Week 27

There's no visible belly, but Ben and I took a train ride Sunday. This is my favorite picture.

Ben and I took a train ride Sunday. This is my favorite picture (the belly needed a week off). The conductor looked exactly like Kris Kristofferson.

The Tater Tot: Baby is about 14 inches long from head to toe and weighs a little over two pounds. Apparently, this was a big week for him. He grew about an inch!

Fun Fact: Baby’s taste buds are fairly advanced and should taste my food now. The amniotic fluid can take on the taste of strongly-flavored food, which explains why baby’s bouncing and jumping after my giant bowl of kale and sausage soup last night. Yum!

New This Week: Hiccups! I haven’t noticed any yet, but I read hiccups are very common from here out. I’ll keep you posted.

Awkward: Now that there’s no denying my condition, strangers are exceptionally nice to me. Almost too nice. It’s most awkward at crosswalks. If I even get within five feet of a crosswalk, all traffic ceases. Everyone stops and stares as I try to hustle-waddle my portly self across the street as quickly as possible. I appreciate the kindness, but not the audience. I know everyone is just being nice, so I smile and wave and move as quickly as I can (which is getting slower and slower by the day).

The Name: We’ve been calling him Baby Harry for weeks, so it feels weird not to say it here. I still won’t commit to it being the final name, but it’s the working name.

The Belly: This may be the last week I’m able to wear my work pants. It will be flowing skirts and dresses from here out. The belly button is still an innie, but there’s outward progress.

Workouts: Now that the rainy season has kicked in and walking the dogs is almost impossible (Dougal does not walk in the rain), I was struggling to exercise. So, Ben and I joined a gym this week. I’ve been exercising in the mornings before work, a mix of weights and about 30 minutes on the elliptical. It’s been great. It feels good to be back to a regular routine, even if it means I have to get out of bed at 4:30.

The Bad News: The doctor called yesterday to tell me I have gestational diabetes. It’s fairly common, especially among us chunkier ladies, but it still hit me pretty hard. I think mother’s guilt comes along way before the baby ever makes its first appearance. I honestly feel like a bad mother already. Why did I have Blizzards for dinner those few nights? How could I have stashed Halloween candy in my desk? I made cupcakes last week for god’s sake! I’ve been pretty hard on myself, worried that I’ve already hurt the baby, and feeling awful. I know there’s nothing I can do about the things I did weeks and months ago, but that doesn’t help me feel any better. Ben has been incredibly positive and seems confident everything is fine. But, I’m worried and stressed, which I know is bad for blood sugar. There’s no winning! I can’t see the nutritionist for another two weeks, so I’m reading everything I can, and Ben and I working on meal plans. I want to do everything right from here out. I think I can pick up my blood sugar monitor tomorrow and get started.

What’s Next: Doctors, doctors, and more doctors! The second ultrasound is tomorrow (fingers crossed!) and I’m visiting the midwife every two weeks from here out. So, if you’re looking for me, I’m probably at the clinic. Does everyone need this many appointments? Yeesh! I wonder if they can just get me a room and a cot.

Week 26

Week 26 and Dougal and Otis are losing their favorite lap.

Week 26 and Dougal and Otis are losing their favorite lap.

The Tater Tot: Baby is about 9 inches long from head to rump and weighs two pounds. He might be an eggplant.

Fun Fact: Baby’s nostrils should have opened up last week. He’ll start taking practice breaths and inhaling his amniotic fluid, which he’s still peeing in. Thankfully, I learned in birthing class that the fluid is replenished every 24 hours, so he’s not sitting in pee that’s months old. It’s all fresh-ish pee. That’s a huge relief. All I could picture was a pee-pickled baby.

New This Week: Baby should open his eyes for the first time! There isn’t too much to see in there (I hope), but we should be able to get a reaction by shining a flashlight on my belly. I predict fists of fury, but I’ll keep you posted. Frankly, I didn’t realize light could penetrate my tummy chub that far, but okay.

Awkward: The constipation of the last several months has been replaced by, well, the complete opposite problem. If you see me waddle-sprinting in the direction of the bathroom, just get out of the way. Also, if you smell something off, try not to mention it. I’m sensitive about my farting problem. I can’t help it anyway. These are the breaks.

The Belly: I spent a great deal of time Sunday buying stretchy clothing. My belly can’t handle the pressure of regular clothes, so I plan to live in cotton jersey for the next three months. Flowing skirts, a tent dress, stretchy pants – if the waistband is forgiving, sign me up. I’ve only gained 13 pounds so far, but it feels like so much more. It’s all in my belly.

Movement: I suspect the baby may be building shelves in my uterus. There’s a lot of banging and kicking, and it definitely feels like he smuggled a hammer in there somehow. It’s making me think he’s going to be a lot like Ben. Whereas I have a huge capacity for doing nothing for an extended period of time, Ben is not so inclined. If he has a free afternoon, he’ll build shelves, take his work bench apart, or rearrange the office. Baby seems to be heading down the same productive path.

Sleep: If I don’t get any exercise, I sleep fairly well. If I do (and I’m supposed to every day), my hips ache and pop, and I’m turning over every half hour. It’s a miserable tradeoff. I’m only walking right now, too, so it’s not like I’m training for a triathlon. So frustrating.

Cravings: It may be the time of year, but all I can think about right now are baked goods. Cookies, cakes, pies, muffins! Walmart had frozen gluten-free cupcakes on the end cap and I stared into those glass doors for a solid five minutes Sunday. Debating. Conducting cost-benefit analysis. Dreaming. I didn’t buy them, but I did pick up a muffin mix in case desperation hit later. I’m trying to resist. If I could eat an entire box of Twinkies, I would. Even with my dodgy stomach!

What’s Next: Another doctor’s appointment this week and a second ultrasound the week after to check the location of my placenta. Also, breastfeeding class at the end of the month!

Week 25: What I learned in birthing class

To say that I was freaked out by birthing class would be an understatement. I’m really starting to reconsider this whole thing. Are there any doctors who do the full-on 1950s total knockout birth? If there’s such a thing as sedation dentistry, shouldn’t there be a sedation obstetrics? I need to be in my happy place…and sprawled out screaming as my nether regions tear apart is no happy place.

That said, here’s what I know:

• This is going to be really, really hard. There was so much I didn’t know about how babies came out of the chute. I knew it would be painful. I knew it would take a while. I just didn’t know anything about what was involved and how awkward and miserable it would be. They make a full rotation as they pass through the hips! Good god.

• Birth videos need to stop showing graphic, exploding vaginas under fluorescent lights. It’s something about the pubes and all the stretching…it’s just too much for me. I can imagine it well enough on my own. I don’t need to see it. (Also, who the heck are these women who want to be featured in these videos? So gross.) Note: The clip above is not the one we watched in class and shows nothing but animation. No pubes.

• Some women love exploding vaginas. All of the birthing rooms at our hospital have a mirror you can use to watch the action below the equator. The instructor recommended we all use it to connect with our bodies and be more effective pushers. She can suck it.

• Drugs are okay. Our Birth Plan A is to go natural. I have no illusions, however. This is going to hurt in ways I cannot possibly predict ahead of time. Hence, Birth Plan B is to introduce short-term narcotics as needed. And, if that doesn’t work, I’m reserving Birth Plan C, which includes a short-acting epidural.

The instructor recommended having two plans, but I’m aware of my limitations as a human being. I need three. With no concept of how bad this is going to be, I want all options on the table. I’m comfortable making a gametime decision on this. Ben backs me up 100 percent.

Some have asked why I don’t want to go straight to the epidural, but I am so afraid to lose the use of my legs for any length of time. I can’t even imagine it! However, I know my position on this may change if my vagina is saying hello to my butthole. I can’t make that call now. The epidural is in my back pocket just in case.

• Pregnant ladies are kinda creepy. When we walked into the hospital lobby, there were about two dozen pregnant ladies scattered throughout. I’ve never seen so many of them all in one place and I nearly turned around right then. Dozens of swollen-bellied women in stretch pants staring at me…it was terrifying. They shouldn’t all be together like that. It’s creepy.

• Things only get worse after the birth. The instructor informed us we’ll be given ice pack maxi pads right away and throughout our hospital stay. She also recommended accessing the pain meds early and often to help with the painful crotch.

In addition, we’ll be sent home with disposable underpants and maxi pads that are about 9 inches wide and 12 inches long, and a supply of hemorrhoid pads. She also recommended we get a bunch of newborn diapers, wet them and freeze them in individual plastic bags for use as ice packs for my ailing crotch the first week. During that time, I should also expect to bleed through an overnight maxi pad every 90 minutes to two hours. But, “that should only be for the first week.” AAAGGGHHHH!!!! The bleeding will probably wrap up in about four weeks.

Why does no one share this stuff before you get pregnant? It’s horrifying and quite rude to tell me all this now.

I’ll have my Week 26 update posted shortly. I’m a bit traumatized by birthing class, though, and have been trying not to panic. I need a palate cleanser of kittens and puppies for at least a week.

Week 24

Week 24 and feeling like someone might try to roll me back into the ocean!

The Tater Tot: Baby is about 8.5 inches long (up a half-inch from last week) and weighs a pound and a half. He’s about the size of an ear of corn.

Fun Fact: Baby’s brain activity now is close to that of a newborn, so he’s getting pretty smart. Scientists also believe babies at 24 weeks experience conscious thought and memory.

The Belly: To say that my belly feels bigger and more cumbersome every week is an understatement. I swear it grows it every day. My posture and gait have changed, and everything pulls from the belly. I’ve been too afraid to step on the scale. I’m not ready to know how much weight I’ve gained. I choose to live in ignorance on this issue.

The Belly Button: Still an innie! Apparently, the belly button could pop any time now. Of all the things that freak me out about this whole process, the belly button and the boobs are the things I find most disturbing. This is not a job for sissies.

Sleep: A bit better on sleep this week. I’m still uncomfortable, but I’ve found a winning pillow combination that’s helped. I’ve also tapered back on my workouts, so my hips and pelvis aren’t nearly as sore. Besides having to turn over every hour (like a rotisserie chicken!), I’m getting a full night’s sleep.

What’s Next: Our birthing class is Sunday! I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to write next week as I process the trauma.