Monday, June 27, 2011

23 weeks

The last few weeks have been utterly nuts, for the most part. DH and I are just catching our breaths. I had some other posts in the works, but life happened with a vengeance and there's some stuff I'm just not ready to write about yet. In the meantime, though, I persist in being pregnant - happily, none of the drama/tears/exhaustion was related to the babe, for which I'm very, very grateful - so here's a look at that:

Weight Gain: 13+ pounds... which means I've gained about a pound a week the past few weeks. Slow it down, hoss!!

Symptoms: frequent hunger, growing belly, weird burning thigh issue. I think I need more sleep these days, too, and my sleep at night has been lighter, partly because rolling over is becoming more of a chore than a natural maneuver. I haven't gotten up in the middle of every night to pee, but it's becoming more common. I've also had a couple moments of nausea, which I hadn't felt since week 12 or so.

Cravings/Aversions: I just want food, though protein - especially peanut butter or yogurt - is always a plus. The idea of canned mushrooms still sounds gross. I fully expect that to last for the duration.

I am loving: that when folks ask, "How are you feeling?" I can honestly say, "pretty good!" Also, I love that we got a window air conditioner unit for our bedroom (thanks, Mom and Dad!). The highs in the UPPER 90s later this week will make me even more grateful, methinks.

I miss: Running, especially in the early mornings when it's not hot yet and everything feels fresh outside. This time last year I was in the throes of triathlon training, which was fun. I'm tempted to start waking up earlier (since my brain seems to want to be up at 5am anyway) to take early-morning walks so I can experience that pre-hot day feeling. That would possibly still be nice.

I'm looking forward to: Taking an anniversary road trip with DH in a few weeks, and then moving to our new apartment a couple weeks after that! July will be crazy, though hopefully in a very different way than June has been.

I'm freaked out about: Um, actually having this child. Not the birth so much (OK, a little about that) as the lifelong 24/7 commitment afterward...

Milestones: DH got to feel a kick for the first time on June 11, the day of his graduation. We were both flopped on the futon after a long day (the end of the most challenging week of our lives together - no exaggeration) and I grabbed his hand and put it on my belly. Thanks, kiddo. You made us both smile when we really, really needed it.

Movement: Much more frequent and much stronger - I'm cutting back down on my caffeine intake so I don't get kicked so hard. DH has felt movement several times now, which is fun.

Exercise: After The Week From Somewhere (June 6-11) and then a weird week off traveling with my parents, I'm back to taking long walks and doing occasional yoga. Also: I've started doing some of the exercises for the Bradley method, which I think is the childbirth method we're going with. Those aren't very strenuous, though.

Diet: I'm not concerned about what I'm eating - mostly fruits, veggies, whole grains (um... well, carbs of every description), lean protein (OK, and at least one dessert every day - sweets are so tasty!) - but how much. I need to work on portion control.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Halfway there

I am now 20 weeks pregnant, which means I'm halfway there, give or take (I've technically only been pregnant about 18 weeks, and I could go as far along as 42 weeks, but let's not split hairs here).

I think I'll do one of those question and answer type thingies for this milestone.

Weight Gain: 9-10 pounds, depending on the day. Basically right on track, I think.

Symptoms: My midsection seems to be protruding... hehe. Other than that "symptom", I've been hungry (which I've mentioned) and my thighs occasionally start burning terribly. There's a long story with that: basically I had pinched nerves in my legs that rendered my upper thighs numb during my adolescence, and about a month ago they started to un-pinch and I have feeling where I haven't had feeling in about 14 years. Sometimes that feeling is YOWWWCH. Fortunately I've figured out some stretches that help alleviate this. It's an unexpected annoyance, but I'll take it over nausea/insomnia/spotting/Mad Cow Disease/pretty much anything else bad.

Cravings/Aversions: I haven't had many specific cravings; food in general just sounds good. Except canned mushrooms, still. So: no real cravings, one weird aversion.

I am loving: this stage. I'm not huge, I have most of my energy back, I generally sleep through the night, and people can tell I'm pregnant just by looking at me, which leads to things like folks holding the door for me or offering me a seat. That's nice.

I miss: Not gonna lie, on hot days an ice-cold alcoholic beverage sounds really good. I'm being creative with alternatives, but I think I might ask for a White Russian once I've birthed this child.

I'm looking forward to: learning the gender. And getting the anatomy scan to see how the kid's doing in there.

I'm freaked out about: Well, "freaked out" is a strong word, but I think this month we need to start putting together a registry and make a childbirth-class plan. We didn't really have much of a baby-related to-do list before now, so concrete prepare-for-a-child stuff is a little daunting.

Milestones: Halfway there! And baby is the length of a banana now! Also: we found a place to move for the fall, which is sort of baby-related, as that will be baby's first home. Crazy.

Movement: Yes, I'm starting to feel the occasional kick/bump/flutter a few times a day. They're still pretty faint, but at this point I'm not mistaking it for gas or anything. It usually happens shortly after I eat, so there's just another motivation to eat.

Exercise: I've been doing fairly well this week, considering the amount of thesis work that's gotten crammed in: walking at least a couple of miles most days. I've only done yoga once in the last week, so I need to do that more often. The whole leg-burning thing happens less if I'm doing regular yoga.

Diet: ehh... I'm doing OK here. I got back in to the Green Monster groove this week, and have been adding whole milk kefir to the shakes, which makes them much higher in protein and super-creamy - so breakfasts have been great. I've been terrible about both the timing and the content of lunches and really need to get back in to packing a lunch every day. DH's schedule is calming down and he's offered to make me lunch in the morning, because he's awesome.

So I'm feeling pretty good, overall. On to the second half! I predict less nausea and secrets, more weight gain and comments from random strangers than the first half.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My face is up here

I was never one of those women who were, shall we say, overly endowed in the chest region. (My high school friends, the guys, once made an illustration of the group of us as Robin Hood characters, and my title was "Maid VeryFlat". It was pretty hilarious.) I do have a bit of a rear end, which was something I needed to learn to live with when I worked in an inner-city neighborhood, but if I'm facing someone, they tend to look me in the eye.

Or at least they did, until a few weeks ago.

The size of my mammaries has increased impressively, but that's not what folks are looking at. They're checking out the belly. As I move toward the halfway-mark of this pregnancy, I have certainly "popped": there's no hiding what I've got going on in my midsection. And people have a tendency to look. I don't mind this - I certainly notice when other pregnant women walk by - but it does take some getting used to.

I've also noticed there are different types of looks.

DH, of course, is in his own category of belly-looking. He can't help but rub the belly and smile at it, and he keeps talking about how he's looking forward to feeling a kick someday soon. He tells me daily that the belly is cute, which makes me melt some days and just makes me feel better other days (because, fascinating as the process is, there are days when I am not feeling "cute"). His unabashed enjoyment of the belly is just nice.

Other people who know me, like relatives, friends, or coworkers, take glances at the belly that I'd describe as affectionate : these are folks who are looking forward to meeting the kid who's making this bump happen, and who are excited about watching me and DH become parents.

I don't mind these looks at all. Occasionally, they've been accompanied by touch, but a friendly pat from someone I know or the loving touch of this child's father are welcome. So far I haven't had strangers touching me, and I'm not sure how that will make me feel when it happens.

But I have had strangers looking, and these looks can run the gamut.

The most common and innocuous look so far is the quiet-smile look. Thus far I've noticed this look is a bit divided along gender lines. If I'm walking down the sidewalk and a woman passes me going the other way, she'll generally take a gander at the belly and then make quick eye contact with a brief smile as we both continue on our way. Men tend to eschew the eye contact, but not the smile - I've had a few moments where I've seen a guy just smiling away at my belly.

I always try to imagine what these people are thinking, and my guess is that women who make eye contact have possibly gone through pregnancy themselves or are close with another woman who has, and they instinctively give that little smile of support to an expectant mother because they've been there and they know it's not all rainbows and gumdrops, sister. I get more of a sense from the men that they're perhaps recalling a pregnant woman they know, maybe the mother of their own kids. With those men, the smile is often more of an inward reflection than an outward interaction.

I don't mind any of these looks. I enjoy making people smile.

Then there are... the other looks. So far this has happened to me only once, but it made my skin crawl.

I've established that men tend not to make eye contact with me if they're looking at my belly. But there's a stark difference between the man who just took a glance at my baby bump and is briefly thinking of a mother or a baby he cares about, and a man who is leering at my belly and thinking of... well, I try not to ponder it too much. I was walking out of the grocery store last week when a man who was leaning on a garbage can (already klassy!) got a good look at me and was clearly enjoying some impure thoughts. Iccccchh... I kind of felt like I needed to take a shower.

I guess it makes sense if you're a total pervert: We all know what must have happened a few months ago for me to have this bump. But... really? Can't we think about the baby? Or about anything else? Or at least keep our lip-smacking leers to ourselves? Why you gotta skeeve this up, dude?

Oh, well, if the ratio is roughly one icky look to 40 nice looks, I guess I'll take it. But no guarantees I won't hit the next gross-looker with my bag of groceries. The one that's full of cans.