Monday, September 30, 2013

Side Bump, 28 weeks, 3 days

By popular demand (from all 3 of you) - and because I am a dolt who clearly didn't read the memo or take the cue from literally-every-other-pregnant-woman-on-the-interwebs, here is the much asked for SIDE SHOT:

Please note the very attractive dog bed in the background, the unmade human bed in the foreground and 
the totally awkward placement of my left hand. Ansel Adams over here.

P.S. While I was off folding countless dinosaur onesies gifted by my in laws being a bad, neglectful blogger, it appears the rest of you were getting knocked up. Huge congrats to Sadie at Invincible Spring and Kimberly at No Good Eggs!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

weight for it, 27 weeks, 5 days

Spoiler: I do not have gestational diabetes. <collective sigh of relief and DEEP RESENTMENT FOR MY UNNECESSARY SUFFERING>.

Which provides the most obvious, natural and totally-not-cumbersome-at-all transition to today’s inspired discussion: pregnancy fitness and weight gain.

Otherwise titled: why every pregnancy book seems to want me to go bowling.

Ah, pregnancy fitness. Pregnancy weight gain. Pregnancy shape and body image. Let’s just all hold hand and sing kumbaya[1], shall we? <deep breath>.

When I was struggling with infertility, I used to make bold proclamations – if I could just get pregnant, I wouldn’t care what the physical cost was; I wouldn’t care if I had to spend 9 months projectile vomiting, on bed rest; I wouldn’t care if I gained 85 lbs and was never able to see my toes again; I wouldn’t care if all my hair fell out and my entire body was riddled with gestational acne. Just get that baby in me[2]!

Of course, as with most reckless proclamations and appeals to the universe, reality was slightly different. The first trimester was a nauseated mess of an affair, full of bland carbohydrates and sea bands and shingles and mystifying rashes. It was also a time of completely disrupted exercise because TIRED! and NAUSEATED! and did-I-mention-I’m-creating-human-life-over-here?!

I slept, I ate a lot of spaghetti, I took a reckless backpacking adventure on a deserted island, then I ate a lot of potato salad. For good measure. And then, because of it all, I gained nearly 15% of my body weight in 21 weeks. I was, ahem, a bit of an overachiever on the early weight gain front.

Let me be clear: I was and still am very happy to be pregnant. But, simultaneously, for the first time in all the joy and the surrealness and disbelief, I was also uncomfortable. My sudden it-appears-she-has-eaten-many-burritos gut, while a nice reminder of my freshman year of college, was new and strange. My relationship with food and exercise was upended and I began to envision my future 85-lbs-heavier-never-sees-her-toes-again self.

Meanwhile, everyone wanted to talk to me about pregnancy fitness. My downstairs neighbor, who just delivered twins, cornered me on every occasion to EXTOL the virtues of pregnancy swimming. Buoyancy! Weightlessness! Wearing a bikini! My fellow pre-natal-yoga attendees Рmost of whom were much further along than I Рprovided carefree and almost blas̩ accounts of their practice of Bikram until they were basically 39 weeks and pushing. A colleague of mine Рapparently limited in the benefits of self-awareness Рyammered on about how amazing it was that she had three kids and no stretch marks and it was all because of genetics some convoluted pregnancy exercise regimen that I could never quite pin down. And then there were the books and websites. For reasons that are beyond me Рand likely have to do with the endlessly entertaining image of a pregnant woman rolling a bowling ball that might aswell be under her shirt[3] Рevery book and pregnancy website devoted an unusual amount of type to assuring pregnant women everywhere that BOWLING WHILE PREGNANT IS TOTALLY FINE. SERIOUSLY WE SWEAR!

Falling under “sports you may want more information about” (because, okay?) Your Pregnancy Week by Week offers the following gem of wisdom: “Bowling is OK (caps in original). As balance changes, bowling could be more difficult for you.” I’m pretty sure that the normally-sane-and-not-bananas Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy even devotes space to this hot-button issue[4]. And I’m not even going down the rabbit hole of internet pregnant-whilebowling tirades. See here, here and seriously, how could I not mention Yahoo Answers, HERE.

But where was I?

Body. Weight. Fitness. Right. Well, a funny thing happened at about 18 weeks: I started to feel like myself again. Vegetables were appealing; I returned to working out regularly; I no longer felt like I had been hit by a truck, I began (mostly) sleeping through the night, etc.

And then, after rapid early weight gain and not having made any dramatic changes – save returning to how I ate, exercised and (more-or-less-plus-heartburn) felt pre-pregnancy – I completely by accident went four weeks without gaining any weight and am now being admonished to shovel whole eggs and cans of tuna down my gullet. Well then.

I guess my point is this <brace yourselves we’re going deep>. The ebb and flow of pregnancy weight gain is not an exact science. Sure, if your body is a body that follows the book of all things pregnancy, you should be gaining about a pound a week at this point. But my body – and if I had to guess, most bodies – don’t work that way. My own ebb and flow and trying to give my body what it wants – which, in the first trimester was basically pad thai, potato salad, and sour gummy peaches[5] – has also been a reminder to trust that my body actually knows what it needs – something of a Sisyphean struggle for anyone who has struggled to get pregnant.

But here I am. Thinking creatively about how to incorporate 70 ever-loving grams of protein into my diet and contemplating whether or not to take up bowling.

Snapped haphazardly as I was running out the door to work yesterday.
(Professional photog in the making, obvs.)

[1] Listen, I didn’t know there was such a thing as “Kumbaya BabyTV” either. But now we’re both better off because of it. Is that a flying octopus?
[2] Like so.
[3] Because apparently someone would want to buy this photo?
[4] I refuse to buy What to Expect When You’re Expecting because that particular breed of fear-mongering is too much even for me.
[5] I’m not proud, but I am honest.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

sugar showdown, 26 weeks, 6 days

The gestational diabetes test is a shame – not because it’s a bullshit test[1] that requires a pregnant woman to needlessly suffer[2] – but because it comes during this magical time in your pregnancy[3]. This time when, all of a sudden, the stars begin to align. The nausea has (almost totally) dissipated. You’re back to waking only once or twice a night to pee, rather than the 9-12 times of yore. You’ve begun to feel much more like a human being (albeit rounder), rather than the emotional-sexless-ravenous-nauseated-train-wreck of trimesters pasts. You’re even starting to appear pregnant in a way that says glowing! rather than in a way that says I-just-ate-several-burritos-and-need-to-unbutton completely-take-off-my-pants. What I mean to say is that, at least for me, starting around five months, things started to feel pretty good. Sure, there was the occasional nighttime leg cramp – oh, the shrillness of my screams! – and my first Braxton-Hicks experience – must-stop-moving-and-stand-VERY-VERY-STILL – and heartburn, obviously and always. But overall, I was feeling good. Like, almost really good.

That is, until <drums!> the test to end all tests: THE. GREAT. GLUCOSE. CHALLENGE.
Simply put, the gestational diabetes test boils down to this:

one part 12 hour fast + one part 2 hour test + one horrendous bottle of orange-fizzy-cough-syrup-that-a-well-meaning-phlebotomist-will-assure-you-tastes-just-like-gatorade! + a million needle sticks + one seriously overdramatic, dizzy and nauseated pregnant lady – I’m creating a human life here, people! = an entire morning of unfettered joy/shiny happy people dancing/bliss[4]!

[Spoiler alert: here’s where I make it seem so-unsimple and so-very-overdramatic].

When I arrived at the office, the woman at the front desk, searching for the right word and at first not realizing the depths of her well-placed irony, asked me “did you starve?” before correcting herself and confirming that I fasted. I probably laughed too hard/too long/too maniacally at the accuracy of her initial inquiry. Because yeah. I starved. Because I am six months pregnant and not eating for AN ENTIRE TWELVE HOURS is basically state sanctioned torture. Now checked in, it was time for my first blood letting.

I have to admit, at this point in my life, I thought I was an old pro. Yeah, I have a history of blood-draw-induced-fainting but I really thought that the infertility rollercoaster had shed me of my bad habit. That the incredibly efficient resident blood-letter in the infertility clinic had restored in me a confidence, trust and ease. I mean, shucks, by the end of my infertility clinic tenure, I wasn’t even lying down anymore. I was sitting! Like a person! (With my eyes closed, tightly wringing my hands and in great terror).

All of this is to say that my backslide into blood-drawing-mediocrity was that much harder to swallow. But let me not be the only one to blame: this blood-drawer was not exactly a match made in heaven. When I warned her that I had fainted in the past[5], she grew immediately wary – of both me and her own ability. Points for instilling confidence? Check! During the first blood draw, she announced that “blood is going back in your arm and under your skin, hmmm”. To round things out, she removed the needle and confirmed what I was already feeling “there’s a lot of blood still coming out!” Super. Let’s all just close our eyes and go to our happy place

Luckily, blood draw number one was followed by my first refreshment of the morning. A Sunny D size bottle of NOTHING-BUT-ORANGE-SUGAR[6]. After dry heaving/gulping it down, I wandered aimlessly into the waiting room where, in a fit of nausea and sudden post-fasting-sugar-rush, it’s possible that I may have taken a brief nap.

An hour later, blood draw number two and an entire hour after that, the hat trick: blood draw number three. Let’s just cut to the chase. Blood draw number three was a bust: I fainted <takes bow> and the tech only managed to eek out half a tube. She assured me that it would suffice. And I, even in my delirious state, nodded in agreement, though DEEPLY TERRIFIED of having to repeat this whole affair again if we were wrong.

The rest of the day is something of a blur. I stumbled in to work where I proceeded to try to eat like a ravenous-but-still-nauseated human being, while alternately dazed in debilitating a kind of head-on-desk-sugar-stupor. It was all very dramatic – and TOTALLY NOT A BIG DEAL IN THE SCHEME OF THINGS. But I’m never one to downplay a good bloodletting. Plus, I am again reminded how charming it is to have the forearms of a heroin addict. Thankfully this particular shade of purple-blue compliments many of my outfits.

*Fingers crossed that I don’t actually have gestational diabetes.* Because that might actually be kind of a bummer.

[1] Totally not licensed to play a doctor. Not even on the internet. So let me be clear: the gestational diabetes test is REALLY IMPORTANT. Now I will ceaselessly complain about it.
[2] I am nothing if not overdramatic.
[3] A funny thing happens when you Google image search “pregnancy magic.” No, seriously, watch that. I’ll wait. <patiently waiting>.
[4] This just felt… right?
[5] Mistake number one.
[6] This woman knows what’s up.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

confirmations of the obvious, 26 weeks, 2 days

So, as it turns out, full time employment is really getting in the way of my blogging habit. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been absent from this space for more than two weeks. <dusting off the ole computer, clearing the cobwebs from my rusty writing brain>. Bear with me while I catch up on all things blog-o-sphere and painfully rekindle some semblance of writing groove. Here we go…

As though I needed additional confirmation that I am (spoiler alert) six and a half months pregnant <brain exploding>, the last few weeks have provided ample reminders. Here, just a few:

(1) Newfound empathy for the aged, frail and morbidly obese
There came a time, probably a couple weeks ago, when all of a sudden I noticed it. When putting on my shoes became a task. When picking something up off the floor became a strained, and laborious chore. When, all at once, I realized that I could no longer bend over – as in, you know, Bending. At the waist. Straight down. Like a capable, functioning human.

Because all at once, I became awkward/waddling/rotund/oh-my-goodness-i-think-i-can-hear-my-round-ligaments-exploding! And in that moment, I shared a special kind of empathy with the more feeble, frail, aged and obese among us. Accordingly, I have alternately begun (a) squatting like some kind of pregnant duck or (more likely) (b) making C do discreet tasks for which I am too lazy everything. <cut to scene of C daintily putting on my dress shoes[1]>

(2) Nesting
Truth be told, this started a long time ago. Like, before I was pregnant and just trying and every subtle twinge anywhere near my pelvis/ovaries/eyeballs was a cue to start painting the nursery. But, conscientious pregnant lady that I am, I’ve been working hard to step up my game, lest I forego an opportunity to spend hours weeks meandering down the vast rabbit holes of the interweb-pinterest-apartment-therapy-craigslist-must-scower-every-baby-item-in-the-universe ness.

So here we are. Scouting mid century modern dressers on Craigslist - and picking them up in the distant suburbs with the help of two incredible friends - and lining the drawers with fox themed shelf paper. Wondering whether I can get away with a wall covered in reclaimed pallet wood. Ordering vintage maps off Etsy and endlessly perusing paint colors. Because, you know, my screaming, pooping infant will appreciate nothing if not my hip, forward thinking sense of style. #parentingwin!

Photography skillz remain, ahem, a work in progress.

(3) Other people
C and I were out for ice cream the other night – because I live to embody every pregnancy stereotype[2] – when the following transpired:

C: have you noticed that woman is smiling at you?

Sarah: <growing discomfort>

C: Seriously, she keeps looking at your belly and just…like…smiling? <perplexed>

Sarah: <quietly now> women smile at me now that I’m pregnant. It’s a thing.

C: Wait, are you serious?

Sarah: <attempts to change subject>

C: Umm, she’s coming over…

Mysterious-30-something-lady-in-line-at-ice-cream-shoppe[3]: <effusive> Oh-my-god-you-are-like-the-most-adorable-pregnant-woman-in-the-world!

Sarah: <UTTER MORTIFICATION/uncomfortable laughter> ... thank you.

Of course, C found this terribly amusing and excellent fodder for future embarrassment. He will now forever respond to questions about how I look with only the following refrain, <mockingly> you are like, the most adorable pregnant woman ever!

*face palm*

(On the other end of the spectrum, one of my particularly earnest students approached me during office hours and mentioned that had I not said it, she never would have noticed that I was six months pregnant. Because I’m compassionate, I immediately docked her grade for poor judgment and insight. Thankfully she recovered last week by complimenting my skinny-legged maternity pants. Flattery, it’s the best form of grade mongering.[4])

(4) La linea nigra![5]
Okay, so, hypothetically, I knew this was a thing. I was, I guess?, vaguely aware that during pregnancy, a dark, vertical line could appear across your ever-expanding-belly, just to, you know, increase the sexy. But vaguely knowing that a thing is existentially possible and even going so far as to acknowledge it by reading the (surprisingly short) Wikipedia page devoted to it, is very, very different from one day noticing that thing, on your own, ever-expanding-belly. Melanocyte-stimulating-hormone, you bastard! *shakes fist*

So. There you have it. Mark my return to the blog-o-sphere with these 4, completely-random-if-you-didn’t-know-you-were-pregnant-you-sure-as-hell-would-know-now, confirmations of the obvious.

What am I missing?

p.s. Because I’m a sucker for peer pressure, I’m contemplating the possibility of a bump page. To showcase my ever expanding gut and also to ensure that my future son will be totally warped by his pre-natal outing on the interwebs. <saving money for therapy now>. Discuss.

[1] Truth: that never happened. A girl can dream, right?
[2] I ordered pickle flavored ice cream, natch.
[3] I’m making an executive decision that all ice cream places are shoppes. Even this one, which is a corporate chain.  It’s just quainter that way.
[4] Kidding! Our grading criteria only include objective measures, like whether or not I like the student. <deadpan>
[5] So, first things first. Every time I say this – which is, often? apparently? – I can’t help but think of La Viuda Negra! Clearly NBC agrees since they made a poorly translated (vaguely racist?) entire website devoted to it.