing I can do about it...and much to my surprise, that's ok. No promises for my attitude later, when trying to lose the baby weight, but right now, it's just a matter of adjusting to the fact that I can't base even a shred of my self-image on being thin. And again, that's ok...heck, it's a relief at times.

There's definitely a learning curve. Your body changes practically on a daily basis, and there's just a lot of adjustment. It just so happens that this blog has been the place I choose to sort out my emotions and frustrations about those adjustments, so if it seems I'm being hard on myself, it's mostly just my internal dialog coming out...all part of dealing with the issues and moving on. I don't think the changes are all bad, because I definitely think I'll come out of this with a completely new appreciation for my body, where it's been, and what it can do. So long story short, please don't think I'm beating myself up about any of this. At the end of the day, I'm happy with where I'm at, and look forward to the rest of this experience...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Random stuff

At work, we have a company e-newsletter that goes out to everyone in our seven offices. Even though I work out of the Rochester office, I actually work for the company as a whole...all seven offices. It's a lot to juggle sometimes, but the variety is nice. Anyway, I haven't mentioned to too many people that I'm pregnant, mostly because it's just awkward. Obviously everyone who sees me here in this office knows, but when my only contact with the other offices is via email and phone, there's no easy way to bring it up. I've said that the only way to do it is by complaining--when someone casually asks how I'm doing, I could say, "I'm exhausted" or "Feeling fat" or something along those lines, and explain the pregnancy thing from there. But obviously complaining isn't the way I want to do it and I can't think of any comfortable ways to bring it up. A couple people know via conversations with my bosses, but as far as I can tell, it hasn't traveled much beyond that handful of people.

When our quarterly newsletter came up this time, I had the idea to have the other two pregnant women in the office and me put our ultrasound pictures in the newsletter. I figured that was a sort of funny way to communicate the baby boom around here, while also getting the word out to as many people as possible that I'm pregnant and won't be around for chunk of the summer. Even if only a few people actually read it, word can always spread. We also decided to do a photo of all of us (including pregnant woman #4, the one I mentioned is really early along). We did one of all of us holding on to this pregnant stuffed bear, as well as another by the water cooler, all pretending to drink water...because as the saying goes, "Maybe there's something in the water..." It was pretty funny and had all of us giggling. I'm looking forward to the follow up picture for the summer newsletter, when at least 3 of the 4 of us will be quite big. Not often you can get in a picture like that!

In other news, Craig did finally feel the baby kicking the other night, and last night I actually got to watch my stomach move as the baby was kicking (or something). I don't think it was hiccups, unless they were really unrhythmic ones, but we're also still not at the point of having identifiable body parts, so it's tough to tell exactly what it was. I just kept watching this one spot on my belly move...really freaky...but really cool. I read today that the baby is getting a lot stronger and a lot bigger over the next month, so this could get interesting. My ribs are bracing for the onslaught...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Feeling big...

I know that I'm still relatively small, but for the last few days I've just felt big. I don't think it has anything to do with clothes or anything like that (surprisingly), but man, it's really amazing how the human body can expand. I'm not getting any back pains or anything like that yet, and I'm really only up about 10 pounds or so, but for whatever reason, it's really starting to hit me how big I am (and will be getting).

The worst it probably gets is after I eat or when I have to pee. In both cases my belly gets extra round and feels quite solid, so it just feels huge. Interestingly, otherwise I feel like my belly has been carrying around a lot of chub the upper part of the belly (above the belly button) just feels like fat. I feel like I've got a love handle thing going on as well. Neither case is that bad, of course, but it strikes me as funny that this is the first time I've felt like there was a lot of spare fat in that area. I may have felt that it looked like there was for so long, but I never really felt like it actually was fat.

My belly still hasn't completely rounded out, but it's getting better. The belly button crease is almost gone, but the belly button is now this sink hole in the middle of it all. Better than having it stick out, though. I just means (still) that wearing tight clothes is not the best choice for me. Today I'm looking particularly frumpy, because I still need those last couple maternity tops to fill my 2-3 week cycle (I know, I shouldn't worry about it, but...), and I am wearing a baggy button down sweater that I haven't worn since my fat days. It's long enough to cover maternity pants and loose enough to not hug the belly, but that doesn't mean it's flattering. The belly is quite obvious, though it could easily be mistaken for fat. Normal clothes tend to do that these maternity wear, however, makes things quite obvious.

Last Friday when I went home, I wore a normal sweater. My parents didn't think I looked too pregnant ("full" was the term my mom used, I think), but when I put on something with an empire waist on Saturday, they changed their minds and decided I looked pretty solidly pregnant. I had to remind my mom that you have to think back to where I started...for all my issues with my body, I had a flat stomach. Standing up, slightly sucking in, it was flat. And to compare it to what I look like now, heck yeah, I've gotten big. But compared to your average womanly figure, sure, I'm not that large. It all just makes me realize that no one noticed how thin I was before!

In any event, I'm just feeling rather large these days. At least my belly distracts me from noticing whatever might be happening to my hips, butt and thighs. Everything looks small compared to the belly! I don't mind it all nearly as much as I thought I would, but I know a lot of the discomfort has yet to kick in. I know I don't have the strength or stamina that I used to, but I'm adjusting. It's all very interesting to experience from day to day, so really, at least that keeps me on my toes!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Baby Shopping

Over the weekend I went back to NT to hang out with my parents. They hadn't seen me in a while (mid-January, I think), so I wanted to take advantage of Craig's road trip and spend some time with them. They hadn't seen my belly since it officially started looking pregnant, and before I posted a photo on here (I swear, soon), I figured they're special enough to see it in person. It was a nice weekend, busy but not crazy.

We spent a chunk of the day Saturday at the Galleria Mall, but that was mostly for walking. We did take a couple detours through maternity clothes and baby sections, but none were particularly long. The maternity shopping made my dad uncomfortable, and the baby stuff was mostly just to oooh and ahhh over how cute the baby Easter dresses are these days, and to double check the crib sets. I was still stuck on the Snoopy & Family stuff (getting taken care of as we speak), but due to the price and just trying to make sure before making any firm decisions, we were looking at sets anywhere we could.

I did try to find some additional maternity clothes, but they're getting harder to find, unless I'm up for short sleeves...and considering the weather every day around here except, well, yesterday, I'm not ready for that yet. So...winter clearance is clearing out and I'm running out of options...just when I need a couple more because what was left of my regular wardrobe is getting less and less comfortable. I guess people at work will just have to get used to seeing me wear the same stuff every week or two. I'm pretty happy with what I have, though. Just a couple more pieces would be great...

On Sunday my mom and I headed off to Burlington and Babies 'R' Us. I don't know if we had a real plan, other than to (again) double check the crib sets, but it turned into quite the scouting session. Craig is off this weekend for the first time in a while and the last time until May, so we're planning on getting our registry up and running. It's a good thing my mom and I went out, because it reminded me that we will have a million decisions to make on things we're totally clueless about. I do have a WONDERFUL list from my cousin's wife and her good friend, about what they used, what they didn't, how many they needed, etc., which I need to go through again and use it to create a shopping list...but even still...there is so much to think about. Even my mom, who raised two children and knows how it all works, was relieved that she's not the one having to register. Apparently it takes a lot more to raise a baby in 2008 than it did 30-some years ago. Obviously not all of it is necessary, but it's tough to draw the line between useful modern convenience and overkill.

All of the "little stuff" scares me a bit--bottles, pacifiers (still not sure if I want to use them), medical/hygiene type stuff...Burlington literally has a wall of it all, and it's really intimidating. I don't think we went into that area at Babies 'R' Us, though I'm sure it will freak me out this weekend. Fortunately most of that is cheap stuff, so if we screw up registering it's not a big deal. It's the big stuff that freaks me out more. How do you pick a good stroller/carrier/car seat or high chair? Should we go with a bouncer, swing, or one that does both? Some play music, some vibrate, some do both...what will the baby like more? Much ado has been made about Pack'N'Plays, but the bassinet weight limit is just 15 lbs (yeah, I know the play yard is more)! Should we register for an exer-saucer, or just wait for a holiday to come up when it's time for one? Is there any rhyme or reason to picking a crib mattress? Even furniture is a bit of a challenge, though I think I'm pretty settled on that, as long as Craig is ok with it. It's just crazy how much it all costs. Fortunately, my tastes actually lined up pretty well with one of the lowest-priced sets.

All of it is just intimidating. The last time I went to Babies 'R' Us before I knew I was pregnant, I practically had a panic attack thinking about it all...and I was just shopping for someone else! Now that it's actually my turn to shop for me, I can see that my first response wasn't far off...Saturday's going to be a scary day! Yikes!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Freakiness and fear...

I had a couple conversations this week about how completely freaky it is to think about having a baby. It's a combination of the craziness it puts the body through, how weird it is that there's a little person inside me, and the sheer reality that life is never going to be the same again. In four months, our lives are going to be completely and utterly different, and that's a lot to take in. Almost every day it amazes me to think that the thing kicking me is a real little person, not just gas pains or something. You see it in the ultrasound, but it's still pretty mind-blowing. And I'm not even letting my brain go to the whole concept of delivery yet. No sense worrying about that for months. It's going to happen, it's going to hurt, but I just have to keep hoping the timing works out right for getting some drugs and doing it as uneventfully as possible.

I'm almost 30 years old, but most days I still don't feel that way. I still look pretty young, though I think parts of my face are starting to catch up with my real age. At least, I don't get the "I thought you were in high school" comment anymore, so I must have aged somehow. I still wonder, though, if when I'm very obviously pregnant I'll get dirty looks from old women who don't see my wedding ring and don't realize how old I am. Some days I just think I look too young to be a full-blown adult...but I know that I'm plenty old enough in reality, and soon enough I'll be forced into growing up really fast, in whatever ways I haven't already. As scary as it is, part of me looks forward to the challenge and how good it will feel when I succeed at all these new things.

But the thought of being a parent is pretty crazy...some days I feel like I can't keep my own life in order, let alone someone else's. This weekend I'm visiting my parents, and even something as simple as packing for a couple days is going to get infinitely more complicated in a few months. When I was obsessing over what I should bring with me, I was laughing to myself as I thought about the huge amount of stuff that I'll have to pack for the baby...diapers, formula/food, many changes of clothes, blanket, toys, spit-up rags, pack-n-play...and I'm sure there's a ton more that I don't even know about yet.

There are so many things we need to do around the house and just in general to plan for this baby (the whole pediatrician thing is the newest addition to that list...and I still have to look up lamaze and parenting class schedules), and I just wonder how I'll ever get myself motivated to do it all. So much to think about, so little time and energy some days.

And all of that's not even getting to the fear of parenting itself. Will we be good at it? How will we have time for anything? How strong are our stomachs? Will the chaos get to us? What about having to schedule every second of our time? Can we afford this? All those fears and more have probably held us back from this for a while, but in the end they probably wouldn't ever go away. And we're not getting any younger, so in the end, if we knew we wanted kids, what was the sense in continuing to put it off? Might as well face those fears head-on, get it over with, and hope that we're one of those couples that thrives off of the joys of parenting. As I've said before, the awe of watching your children grow and learn is something that I look forward to. Fear and freakiness aside, this is going to be a pretty unreal experience...heck, it already is.