Thursday, October 11, 2012

The One About the First Trimester

Since I am coming up on my third trimester, (what, already? Sheesh!) I thought I would give you a little look into my life as it pertained to the first trimester. 

Over the last few years, I have seen my share of pregnant women and have heard their stories. Many heart-wrenching miscarriages, women lit with new-found pregnancy only to lose their little light in a few short weeks myself included. Many successful pregnancies, now with little ones who are one, two even three years old; walking, talking and doing what toddlers do. I have heard stories of post-partum depression, premature births, divorce, of such debilitating sickness during pregnancy that they refuse to go through it again.

The beauty of pregnancy and birth is that everyone experiences it differently, whether it is a sad or happy occasion. The women own their stories and I own mine.

The first trimester was just that, trying. It was one of mixed sensories (I don't think sensories is a word but I am going to coin it now. It means anything combination of things being felt emotionally, physically or spiritually. If there is another word...comment below and I may decide to start using the correct one instead of my made-up jargon. Preggo brain is real, people): joy, hope, fear, anxiety, nausea, fatigue, dreams, realizations...the list goes on.

The one that stands out most is nausea. While I only had morning sickness a couple of times the nausea was unrelenting. From around 8 weeks until 12.5 weeks, the sick feeling plagued me. I was prescribed Zofran which causes constipation which, surprise surprise, causes nausea. I tried pickle juice, lemon heads, lemons, ginger tea, candied ginger, preggie pops, oyster crackers, saltine crackers, ginger ale... Women at work would look on my green self with pity, offering any old wives tale remedy that they could remember from their Great Aunt Roberta. Ackerman strived every day to make sure I had some sort of food that wouldn't make my stomach turn. Our poor baby was raised on bean burritos from Taco Bell that first trimester. Maybe we should rename her Lolita. He was my hero in those last weeks of the first trimester. Patient, understanding and most of all kind.

Fear was also a strong presence. At around eight weeks, we attended a friend's wedding. During the reception I went to use the facilities (peeing becomes a ritual) and I noticed some spotting. I felt numb. This isn't happening again. Not now. You can't have this one too. You can't. Ha. Like I could really tell God that He couldn't have a life He created. I calmly told Joseph and we left immediately, post-poning a trip to Myrtle Beach to see my family. I went home and laid on my left side, I covered my stomach with my hand to hold the baby in place and drank water. I prayed. So hard. Not this one. TMI ALERT: I called my midwife and she asked if we had had sex the night before and we had. That is what caused the spotting. The relief was so great. Selfishly, I had made up my mind before we knew we were pregnant that if I miscarried again that we weren't trying again. Little did I know that a few months later, one of my good friends would miscarry her second time and then a few months after that, she would miscarry for the third time. I've learned a lot about strength, faith and trust through her. 

These first few months went by so slowly like a five minute car ride when you were a child; never ending. I didn't want to get excited about baby. We got to see our little one at 6 weeks old, a little string bean with a heartbeat. Then the nausea came and the tiredness ensued and I lived the next five weeks in slow motion. I didn't want to plan a nursery or buy any clothes. We told those around us and that was it. I felt like I was holding my breath those months, I couldn't relax. I just wanted to wait and wait we did. 

But then it did end. The nausea lifted and the magic 12 weeks passed and I had hope that this baby would live. The world sighed and I sighed along with her. 

The second trimester has been a completely different experience and while I have had a few complications and have experienced the usually aches and pains that come a long with pregnancy, I feel amazing. But more on my second trimester later.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

24 weeks pregnant and counting

Looking a little tired, but that's okay!

How far along? 24 Weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 8 pounds...Staying within the healthy weight!
Maternity clothes? Oh yeah, haven't broken into the sweatpants yet.
Stretch marks? I have a feeling they aren't going anywhere but luckily they aren't getting any darker.
Sleep: On and off. Gwendolyn is starting to build strength and is kicking a lot harder. She seems to like my bladder in particular!
Best moment this week: Hands down: Joseph feeling Gwendolyn kick for the first time! It was so exciting. It is hard for husbands as they can't feel the baby constantly. It made me feel like he is more connected.
Miss Anything? Being able to walk across the Horseshoe at USC without being winded. Also, eating normally. Sometimes I can't stop eating...other times I don't want to even think about food.
Movement: She is doing the hokey pokey in my tummy! Her peak hours are around 9:30, 2:30 and 9:30
Food cravings: Sweets still...especially cheesecake.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Chinese food still isn't happening.
Have you started to show yet: See the photo above! People are starting to comment that I am getting bigger! I am glad I am preggo because I definitely wouldn't take it as a compliment!
Gender: She is still a girl! As weeks go on, I get more and more excited about her being...well....a her. The bows! The lace! The frills! The prospect of her being the next prima ballerina!
Labor Signs: I cramp every once and a while. I think it is more of the long ligament cramps as it happens when I walk too quickly.
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? Barely on. A few more weeks and I am sure my fingers will be too big.
Happy or Moody most of the time: I am getting into the wonderful part of pregnancy. I feel good, I am starting the nesting instinct, I feel closer to my the mood is great!
Things you love: I love the long nails and glossy hair. I love that my husband is extra sensitive to my needs. I dislike how people treat me like I am sick. No...I'm pregnant.
Looking forward to:  Her getting here! I get so excited about the birth process and being able to finally hold her. I hate to wish time away as pregnancy is such a short part of a woman's life (unless you are Michelle Duggar) but it is hard to think of her swimming around in my tummy and me not being able to see her face!

Head on over to The Art of Making Baby for your chance to win a Maxi Cosi Pria70 Convertible Car Seat. I mean...take a look at this thing!

I haven't done a great job at comparing carseats, strollers, cribs, etc...there are so many options, so many opinions...just too many and frankly, I trust the opinion of TAOMB. Go on now...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Write me a song...and a little rant

First a rant:

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the birth process. The pain, happiness, problems, successes, overwhelming love and everything in between.

I have been lucky to talk to a few strong, inspiring women who had natural births with out the use of pain medication (one even had to have Pitocin and birthed without meds...I don't know how she did it!)

 When I express my desire to have a natural childbirth, women look at me like I have a third eye. Their eyes get round and they exclaim one of many statements:

"You are crazy! You just wait, you will be screaming for pain medications!"
"Oh...well...good luck. IIIIIII (emphasis on the I) wouldn't do it."
"You can have a pain free birth...why not?"

But it is the one thing that they don't say that bothers me the most. It is their implication that I am ignorant and dumb for not taking the IV to my arm and shooting up with the "serum of the gods".

At first, I found myself making excuses for myself as to why I was choosing to forgo the big E (epidural). I blamed it on my fear of needles...which is true. But I then realized that my fear was not the only reason I was choosing to go natural. It's better for baby Gwen to not be pumped full of the medications that would make me comfortable, there is a greater risk of cesarean section when you are induced (and believe it or not, c-sections are major surgery) and most of all: God made my body to give birth, to work with baby Gwendolyn in a way that will never happen again and ultimately to bond with her.

Just a little statistic: in 1965, the national cesarean rate was 4.5% and  raised to 32.8% in 2010.

So this is where I state that I am not ashamed of my choice for a natural childbirth and I will no longer make excuses. Yes, I am aware that it is going to hurt and Cash's song, "Ring of Fire" will take on a new meaning for me. But this is an experience that I choose to have - to feel alive - to feel what it is like to bring a baby into this world and not fear it.

If you go for a medicated birth or have to have a c-section, more power to you.
Now, I am not going into this expecting everything to be peachy and easy. I know that I will probably go through the most pain I have ever been through before. I remember the pain I experienced when I miscarried with Lord Volde so I can only imagine that it will be exponentially worse.

I am also not going into the labor and delivery room thinking that the birth is going to go the way I want it. I know that sometimes c-sections are necessary but I also know that some doctors tend to push c-sections so they can make it to happy hour or can protect themselves from lawsuits. Not me, pal.

Second, the music:

One method I will use to ease the pains of labor (or at least take my mind away from it) is music. I have ready that you should have a soft, relaxing play list and a more upbeat play list for the times when you are pushing. I tend to rely more on soothing music when I am in pain so while I will make a play list of pumped up tunes, I will focus on the softer side.

Through the Floor – Edwin McCain
Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
Wild Horses - The Sundays
American Baby – Dave Matthews
Poison & Wine – The Civil Wars
How He Loves – David Crowder
Carolina in My Mind – James Taylor
Fill Me Up – United Pursuit
Running in Circles – United Pursuit
Color Blind – Counting Crows
Fire & Rain – James Taylor
The Funeral – Band of Horses
Tequila Makes Me Crazy – Kenny Chesney        
Fast Car – Tracey Chapman
Worth It All – Rita Springer
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – Johnny Cash
#41 – Dave Matthews
Soon – Hillsong United
We Found Love – Rihanna
First Day Of My Life – Bright Eyes
Windows Are Rolled Down – Amos Lee
Your Song – Elton John
Gravity - Sara Bareilles
Can’t Help Falling In Love – Ingrid Michaelson
I Have to Believe - Rita Springer
Ho Hey – Lumineers
Gotta Have You – The Weepies
Part One – Band of Horses 

Viorar Vel Til Loftarasa – Sigur Ros

I am sure that I will need many, many more songs (I will probably add the entire Civil Wars Album and some additional Edwin McCain songs...)

So, that is my list thus far. Is there anything I should add or delete from the list?