Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Christmas Story

Well...there aren't going to be any nicely lit Christmas tree photos on this blog. Or even a beautifully told story of our holiday recap. What you're going to get is a poop story. Like you've come to expect anything else from this blog. (Yes, I too, remember the days when I didn't constantly talk about the inner-workings of my digestive system. Believe me, I wonder all the time what happened to that girl. She could tie her own shoes and get off the couch in a single try, and had no idea how good her ab strength really was.)

So remember last Christmas Eve, when I unexpectedly got my period at my Aunt's house? Well...this Christmas Eve at the very same house, right around midnight, when Santa was filling the stockings of all the good little children around the world, I was holed up in the bathroom, alternating between violently vomiting and pooping. For three straight hours. I still don't know if it was just a stomach bug, or a touch of food poisoning, or if I ate too much too close to bed. Whatever it was, it was not pretty. When it was finally over and I crawled back into bed next to Bobby, he wearily asked if I was okay.

"I think so," I told him. "I didn't poop out the baby."

So that was my Christmas miracle. My life is so glamorous.

We had to travel home on Christmas Day because Bobby's enslaved by Corporate America and had to work on Friday. I work at a nonprofit, so lieu of things like "Christmas Bonuses" and "401ks" and "Competitive Pay" we just get a ton of extra holidays off work. At 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning, when Bobby was tying his Windsor knot and I was still snug in bed, I have to admit having no retirement plan didn't seem so bad.

I'm also unlocking pregnancy achievements left and right. Here's a list, in no particular order.
1. A stranger asked when I was due. Bold move, but I almost kissed her on the mouth.
2. I peed a little when I sneezed. So it begins.
3. As I was putting lotion on my belly last night, Bobby asked if I could see my feet. I could not.
4. I've grown out of the biggest bra I own (my fat bra, if you will. I keep it around for winter weight gain purposes).
5. Double-digit weight gain. Up ten total pounds at my 24 week appointment.
6. I started eating prunes. The Christmas Eve poop was a RARE occurrence. And pretty much the only pregnancy advice my mom has given me: "Don't let yourself get constipated. Hemorrhoids are a bitch."

Merry Christmas, friends!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Always Be Prepared

There are a lot of things I should be doing to prepare for this baby. And since I'm no Boy Scout, instead of actually doing something about these things, I'm just not. I was going to write that I'm stressing about them--but I'm not really stressed. I probably should be, and I probably will be eventually, but right now, I'm just procrastinating.

So here are the things I'm doing/not doing/worrying about/complaining about. We're going to do this bulleted-list style, since then I don't have to write paragraphs and topic sentences, and transitions.

Baby Stuff
I was going to make a list of all the things we still need to get for this baby. Instead, I'll make a much shorter list of things we do have:
6 bibs (all say something about "Grandma" - wonder where those came from?)
8 MN Vikings toddler outfits (re-gifted from some of our friends who are Lions' fans)
2 toddler t-shirts (from the tourist-y town my in-laws live in)
3 onesies (seems like enough, right? I hear babies are pretty clean)
3 pairs of socks (basketball, baseball, and soccer patterned - gift from MIL)
4 blankets (1 knit from Grandma Susie, 3 hand-me-downs that belonged to Bobby's brothers. All 3 are going into storage (or garage sale?) because they are about as soft as sandpaper.)

We have basically nothing for an infant to wear, nothing for baby to sleep in, nothing to carry baby around in, nothing to cover babies' butt, and no alternative for feeding baby if breastfeeding doesn't work out. I try to look into what I want, but I get overwhelmed. If someone could just give me their list of baby stuff they have/liked (including specific brands, types, etc.), I'd just go buy all of it. I don't know what kind of car seat I want. I know I need a crib for short moms that I'm not going to have climb inside of to get the baby out--but how do I know what that is? Do we get a bassinet? Or a rock n play? Or just put baby in the crib from day one? Or, as I recently learned I slept in for the first several months of my life, a cardboard box?

About a month ago, Bobby and I got serious and cleaned the junk out of the nursery. And then when we put up our Christmas tree and decorations, we had to rearrange our living room, and the furniture and everyday decor that no longer fit in the living room ended up in the nursery. So once again, it's full. And not in a good way.

Birthing Classes
I've never taken a Community Ed class in my life. The thought of taking a birthing class makes me cringe. Hard. I don't really want to do it. I actually feel really good about my research and knowledge, but...I'm just going to say it...I'm worried about Bobby. He's going to be shocked when I don't have a Hollywood-style water break or one big contraction and an immediate panicked rush to the hospital. He's going to expect maybe 10 minutes of excruciating pushing, and then: baby. His knowledge of labor and birth is based completely on TV and movies. And yes, that freaks me out a little. The only reason I'm even kind of considering taking a class is for him.

I've read the two books my clinic gave me and sticky-noted the chapters I want him to read (probably 10ish total between two books--not exactly an overwhelming amount), but he won't do it. He promises to read the books, but he hasn't. I know that shouldn't worry me as much as it does, but he's had plenty of time. He has several hours a night that we sit and watch TV together--he could easily crank out a couple chapters and be done with it. I love Bobby more than anything and there's truly no one I'd rather have by my side during labor, but I am worried at how unprepared he's going to be. He's such a studier and a planner and an analyzer...as soon as I'm in pain and struggling he's going to lose his shit because he doesn't know what's happening. But if he would just FREAKING READ THE BOOKS, then he would know what to expect, what's normal, and when we need to ask for help.

I don't have a birth plan. I'm not going to have a birth plan. My "birth plan" is let's get this baby out in one piece. And not have my vagina torn up to my belly button. Seriously though, my plan is to labor as long as possible at home. And then labor as long as possible at the hospital without medication. If interventions are needed, I'll let them intervene. If a C-section is needed, I guess I'm getting cut open. I'd love to be a strong advocate for myself. But I'm not. Need an example? At my first OB appointment with Dr. G., he asked if he could ask me a personal question that would never leave the office (remember, he's a family friend, goes to my church, has known me since I was a teenager). He asked, "Are you in a monogamous relationship with your husband?" I almost laughed, but nodded yes. He's the only man I've been even remotely intimate with. Dr. G continued, "Then can I ask why Dr. V (my GP) has been giving you annual pap smears?" Honestly, I have no idea. I didn't actually know they were supposed to stop doing them annually once you were married. I've been getting an annual pap smear since I was 16, even though I was definitely not having sex at 16. I didn't know I could refuse them. When a doctor tells me to put on the gown and get in the stirrups, I do it. I mean, I didn't go to medical school. Isn't the point of having a doctor so they can tell you what to do? Yeah...I'm not exactly the best advocate. I totally expect my labor to be an absolute disaster.

Caring for a Baby
I'm a little nervous about this. And I think that's good. That means I need to pick up a couple books that actually deal with life post-pregnancy. Like how to soothe a screaming baby. And yeah, everyone keeps telling me, "Oh, just trust your instincts." That is not helpful. Yes, to some extent I will learn about my baby and be able to mother it just right. But right away? I don't trust my instincts. If I were playing volleyball? Absolutely. My instincts are fantastic for knowing if I'm up against a double block or if the setter is cheating up a little. I will trust my instincts all day on the court. Even coaching - knowing when to take a girl off the court to help her clear her head, or leave her on to force her to push through. But a baby? If there's a baby screaming for no apparent reason and I haven't slept in two months, my instincts are going to tell me to shove that baby right back up my hoo-haw and take a nap.

Okay, this isn't something I should be doing right now, but it's something I'm thinking about. I fully plan to attempt to breastfeed. I also expect it to not work out so well. I don't know why, maybe just past experience of everything to do with getting pregnant and being pregnant--I mean, what part about this was easy? I really want it to work out--both for the nutrition and bonding. I'm totally prepared to give the kid formula to keep it from starving, and I have no problem doing that. Except I know that I'm going to be mad at myself at least a little bit for failing. AND the idea of pumping, storing, etc...it overwhelms me a little. Sometimes formula just seems easier.

If any of you with boys want to weigh in on this, feel free. Bobby is pretty adamant that we circumcise our boys. He is so it's pretty expected. I honestly don't have strong feelings either way, although I said if he insisted on circumcision, he's going to be on incision-cleaning duty until it heals. I guess I am sort of the opinion that a boy should be the same as his dad. Bobby's going to be the one (hopefully!) to teach him about his junk, so I guess it's makes sense they should look the same.

My Body
My back has returned to feeling like there are kabob skewers stabbing into the spinal fluid between each vertebrae. Sitting hurts. Standing hurts. Lying down hurts. If I ever end up flat on my back, you'll hear a loud round of, "Ouch, ouch, ouch, can't breathe, ouch, ouch, help." The only semi-relief I get is from sitting on an exercise ball or leaning over it. I try to walk and do squats every day, but some days it's just too much and I can't. I know I'm being lazy, but I just can't push myself.

My stomach has lost any ab muscles it once had. It's a struggle to get out of bed. It's a struggle to get off the couch. Rolling over is practically an Olympic event. I don't even want to talk about putting on my shoes. And I'm not even that big yet! I can't even imagine how much worse it's going to get.

The best way I can describe how pregnancy feels, is that it feels like you're really full and need to poop all the time. But you don't. You just continue to feel full. Maybe it's just me, but I'm not hungry very often. I feel like I'm stuffed already. There's no where for food to go! I try to just keep snacking all day because I never really eat meals anymore.

My belly button, which at it's original state is roughly the depth of the Grand Canyon, is now flattening out slightly. I'm not sure it'll ever "pop" because it's so deep, but it's now only the depth of a minor valley. And sometimes I feel shooting pains coming from it. Not sure what that's all about, but they always go away, so I don't worry about it (see, I'm such a good advocate about medical stuff!).

We're taking Christmas card photos tonight and I have a really great pimple on my chin. So there's that.

I think that's everything that I'm stressing/not stressing about right now. But feel free to add to my list if there are things I'm forgetting. Or, you know, give me all your secrets and advice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Paying It Forward

I keep coming back to this blog. I've done a pretty good (good - not great) job of keeping up with reading and commenting on most of your blogs. But I've done a pretty terrible job of writing. I want to write here, I want to document this pregnancy, largely because the adorable pregnancy tracking book that my mother-in-law sent me is completely empty. I haven't written a thing. This blog is the only place where I've kept track of what's going on since the beginning. And even that has been hit or miss.

So I keep coming here, opening a new post and staring at the screen. The only thought I can get typed out is: I should write something. And that's not exactly a captivating opening line. I feel like I should write something because some of you have invested time and interest in my story, and I know I feel disappointed when bloggers I like suddenly disappear. I should write because there are many things happening to my body that I don't understand and things I'm struggling with that I would love advice on, or at least your commiseration. I should write because I'm letting myself get stressed by work and family and holiday obligations and lack of sleep, and when I come to this place and let myself vent and be stressed and not even try to act like I have everything together - I feel better. I need a place where no one knows me so they can't judge me for acting like a crazy person sometimes.

So here I am.

I'm 21 weeks pregnant. We had our anatomy scan last week and were told everything looks good. No details, not much discussion, but at this point I'm taking that as a good thing. We did not find out the gender, but I'm still mostly convinced it's a girl (if it's a boy, please don't tell him that I thought he felt like a girl my whole pregnancy). Since we told the tech we didn't want to know the sex, she let us know when to "look away" while she was scanning that area. We were both like, really? The only reason I know that I'm looking at a hand is because you told me. You really think I can figure out blurry baby genitals? I closed my eyes anyway, but I have no idea if Bobby did. But I trust his ultrasound tech skills even less than mine. If he did figure it out, he's been really good about keeping it quiet.

I've also finally told everyone at work. It was getting necessary because my bump is pretty noticeable now and was getting really hard to hide, even in sweaters and over-sized flannels. I didn't tell everyone that I'm leaving though, as I'm afraid they'll assume I'll check out and not really be helpful my last few months here.

My boss kind of dropped a bomb on me that sealed the deal that I'm leaving though. I was prepared to possibly negotiate down to working 20 hours a week, which is what I was originally hired at (I'm currently at 32). I would see if I could be in the office only two days a week and work from home the rest of the hours. Before I was even able to ask about this, at my last meeting she informed me that after my 12 weeks of maternity leave, they want to make my position 40 hours a week and almost entirely in-office, only a few days per month allowed to work from home. I never wanted to be full-time here, since I wouldn't be able to keep coaching, and I definitely didn't want to increase my hours that much immediately after maternity leave. So...yeah. Decision made.

I also officially told the school where I coach that I'm pregnant. They are willing to hold my fall coaching job until summer, since I said I would like to keep the position. I'll just have to see what my work situation is like and how well we're adjusting to having a baby. It'll be much more difficult--do I bring the baby on the bus to games? What about to tournaments? Who will we find to babysit for full weekend tournaments while Bobby's working? What about the half hour or so between the time I go to practice and Bobby comes home from work? Do I bring the baby to practice until he can pick it up?--there's a lot to consider, but I'll let future Lilee deal with that.

We officially had our first Christmas last weekend at our house with Bobby's dad, stepmom, three brothers, and grandparents. It was a good time and I'm glad we were able to host it. We got some cute stuff for baby, including a really sweet blanket from Grandma Susie. In her last few years, it was hard for her to get around much, but she still wanted to do something worthwhile. So the only thing she really asked for for birthday or Christmas gifts was yarn. She knitted hundreds and hundreds of blankets in her last two years, donating them to military overseas, women's shelters, hospice homes, and NICUs. According to Bobby's stepmom (Grandma Susie's daughter), this gorgeous pink, blue, green, and yellow baby blanket was one of the last ones she made before she died. Of course, she didn't know we were going to get pregnant a few months later, but it was still a really special gift for us.

So, in the same spirit...I want to pay it forward and give back too. I actually meant to do this awhile ago, but then I got nervous about the pregnancy and decided to hold off. And then I forgot.

I have a large stash (originally 50ish?) of Wondfo OPK strips and probably 20ish Wondfo pregnancy tests. I got them on Amazon last summer when I decided to stop being a pussy and pretending like I couldn't figure out how to work them right. I only ended up using them for 2-3 cycles before getting pregnant, so there's still quite a few left. And they expire in April. If all goes well, I'll be delivering a baby in April, not peeing on sticks.

So...who wants them? I know most of you who comment regularly already have babies or are currently pregnant, or are pursuing IVF and not so much in the cycle-charting stage. But I know I have quite a few more readers who don't comment regularly who could maybe use them. So de-lurk yourself and let me know! If there are several people who could use them, I can split them up, or you can have the whole bundle. I'm not sure on exact counts since they are at home and I am not. I can figure it out if there's interest. All I ask in return is that you do something nice for a stranger: shovel their sidewalk, buy a cup of coffee, participate in an Angel Tree or Operation Christmas Child drive, or whatever else you can do!