What I Wore This Week (3rd Trimester Edition)

There seems to be some sort of pregnancy/parenting blog phenomenon where pregnant women and new moms write “What I Wore Today/This Week” posts with pictures of… well, what they wore that day or week. Usually it’s some funky vintage ensemble that looks carefree, yet totally put together; very First Date Casual, very I pretty much rolled out of bed and came here looking like this because I am naturally fabulous and not at all high maintenance. The pictures are usually taken outside amongst nature, with a whimsical/cute expression, and of course taken by a second party from a flattering angle.

I used to be a person who gave somewhat of a damn (though my husband will virulently disagree). I am that same woman now, only, I just… I just can’t. Late pregnancy has given me the gift of Look-Like-A-Human apathy, which accompanies the midday water-induced heartburn and shouty outbursts when Babby headbutts my cervix continuously. I own two pairs of maternity jeans (Gap Long and Lean and Gap Sexy Boot), 2 official maternity shirts from yard sales (and 3 pregnancy tees from Gap, on sale!), a wide variety of pajamas, and regular shirts that used to be oversized and now just barely cover The Belly. I am Tim Gunn’s worst nightmare.

Found when googling "Tim Gunn looking disapproving." Hilariously/ironically found on this Mom Corrected post.

Found when googling “Tim Gunn looking disapproving.” Hilariously/ironically found on this Mom Corrected post.

To those who spend time and money crafting these “What I Wore” posts… you are my heroes. Pregnant and/or with a newborn and still able to like… put on cosmetics and do your hair?!? and choose an outfit that looks good AND take the time to get properly dressed? And then stage several photos and THEN WRITE A BLOG ABOUT IT?!

Here’s what I wore (last week):

 

  • Monday

 

 

  • Tuesday

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2013-10-11 18.39.17

 

 

  • Wednesday

 

 

  • Thursday

 

 

  • Friday

 

 

  • Saturday

 

 

 

  • Sunday

 

So there you have it. I’m tagging this as “pregnancy fashion.” Apologies for everyone who came here seeking actual, you know, fashion. I’m actually quite impressed with the number of times I wore real pants last week.

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35 Weeks and In Denial

I’ve spent the past 10 minutes staring at a baby swing. It spent the last few months tucked away in the nursery, and this morning I decided it was time to put it out in our family room, where it now takes up approximately half of the livable space. It’s okay though- the swing needs to stay. It’s visible proof that a baby is coming, and soon.

I have hit a major point of denial in this pregnancy, and with reflection I see now that it started with those two pink lines almost 9 months ago and never quite went away. Denial is a spectrum of emotions, and while it was quite severe in the very beginning, and then strong in the second trimester when I didn’t really even feel pregnant half the time, now at 35 weeks it has reached a whole new level of intensity. I am having a baby, apparently.

In my head, I know this is the case. I am super pregnant right now, physically. I’m huge, for starters. My belly has swelled in the past week, and is now something I have to work around. 10 days ago I was laughing while telling my husband about a post I read on a pregnancy forum, where a woman timed how long it took her to roll from one side to the other in bed. “Two minutes!,” I exclaimed. “I mean, it takes me a few seconds, but two minutes?” 10 days later, and guess what? Last night it took me more than an entire minute to roll over in bed. It used to be a simple 11-step process:

  • Wake up
  • Realize I need to turn over
  • Analyze how much longer I can stand lying on same side to avoid the hassle
  • Brace myself for the popping sounds of pelvis and sacrum
  • While grunting, turn 1/4
  • Turn the other 1/4 onto my back while propping myself up with my arms
  • Turn another quarter
  • Turn all the way to the other side
  • Rearrange in-between-knees pillow and resituate under head pillows
  • Realize I have to pee
  • Curse profusely

Now it’s an entire 2 minute saga with all of my former 1/4 turns consisting of mini turns and inches, all of which radiate pain throughout my pelvis and back, which stiffen even in the short 1-2 hour increments of time between rollings-over. I am definitely pregnant.

Life during the day is full of constant reminders of pregnancy also- my waddle, the many sneeze-n-pees that are seemingly unavoidable no matter how many Kegels I do, the 40 lbs of baby I haul everywhere, my big, round belly which always finds its way out of my shirt to be on display, my severe dislike of all items just out of reach (which seem to be, well, everything these days). Now when I drop my bar of soap in the shower, I just stare at it for what seems like an eternity while I justify rinsing and ending my bathing right then and there: “Well, let’s see. I showered late yesterday at around 2. I don’t think I sweat much… did I? Americans over-shower, anyway. I’ll just wash my bangs and call it a day.”

I’m definitely really, really pregnant right now, and yet I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that this jabby, squirmy little creature inside of me will soon be on the outside, and in my arms. I tried to explain my denial to my midwife, and told her I basically need permission to start getting really excited and to do all of the little things we still need to do to get ready for this child. I believe she said something along the lines of “Val- you’re having a baby. And soon. I just had two first-time mamas go into labor at 37 weeks. It’s time to get ready.” Then a look of worry crossed her face. “Have you, you know, looked at the homebirth supply list yet? The one I gave you when we first met??”

Over the weekend we had a big yard sale and were finally able to clean out our front hallway, which had been filling for the past year with boxes and bags of crap that I’ve been collecting to get rid of. We made a few dollars, which was great, but more importantly everything that was not sold was bagged and delivered to Goodwill yesterday afternoon. Our hallway is now clear of debris and I feel like I can breathe a bit more. Okay, that was the last big to-do. The baby can come now. 

Except, the baby can’t really come now, because it’s way too early and nothing else in the house is ready. All of her things have been kept in her room, hidden from sight, and I think this has played a part in my denial. So out came the swing to the main room we live in, and there it will stay. I don’t know if we will ever use it, or if Babby will even enjoy it, but it’s staying there until she comes so her mother can stare at it every day and hopefully realize that soon there will be a tiny person in this house that will fit in it.

Her bath-time basket, filled with tiny towels and her little octopus thermometer and bath accoutrements has been placed in the bathroom. This afternoon I am dedicating a shelf in one of our kitchen cabinets to sippy cups, breast milk storage bags, etc. I moved some lightweight furniture around today to get our room (which will be her room for the first 1-2 years) storage and pack-n-play ready. Her family room changing-station basket will be completed today and placed next to the couch. Her car seat will be installed this week. We tour our top pediatrician’s office in a few days.

I can be in denial forever, but that is not going to change the fact that this kid is coming out in the next few weeks. All of my nesting, all of the cleaning, the painting, the furniture assembling, the clothes washing, the reorganizing, the learning, the reading, the phone calls, the planning, it’s all for a reason- though the past few weeks it has all felt like busy work, like I’m playing house.

When will it feel real? When the first pangs of labor begin? When she’s on my chest, covered in vernix and blood and my tears? After days and nights of watching her breathe and counting her fingers and toes? It doesn’t feel real now, but I can say that I am anxious for the arrival of this tiny stranger, and to get this party started (but also completely not ready for a newborn. Life is hilarious!)

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Appley Compotey (?) Desserty Goodness

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My predicaments:

  • I was craving something a little sweet
  • I was feeling rather lazy
  • I wanted an apple, but they were mealy. Totally edible, but just not appetizing raw.
  • I am all stuffed up from this neverending head cold and wanted something with some ‘zip’ to unclog my nose

My solution:

  • Throw apples in a pot with a bunch of stuff

Time needed: 2 minutes prep, 5-7 minutes cooking on medium heat

Skill level required: Common sense

Ingredients:

Apples (I used 1 large Granny Smith and two smallish medium something or others- made 2 servings)

Honey

Cinnamon

Water (Optional: pre-brewed nettle or pregnancy tea for extra goodness)

———–

You can stop there, but if you like a little heat, I recommend adding a bit of

Ginger, freshly grated

Cayenne- just a pinch! A little goes a looong way

 

“Instructions:”

Cut up your apples into bite size pieces. Throw them into a small pot and turn the heat onto low/medium (on our gas stove I had them on a 4). Spoon in some good honey. Sprinkle in some cinnamon. Grate some ginger into it all. Maybe a pinch of cayenne? Add a splash of water, or if you’ve just brewed some pregnancy tea like I had, splash some of that in. You just need a tiny, tiny bit, enough to help the apples not burn. Stir that stuff around. Bask in the glory of Fall smells. After about 5-7 minutes the apples should be happily cooked and tender.

It shouldn’t be so simple, but it really is. It’s a great, easy way to use up apples and satisfy cravings quickly. The spice from the ginger and cayenne also opened up my nose allowing me to actually taste! Which is a pleasure I haven’t been able to experience in days. This dish is good on its own, but also could be a delicious topper for morning oatmeal/hot cereal! Or poured onto a puff pastry sheet and then baked… mmm. I wish I had more apples.

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33 Weeks Pregn… wait, what?

I’ve reached the weepy stage, ya’ll. I’m surprised actually that this entire pregnancy hasn’t been one giant weepy stage, but truly up until the past week I’ve been a model of emotional stability and outward keeping-it-together-ness. Then at about 32 weeks I noticed a shift in my levels of irritability and tear production. Here are a few things that have made me cry lately:

  • Watching the toddler across the street play in the yard
  • My chins
  • Folding cloth diapers
  • Yelling at the cat for licking the laundry basket incessantly
  • Completely innocuous comments from my husband about all sorts of things
  • Cleaning the bathroom and realizing that a life with pets is a life with fur everywhere, no matter how hard I try,
  • then realizing kiddos are messy/unpredictable and the surrendering of control that is going to have to happen on my part, and soon
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the most astounding fact about the universe (to be fair, this makes me cry even when not pregnant)
  • Watching my Momcat clean the face of her 4 year old babycat
  • Every birth video on Youtube
  • The realization that we are actually having a baby, which hits me about 20 times a day without warning.

This pregnancy is whizzing by. I put off doing a lot of “little things” during the second trimester because it all felt “too soon.” For example, I researched pediatricians but didn’t call to make appointments with any of them, because I felt like I was being a little overeager at, let’s say, 23 weeks. Though we are planning for a homebirth, I didn’t create a transfer plan or really even think about the possibility of transfer and what that would entail, because in the second trimester birth seemed eons away. Then one day I woke up mere weeks from being full term (three and a half… hi.) and it hit me that now we have so much to do and not a whole bunch of time to do them. October is PACKED for us.

Healthwise, baby and I are doing wonderfully. My blood pressure at my last appointment was a brilliant 118/80, Babby TURNED HEAD DOWN! (Thanks, Spinning Babies’ inversions/tilts!), fundal height is right where it’s supposed to be, and not even trace amounts of protein or sugar in my urine. Besides the weeping and my pregnancy rage over my husband (purposely?) leaving almost-empty cereal boxes precariously balanced on the door of the freezer so that when I open the freezer, said cereal falls on my head, I feel pretty okay. Breathing is harder now, my pelvis aches upon waking, and sleeping through the night is a hilarious concept, but these things are to be expected. There was a funny incident the other night involving me being stuck on the recliner due to a sudden bout of sciatica, but that’s a story for another day.

According to my husband, last night I shouted “GET OUT OF MY BONES!” at the baby multiple times… I don’t remember doing this because I was too busy dealing with the excruciating pain of whatever it is my daughter was doing in there. Whatever it was, it involved my right ilium and her giant heel(s) and was just… wow.

Borrowed from Labspace, an AWESOME site for those studying anatomy

Borrowed from Labspace, an swesome site for those studying anatomy

Babby’s been really interested in my bones lately, sometimes it feels like she’s grinding herbs in there, mortar and pestle style. Have you ever had a hard, jabby thing inside of you playing with your bones? I describe the feeling to Steve as “I think she’s building toys in there.” I don’t know if that’s a helpful description, but it makes me laugh.

I know I have more to say, but thanks to PregnancyBrain I now operate at around a goldfish’s level of mental efficiency. In lieu of actual content, I give you this list of some things I’ve been enjoying lately:

 

I love reading pregnancy and parenting blogs and am always looking to connect with other new moms and moms-to-be- please leave a link to your favorite pregnancy/parenting blogs in a comment so I can start reading!

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Super Autumn Pregnancy Energy Lentils&Beets Recipe

Sometimes I enjoy a bit of actual food with my goat cheese.

Sometimes I enjoy a bit of actual food with my goat cheese.

An old friend of mine used to make an incredible beets and lentils dish. I don’t remember how she made it, so I made my own version and man, is it good. And FAST. And EASY. Which makes this impatient and always hungry mama-to-be very, very happy. I don’t ever follow recipes and don’t measure, but believe this version is so simple it’s almost impossible to screw up. Best of all, I only dirtied one pot/lid, the cutting board, and a knife.

 

  • Skill set needed: Common Sense
  • Ingredients:

Garlic – I used about 5 of various sizes, because I LOVE garlic and use it so much it takes a lot for me to actually taste it.

Onion – Either one small or medium. Whatever you have.

Lentils – 1 cup. This made quite a few servings.

Beets – I used about 5 or 6 small-ish beets.

Kale – About 4 or 5  big leaves

Water

Salt

Olive oil

GOAT CHEESE

Optional: Stock of some kind

 

Gently heat some olive oil in a pot. Mince up your garlic and chop your onion and throw them in the oil. Have “a moment” where you close your eyes and waft the delicious smells that are cooking. Savor this. Remember the first trimester when you couldn’t stand to smell ANYTHING cooking? Feel a deep sense of pride about making it through early pregnancy. You’re doing it!

Measure 1 cup of dry lentils and dump them in. Stir the onions, garlic, and lentils around in the oil. Mmm. Now pour in some water. How much? I don’t really know. I put in about 2 cups at this point (I think?), stirred, then turned the heat up a bit. Put the lid on.

While that was cooking, I took care of my beets. I chopped the ends off, then washed and peeled. I chopped up the beets into small pieces so they would cook quickly, then dumped them into the pot. I’d try for medium heat- you need the lentils and beets to cook, but don’t want to over or under do it. I added a bit more water so that everything was just covered. You could totally use stock instead of/in addition to water- I didn’t because the only bouillon I have has MSG in it and I’m trying to avoid it. Set a timer for 20 minutes and go relax. Feel free to celebrate your decision to make a healthy meal by eating a large piece of  cake, like I did. (My doula brought me half of a homemade cinnamon cake to yesterday’s prenatal visit. I love her so.)

Once the timer goes off, you know it’s almost time to eat. Take off the lid and give a stir, then work on your kale. Take a few big leaves, rinse, and rip off chunks in a size that’s appetizing to you. (Kale cooks down a lot, for those unfamiliar with it). I try to avoid the chewy, large center vein. Throw your kale chunks into the pot and stir around. Turn your heat to simmer, with the lid off, for about 5 minutes. Carefully test out a beet to make sure they’re cooked to your liking. If the pieces are cut small, they should be perfectly al dente. Turn off the stove.

Spoon into a bowl, taste and salt accordingly. Add your goat cheese. Take a picture of it. Take 2 more because you take horrible photos. Post to Twitter. Offer to share the recipe, then write a post about it. Realize you should probably not offer to share recipes that don’t involve proper measurements. Stir your now melted goat cheese around your dish and wonder why you don’t eat more goat cheese.

Now enjoy your meal with a cold glass of apple cider and take a nap- you deserve it!

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Handy Tips for Partners of Pregnant Nesting Women

I just wanted to share some words of wisdom with all of the partners out there in pregnancy land. If your lady is pregnant, she will at some point enter a nesting phase. This phase may last throughout the entire pregnancy, come and go, or strike right at the end. There’s no telling when she will enter this phase or how long it will last, but it’s important you prepare yourself for what’s to come.

Here are some handy tips for the partners of nesting women:

Don’t:

  • Look bewildered when you find her crying in the bathroom cleaning baseboard with a toothbrush (your toothbrush. You can get another one.)
  • Ask confusedly “But where do you want me to put this?” when she hands you something to put away. You should know where it goes. If you don’t, just put it somewhere… but choose wisely. Should she find said item later on in a place it does not belong, well, that’s on you.
  • Say a WORD when you come home from work and the house is in shambles. She started 34 different projects at the same time and she knows what she’s doing.
  • Complain when she brings the kitchen into the bathroom. She may be trying out some natural cleaning solutions- corn starch, baking soda, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and other ingredients may take up some vanity space for awhile. It’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay.
  • Just recklessly try to clean something with an unlabeled spray bottle. There’s no telling what sort of concoction she’s made in there, and you can’t just go spraying unauthorized creations on the furniture. However-
  • Don’t ask her what’s in each spray bottle. I understand this is a no-win situation… I didn’t say it makes sense. She will eventually label each bottle, you know, in her spare time.

Do:

  • Try to understand the difference between what you formerly knew as “clean” and what now qualifies as clean.
  • Shower her with love and affection. Pregnancy is hard.
  • Be kind- nesting is a double edged sword of primal necessity and crazy-making. We want to nest. We have to nest. But our inability to do All the Things at once triggers our feelings, fears, and concerns regarding our ability to mother/parent and can make us anxious, upset, and a little nutty.
  • Breathe, and remember this is just a temporary phase, as is pregnancy. Soon you’ll have a tiny son or daughter who is going to rock your world in the most incredible ways imaginable.
  • Ask for what you need from your partner. She really doesn’t want to drive you insane, truly. When the time is right, encourage open and relaxed dialogue about what you both need from each other.

If all else fails, print out this handy flowchart and hang it in every room of the house. Follow it to the letter

0642461001379946867_flowchart for partners1_0

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Single Digits. Ermahgerd.

It’s happening! 9 weeks until my *estimated* due date. Single Digits. This means a lot of things, 2 of which are

  • Babby might not be done baking for another 11+weeks. (Not ideal)
  • Babby could be done baking in as little as 6 weeks. (Really not ideal)

Of course, Babby will come when she’s good and ready, and she seems pretty opinionated and stubborn already, so I’m sure whenever she decides to make her entrance will be the right time for her. If she comes any sooner than 6 weeks from now (making her premature) or after 42 weeks (making her “post-term”), home birth is off the table. I’m trusting that she’s going to turn head down (she’s loving her frank breech lounging right now), grow big and strong, and come when she’s safe and sound.

I really can’t believe I’m so far along. Throughout the second trimester (you know, that time when I had All the Energy and could like, do a load of laundry without being overcome with exhaustion?) there were many birth-related activities I wanted to dive into, but felt I should wait on until I was further along in my pregnancy. Now it seems I’ve entered Crunch Time where there is so much to do, and yet I don’t really have the energy or enthusiasm I had a few weeks  ago.

Steve and I were gifted with a beautiful baby shower recently, filled with happy, celebrating family and friends, and of course- baby things. We spent the past weekend putting various pieces of furniture together and figuring out what we still needed, baby-wise. The next few weeks will, I’m sure, become a blur of shopping for steals, Amazon deliveries and trying to cloth diaper the cats.

Hmm. On second thought, I don't think this is a risk I'm willing to take.

Hmm. On second thought, I don’t think this is a risk I’m willing to take.

 

The Fall is my FAVORITE season, and this year in particular is a busy one. Our calendar is loaded with doula prenatals, midwife appointments, birthday parties, pumpkin picking, decorating, Halloween fun, CRAFTING!!!! and general Fall mayhem, which of course flows right into the insanity of the holiday season. We also have more than a few things to do to prep for our homebirth and the baby that comes with it, like creating our birth and (hopefully not necessary) transfer plans, dealing with insurance, shopping for baby, nesting, purchasing necessities such as our birth kit and pool liner, yada yada yada. And, oh yeah, some quality time spent together before we become three would be great, too. We were going to go on a mini-babymoon before The Bean arrived but…

We recently found out that our insurance is quite crappy. We knew our in-network benefits didn’t offer much, but had no idea that we have *zero* out of network benefits. The out of network benefits were supposed to cover the (large) remainder of our midwife’s fee… but now it looks like that responsibility is on us. We are happy to pay as we feel our home is the safest and most comfortable place for our daughter to be welcomed into the world, and the prenatal care of our CPM is outstanding… but of course major unplanned expenses always sting. Luckily, even though a babymoon is now unfeasible, the generosity of our family and friends has covered the remainder of our (amazing) doula’s fee, as well as covered the fee of our placenta encapsulator (more on all of that later), which has relieved some financial stress immensely.

I’m continuously overwhelmed and awestruck by the generosity of family, friends, and even strangers during this pregnancy. Old friends I haven’t seen in 15 years are mailing gently used items and clothing just because they were thinking of us and had the items to spare. Despite some instances in the past few months that have unsettled my usually loving feelings towards my fellow humans, simple kindnesses continue to amaze me and restore my faith in humanity.

Sort of unrelated, read these blog posts/articles when you have the time. Trust me, they’re excellent:

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Natural Oils are Best for Infant Massage ~ on OurMomSpot

Just a few benefits of infant massage!

Just a few benefits of infant massage!

 

I had a wonderful opportunity to be a featured guest writer on OurMomSpot. It’s a really unique site dedicated to parents and has lots of great forums to participate in (my personal favorites are Parenting Talk and Homestead Talk!) The article is entitled Natural Oils are Best for Infant Massage and includes some things to look for and consider when choosing a massage medium, as well as a short video by Linda Storm of Infant Massage USA, who explains the basics of baby massage.

Working with new families is absolutely one of the most rewarding things I get to do, and teaching infant massage is a deeply meaningful experience for me- I get to watch parents fall in love with their babies… for some it’s for the very first time and for others, well, they fall in love with their child all over again! New parents often become more comfortable in handling their infant through massage, and learn to communicate with their babies and recognize/respond to their cues. There are countless physical and emotional benefits for both infants and the adults who massage them, and watching parents strengthen their confidence while bonding with their little ones is priceless.

During my training with Infant Massage USA, I witnessed live breastfeeding for the very first time, which completely rocked me to the core in the most positively powerful way. I also experienced parents coming to classes gushing with excitement about changes they saw and felt in their babies’ health, sleep patterns, and behavior. I hoped that after my initial training, I would keep the joy that I felt during my time spent with my learning group, and I have. Infant massage is that amazing.

Read Natural Oils are Best for Infant Massage on OurMomSpot and watch the video, choose an oil that’s right for you, and enjoy some special time with your baby today!

 

Also check out:

Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents

Find an Infant Massage USA instructor near you here!

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Resources for the Postpartum Period

My doula partner and I put out a newsletter each month for our small pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support business. This month, we focused on the early postpartum period, and all of the physical and emotional recovery and changes that take place.  We’ve included some really amazing resources from:

concerning postpartum topics like

  • meal planning and recipes
  • visitors in the first week
  • why it’s so important to rest, relax, and bond with baby
  • tips for a less stressful, more restorative postpartum from moms who have been there
  • the physical and emotional realities of the first few days and weeks
  • how to be a great partner during the postpartum

This month’s newsletter is a a great resource for expecting parents and new families, as well as doulas and birthworkers ~ you are welcome to share!

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5 Raw Truths of My First Trimester

TL/DR: My first trimester was a real doozy. I for some reason thought that, because of my professional life as a doula, educator, prenatal/pregnancy massage therapist yada yada yada that I would totally dominate All The Pregnancy, like a boss. The first 3 months were humbling… and completely worth it.

 

Now that I’m 29 weeks pregnant, the first trimester seems like a far and distant memory. I feel worlds apart from the confusion, sickness, and true misery that I felt in the first few months. The first trimester was an emotional, mental, and physical roller coaster, one that I, now looking back, am glad to have ridden. Everyone’s bodies and pregnancies are unique, and my experience may in no way reflect the experiences of others. That being said, here’s the raw truths of my first trimester.

 

  • The term “emotional roller coaster” does not even begin to describe what I felt during those first few months.

I began my pregnancy with the mixed emotions of elation and confusion. When I first joined the 2-line club, I just didn’t know what to think. We were literal newlyweds, just a few days into our marriage, and were going to start trying for a baby at the end of the month. While I was overjoyed, I was also completely shocked, and instantly filled with fear. The mix of emotions continued throughout the first many weeks as extreme nausea consumed me.

Morning sickness is no joke, at least in my case. Mine did not fool around. Day in and day out I was plagued with just miserable nausea. I rarely actually threw up food, but my days were spent either dry heaving, trying to calm my stomach, and lying on the couch wondering how any woman got through this.

The sickness not only made me…well…sick, but it also really screwed with my head concerning the pregnancy in general. By feeling so sick all day, every day, and never having experienced this level of misery before with no end in sight, I felt very alone as well as guilty for not loving every second of pregnancy. Every time I thought I was starting to feel better and that the worst was over, nausea would strike back mercilessly.

pregnancy mafia

 

  • My intense morning sickness led to me sometimes wondering why I had ever wanted to get pregnant in the first place.

I’m going to shoot straight with you here- there were many times that I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. It wasn’t really rational thought; I didn’t want anything to happen to the baby, I just didn’t want to be pregnant. I didn’t understand how any woman felt that going through that much illness was worth it in the end. As the weeks went on and my morning sickness showed no signs of fading away, I became a bit panicky: What if this was my life, forever?  It got to the point where I honestly could not remember how it felt to feel good again. I had no energy, no appetite, and wondered

Please tell me you've seen David After Dentist. Please.

Please tell me you’ve seen David After Dentist. Please.

It all came to a head at about 10 weeks, when I had just absolutely had enough. I remember sitting on the couch in hysterics, shrieking to my husband that I couldn’t take it anymore. While our family and close friends were rejoicing over this miracle that was growing at an exponential rate in my belly, I felt trapped in what I felt was a failing, weak body. The intensity of my nausea mirrored the intensity of my overwhelming emotional confusion, which created a socially and emotionally isolated experience. I could not imagine the nausea ending, ever, and I was starving. I had dropped 9 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight because I just couldn’t eat anything, and I was a mess.

 

  • Food, once my great love, had become my greatest enemy.

I am a foodie. FoodNetworkGossip.com is one of my weekly hangouts. My husband and I DVR QVC’s In the Kitchen with David. That’s right- we DVR home shopping programming to watch at a later time, when nothing from the show is still actually relevant. We’re going on 2 years of doing this. We have never bought anything. We are weird.

For three months, I despised David, Southern cooking, and yes- even butter.

For three months, I despised David, Southern cooking, and yes- even butter.

I love movies with food, I love to cook, I love to eat. Unlike my husband, I savor food, eat slowly, and feel that food is about much more than just eating for survival- it’s about family, traditions, joy, love, soul. I have a very strong relationship with all things food, and that relationship took a real beating in the first trimester.

My favorite foods and foodie scents such as garlic, onions, and a sizzling steak were all vomit-inducing. Not only could I not eat, but I couldn’t be around cooking food- we even went without In the Kitchen with David for a few months; seeing food cooking on television had me running to the bathroom.

It may sound silly to non-foodies, but the altered relationship with food during those first few months really impacted me negatively. I no longer found comfort in food, and no longer felt “normal.” I feel it’s so vital to balance a sense of normalcy with adapting to change during pregnancy, because if you don’t, pregnancy and all that comes with it can be very overwhelming, daunting, and anxiety-ridden.

 

  • Feeling so different and adapting to so much change without any real “physical proof” of a baby made the first trimester an anxious and nerve-wracking time period.

I knew I was pregnant. I even had an ultrasound of The Bean. But I wasn’t outwardly pregnant, I had no belly to rub while looking wistfully out a window, no visible sign of the GINORMOUS, LIFE-ALTERING CHANGE GROWING WITHIN MY BODY. Inside, my body was all glorious piss and vinegar, while on the outside all that was to be seen was a pimply woman sprouting some wicked chin hairs dry heaving into the bathtub.

One Bean to Rule Them All

One Bean to Rule Them All

The first trimester was weird because it seemed my mind and body were not communicating: my body knew I was pregnant, but my mind hadn’t quite realized this fact yet. With no “visible proof” of pregnancy besides a positive test, it’s easy to actually forget why you are having the morning sickness, why you have to physically remove yourself from your own home when your husband has the gall to make chili for dinner.

The mind/body disconnect that can occur in the first trimester can be really intense! Early pregnancy fears of miscarriage, bleeding, cramping, round ligament pain, and tons of other reasons for late-night-Googling-anxiety-fests only add to this disconnect. This is a time when many women are keeping their pregnancy on the down-low, and yet also can really use compassionate, loving emotional and physical  support from the most important people in their lives.

 

  • Unfortunately, sometimes the support just isn’t there.

When I became pregnant, I found support in unexpected places, and utter disappointment in others. This, I was truly not expecting. I personally had a few different people who showed their true colors after I became pregnant. People whom I trusted implicitly turned out to be flaky, narcissistic, unreliable, and just plain unsupportive, which led to greater feelings of isolation during a very vulnerable period of my life.

Luckily, life has a great sense of humor, and while some people were leaving my world, others entered in. Pregnancy is this truly exquisite time for women to get in touch with their needs and explore what their priorities are. Early pregnancy was a wake up call for me- I simply did not have the time or energy to put up with nonsense anymore from people who were not all that important to me. I began to learn to value my needs and practice good emotional self-care. I became important because I was carrying the most important person in the universe. I started setting boundaries and limits with myself and others- something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember.

 

All in all, the first trimester was a doozy. It was emotionally and physically exhausting, and I can say now that it was completely worth it. Once the second trimester arrived, my hormones seemed to settle and I fell into a really awesome rhythm of pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, the second trimester has its own brand of insanity, but for me it was much more tolerable, and nausea-free!

 

The first trimester was physically and emotionally challenging, and I know that by staying committed to talk therapy (which I started before I got pregnant and cannot recommend enough for those TTC, pregnant, in the postpartum, or even just considering pregnancy) I was able to stay mentally healthy. If you are having a rough time, please consider speaking to someone. Just as in labor, where there is a difference between pain and suffering, in pregnancy there is a difference between feeling sick and tired and feeling unstable and unhealthy. I urge you to always communicate your feelings with your partner and health care provider.

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