Monday, July 25, 2011

27 weeks

These weeks are going by faster all the time - yikes! 13 weeks to go...

Weight Gain: Roundabout 18 pounds. I seem to be maintaining a pound-a-week gain, even when I have days like these last few super-hot days when I feel like I'm not eating much. I think this is just what we're doing, and I'm (mostly) OK with that. My legs are going to be super strong from hauling all this weight around!

Symptoms: Does "can't handle heat AT ALL" count as a symptom? The heat this past week was just oppressive, and walking a few blocks made me feel exhausted/dizzy. Also, occasionally, my left hip bone feels like it wants to exit my body via my butt cheek, which isn't the most comfortable feeling. This is what the prenatal yoga lady refers to as "increased flexibility due to hormonal changes".

Cravings/Aversions: Iced drinks - this has nothing to do with pregnancy - is all I want to consume. I feel a little bit like I'm getting some of the "meh" feeling about food back that I lost at the end of the first trimester - some days, food doesn't interest me, and then I feel a little queasy when my stomach is empty. But it's a billion degrees, so is that just because I'm hot?

I am loving: The air conditioner and the Snoogle - no way I would sleep without those two things - AND our new box spring, which we got so we could toss our old IKEA bed frame before the big move. So I'm loving anything that helps me sleep.

I miss: Being able to bend forward easily.

I'm looking forward to: Being finished with moving. We started packing weeks ago, and I feel like we've been living in transitional mess FOREVER (we kind of have, since the beginning of June...). Good lord, do I want to just have a neat, organized living space that doesn't have crap sitting everywhere. It's maddening.

I'm freaked out about: The actual process of moving. Our landlord was a little too chill about letting us know when exactly the prior tenants will be out, so there's that, but I'm also already frustrated with my lack of heavy lifting abilities. Note to self: in the future, avoid moving when pregnant, if at all possible.

Milestones: Depending on whom you ask, I'm in the third trimester. Didn't I just find out I'm knocked up? Crazy.

Movement: Frequent and stronger all the time. He makes my whole belly jiggle sometimes. Every night when I lie down to sleep, he does this crazy rapid-fire kicking in my side which, while still entertaining, makes me wonder how sleep is going to go down in a month or so, and last night I swear he was doing his own version of the Three Stooges running around in a circle on the floor move after I got up to pee at 4am. Sometimes it just feels WEIRD. And I kind of think he knows that. Can they laugh at their mom at 6 months' gestation? I wonder.

Exercise: It's so hot out that walking a few blocks is too much for me. I've done a half hour of yoga each evening when I can (at the end of which - and this is pretty low-key yoga - I've been POURING sweat), and I'm trying to do all my Bradley exercises every day, though there are a million of them. When we were on our anniversary trip I got to go swimming, which was wonderful. Can't wait for after we move when we'll have a community pool nearby, because being neck-deep in water is very appealing these days.

Diet: I'm still aiming for lots of protein, and the heat has both restricted how much I eat and encouraged me to drink a LOT of water, so I'm doing pretty well without trying much.

Something nice: This week seems to have marked the passing of a critical belly-size point. Just today a stranger asked me on the elevator: "how far along are you?" and a bank teller I see only occasionally said, "Are you having a baby?" Before now, folks would look, but not say anything, so I've clearly passed the "too much beer" look and have shifted into "great with child". Both women told me I look great, which made me feel good. Folks, always tell a pregnant lady she looks great. It's something we need to hear, and since I'm so suggestible these days I saw my reflection later and thought, "hey, I do look great!" - which I guarantee wouldn't have been my thinking without that outside input.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oh, and I finished grad school

I've alluded a couple of times to the Week from Somewhere, but didn't say much beyond that. It was an emotional roller-coaster. In an attempt to get it all out of my head, I'm detailing that week here. Hopefully this will help me feel less melancholy about, well, the melancholy parts:

Monday (June 6): Corina the cat, after a very hot weekend when we thought she was just lethargic and thirsty from the heat, is clearly feeling unwell, so I insist that DH take her to the vet on what was supposed to be his day off. He agrees and takes her in. She has bad kidneys so we all (DH, me, and the vet) presume it's another kidney infection. Lots of samples (blood, urine) are taken, antibiotics are prescribed, and they go home. We'll get the results Wednesday. By evening Corina seems a little perked up, probably from the subcutaneous fluids she was given at the vet, and our suspicions of another of these annoying infections seem confirmed. Life with a special-needs cat, that's all. We have to give her oral antibiotics twice a day, but DH and I have a pretty good system down.

Tuesday (June 7): The Big Ultrasound. We get to the hospital in plenty of time and actually get in to the ultrasound room early. For the first 20 minutes or so of the exam, I can't see the screen at all, so I watch DH's face as he looks at the screen. This makes me fall in love with my husband all over again, as his face changes from delight, to awe, to pure interest. At one point he indicates to me that he can see the kid's beating heart. In the middle of things, the ultrasound tech shouts, "It's a boy!" and we both yell: "Really?". She turns the screen to show me the proof. DH and I had both half-thought this baby was a girl, so we're surprised, but we're excited nonetheless. Everything looks good and he's looking a little big for his gestational age, which isn't much of a surprise - DH is a tall man, and I was a large baby. We leave with a few grainy pictures to show our families. We're excited about our son. Our SON. OUR son. Woah.

Wednesday (June 8): The Very Bad Day. I wake up super early and kind of anxious. When I walk out to the living room, Corina is clearly uncomfortable, as she had been Tuesday, but maybe a little worse. Her usual sweet meow has changed to something more shrill - more of a cry - and she doesn't really eat or drink when I give her food or water. I'm worried the antibiotics aren't working as quickly as they usually do - she's never refused water before. I try to work on my thesis defense presentation, but my mind is everywhere. I take a walk at 6am and feel bad about how slow I feel. I spend some time just sitting on the floor with Corina, trying to get her to eat a little wet cat food. Finally, I leave for work.

When I'm at work, DH calls me and randomly picks a fight, which should have been a huge red flag that something else is going on, but I don't get it. Then he calls me an hour later to tell me the vet just called and the news is not just bad, it's terrible. Corina's kidneys are completely shutting down. His earlier crankiness had been because his daily companion was clearly deteriorating before his eyes. We both cry, for the first of many times that day.

What was supposed to be my lone normal day of work that week turned in to one of the saddest days of our life together. DH picks me up and I ride in the back seat with Corina - just like we did on the day we adopted her - and the three of us go to the vet. She is so weak when we get there that she can't really stand. We're there for hours, mulling over the options, but ultimately there is only one clear choice: We have to put our sweet friend to sleep. It all happened so quickly. She was only 3 years old. We decide we'll bury her in Michigan, at my in-laws' house, because that was her "vacation home". So I drive there, in a numb auto-pilot fog, as we intermittently pull ourselves together and then fall apart sobbing all over again. DH digs a grave in the waning daylight while I call my brother, one of the only people I know who will completely understand. Then, with my brother-in-law (who loved her, too) looking on, we bury her with a few of her favorite toys, right next to her beloved screened-in porch. We cry and cry and cry.

Thursday, (June 9): We wake up early in Michigan after a terrible night's sleep. I make a little coffee, and then we hit the road to get back to Chicago. Today should have been exciting for both of us: it's DH's last day teaching as a grad student, and the day of my master's thesis defense. The End of Graduate School for both of us. These things still happen, but we're both in something of a state of shock. The thesis defense actually goes quite well: I stammer through the first couple of minutes, and then my brain shifts in to academic gear and the planned 30-minute defense turns in to an interesting hour-long discussion with my advisor. I pass. Like that, I'm finished with graduate school.

Partly to celebrate and partly because neither of us can stand being in our too-empty apartment for long, we go out for sushi at a local place we've never tried before. We manage to have a nice time together, even though everything has an undertone of sadness. Corina was supposed to be part of this new life, after grad school. She was going to be the pet who taught our kid (our son!) about how to live with animals. We knew she wouldn't live as long as other cats, but I had always thought that would mean we'd have seven or eight good years with her, at least. Not just-over-two.

Despite that, the sushi is good and so is the conversation. Through the whole week, DH and I had each other, at least, and it feels good to celebrate that.

Friday (June 10): A midwife appointment. I actually lost weight over the course of the stressful week, and the midwife tells me to take care of myself - but also not to eat too much. After the way the rest of the week went, this normal (and fairly short) appointment feels nice. All looks well with the ultrasound, though there were a couple of things they couldn't see clearly so I have the option of going back again. We get to hear the kid's heartbeat again, which is always a treat.

I spend the rest of the day trying to do the work I was going to do Wednesday. Thinking takes longer than usual and I'm not very productive.

Saturday (June 11): DH's graduation day. His parents meet us at our apartment and we all walk together to campus. There are two ceremonies and a catered box lunch in between: the day of pomp and ceremony lasts from 8:30am to nearly 4:00pm. My in-laws come back to our apartment with us, afterward, and I am utterly spent. DH's mother orders me to take a nap and she doesn't have to twist my arm - I pass out for a half hour in our bedroom. DH dozes in a living room chair while his parents wash up dishes and tidy things up around our apartment, which, after the week we had, looks like it's occupied by a pack of lunatics. A couple of weeks later, I am still finding dishes in random cupboards, and it keeps reminding me of their kindness.

We all wake ourselves and head to a pizza parlor, where we are met by my parents and many of DH's extended family for a celebratory dinner. The naps did us good, and we both enjoy ourselves. I sit across the table from our adorable 18-month-old cousin who enjoys it when I make faces at him. We pass around the ultrasound pictures, and the family toasts our successes with good pizza and good beer (though I have root beer, of course).

We get home that evening in time to watch our favorite Saturday night B-movie feature, and while we're watching the TV, the baby starts kicking. I grab DH's hand and place it on my belly, and after a moment he gets a good kick. First contact! DH laughs. It's a reassuring end to a week that would have been tiring and stressful anyway, if it hadn't also held a family tragedy.

One element I left out was the one that made me feel like whoever wrote this script made it a little heavy-handed: the manila envelopes. At the ultrasound that Tuesday, the tech gave us our printed out ultrasound pictures in a small manila envelope - a 4x8 inch size or so. When we were at the vet's office on Wednesday, the vet tech handed us an envelope that was exactly the same, but it contained the bill for euthanasia and a pamphlet about how to cope with the death of a pet. DH tried to look at the contents of that envelope while we were still there, but he began crying as soon as he saw the paperwork. I put the envelope away. For the next few days when we were home, we had two unmarked manila envelopes floating around our apartment: one contained exciting information about our future, the other a depressing reminder of what we'd just lost. I finally took the sad envelope contents out and put that envelope away with our stationery. Then I labeled the happy envelope.

DH's reaction to the paperwork was similar to mine when I had to sign a statement about how we would handle Corina's remains. She was still alive, and she was inches away from me when I signed what felt, to me, like her death warrant. Like a good kid of attorneys, I read the whole paper, but when I picked up the pen to sign I was overwhelmed with grief and had to take a moment, apologizing to the vet tech who was just doing her job.

Something about the paperwork, I guess, made the hazy nightmare feel much more real.

So that was The Week. I'm thankful that DH and I were both able to successfully finish our graduate programs, and I'm very grateful that our baby looks to be developing well. But most days, I also just really miss my cat. And I don't think anything will fix that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

25 weeks

I like doing these every two weeks, as I'm clearly not one of those super-bloggers who can keep up a weekly habit of this.

Weight Gain: Roughly 15 pounds. According to the midwife, I gained 5 pounds in the last month - but I had actually lost weight just before my last appointment on account of stress, so I think I've been gaining about a pound a week. Depending on whom you ask, this is: a) perfectly healthy, b) terrible and I'm a cow. Since I'm eating pretty well and getting fairly consistent exercise, I'm going to subscribe to A. I'm getting used to the idea that I'll be gaining at least 25 pounds in this whole process, and likely more than that.

Symptoms: Bigger belly. Bigger kicks! I think I'm getting tired more easily these days, too, but that may be in part because of the heat lately.

Cravings/Aversions: Still nothing too strong, though I still don't like the idea of canned mushrooms. I'm going out of my way to get a lot of protein, though, per the Bradley method class direction, and I kind of think that's keeping my cravings to a minimum. I'm eating a lot of Greek yogurt, which might cover any calcium-related cravings I may have had.

I am loving: My new Snoogle body pillow. I can sleep through the night again! I was waking up at least three to four times a night before, unable to get comfortable. A couple of times my hips were just aching me awake. We got the Snoogle last weekend, and the first night I had it I slept for 8 hours straight. I was in a mild state of shock. I'm also (still) loving our air conditioner, which also definitely helps sleep. A lot.

I miss: Being able to roll over/sit up without having to think about it. I know I'm going to look back in about 10 weeks and laugh at myself, because I'm going to get much bigger.

I'm looking forward to: Anniversary/Babymoon/Vacation with DH!

I'm freaked out about: Making Real Decisions. This includes choosing big items like a crib and a car seat, as well as choosing bigger items like... a name.

Milestones: We passed the point of "viability", which I'm keeping in quotation marks because it's way too early for this kid to get born. But this does mean that if I deliver at any point from here on out, the medical community will make every effort to save the kid. Child, let's make things easy for the medical community and wait until October, OK? Thanks.

Movement: Yes, indeed. I've been told I should start to notice patterns, but I haven't yet, at least not in terms of time of the day. The kiddo tends to move around a lot when I'm hungry, or when I've just eaten something, or when I'm lying down and trying to go to sleep. Kicks are getting stronger - my belly moves now sometimes, with good strong kicks - but they aren't keeping me awake just yet.

Exercise: I've been pretty good about walking, and am squatting all the time, per Bradley method instruction (this helps my legs feel less burn-y, so there's an incentive). I'm doing a lot of the other Bradley exercises pretty regularly, too. Did yoga twice in the past week, as well.

Diet: Protein, protein, protein. It's supposed to help prevent preeclampsia, which is one of my bigger pregnancy fears. After a week of eating a high-protein diet, I had a midwife appointment and she said my blood pressure was "beautiful" - the lowest it had been in months - so I'm hoping all the protein had something to do with that. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat some Greek yogurt.