Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pregnancy Tips from an Unlikely Mommy to Be

Here I am at 20 weeks. Aka- before people started asking me if i'm having twins
Pregnancy, it is the best of times it is the worst of times. You are creating life! That is absolutely amazing, Congratulations! But then it is also a complete out of body experience. Your body is betraying you, doing weird things, not functioning in the same way it has since you can remember. If you are a control freak like me you are not dealing well with this part. I am in my 8th month of pregnancy. I cannot even begin to describe the roller-coaster of emotions I have been through. Of course if you know me or have read this blog before you are not surprised that I have A LOT of feelings on the matter.

Here’s the quick back story, I fell in love; we moved in and got pregnant in about the same amount of time it takes some people to choose a home to buy. Like all great things in life it was totally not in my grand plan but in our defense we had known each other for 10 years and it was just right. However, this means I most definitely wasn’t “trying” to get pregnant for a long time, and I had not been doing massive amounts of research or prepping my body either. This means that as soon as I got pregnant I realized that I didn’t have a vague idea of what I was getting into. Sure, I work with a lot of women, sure I have a lot of women in my family but there’s just some things I feel no one told me or things that you can’t possibly be prepared for.Here’s how it’s gone for me so far...

First ultrasound photo at 13 weeks. Cute frame was a requirement. Notice it is gender neutral
First Trimester- OMG! You’re pregnant-OMFG! WTF! Etc.

It took me a few days to recover from the shock. I didn’t think I was pregnant so I decided to take a test right before a 3 hour meeting just so I could relax and move on with my day. I sat in the meeting in disbelief for the next 3 hours. I can’t keep secrets so I immediately told a bunch of people. I chose not to make a public announcement till I was about 14 weeks.It takes days/weeks for the shock to wear off. However, there isn’t much time or energy to devote to this because as soon as you go from a state of disbelief to being super excited, anxious and delighted at the thought of your newborn wearing the cutest outfit you could get your internet shopping savvy hands on you are hit with a flood of hormones that will change your life as you know it….

HCG- aka, the pregnancy hormone will soon disrupt your life. Someone said it was like a hangover that never goes away or like that day right before you get sick and feel icky. Except, this day just repeats for weeks like in the movie, Groundhog Day and you are in haze wondering why on earth no one ever told you what this really felt like. I’m sure this isn’t the case for all women. But I was nauseated for weeks, I couldn’t stay awake.  I would go to work, go to sleep and do internet research on being pregnant and baby care oh and of course baby items. I kept pushing my body to do its normal thing, but it wouldn’t. I would lose my shit constantly as a result of how exhausted I was. I had fever like chills at night, which made sleeping even harder. I later found out this symptom is a result of the hormones that begin pumping through your body in these first weeks of pregnancy. The internet is filled with marvelous details such as this.

In the middle of feeling like crap you have to choose a doctor. Choose wisely, I hated mine. I didn’t listen to my first instincts who told me we weren’t a fit. I think she hated me too, she was like a bossy grandmother and I was the rebellious granddaughter. During this time you will be inundated with information about anything that could be wrong and you will hear the names of potential birth defects constantly until they are running through your head at weird times of the day. It is freaking scary and you just want to think about the baby and how you will love it like crazy and here they are scaring you. You need a doctor you are compatible with during these scary times, if it doesn't work, just switch. My doctor made me feel like I was asking too many questions and challenging her caregiver authority. Don’t worry about looking like a crazy person, you’re pregnant it’s allowed. I ended up having a meltdown in her office when I was 30 weeks where I basically told her she sucked. Then I probably looked like a crazy. Whoops, my bad.

But even in the darkest days I was excited.  Just as I began to think I couldn’t take any more of the nausea, food aversions, and sensitivity to familiar smells it went away. I have a theory that there must be some memory loss that occurs after pregnancy otherwise women wouldn’t get pregnant again just to avoid the first trimester symptoms.

Some essentials to make it through this trimester
  1.  Information Sites/Books/Apps-Get the Baby Center App, and sign up for the What to Expect When You’re Expecting emails. They will fill your need for information and will give you something to read when you can’t sleep because you are up wondering how you will first give birth to human life, and then take care of it without messing up. What to Expect When You’re Expecting the book wasn’t my favorite, I found the format weird, and I hate how it assumes everyone is heterosexual and married.
  2.  Crackers -for when you can’t eat anything else, I know there are nutritional considerations to keep in mind. But if the only thing you can keep down is a bowl of cup o’ noodles don’t beat yourself up.  
  3. Ice chips- Will help calm the stomach when you can’t eat anything else and you will need to find a beverage to ease your stomach. For me it was ice chips and ginger ale.
  4. Belly Band-This will help when your clothes start to feel snug, this band will extend the life of your wardrobe. Prices vary but Target ones will do you just fine, my dear. Trust me you don't want to blow the budget as there are many more expenses ahead.
  5. Oil or some product to put on your belly. It will get itchy when your skin starts to stretch and it may get uncomfortable. I bought Burt’s Bees, Mama Bee Body Oil. It smells pretty and doesn’t break the bank.
  6. A partner who is willing to put up with you. One night I was having the fever like chills I mentioned above and just couldn’t deal anymore. My BD rubbed my back and held me till I fell asleep without me even asking him too. So sweet, if I were him I would have run for the hills a long time ago.
  7.  Friends who will listen to you complain. My closest friends don’t have kids, I’m sure it isn’t easy to see your friend transform into a person who only talks about nausea and babies. They have hung in there.
  8. Other moms. You need people who will assure you that you will get through these few weeks.

    Baby announcement we sent out electronically
Second Trimester- I/You can do this!
The 2nd trimester was so much easier and some days I didn’t even feel pregnant and I had a cute little bump that was a physical manifestation of the life growing inside me. Also I could eat again, I was still a bit fatigued but in no way as much as the first trimester.

Also this is when you get to find out if you’re having a boy or a girl! We found out it was a boy, Baby Daddy (BD) got (secretly) teary eyed I’m sure. I had a feeling all along it was a boy so I just said, ‘” I told you so!” I still can’t believe it; I’m going to have a little man. My cup runneth over. I still wore heels but towards the end I started losing my balance and started feeling like I couldn’t get off the couch.  I could still wear most of my clothes, with the use of a belly band.

Things you should do this trimester:
  1. Sign up for your Classes- hospital tour, maternity classes, baby care classes. They fill up quickly and I found myself scrambling to get everything scheduled. Your hospital probably offers some but there are private classes that you can choose to invest in as well. If you know you want a hypnobirth or want to use a doula you should look into that  right way to find the right classes and the right person to work with. 
  2. Choose Your Baby Gear- it is definitely overwhelming. You will soon become immersed in a world of swaddlers, co-sleepers and all these other objects that once seemed like things women living on other planets needed because you were too busy at happy hour. I remember going to Babies r’ Us with my older sister the stay at home mom and I took one look at all the crap they sell and thought, there’s no way babies need this and get me out of here I am bored. Clearly, I had a lot of research to do on this front. In order to get acquainted with the baby gear, I looked at prego bloggers who were stylish as I figured they would know about all the cool baby gear. I like Veronika Blushing and she frequently links to other moms. Scary Mommy is funny too!  I looked at what they bought, I looked at registries my friends put together to compare and contrast prices, best products etc. Mine is on Babies r’ Us and it took extensive research and planning. I like to shop so I will admit this part was fun for me. There’s a ton of info you don’t have to start from scratch. I did the registry not necessarily because I think everyone is going to buy it all for me but because it was a way to keep inventory of what I want/need.
    essential Kate Spade diaper bag
    First Baby Boy Gift! True story, didn't know what these were. They are tipee cups! To avoid from having your baby boy pee on you. Yes, it's a whole new world.
  3.  Invest in Pillows- I’m cheap about random things, pillows being one these things. But don’t try to save on this end. You will need pillows to find comfort for your growing belly. Pillows between your legs help, extra pillows on your back will help get you comfortable. When all else fails you have something to throw at the wall when you are in your third trimester and you cannot sleep in any position.
  4. Read some baby books- I didn’t read a ton but I read a few that caught my attention. Raising Bebe was an interesting read, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child has good information on how to get your baby to sleep etc. and what do if you get a fussy baby. Frankly it is very overwhelming but you have to figure out how to take care of the baby eventually. Still need to check out Happiest Baby on the Block as I hear it has great techniques. See above where I recommend you to sign up for baby care classes this trimester. The classes help put it all together for you.
  5. Research and Make Some Decisions- I don’t subscribe to theory that you need to figure this all out ASAP. But you have to put some thoughts into certain things such as: will you breastfeed? What type of birth do you want? You are entitled to change your mind about this but think about it and read up on everything as it will help inform what’s on your registry, what type of child birth classes you take etc. For me some of these things were instinctual. I knew I wanted to breastfeed and I knew I wanted to plan to have the least amount of interventions during childbirth (let’s see how that goes!) Talk to your partner about all this. I am not the kind of person to reach out for help, I realize that needs to change. Talk to other moms, read the message boards if you need to. This is not the time to turn inward.
  6. Just make a to-do list- start to tackle it one at a time. Trust me when your third trimester comes you will not be up for furniture moving to accommodate for the baby. What, you don’t know where your baby will sleep? Think about it now.
Stay Tuned for Updates on my 3rd Trimester! Yay!