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Officially 8 Months Pregnant

Whoo boy! It’s been nearly a month since I posted, I have no idea how that happened. Well, actually, I do. I’m knocked up and nesting and maniacal. No seriously, the nesting hormone is no joke. I’ve been obsessed with clearing out our second bedroom so it can become Niblet’s nursery. And it’s a good thing I’ve been so focused because it has literally taken me the entire month to clear out, clean up, organize, and purge. I’m finally at the point where I can start decorating, but now I have to take a break from my happy nesting and prepare my 18 month State Bar Law Study report.

Oh life. Why must you be so BUSY all the time?

In the last month Niblet has:

  • Grown to be nearly 18 inches long and weigh approximately 4 pounds
  • Learned to move her head from side to side
  • Gone from having see-through skin to opaque skin
  • Gotten strong enough to grasp your finger (not that I want you poking around at her)
  • Has developed all 5 senses
  • Is begun experiencing REM (dream-cycle) sleep
  • Continues to practice her breathing
  • Begun losing the lanugo that covers her body

My last midwife appointment was awesome. Our stats are great, I only gained three pounds in the last month (yay for walking every day!), and Niblet is in the head down, back to my belly position, getting ready to make her grand entrance into the world. (She could turn, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she’ll stay put.) She’s super active. I’m feeling a lot of elbow-jabs and feet sliding back and forth under my boobs. I’m having Braxton-Hicks contractions daily, which my midwife says is an excellent indication that labor will kick in on its own and progress beautifully. We started a child birth prep class two weeks ago and it’s wonderful – I’m daydreaming about labor, I’m so looking forward to it.

People’s comments have been much kinder lately. A couple of weeks ago a man came up to me in the market to tell me his wife was in labor at that very minute. “What are you doing HERE?” I asked. “I’m going to make her a lasagna! When are you due?” When I told him I still had 2 1/2 months left he said, “Gosh, you look like you’re due any minute! WAIT THAT CAME OUT WRONG, YOU’RE GORGEOUS, YOU’RE REALLY BEAUTIFUL. YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE. YOU’RE NOTHING BUT BELLY. YOU’RE SO BEAUTIFUL!” It was pretty much the sweetest thing ever.

I’m falling more and more in love with my enormous pregnant body, even as I become more and more uncomfortable maneuvering it around. Getting shoes on and off is increasingly difficult. Getting up off the sofa and hauling myself out of bed illicit grunts and groans. If I sit on the floor I need help getting up again. I have to keep my feet up at work so they don’t swell like hobbit feet. I stand sideways in front of the kitchen sink when I do the dishes. I have to be careful on the treadmill so I don’t slam my belly into the machine. I can’t hug Mike as hard as I used to because, ouch, squishing the baby. I painted my own toenails for the last time the other week, dear lord that was exhausting and difficult. The only reason I’m still shaving my legs is because my shower has this wonderful ledge about chest-high that I can put my foot on (THANK YOU 14 years of yoga) and thus shave quite comfortably. (Maybe I should try it for pedicures?)

This ‘having to pee all the time’ thing is no joke. I frequently pee an average of once every twelve minutes. No exaggeration. And it’s not like, “oh, I kind of have to pee. I’m just gonna squeeze a little out.” This is, “IF I DON’T FIND A POTTY RIGHT NOW I’LL DIE.” It is entirely Niblet’s fault. Sometimes she positions herself right on my bladder and I want to cry. The other day I went on a nice long walk with the dogs because the weather was too beautiful to walk on the treadmill at the gym. So I peed, leashed up the dogs, peed again, and headed out the door. I wasn’t ten minutes into the walk before I had to go again, so badly I had to grit my teeth. But then Niblet moved off my bladder and I was fine, so I kept walking. And then she moved again and I thought I would die of needing to pee, until she moved again and I was fine. So I kept walking and she kept moving and at one point I was sure I was going to have to squat on the sidewalk like a dog and piss in the shrubs. With all of Canoga Avenue speeding by. I had two thoughts in that moment: 1) Pregnancy strips you of any dignity you once had; and 2) how hilarious/humiliating would it be to get ticketed for pissing on the sidewalk of a busy main street at 10 o’clock on a Saturday morning?

We’ve only got two months left of this little adventure and it’s bittersweet. On the one hand, I am giddy when I think about holding her in my arms and eating her face every day. On the other hand, I’m really going to miss keeping her in the safety of my uterus. I mean, this is probably the easiest parenthood will EVER be. I always know where she is. I know she’s eating well and getting enough sleep. She’s not running around with unsavory people or experimenting with drugs or sex or doing any of the other terrifying things that children grow up to do. So, you know. I’m going to miss this.

I’m acutely aware of how quickly time is passing. Yesterday I was staring at a positive pregnancy test in utter disbelief and today there’s a very active water monkey doing acrobatics in my giant belly. Tomorrow I’ll be sending that water monkey off to college. So I am blissfully soaking up every swollen, uncomfortable moment. Treasuring every kick to the ribs, relishing every elbow-jab, and in general, feeling the happiest I’ve ever felt in my whole little life. I’m genuinely looking forward to the sleepless nights and bleeding nipples and diaper explosions and all the other awful-wonderful things that caring for a newborn entails because I know that that will also be over before I’ve had a chance to blink. And I don’t want to slog through it waiting for it to end. I want to live through and enjoy every poop and tear-filled moment. I tell you all this so you know that, even when I’m bitching and moaning, I’m so, so, so very grateful to be able to bitch and moan. What an unbelievably beautiful blessing.

Miss my weekly belly pics? I don’t disappoint! 

31 weeks

30 weeks

29 weeks

Welcome to the 3rd trimester (and pregnant lady whining)

28 Weeks

This week, Niblet is about 2 1/2 pounds and between 15 and 16 inches long, depending on which pregnancy website you’re reading. She’s getting so strong and her movements so frequent and varied. Sometimes she jabs, sometimes she squirms, I can feel her rolling over, turning, and sometimes it feels like she’s stretching her arms and legs out, pushing her butt and back out against my belly so that it gets very hard and makes my belly button pop out. She also does this thing where she bounces from left to right, like a rubber ball bouncing between two walls, or a kid overdosed on sugar in a bounce house. It always makes me laugh because it’s so weird and it really feels like she’s just playing around in there, having a grand old time.

I’ve let my nesting instincts out of their cage and have been working my tail off (with my sister and Mike’s help) to clear out the second bedroom (formerly Mike’s office/our TV room) so we can turn it into the nursery. By the end of last weekend I wanted to crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep, I felt so overwhelmed. It seems like the more work I do, the more I discover still has to be done. I’ve already taken three carloads of crap to Goodwill and there’s still more stuff to go through. (WE’RE I’M A HOARDER.) We moved the TV, the dog crate, and the snake’s tank into the living room, and Mike’s desk and computer into our bedroom. In one weekend our apartment went from spacious to teeny tiny. I can’t move in any room now without banging my knee on an awkwardly placed piece of furniture.

Whine, whine, whine, I know. Poor me, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms and all the comforts of modern living, blessed with a healthy pregnancy and a loving husband. Play that tiny violin a little louder, please.

But I’m not done yet.

Getting dressed every day is like waging a small battle with myself. I’ve gained 24 pounds so far and I waffle between loving my pregnant body and wanting to die a slow death because I feel like an obese hippo. Nearly all the office-appropriate maternity clothes I borrowed from girlfriends are too small in the thigh and rear, my underpants are too small, dresses that were cute two months ago look like tents now, and nothing is comfortable. There are tears nearly every morning and Michael, bless his heart, has to talk me off a ledge. A couple of days ago he insisted that I go out and buy a few more things to get me through the next three months because “crying in front of the closet every day isn’t productive”. I hated the idea of buying clothes this late in my pregnancy, but I did, and I’m so glad I did. It’s helped. I bought size large non-maternity leggings, tunic-length camis, and a few flowy, wonderfully cozy sweaters. All clothes that are soft and stretchy, oh-so-comfy, and will hopefully still look cute post-partum when I’m hiding my I-just-had-a-baby-so-I-still-look-pregnant belly.

As much as I love being pregnant (and I really, really, really love it), I do not feel beautiful or sexy or feminine. I just feel huge. I can’t stand looking at myself naked. Which is probably why people asking if I’m pregnant or just getting fat especially stings. I’m really struggling with this because I want to raise my daughter to love, respect, and appreciate her body – not to hate it and abuse it the way I’ve spent most of my life hating and abusing mine. I want to somehow shield her from society’s expectations of being “skinny” and all the bullshit that goes with it. And I know that it starts with me – that I’m her first example of how a woman should feel about and treat her body. So I’m really trying to love my 150 pound body and appreciate it for the miracle it’s creating, instead of getting angry and saying mean things to it every morning while I try to squeeze into too-small maternity pants. I’m also cutting out ice cream and making an effort to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day (per my midwife’s gentle urging).

All that said, I adore not having to suck in my stomach constantly (I was a chronic sucker-inner pre-pregnancy) and being able to eat a big meal and not worry that I look pregnant afterwards because I AM pregnant is freaking terrific. See? UPSIDES TO EVERYTHING.

Also, Hi. I’m pregnant. And the hardest part is feeling fat. So, I’m done complaining and I will go back to being blissfully happy and excited and stupid-crazy-in love with the acrobatic water monkey who keeps making my belly button pop out whenever she wants to stretch her legs. Because honestly? I’d take a fat ass for a healthy baby any day.

10 Unexpected Side Effects of Being Knocked Up

1. I still haven’t suffered pregnancy acne. My skin is clearer than it’s been since before puberty and the awful bacne I had in the first trimester is totally gone! It’s a pregnancy miracle.

2. I only have to wash my hair twice a week. Pregnancy-related dry skin? It reminds me of when I was taking accutane in college (just discovered this drug is no longer available in the U.S. You’re about to find out one reason why…) and my skin was so dry I couldn’t shower more than once a week and every time I pooped my butt would split open and bleed. My skin isn’t that dry, but my hair looks fantastic after three-unwashed days which (except that brief stint in college) has never been true. I LOVE IT.

3. The Itching stopped at 17 weeks when I started using Mama Mio’s Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil, recommended by my cousin Stephanie, bless her heart. That stuff has been my saving grace and I totally recommend it to any pregnant mama, it’s worth the price tag, I promise. Also, so far, no stretch marks. Woot!

4. I can’t see my feet anymore. Or my crotch. I’m supposed to bring a cup of urine to every prenatal appointment and it’s supposed to be the first urine of the morning (that’s a great band name, btw: First Urine of the Morning). It’s a cruel joke because, here pregnant lady! Take this tiny cup and pee in it first thing in the morning, when you have to pee REALLYBADLY, and you’re still half asleep, and you haven’t seen your crotch in ages. Because what every woman wants is to pee all over her hand first thing in the morning. Seriously. (Also, I hope no one at the office finds out I keep a small cup of pee in the fridge next to everyone’s lunches. Super awkward.)

4.a. The other day I had to pee (again) and I was wearing these tie-front pajama pants and when I pulled the drawstring to untie them they tangled into a knot and I couldn’t see past my giant belly to untie it and I had to pee so badly that I started crying because I was trapped in my pants and I was never going to get them off and I was going to die of needing to pee. Then I finally got the knot undone and oh lord the RELIEF.

5. I haven’t been able to bend over in weeks, but my thighs are getting super strong from squatting down all the time. Also, I totally hurt my back taking a bag of garbage out of a garbage can because I’m 90 now.

6. Everyone says, “Sleep now because as soon as that baby is born you’ll never sleep again!” which is a horrible thing to say because you know who else doesn’t sleep besides new parents? Huge pregnant ladies. Every time I have to move my enormous body, I wake up. I wake up to pee. I wake up when she kicks. I wake up because I’ve sweated a pool into the bed despite the running the AC at 68 degrees. And once I wake up, I can’t fall back asleep. Two weeks ago Mike bought me a body pillow because all my thrashing around to get comfortable was keeping him awake, and the pillow has helped tremendously, but now I wake up every time I knock it to the floor. And lately I keep waking up on my back which is weird because I’ve never ever been a back sleeper and I’m super paranoid about it because doctors are like DON’T LAY ON YOUR BACK. Not awesome.

7. My boobs are the size of small countries. The D-cup bras I bought at around 18 weeks feel like tiny torture chambers now. I’ve given up on wearing anything besides stretchy sleep bras and tube bras. They look stupid under my clothes and they are not flattering, but they’re comfortable.

8. Also about boobs: they are still awfully sore. Sometimes I get shooting pains in my nipples for no apparent reason. Super fun times!

9. Haven’t really had any cravings besides beer, tequila, wine, excessive amounts of coffee, unpasteurized cheese, raw fish, under-cooked meat, nitrates, and runny eggs. All the things I’m forbidden from consuming. I want sweets constantly, but that’s true even when I’m not pregnant. There was a week when all I wanted to eat was goat cheese, and another week when I neeeeeeeded lemonade, but that’s it.

10. And just for fun, here’s some stupid things people* have said that people should never ever say to a pregnant lady:

  • At 20 weeks: “Ugh. I hope you’re pregnant.”
  • At 22 weeks: “Are you pregnant or are you just getting fat?”
  • At 26 weeks: “You must be due any minute!” and “Every time I see you, you’re eating.”
  • At 27 weeks: “You want some tips on how to get your body back after you push that kid out?”

*By people I mean men and I hate to point that out because I think men don’t get enough credit or encouragement in our society for being sensitive and gentle and I don’t want to generalize, but come on. Plenty of men have said lovely, complimentary things, yes, but only men have said rude and thoughtless things. Ladies have, on the whole, been supportive and kind. Why?

27 Weeks

Ok, so I really really did not intend to let nearly three months pass between posts, but there was life, and work, and naps, and eating, and of course, studying for the Baby Bar Exam six hours every day. I took the (SEVEN HOUR) exam last Tuesday and I have to say I felt pretty awesome for sitting through a SEVEN HOUR exam while seven months pregnant and having to pee every half hour. The bathrooms were super far away but I totally hung in there and I felt really good about myself at the end of it. I spent the rest of the week in a kind of post-legal-exam haze, not sure what to do with myself now that I didn’t need to spend six hours studying every day, so I caught up on all my t.v. shows and some chores around the house, and then on Sunday my sister came over and between her, me, and Mike, we ninja-kicked our way through the second bedroom, clearing it out, cleaning it up, and getting it ready for some serious nursery decorating. We didn’t finish, but we made awesome progress and I am hopeful that I’ll be doing the fun stuff (DECORATING!!) in the next couple of weeks.

And how is Niblet growing, you ask?

Pregnancy hormones are making me grow hair in weird places!

At twenty-seven weeks, Niblet is around two pounds, 15 inches long, nearly completely formed and (with a lot of medical intervention) would have an 85% chance of survival outside my womb.

*Note to Niblet – PLEASE STAY PUT FOR A MINIMUM OF TWELVE MORE WEEKS, MMMMKAY? Mama loves you.*

We found out at 19 weeks that Niblet has a VAGINA, so technically I have two vaginas right now. I’m basically a vagina superhero. BabyCenter.com says Niblet opened her eyes for the first time last week and she’s added blinking to her list of special skills, among which are breathing and drinking amniotic fluid, sucking fingers and thumbs, grabbing her feet, playing with the umbilical cord, touching her face and amniotic sac, making the poop she’ll poop when she’s born, peeing, sleeping and waking at regular intervals, and clog-dancing on my cervix. How’s THAT for her LinkedIn profile?

Kid is ACTIVE. I started feeling little pops and bubbles at 18 weeks, but it wasn’t until 20 weeks that I was certain I was feeling Niblet and not the after-effect of too much ice cream. That was when she started kicking hard enough that I could feel her from the outside of my belly. At 24 weeks I could actually SEE her moving in my belly. It’s super freaky – like watching an alien trying to escape. These days it’s like I’ve got a little gymnast in there, turning, kicking, punching, wiggling. Sometimes she kicks/jabs in two places at once, sometimes she kicks on the left, sometimes the right, or up near my ribs, or, like I said earlier, she’s clog-dancing on my cervix. Her wiggles wake me up in the night, keep me from falling asleep, startle me at work, and sometimes they tickle. She’s had the hiccups once, so far. And still, after nearly ten weeks of feeling her, I have to stop whatever I’m doing to sit in awe whenever she starts her water ballet. Her movements make me indescribably happy. Even when they keep me up at night. Especially then.

It’s really amazing how easy this pregnancy has been. (Yes, I know, I’m super lucky.) I keep telling Mike that it’s too bad we’re not planning a family of fourteen because I feel like I was meant to do this. I’m the happiest, calmest, most laid-back I’ve ever been in my life. The worst part has been watching my waistline vanish and my behind take over, but that’s only because I’m a vain and superficial monster. Other than that, pregnancy has (mostly) been a cake walk.

And since I know you’re DYING to see (please note the hint of sarcasm) here’s that link to my Flickr stream of weekly belly pics.  I wish they weren’t mostly selfies in my bathroom, but between my schedule and Mike’s schedule it’s a wonder I ever got knocked up, so finding time for him to take my photo has been near impossible. (Click photos for captions.)

Niblet will be born in about three months and I still can’t believe I’m really, actually, truly pregnant. It’s all going way, way too fast.