Wednesday, April 25, 2012

33 Weeks Pregnant: People really are nicer to pregnant ladies...

So chivalry, at least when it comes to pregnant ladies, is not entirely dead. And it's not entirely for knights or even men.  Men and women both, I've found, are actually really nice to pregnant ladies.

From the time I started showing, people would immediately start up conversations with me.  If I were with my toddler, they'd ask if he knew, what he thought of the pregnancy.  If I were alone, they'd ask if this were my first, how I was feeling.

Now, no one has let me cut in line on account of my aching back, but people have done some things that I doubt they normally would have.  So I'll savor these moments, while I still can!  To name a few...

1) Pizza delivery guy insists he carry my order up the stairs for me.  I say, "Oh, no, I'm fine," at first, but then, hey, why not.  I don't actually look forward to carrying up these boxes anyway.

2) The cashier at CVS asks me if I want her to carry my bag of items to the car.  Now, this surprises me.  Trader Joe's asks me this from time to time (pregnant or not), but someone at CVS?  Never.  I tell her I think I'll be fine (I"m not with my toddler, so carrying anything always seems easier!).  "Are you sure?" She asks.  "It's not too heavy?"  "No, I'll be all right.  But thank you."  I then tell her how I really appreciate her offering, how no one there has ever asked that before, and it is quite thoughtful, and if the bag were heavier, I'd take her up on her offer.

3) At Club Med in Florida, I'm standing by the tray of scrambled eggs.  One lady is scooping up the breakfast onto her plate, sees me, then backs away, "Oh, I'm sorry! Go ahead."  I'm taken aback at first.  She's already serving herself, she was there before me, why would she want me to cut in and go ahead of her?  "Oh, I'll wait. It's no problem," I tell her.  To the other side of her, another pregnant woman stands, waiting, also. "I'm just--I'm surrounded by pregnant women," she laughs, "I don't want to make you wait."  I tell her I really appreciate the thoughtfulness, but I'm really fine. 

I also ask people for things.  My back aches, and I have a lot of braxton hicks contractions which often make it difficult to walk in the moment.  So if the UPS guy drops off a 100+ pound box of furniture at the bottom of the porch steps, and I'm walking out the door, I'm going to ask, "Would you mind just bringing that in the front door? Thanks so much!"  The men are always gracious and do this, and I'm sure Mike appreciates this also. If I drop something in line at a store and someone offers to pick it up, I'll let them.  Anything to keep me from bending over more than I need to.  If my belly is in the way of my reaching up to get an item, I'll ask someone nearby if they can get it for me.  If I'm at Home Depot and I don't feel comfortable putting a heavy box of tiles in my shopping cart, I'll ask the guy near me if he can do it.

Honestly, I may ask for some of this help, pregnant or not.  People, in general, like to help.  I like to help. When there is a pregnant woman around, or a new mom pushing a stroller, I will do all I can to make things easier for her.  I mean, come on.  She's got a life in her! Or she's just given a life to this world.  The least I can do is hold the door for her while she gets that giant stroller into the post office.

Being pregnant shows the world you're harboring a little person inside of you.  And it's not always easy.  It can be hard work, and sometimes even the smallest things can create challenges.  Heck, my poor belly gets way too many scratches on it because I keep forgetting it's there when I round corners!  It's good to see goodness abound in other people when they see the goodness growing in your belly.

Monday, April 23, 2012

32 Weeks: My baby is 3! OB appointment, and excitement

We have a busy and fantastic weekend celebrating the birth of our first child.  Three years ago, we took that amazing 3am car ride through the rain to Stamford, CT, and held on for quite a ride as I labored and delivered our sweet awesome little boy.  D was born at 12:56pm on April 15, and that was one of (heck, maybe I can say straight-out "the") most exhilarating moments of my life.  D loves to hear how he came out of my belly and was placed on my chest.  Mike and I can recount the story of his birth with such excitement and awe.

And now he is 3!  So besides a small celebration on his actual birthday (and a little early celebration when my parents were in town), we have his "big" birthday party at the New Canaan Nature Center in CT.  He gets his Angry Birds Cake (he's been talking about this for months!), he meets 6 cool animals (including a chinchilla and bearded dragon), goes on a nature walk, and plays with 15+ toddler friends as they run about the Education Building.  Basically, we have a whole lot of good ole fashioned fun!

The next day, Mike leaves for a business trip for a few days.  His parents, my emergency back-ups, are also out of town (or, out of the country, visiting family in France).  All has been going relatively well with my pregnancy, but since my last appointment where I realized I was having way more braxton hicks contractions than normal, I've been a bit more cautious.  If I have more than 5 an hour, and water and rest don't make them go away, I'm supposed to call and get checked out.  And after my last appointment 2 weeks ago, I realize, when counting, I'm having them sometimes 1 or 2 a minute for extended periods of time!  Going to the hospital is something I do not want to happen, especially when my husband and in-laws are out of town (i.e. I do not want to drag my toddler to the hospital at 10pm).  Luckily, several local friends graciously offer to help if I need anything, and Mike's cousin in CT serves as my awesome back-up, and checks in with me every day.

But to prevent these braxton hicks contractions from skyrocketing I have been drinking a ton, and I mean, a ton of water--like 16 oz an hour if I can.  And trying to "rest" when I can (not always easy, esp when Mike is gone, but I do my best).  Amazingly, this actually helps a great deal, and I'm able to reduce the frequency of BHC enormously.  

My toddler and I have a very busy week planned, including his 3 year wellness exam (all goes well) and my 32+ week OB visit.  So D gets to come with me for the third time to see Dr. T.  While he hesitates going to his own doctor's appointments (knowing the nurse may give him a shot), he is always willing and eager to visit my "baby doctor."  At the end of our last visit, he saw a Cars Mac Truck in the toy basket in the waiting area and wanted to play with it.  I told him we were leaving, so we didn't have time right now.  "Next time, when we come back, I will play with that Cars Mac Truck."  (My mature little boy! Thankfully, he went in that direction instead of the, "No! I want to play with it right now!" direction!) And so, sure enough, as we enter the waiting area, he rushes to the basket to look for the truck.

We enter the exam room, truck in hand, and wait.  D plays for a while and comments, "Why is Dr. T. not in the room yet?"  "Well, he's probably with another patient, or maybe he's doing some paperwork."  Do looks around, plays and makes an adorable comment to me.  He walks over to the table I'm sitting on, pats my knees and says, "Mommy, you look so cute sitting up there!"  My heart melts. Why I look "cute" sitting up here, I've no clue, but I'll take the compliment.  I thank him, stroke his hair and tell him he is very sweet to me.  He makes this comment again later when Dr. T. is there ("Mommy, you are so cute!") and once more in on the car ride home ("You looked quite cute sitting on the table, Mommy.").  What pregnant woman does not want to hear that she looks cute?  D is not my husband, but he is a good companion to my OB appointments, very interested and engaged.

When Dr. T. arrives, D greets him cheerfully, and I make sure Dr. T. acknowledges him (he has a tendency to ignore D, not answer his questions or say much to him.  Granted, if you don't ignore him, you are going to spend the entire visit answering his rapid-fire questions, so he really can't spend too much time talking to him.  But still, as much as I like my OB, he definitely is usually just focused on me.  Even when Mike would come with me during my first pregnancy, Dr. T would barely acknowledge him most of the time.).  This seems to help their relationship and Dr. T. talks to D for a minute and comments on how he's seen the same dump truck shirt earlier that day on another boy

Soon, Dr. T. examines me, and D gets a bit too close, and my doctor tells him, "Why don't you go back and sit by Mommy, by the chair?" Then to me, "These boys, I swear, they want to see everything."

The good news--everything is moving along as it should.  I am not dilated (always a relief when there have been signs of premature labor--like the early onset and frequency of BH contractions, pressure etc), and apparently the water has been working.  "Although," Dr. T. says, "You should not have to be drinking 16 oz of water an hour to keep them under control.  You must be peeing constantly."  Yes, I am, I inform him, and I have been cutting back on the water now. I just wanted to be completely positive that all was ok.  Now that I feel that it is, I can ease back some.  In any case, it is a big relief that my body has adjusted itself, and finally, I have fewer BH contractions (although it is quite possible I still have over 5 an hour, but at least it's not as noticeable as before).

My uterus is also measuring perfectly on track.  I ask my doctor if he can tell where the head is now.  "It's a bit early for that, but--actually--since we're here..." the ultrasound equipment is right next to him, "Let's just check it out." So in a super fast 15 second sonogram, he shows me the head is down low (yay!), the back is to the left (where I often feel the baby hiccuping) and the "little parts" (feet, arms) are on the right side (where I usually feel the most kicking and moving).  So it has been a good appointment and I leave feeling lighter than before.  I am relieved again that the baby has turned, and, barring anything crazy happening, the baby should remain head-down.  What is a bit crazy is that I'm far enough along for the baby to have already started to move into position to be born!

And I am truly excited to meet this little baby.  I've been catching up on the latest season of "Mad Men" (the AMC show about "ad men"), and in one episode, Joan, a new mom, is in the elevator of her apartment building with her infant and her own mother.  The baby has not been sleeping well.  Joan, the buxom smart redhead is in her bathrobe, glasses on, hair messy.  Joan's mom is wearing a night hair cap.  They've recently discovered the baby falls asleep riding the elevator.  Someone steps into the elevator with the women, and Joan says, "Shh...He's finally gone to sleep."  And in that moment, I feel, well, I feel that relief.  That amazing wonderful feeling that, aaahhh. He's finally gone to sleep...Peace.

I don't think about the "before" moments--the crying, the fussing, the screaming which makes the peace feel so...peaceful.  I just think of that relief.  When you can look at your precious little one, see his eyes closed, his face looking so adorable, smooth, hear his cute little baby breathing.  You just feel so amazing.  So lucky, so blessed.  I have tears in my eyes, watching "Mad Men" at 9 o'clock at night while my toddler is sleeping, my husband is in Florida at a conference.  I know there are going to be tough times, for sure.  I'm not naive in the least this time around.  But I can't wait for those precious times.  The cooing and gurgling and cuddling.  And I don't really have to wait too much longer...just over a month and a's really not long at all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

30 Weeks Pregnant: Nesting...or something

I'd love to say my nesting urge has kicked in and I'm doing all those fun things, like filling out the "About Mom" section of a baby book, washing clothes, setting up the nursery.  But we're far from that point.  I don't even have a baby book yet, haven't located my 3-year-old's old clothing in the basement, and our nursery is still basically a small play room/living room for our toddler, D.

But I am certainly busy.  Since February, when we started renovations on our apartment (turning said living room into a potential baby room--adding walls, a door, among other renovations), I feel like it has been almost nonstop.  My list of things "to do" seems to only slightly diminish, no matter how many items I check off.  Then again, it is awfully hard to check items off the list when your days are entirely filled and your "time off" doesn't start until 8:30pm.  And then you still have to clean up from the day, sort mail, take a shower, eat if necessary, exercise, and get ready for bed.  And share some time with your husband!

So I'm not sure if I can really call this "nesting" or just "trying to get done all these things which I've needed to do for weeks, months, or years."  But I guess the sense of urgency to get it done before the baby arrives is certainly something.  And in some ways, it's good.  It's getting me to finally get my engagement ring fixed (a prong fell out a year and a half ago), to get that new computer and digital camera I desperately need but never want to research, to get a play and a compilation book on, to research (and eventually buy) that bigger car that we've been desperately needing for 3 years now, to get a new phone to replace my 4 year old clunker... There is furniture to be purchased, then put together, curtains and rods to be put up, closets and storage rooms to organize.  My birthday is coming up, I have to plan D's birthday and his party.  I want to keep writing in this blog.  Even small things, like "change the filter on the brita" is written down, because somehow I feel that it's important for even that little thing to be done before the baby comes.  I mean, who is going to be checking the date on the brita when the baby needs changing?

And this is what makes me think, yeah, I guess it's nesting.  I mean, isn't it still quite possible that I'd remember to change the brita filter when the baby is 1 week old?  Yes, of course it's possible.  My mind won't be entirely gone, even if it partially is due to sleep deprivation.  But there is this sense that anything that can be done before the baby arrives should be done.  Leave no stone unturned.  Expect and assume that I won't have time to do these other things once my time is split between my baby and my toddler...and can it also be split between myself and my husband and my friends and family?...Split, I guess, but not in half.

On top of this, I remain as active as always.  We have our playgroup once a week, a preschool library class once a week, and a gym class once a week.  That leaves 2 days "free" a week with my toddler, but we always have plans with friends (or an OB appointment) on the off days.  Our weekends also are booked with parties, social events, car shopping, more major projects I need Mike's help with.  I think this is why I have such a sense of urgency.  If I am this busy now,  I think, how much more will I be once I have two children instead of one?  And if, as one logically assumes, I will have less time (some people say having your 2nd child is more than double the work.  Then again, others say it's easier the second time around), then doesn't it stand to reason that now is the time to get all this other stuff out of the way?  Before my time disappears even more?

It does stand to reason.  But, it also stands to reason that, unless it really is necessary, a lot of this stuff can wait.  What will really happen if I don't get that brita filter changed?  Aren't there a lot of people drinking tap water out there who survive just fine?

Yes, there are.  But again, when a pregnant woman has her mind set on cleaning house, well, that's exactly what's going to happen. Or you'll go into early labor trying!

And here, I'd like to give a huge thank you to the people who understand this about me, indulge me, and even help me.  My mother and father--they are troopers.  They come to visit me, and they are met with "to do" lists.  They don't complain about it though.  They just help me.  They forgo a visit of dining out, watching movies and playing games to help me with lining curtains and putting together bookcases.  They are awesome.  Thank you, Mom and Dad!  I love you!  A big thank you to my in-laws.  They babysit and help out whenever they can, traipsing to their car in NYC, making the trek through the traffic (and back again to find parking), and relieve me of my mom-duties for a short period of time so I can run 4 errands in an hour (something that is hard to do when you're taking your toddler in and out of a car/cart each time), or visit a friend.  I love you too!  And of course, I have to thank my husband.  Man, I do thank you, Mike!  I may seem like a task master at times, but I appreciate every little thing you do to help me out!  Especially as I am getting bigger and my back is aching, the help you give me, from moving furniture, to washing dishes, and every single (and many) thing in between--you help me out and make my life and stress level easier.  I love you!

And all this nesting is supposed to pay off.  Right?  I mean, that's the point.  It has already, given the many things we've accomplished.  It's all work to put toward finally being able to relax.  To rest.  To spend time together as a family and to not be stressing over the many things that we did not get to complete.  And I do believe this day will come.  In the mean time, I still need to make sure I enjoy the days I have.  Enjoy this pregnancy, enjoy my husband and my awesome little growing child.  There must be moments of relaxation in the mean time, because one can't burn a candle on both ends.  Right?

When our first baby was born, we were doing our last big "chore" right up until the end.  There we were, 9pm, at H & R Block, finishing our taxes.  Finally.  Done.  April 14.  We got home around 10pm, snapped some "39 week" pictures, and, ah...breathe a sigh of relief.  All the big tasks were done.  One week left before my due date with nothing but fun social plans ahead.

Then a few hours later, my water broke.  12:56pm, April 15, our son was born.

I guess God knew what He was doing.  At least we got our taxes done!

Ok, so give me a little more time this time around, God.  At least 2 nights.  Two nights of some relaxation, no plans. Just vegging out with Mike and/or D.  Then my water can break.  And we'll go on that awesome ride again. :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

29 weeks: The joy of feeling a womb baby move...

So on our vacation at Club Med in Florida last week, I experience a "first." 

An exuberant Latino employee stands next to me at the panini station at the Marketplace Restaurant.  He takes one look at my pregnant shape and exclaims, "Oh, look at you and your belly! So cute!" Then he places his hand on my belly.  I smile back, "Yeah, 6 1/2 months! We're getting there!"  My panini is ready, so we exchange cheery goodbyes and I am on my way.

And the "first" that I experienced...?  I've finally had a stranger touch my belly!  And you know, I was totally cool with it.  Maybe it was because of his relaxed fun nature; he was young and seemed like a friend I would have had in a drama class.  Maybe it's because we were on vacation and already felt a kind of kinship with anyone else at the resort.  Who knows.  But I felt comfortable, not violated at all.  He was happy to touch my belly and I was fine letting him.  I mean, honestly, when you think about it, how often do you get the opportunity to touch a little 15 inch baby actually living, swimming, kicking inside someone else?  It is unique and pretty darn amazing.  No wonder strangers want a piece of it.

And even the second time around, I am still baffled and honored to be hosting this little life inside of me.  A relative at a Russian dinner saw me months ago and said, "There's the Holy Vessel!"  Some people might think that is a bit extreme, and yes, I'm sure he was saying it with a bit of levity, but still.  A pregnant woman is carrying a life.  Carrying a life inside.  That is pretty holy.

And I love the movements of this little guy. Yes, he keeps me up at night (woke me up at 4am this morning for a nice long flip flopping session), and yes, he gets all "up in my ribs" making it hard to sit, or pushes on my bladder, makes me short of breath sometimes or squashes my stomach so my food wants to make its way back up the esophagus...but hey.  I love that I have these discomforts.  Because the why of it is so incredible.  I love feeling the baby roll around, press his heel into my palm, hiccup on my left side while twisting on my right.

The odd thing, is that when the baby is in the womb, making his little or big movements, I start to put a little personality to him.  I feel I can talk to him, that he can understand me.  I almost feel that he has this sense of wisdom already.  Of course, it's easy to feel this way when the one you're speaking of doesn't actually make any sound at all!  The wisest people are the quietest people, no?  But I know that once the baby is born, crying, gurgling, making all those baby sounds and slow squirmy movements, he will be a different person to me.  But for now, he is a silent wonder.

So I share him.  Mike gets to feel him, our toddler loves to feel him (pressing his face to my belly to feel "the warmth", showing me how the baby "pushes right into my hand!", kisses the baby through my skin), and I'm happy my parents have gotten to feel him during their visit.  It is a unique experience, I mean, a crazy weird bizarre and cool experience, to feel a baby move inside the womb.  And it is a joy I cherish every day.