Pregnancy Brain

Need a good laugh? Single Dad Laughing has compiled this absolutely hilarious and almost unbelievable list of pregnancy brain moments. You know, those times when that tiny human growing inside of you has apparently commandeered so much of your brain juice that you can’t even remember your own name (that actually is one of the stories!).

I think the worst I have done this pregnancy was to put something strange in the fridge (and of course I cannot remember what it was). I did that before I even knew I was pregnant, so I guess it was an early sign, along with clumsiness as I broke a dish a few minutes later and spilled ketchup all over the carpet…

These days if I laugh too hard for too long, I just start crying. Not laughing-so-hard-tears-run-down-your-face, but actual crying. I don’t even know. Hopefully no one says anything funny in public because it could get embarrassing really quickly. Welcome to 11+ weeks of pregnancy??

Anywho, whether your pregnant laughter turns to crying or peeing, I promise these stories are worth it! Bonus: they’ll totally make your own brain lapses seem like no biggie. 🙂

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11 Weeks Pregnant

Looking tired, feeling tired

Looking tired, feeling tired

8 Weeks Pregnant

It's funny that I look so fresh and alive here because I actually felt terrible.  Ter. Ri. Ble.

It’s funny that I look so fresh and alive here because I actually felt terrible. Ter. Ri. Ble.

First Trimester Part 1 (Weeks 1-7)

I’m in the first week of my second trimester.  Wow!!  There were days when I felt I wouldn’t survive to say those words, but here I am!  It would have been great to be posting about the first trimester as it happened, but one advantage of looking at it from the other side is that I have… perspective.  This basically means for my readers that I can talk about first trimester in a somewhat positive way instead of writing posts that say something like “Pregnancy is the worst!  Don’t do it!  Haha ha…. ha”. Ugh.  It was rough.

But let’s start from the beginning.

0-3 Weeks:

The first time I got pregnant, I blogged about our conception attempts during month #1 and #2 in great detail.  I’m really glad I did because I love to go back and look at my charts and our conception story.  Hopefully reading about what we did will help others who are trying to get pregnant.  I get a lot of hits on my blog from people looking up information about pregnancy tests from Dollar Tree, which I used a lot of this time.

This time, however, I don’t really feel like going over it in such detail.  We mostly just did the same stuff, anyway, or at least part of it.  I actually did not do any temping this time at all, mostly because we were in the middle of our move and my thermometer was in storage.  We did do ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), cervical mucus checks, and of course I paid attention to the unique little twinges that I get at ovulation.  Those are what actually prompted me to use the first OPK, and it’s a good thing I did because I surprised myself by ovulating much earlier than I’d expected.  I actually got positive OPKs for 3 days in a row, which was pretty confusing, so when calculating my ovulation date I’m mainly relying on the other clues.

These were my OPKs. I skipped a day between the last and second to last tests.  I wish I'd taken one on that day, though, because I think that's actually the day I finally ovulated.

These were my OPKs. I skipped a day between the last and second to last tests. I wish I’d taken one on that day, though, because I think that’s actually the day I finally ovulated.

Much to our surprise and delight, we got pregnant on our first month of really trying!  There were a couple of months before that when we were pretty lazy about preventing pregnancy and even thought we might be pregnant.  When we weren’t, I think the disappointment really prompted us to say “Ok, let’s do this!”  I had wanted to wait to get pregnant until Alex was at least 18 months old.  When that time finally came, however, we were right in the middle of our big move from Michigan to Oregon, we were living in a temporary apartment, and we hadn’t found a house to buy yet.  That’s what made us wait a couple more months.  We found out we were pregnant just 3 days before we moved into our new home!

4 Weeks:

I took a pregnancy test at exactly 12 dpo (days past ovulation), just like I did with my first pregnancy.  I got a good strong positive!

My Big Fat Positive with Baby #2!

My Big Fat Positive with Baby #2!

The moment you find out you’re pregnant is one of those that will stick with you forever.  This time I just felt an overwhelming sense of thankfulness.  I just thanked God over and over and over for the miracle of this baby.  I think knowing what it is to have a child really gives new meaning to the beginning of a pregnancy.  I spent the next few days looking lovingly at my Alex and wondering at the thought of being blessed with another beautiful precious child.  It’s difficult to believe that there is another angelic baby being formed in me right now.

My early symptoms were definitely different than the ones I’d had with Alex.  Instead of big boobs and terrible acne, I was exhausted and hungry, with a little clumsiness thrown in.

RIGHT after I found out I was pregnant, I got this huge giant crazy bruise on my shin!  What?!  This never happens to me, so it must have been pregnancy related.  Low iron, maybe?  I made sure I took all my vitamins after that.

RIGHT after I found out I was pregnant, I got this huge giant crazy bruise on my shin! What?! This never happens to me, so it must have been pregnancy related. Low iron, maybe? I made sure I took all my vitamins after that.

Right at 4 weeks I also felt completely dazed and out of it.  I panicked a little, remembering the feeling from before and wondering if I’d feel like that the entire pregnancy.  I just didn’t feel like myself!  It was like losing your glasses and not really being able to see all day.  Thankfully the feeling didn’t last.  In fact, the very next day we moved into our house, I got busy cleaning and getting ready for my parents to visit, and I almost forgot I was pregnant for awhile!

I didn't take quite as many pregnancy tests as I did with my first pregnancy, but only because I ran out and couldn't sneak away to get some while my parents were in town.  :P

I didn’t take quite as many pregnancy tests as I did with my first pregnancy, but only because I ran out and couldn’t sneak away to get some while my parents were in town. 😛

5 Weeks:

At 5 weeks, lime slices were still helping....

At 5 weeks, lime slices were still helping….

5 days after we found out about the pregnancy, my parents arrived for a week-long visit.  I was SO sad that I couldn’t just tell them I was pregnant, but it was still so early.  If we’d told them, we would have needed to tell other immediate family, and I just didn’t want to risk having to break everyone’s hearts if we had a very early miscarriage.  Three times I almost spilled the beans, though.  The first time was really all the time as I had such a huge appetite and was eating SO MUCH that I was worried my parents would notice, haha!  Another time, I was unpacking a suitcase while talking to my mom.  I saw an unfamiliar-looking shirt of Alex’s and held it up, puzzled.  Then I saw that it was the “Big Brother” shirt that I’d bought to tell my husband the good news and quickly tucked it away!   A quick glance reassured me that my mom had been looking the other way and hadn’t seen it- Whew!  Another time was when I was telling my parents how ever since my pregnancy with Alex I always felt a bit nauseated after breakfast (I thought maybe this would be a clever preemptive strike in case I started looking a little green, plus it’s actually true!).  Then my mom said, “Well, maybe you ARE pregnant!”.  I’m so glad my oh-so-clever response of “HA!” managed to satisfy her….

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At 5 weeks we all drove up to the Seattle area to attend my cousin’s wedding.  So many of my family members were there, and I was keeping a huge secret from them!  Thankfully, other than needing to eat on time, I was feeling pretty great still, so I didn’t give anything away.

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Alex and his cousin at the wedding.  Adorable!

Alex and his cousin at the wedding. Adorable!

Right at 5 weeks 3 days, feeling great began to disintegrate.  It was the same story as my pregnancy with Alex.  It was two days before my parents left, and I was still able to act pretty normal, though fixing meals was definitely making me feel more and more green.  They left just before things went from bad to worse, never guessing they had been in the presence of their unborn second grandchild.  🙂

6 Weeks:

By the time I hit 6 weeks I was remembering all too well what “morning” sickness was like (and how I resent the inaccurate name).  I threw up for the first time at 6 weeks, 1 day.  Lovely.  I think I’d lulled myself into thinking that maybe I’d feel great all pregnancy, or maybe I’d only feel a little bit nauseated, or maybe I wouldn’t throw up.  Yeah, no.  I was throwing up like a champ and already counting down to the end of first trimester.

7 Weeks:

On the way to the wedding, I noticed that I'd developed a tell-tale pooch!

On the way to the wedding, I noticed that I’d developed a tell-tale pooch!

At 7 weeks we went to another wedding, a whole-weekend affair that was 7 hours away.  I know.  Really bad timing.  When we’d promised to attend, we’d known I’d probably be pregnant, but we figured it would still be fine.  Right up until we left my husband was still saying “Are you sure you want to go?  Should we just stay home?”  He was worried that I’d be miserable the entire time, but I really wanted to go.  A friend who’d just had a baby and had a daughter just 2 months older than Alex was going to be there, and I wanted to spend time with her and give Alex a chance to play with his friend.  I was also hoping that having some fun stuff to do would be distracting enough that I would actually feel better.

Well…. thankfully, I was right!  The weekend turned out really well, and I actually felt pretty great most of the time.  I loved talking with my friend about pregnancy (I let her in on the secret), Alex and my friend’s daughter were just super cute playing together, my husband and my friend’s husband found plenty to talk about, and the whole weekend was so much fun!

The only bad part was that we’d chosen the “camping option” instead of staying in the dorm or guest rooms at the camp, and it was about 40 degrees at night.  We were the only fools camping.  Yeah, so….  camping with a toddler is probably fine.  Camping with a toddler when it’s really cold isn’t such a great idea because they can’t keep their own hats on in the tent at night and you end up waking up every time they move to put it back on for them.  Camping with a toddler in the cold when you’re also pregnant is an even worse idea because of the peeing.  Have you ever been camping, all snug in your sleeping bag and then realized you had to pee?  Sucks to get out of your warm bag and trek to the bathroom in the cold, right?  How about doing that multiple times a night?  😦  I will confess that I didn’t walk all the way to the bathroom because it was about 10 miles away.  I just squatted on the other side of our car.  That is how it is done.  Baby wipes and a wet bag work really well for that kind of midnight bathroom excursion.

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The wedding was beautiful, and it was also the only day during the weekend that I threw up.  I thought it must have been because of all that delicious egg and potato casserole I’d eaten at breakfast, but as it turns out it was a harbinger of things to come.

Sunday evening we went and slept in a hotel because we’d had enough of the tent of torture (Am I making it seem worse than it was?  My husband would probably think so.), and Monday we made the long drive home.  And I felt so terrible.  I’d thought my “morning” sickness (do I have to keep calling it that??) had reached an apex at 6 weeks, but apparently that had been nothing.  That phenomenon where a little distraction made me feel so much better?  A thing of the past.  As soon as we got home I took to my bed and pretty much stayed there for the next several weeks.

And now, to illustrate how long those weeks felt, I will end this post now and you will have to wait until part 2 to hear more about my misery.  I’ll bet you can’t wait.  😛

My view from our bed in the living room (we had to sleep there for a few weeks while we were painting bedrooms).

My view from our bed in the living room (we had to sleep there for a few weeks while we were painting bedrooms).

My Belly Week by Week!

Since we first found out about this pregnancy, we’ve been taking pictures of my belly weekly.  We missed 4, I believe, but other than that we’ve done pretty well.  We took them all in the same clothes and in the same place (except for the weeks we were away).  Here they are, in slideshow form, from 4 weeks to 35 weeks!  I’ll update this later on after the birth with the last few weeks of pics, but I’m so excited I’ve got to post it now 🙂

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My Pregnant Body

This was originally just going to be about pregnancy, but somehow it turned into a description of my entire body image history.  Oh well, so be it.  And it’s long- you were warned 🙂

I recently received this card from the mother of the flower girl at our wedding, and it pretty much sums up how I’ve felt about my body during pregnancy: I’ve never loved it more!  It hit me one day near the end of the first trimester while I was looking at my ever-so-slight baby bump in the mirror before stepping into the shower…

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My entire life (since puberty anyway), I’d struggled with the way I perceived myself and had to really work on accepting and loving my body the way it is.  I’d always been skinny, awkward, and gangly since I lost my cute baby fat around age 5, and the changes that brought my period when I was twelve really didn’t bring the womanly curves I’d hoped for.  I remember feeling dismay when I realized my breasts had stopped growing, disappointment when my thighs remained the same size as my calves throughout high school.  Most people won’t understand these feelings because the majority of women in our society struggle with the opposite problem- trying stave off unwanted weight gain and stay “skinny”.  But skinny isn’t always  fun when you don’t have a choice about just how skinny you are.  It also isn’t fun when you’re growing up in a subculture that values other types of bodies.  I tried several times to gain weight, but always ended up sacrificing health.

I guess somewhere along the way, slowly and sometimes deliberately, I learned to accept and even appreciate my body.  I think that getting through the difficult years of my teens and early twenties (when, let’s face it, a lot of our self worth is centered on whether or not we fit in and measure up to the standards of those around us, at least what we perceive them to be) made a big difference because there does come an age when people are able to look beyond the outward you and focus more on the inward you.  Or maybe it’s just that people are more likely to keep hurtful comments to themselves…  Either way, I had friends and boyfriends who honestly appreciated my body because of the way it was, and for someone like me who, like it or not, is really affected by the words that come out of other people’s mouths, that helped.

I also worked on particular aspects of myself that I’d had a hard time with.

  • My hair- curly.  Thankfully, this was one of the first things I figured out.  It’s curly, and was very very frizzy for many years, and I remember spending a lot of time every day straightening it for school.  Finally, I figured out some basic tenets of caring for curly hair: no brushing and mousse! (note: I now just use leave-in conditioner because it leaves my hair feeling more natural than mousse, but I still never never brush my hair unless I’m planning to wash it immediately afterward!)
  • My breasts- small, a big point of sorrow.  I spent many years trying to deal with my feelings about them.  One summer I really focused on changing my idea of them and one of the things I found was a wonderful website that celebrated breasts of all shapes and sizes.  Women sent in pictures, and there were pages and pages of big ones, small ones, flat ones, pointy ones, tubular ones… you name it, they were there.  Now perhaps this sampling wasn’t fairly representative of the population as a whole since women with strange breasts were more likely to participate, but I realized that I liked mine more than many of the others out there, and that made me feel better.  They may be small, but they’re shaped nicely, and I no longer wanted to trade them 🙂
  • My knees and elbows- pointy and knobby.  Now this, I just had to come to terms with because there’s really nothing you can do about it 🙂  Even now though I still cringe sometimes when I see my elbows in pictures.
  • The general skinniness of my body.  Sure, I can build muscle, but I wanted some extra padding, to be a little more rounded in the way that you can only be if you don’t have prominent bones and sharp angles sticking out everywhere.  I’ve put forth some very good efforts a few times to gain weight.  One year in college I just ate a whole lot, including late-night meals almost every night.  But I did it because I was lonely and bored that year, and a little depressed.  Another summer I tried to down X amount of calories per day, but I’d inevitably end up stuffing myself with yogurt, ice cream, cheese, fried foods, chocolate, and cottage cheese every night to meet my quota.  Very at odds with my ideas about healthful living.  In the end, I realized that when I was at my healthiest- eating when hungry and making choices based on nutrition not caloric value- my weight remained quite stable.  I finally concluded that, for better or worse, this is the way I’m meant to be.  And I was ok with that.

A few years later, already feeling pretty good about my body, I met my husband, who honestly loves my body the way it is and doesn’t want to change a thing about it!  I will never forget the day he told me that he thought I was “curvy for my body type”.  Having never been referred to as curvy before, I relish that compliment to this day.  So when I became pregnant, I was feeling more body confidence than I ever had before.

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That night while looking in the mirror at my little beginning bump, it suddenly hit me that I’d never loved my body more!  I had always wondered how it would feel to be pregnant, to see my normally unchanging body suddenly take on a new shape and form- one that I couldn’t control.  I wondered if I would panic a bit or feel even more awkward than I used to.  The answer is: absolutely not!  I love it!  I feel more beautiful than I ever have in my life!  I think the reason is because my body now has a higher purpose that transcends appearance.  That’s why everyone loves the pregnant belly- not because a big belly is so attractive, but because it represents something almost sacred- the beginning of a new life.

I feel more womanly than I ever have as well.  I feel like I’m sort of coming into my own, fulfilling my purpose for having these female parts in the first place.  I feel new calm and patience that I never had before.  My body is doing just what it was made to do.  At times past I almost couldn’t believe that it would be possible, but here is it, doing its job just like it should and I stand in awe, really, of what is happening inside me.  I stand in awe of the Creator of this amazing process, and feel honored to be used to create with Him.

Alright, specific bodily changes I’ve experienced so far:

Breasts– One of the first parts of me to change.  They began to get bigger before I even found out I was pregnant, and I went from an A cup to a C cup in a short amount of time.  This is, of course, super fun for me because I always wanted to be able to fit into certain clothes better and look a little more balanced and maybe *gasp* have some cleavage!  My husband is excited about this change, too, though at first he actually complained saying “but I liked the way they were before!”  Haha!  Men….  But he’s right- they were fine pre-pregnancy too.  🙂  In addition to general size, my areolas are darker now (well, visible for the first time actually), my nipples are more sensitive and prominent, I have a few of those blue veins showing through my skin, and I actually have leaked a few drops of colostrum already!  All in all, I’m extremely pleased because I feel my breasts are going to be ready to do their appointed job when the little one arrives.

Tummy– Bigger, obviously!  It’s now the focus of my body, which is kinda strange, and I feel very protective of it.  For awhile I was pretty self-conscious about the size of it (I didn’t want people to think it was too small), but I’m feeling pretty good about it now.  I have even posted a couple of pictures on Facebook finally.

Hips– Wider!  It’s weird because I didn’t notice this until my bikini bottoms suddenly left half my butt hanging out and were a little tight overall, and I realized- hey, my hips are wider!  I’m completely ok with this because I always wanted some hips.  Thanks, little one.

Skin– Wonderful!  After that first breakout very early in pregnancy (and it was one of the worst in many years), my skin has actually been better than it has been since I was a child!  This has to be one of my favorite effects of pregnancy.  I still get a blemish every once in awhile, but it never gets bad.  I guess it’s because I don’t have those ups and downs of my monthly cycle, which are what really did me in.  People say I have a glow and I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of feeling extremely happy and having nice skin.

Nether regions– Pretty much the same, but I definitely have more cervical mucus sometimes than before.  A few weeks ago I got curious about my cervix because I hadn’t checked it since trying to conceive.  Well, at first I almost panicked because I couldn’t find it!  Finally I found it- extremely high!  Before it was always always extremely low, but that’s definitely changed.  It also feels super soft and more open than I’ve ever felt it before.  Some googling assured me all was normal, but I don’t think I’ll try checking it anymore just so I don’t risk infection.  I also had a tiny tiny amount of rectal bleeding a few weeks ago from a painless internal hemorrhoid, but that cleared up just fine on it’s own within a day.

So there you have it.  That was a pretty open and vulnerable discussion for me, but I think birth requires a certain openness about our bodies, and I need the practice.  I’d be curious to hear from other women concerning how you feel about your bodies during pregnancy.  Does coming to terms with your body before pregnancy make a difference in how you feel during?

Announcing the Pregnancy to His Family

So. Three days before our Texas vacation (around week 10.5 of pregnancy), we announced the happy news to my husband’s family! Here’s what we did:

Because it will be a Christmas baby, I wanted to decorate the house for Christmas. My husband thought this would make them guess right away, so we ended up doing an understated version and kind of hiding it until everyone was there (the Christmas tree stayed hidden under a sheet until after dinner). I made a dinner consisting of all tiny foods. We had veggie baby back ribs, roasted baby redskin potatoes, baby corn, baby muffins, baby lima beans, baby stuffed portabella mushrooms, and, for dessert, individual baby pies, and ice cream served with a tiny cookie scoop.  Much to our dismay and amusement, NO ONE had any clue what was going on!

After dinner, when I unveiled the Christmas tree with gifts underneath, there was a short pause and then everyone said “Christmas in May!” and continued with the festivities.  We gave everyone their presents and told the kids to open theirs first.  Our niece got hers open and held it up.  “A shirt!” everyone said, “How cute!”  But she had it turned around backwards.

My husband, ready with his camera, urged her to turn it around.  My husband’s brother was the first to see the word “Cousin” on the front of the shirt and let out a big whoop and holler, threw his boxed present into the air, and immediately ran to hug my husband!  😀  He was actually such a good distraction that it took my in-laws a minute to realize what was going on.  Haha!

Then everyone else opened their presents.  Our nephew also had a shirt that said “Cousin” (I had to make these because I couldn’t find them in the store), my husband’s brother and his wife had baby onesies that said “My Uncle is Awesome!” and “I Have the Best Auntie!”  For my husband’s parents, I made onesies that said “I Love Grandpa” and “I Love Grandma” but in Serbian, their native language- they loved that!  There was a ton of excitement and happy tears.  Everyone said they were completely surprised and had had NO idea!

We all went out onto the lawn and played croquet and it was lovely.  Just as wonderful as I had hoped!  I’m really really happy with the way the whole day went, which made it worth all the super hard work I’d done to do all that crazy cooking and cleaning to get ready! 😀

It was a really weird feeling to tell people after keeping it a secret mostly between just us for so long, but it was a relief as well.  I was little nervous that they wouldn’t keep the news to themselves long enough for us to be able to tell others in person, but everything turned out alright.  I’ll post soon about how we told my parents and grandmother 🙂

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