Tuesday, February 28, 2012

26 weeks

I thought I’d check in to say that I’m 26 weeks and my baby is 14 inches long – the size of an English hothouse cucumber. I don’t know about you, but that’s always been my favorite of all the oddly named cucumbers. (?)

So this is probably about the point in the pregnancy where I could start complaining if I wanted to. I’ll allow myself a handful of sentences: 1) I am big and it’s getting difficult to bend over or get up off the couch. 2) Constipation continues to stump me, and it hurts. 3) According to the scale, I’ve gained 8 pounds in 3 weeks – of course I’d like to believe that half of this is poop. 4) I’m nervous about how many weeks I still have left and how much bigger I am going to get.

I’ve also been having a large amount of anxiety about taking care of a baby. This is unexpected, because I’ve never doubted myself in this area before. I’ve always loved babies. My first year out of college I worked at a daycare with 6 week-14 month olds, so I have a ton of experience with babies and I’m not scared of them.

It usually goes like this: I put in a full day of work. I get home and I’m starving so I eat. Then I can hardly motivate myself to get off the couch to eat (every hour) and pee (all the time). I feel like a lazy piece of shit, when honestly what I’m experiencing is normal fatigue. But I beat myself up about it.

And then the doubt creeps in… “How will you take care of a baby? How will you have enough energy and patience? You’re going to be terrible at this. You don’t know the first thing about babies.”

I really, deep down, don’t feel this way about myself. I know I’ll be tired and impatient a lot, but I feel like motherhood is what I’m supposed to do with my life and I know I’ll figure it out. After all, I’ll be off work and I have 12 weeks to devote every minute of every day to figuring it out. I think I know I can do it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get really, really scared sometimes, or pretty much every night.

Any advice, mommies? I know it’s not easy, but I can do this, right?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


  1. Is anyone ever pregnant for long enough that she stops marveling at the feeling of a living being squirming inside of her? I’ve been feeling him move for 9 full weeks now and every time it happens I am still filled with awe and wonder. Also, if I’m being honest, a bit of “that’s some creepy science fiction shit” amazement.

  1. Today I emailed a work colleague a question. She immediately called to answer it. This annoys me. She called twice more and I ignored all three calls and finally sent her this email: This is probably going to sound really silly, but will you email the answer to me? I get this question all the time and should probably keep a record of the answer.” What does she do? SHE FREAKING CALLS ME for the FOURTH time to answer the question. Can I be any more explicit in my needs, just for them to be ignored?

  1. A few months ago, my supervisor left for a “job rotation”, which if you believe the rumor mills is a permanent change. I certainly hope so, because before she left she completely burned me on my 2011 performance review, despite the fact that 2011 was my most productive year yet and she (!) promoted me, apparently based on nothing, because my review is full of my bad attitude, etc. (Actually, I think I had a pretty damn GOOD attitude considering I had surgery THREE TIMES in 2011) Any way, my new supervisor completely kicks ass and sends me emails like “your baby is your #1 priority right now” and today (surprise!) gave me a substantial, completely unexpected raise. In addition to the scheduled raise I get in two months! Hooray for when the corporate machine FINALLY works in your favor.

  1. I drive a tiny little sedan and became concerned that the stroller we registered for wouldn’t fold up sufficiently to fit in the trunk (this actually happened to someone I know who just had a baby – after she had lost the receipt and assembled the stroller and is now stuck with it). So I went to BRU today and asked if I could wheel it out and see if it would fit in my trunk. Based on the level of security this involved (three separate walkie-talkie conversations and an escort so I wasn’t touching the stroller unsupervised), you would think I was asking to borrow the Hope diamond and test-mount it in my engagement ring setting. (PS I don’t know what kind of unholy stroller the other person registered for – mine fits).

  1. Last night I ate so much for dinner that my belly button started hurting. I didn’t know that was possible. Have I just discovered a new frontier for fat, pregnant women?

  1. I’m currently on my fourth (or fifth, maybe?) trip through the Harry Potter series. Do I feel like a huge nerd for this? Not at all. Do I feel like it threatens my legitimacy as someone who has an English degree and Takes Reading Seriously? No, I do not. Do I hope that my baby is absorbing the story and comes out loving all things Hogwarts, maybe even with a tiny lightening-shaped scar on his forehead? Absolutely.

  1. I have been reading a lot of mimismartypants archives recently because I got to meet her last week!! It was wonderful! Anyway, that’s why I have the urge to write down in a snarky, frantic way everything that’s running through my head today.

  1. My husband has a cold. I think this is pretty fair preparation for having an infant in the house.

That is all.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Let's just say my butthole will never be the same again.

This post is going to cross every sort of line available. Many of you will be horrified. I am horrified at the notion of typing it. But, I’m going to share in case anyone is as unlucky as I am and can someday find this information useful.

Background: I have never been very “regular”. I tend towards constipation. I never go every day, and when my diet is drastically changed (like when I don’t eat at my normal times) or when I’m out of my element (like when I went to camp in 7th grade), it’s not at all unusual for me to go 5-9 days without pooping. Or, I will go a couple of times but the BMs will be very hard, pellet-y and will hurt coming out. When it’s like that, they offer no relief.

So when I read (over and over) that pregnancy often leads to constipation, I thought “Ha! I’m an old pro at that!” Little did I know.

At 21 weeks my constipation was so bad that my abdomen ached. When I moved, it hurt, because I was literally so full of shit. I called the doctor’s office and the nurse asked “Has it been longer than 3 days?” And I just laughed at her. She advised me to administer an enema and take Colace once daily as needed, but not longer than a week.

The enema offered some immediate relief, and the Colace smoothed things along a bit for a while. By 24 weeks it had gotten really bad again.

Last week, I went to the bathroom and strained for 10 minutes with no results. I work 9-5 in a big corporate box type of job. It’s hard enough for me to poop at work under normal circumstances (think about Marshall “reading a magazine” on HIMYM). I left the restroom and called the doctor’s office to ask if it was safe to do another enema. She said yes, do those as needed once I’ve gone 3 days without a BM. She advised me to stop the Colace and switch to Miralax and take that daily from now on.

I was on hold for 7 minutes before I spoke to the nurse and the entire time I felt like I was about to shit my pants. The urge to go was so strong. So I ran to the bathroom, one far away tucked in a corner in the basement where I could have the illusion of privacy.

I was on the toilet for 25 minutes. The whole time, I felt like I was just about to go, but nothing worked. I leaned back. I leaned forward. I pushed with all my might. I was sweating. I was almost crying. I even wrapped my finger in toilet paper and tried to manually stimulate myself. At this point, I felt a giant piece of fecal matter right at the end of the digestive tract, if you know what I mean. I thought the end was near so I strained, wiggled, and tried like hell to get it out.

Nothing I did worked.

I tried the digital stimulation again, and saw a substantial amount of blood on the toilet paper.

At about minute 23, when I saw the blood, I started panicking. Should I call a co-worker and ask her to send our nurse down here? I wanted to weep with humiliation just thinking about it. I had a meeting to get to and I couldn’t sit on the toilet whimpering all day.

So I did the only thing I could think of: I called my mom.

She gave me all the hints I had already tried. We were both kind of at a loss. Then she suggested this: “Be very careful because you’re pregnant, but if you put your fingers in your vagina, you can probably press against it and coax it out.” That, in combination with leaning back against the wall, finally did the trick.

Let’s just say I feel more than prepared to give birth after seeing the size of that turd. The end that was stuck was about three inches around. I understand now why it was so difficult to pass.

So I am now completely stocked up on Miralax, enemas, and of course some supplies to deal with the fallout: hemorrhoid cream and wipes.

For those of you who got all the way to the end: congratulations. I hope you never need to use this information.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Viability Day!

Today is Valentine’s Day, but most importantly it is viability day! As of today, I am 24 weeks, or 6 months, pregnant, and if my baby were born he at least has a chance of living with excellent medical care.

HOWEVER, I do NOT want him to be born anytime soon, he needs to gestate much longer. I’d prefer to have him big and healthy and full term. But it’s nice to know that, if I went into labor today, everyone would do everything possible to make sure my little one lives.

After years of us mutually deciding not to celebrate Valentine’s Day, my husband surprised me with a 30 minute pregnancy massage appointment today over my lunch break. I am beyond excited. I have only had one massage in my life and I feel so pampered that he’s doing this for me.

Pregnancy is still going fine. While others still think I look small, I am starting to feel big. It’s becoming more and more difficult to get up off the couch. I started having tailbone pain, but it’s not too bad except for at the end of the day. Yesterday I wore a cap-sleeved wrap dress with no tights to work and I was sweltering hot all day. I was fanning myself and pressing glasses of ice water against the base of my neck. I never understood why people whine about being pregnant in the summer, until now.

All of the nursery furniture we have right now has been assembled and looks darling. On Friday we’re going to register. I have a day trip planned to IKEA next month to buy lamps and maybe some other stuff for the nursery.

This Thursday is my big doctor’s appt. Cervical length ultrasound, 2 hour glucose test, and a visit with the doctor. I’m not sure why I’m doing the 2 hour test when you usually start out with the one hour?

I’m also suffering from some severe constipation. Four weeks ago I gave myself an enema and took Colace for a week. That helped things along for a while. It has gotten bad again, though, so I need to make a call and ask how frequently I can use the enemas. My whole abdomen aches at times and bowel movements are infrequent and painful.

BUT, all in all, I still say I’ve had a very easy time in my pregnancy so far. This past weekend we realized we could see the baby moving if I pulled up my shirt, and that brought tears to my eyes. His movements are getting much stronger and my husband is amazed by what he can feel with his hand at this point. It’s only going to get more exciting from here!

Monday, February 6, 2012


Here is a roundup of the body parts that have been consuming my energy lately:

Breasts: Gigantic. Started at Cs, increased to Es by Christmas, and have not stopped growing since then. Heavy, dense, uncomfortable. Areolas measure nearly 3 inches in diameter. Color: I’m trying to think of something very, very dark. Nipples are constantly hard and roughly the size of thimbles. Bright blue veins visible above the neckline of almost every shirt I wear.

Hair: Uninspiring. Lank. Thin, and still growing so, so painfully slowly despite prenatals and alleged pregnancy boost. Frizzy near my part. Boring.

Belly: Beautiful. Round, firm, delightfully on track for 23 weeks. No stretch marks. Smaller in the morning and nice and round in the evening. Every night while I’m brushing my teeth, I turn sideways and admire my naked abdomen in the mirror. Sometimes I caress it, and I hear the obnoxious alarm going off in the mind of infertile women everywhere. It really is pretty.

I have been very unhappy with my appearance lately. All last week I felt very frumpy and ugly looking, and it didn’t help that I had a monstrous head cold that left me blowing my nose every 10 minutes and slathering myself with Vicks every night.

Everyone prepares you for your widening midsection during pregnancy. I have no problem with that. I love it. No one warned me about how much I would hate my new rack.

My chest is so large that it substantially increases my overall width throughout my torso, making me feel huge all around. Also, when you are this busty, even a modest shirt shows off the girls, and I have NEVER been one to show off the girls.

So this weekend I began Operation: Look Better.
- I got lowlights in my hair at ULTA, which I’ve never done before (they had a special, it was only $30).
- I had my eyebrows and chin threaded.
- I bought a new maternity top – which is the only one I’ve actually shopped for and bought since I got all my maternity tops as hand-me-downs from friends.
- I bought some new makeup.
- I bought two types of hair-curling implements, which I returned, and I decided my hair is just meant to be straight and boring.

In true American fashion, I threw a lot of money at the problem and made it go away. Because I do feel a lot better. I’m glad I took my self-esteem seriously. It is too early to give up on myself!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


When you are child free, people love to tell you how great your life is because you have no one depending on you. It was the hardest thing for me to hear during infertility treatments. Yes, I have more free time than you do, but how can I possibly explain to you this gaping hole in my heart and in my life?

Now that we have a little one on the way, smug parents love to tell me how much my life is going to change. I usually smile and say “We’ve been ready for a change for a long time!”

I feel that people are setting me up for parenthood to be a complete nightmare. Based on the [100% unsolicited] feedback I’ve received, here are my expectations for the next five years: Complete and total hell. No sleep, no money, no time. Nearly constant stress. Fighting with my husband, struggling with breastfeeding, scraping to pay the bills.

And it will all start over when we start trying for number two.

But I guess I always kind of knew that’s what I was getting myself into, trying to get pregnant. I never wanted it to be easy. I wanted it to be real.

Recently, I asked my husband what he is most looking forward to about being a dad. He has all of these activities planned. “I want to do science experiments with him, help him with his homework, teach him how to tie his shoes.” These are all things you sit down and do. You look at the clock, think “We have an hour before bedtime” and say “Son, come here, let’s do ‘x’ together.”

The things I ache for about motherhood are not like this. The things that will make all of the hard work worth it for me will be spontaneous, could occur during any time of day or night, and I have to be in the moment, ready and willing to recognize them when they come.

- Reaching into the crib and seeing him smile when he recognizes me.
- When he’s crying and my touch can soothe him.
- When he hurts himself and runs to me for comfort.
- The first time we read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” together, and he touches the holes in the book with his tiny finger.
- Watching him when he doesn’t know I’m watching him.
- The first time I come into his room and he’s standing up in his crib
- When someone new is holding him, and he reaches his arms out for me, instead.
- Leaving out cookies for Santa.
- Discovering a bit of myself in his personality.
- Seeing pride in his face as he shows me something he made, created, or built.
- Realizing, as I catch my breath, how much he’s growing up.
- Watching his reaction as he meets his new brother or sister for the first time.
- Watching him fall in love.
- His face on his wedding day.

I don’t expect parenthood to be easy. I don’t expect it to be fun. I hope for one rewarding moment at a time in the midst of all the hard work and stress.

I know that he can give that to me.