23 Weeks: Surprises

Things that have surprised me about being pregnant:

1) That you spend over half of your pregnancy without a bump.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it was really so unexpected. I never really given much thought to the process of pregnancy. I knew ~9+ months and 40 weeks, but if you had said “I’m 16 weeks” to me, it wouldn’t have meant much back then. I thought bumps showed up early in the second trimester and most of pregnancy was spent waddling around huge. I’m now 2.5 months into the second trimester and juuuuuuust now looking pregnant. I know every woman shows differently, but I’m also surprised that someone with such short stature would take so long to look pregnant. Or that I would even care! But surprisingly, I do. And I’m glad the little guy is taking up more space.

2) That morning sickness was even worse than I was prepared for.

Most people know that morning sickness = nausea and sometimes vomiting. But the thought of those two things just isn’t that bad. It’s like you don’t remember how bad nausea is until you HAVE IT! I figured I might wake up feeling a little off and have some toast and feel great. But I was surprised at how hard it hit me all.day.long. Again, this doesn’t happen to all women, but I think over 75% experience some form of morning sickness, and even a little nausea is pretty awful to live with. This makes me wonder if labor is also going to be much worse than I think it is….oh dear.

3) That the baby moving really does feel weird!

As much as I love connecting with him through movements, sometimes, in certain positions, it kind of freaks me out that there’s something alliiiiiivvveee in me. People always say “I think it would feel like an alien!” but I never really thought it would. Until I really did feel the movements. And they do feel like an alien!! But at the same time, so cute!! The more I feel them, the more baby-like they get and the more fun they are to experience.

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4) That I really don’t miss alcohol, runny eggs, cold smoked salmon and the like.

Well I do miss the act of swirling a glass of red around during cocktail hour with friends, but it’s hard to believe I haven’t had a buzz (or hangover!) in 6 months. If you asked me “Do you want a glass of wine” I’d say that yes, I do want one and am sad I can’t partake in the in the social aspect or the fun to tasting different flavors and varieties. But I don’t really miss any of the effects of alcohol.  Makes me really wish there were more alcohol-free drinks that tasted as delicious and complex as the real deal out there!  It’s more the culinary aspect of it that I miss. Perhaps all the creative mocktails I’ve had in restaurants and things have helped fill the need for a social drink. And I hope that once I am able to partake in tasting again, I can do more sipping and tasting and  guzzling. I have the same sentiments toward runny eggs – as much as I like them, I really don’t miss them. Fully cooked eggs taste just as good to me. If anything, it’s just the fun of seeing where the yolk will run that I miss! And finally, as much as vegetables made me gag from weeks 6 to 15, I really DID miss vegetables in the first trimester. I’m glad they are back. They don’t taste as delicious as they used to, but they taste good again.

5) That I’d make so many good mom friends before becoming one myself.

I am so thankful for all of my mom friends! They are a wealth of advice and experience! I’d encourage any pregnant woman to seek out a mother’s group that welcomes you or have your friends with kids introduce you to other women and schedule a lunch date. Even though I have had lots of babysitting experience in my life, being around these new babies has just been a nice way to ease into having my own.

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6) That I would be so excited and not nervous at all.

Before I was married, when I imagined my wedding day and walking down the aisle, I would get so nervous. Even during the rehearsal, I was a ball of nerves about that walk. But on my actual wedding day, I was so EXCITED to walk down the aisle that all nervousness was overpowered with joy. I’m guessing something similar is going on now. The excitement overpowers the nervousness. That’s not to say I’m not a little unsure about what’s to come but just that I’m really looking forward to the whole experience and that eases my fears.

7) That I’m having a boy.

For some reason I had always pictured myself the mom of daughters. Probably because I am a daughter and a sister. But this guy is no gal!! And the more I think about him as a he, the more I can just tell it was meant to be (and I don’t really believe in things being meant to be). I’m so excited to be this boy’s mom, and I can’t wait to meet him! Maybe the fact that we have three boy bears was foreshadowing : )

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What parts of pregnancy took you by surprise?

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Pumping (And I Don’t Mean My Breasts)

Baby You’re A Firework

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The Magic Inside

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23 Weeks: The Magic Inside

From Conception To Birth

 

Someone shared the above video with me a while back and I just recently re-watched it (twice!) It is the magic of conception to birth shown in some pretty incredible digital images. I think my favorite one, though, is the one of the baby inside of the mother’s body.  It’s the best depiction of what-goes-where I have seen to date:

This is me a few weeks ago [although my belly is not nearly that round, so where is my baby hanging out!?]

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And then what’s to come:

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There are some really amazing videos on You Tube (including lots of birth videos if you’re interested!!)

And check out this awesome animation too!

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Pregnancy is soooo cool and so weird!

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Baby You’re A Firework

Pregnant In America

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23 Weeks: Pregnant In America

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Matt and I were flipping through Netflix on Saturday night and I found this saved in my queue.

We watched The Business of Being Born back at 11 weeks, and then this one, and we feel that both of them are majorly biased and overdramatized. The couple in this film spoke of OBs and hospitals as though they were against womankind. They chose the worst clips to share, and I felt this was a perfect example of biased media.

While I think it’s important to learn as much as one can about natural birth to understand the process (even if you’re planning an epidural), both of the films portray hospitals and doctors as pure evil. While I DO believe there are OBs and hospitals out there that might act more in an assembly line fashion, my gut says that most don’t have bad intentions. There is definitely a statistical trend toward c-sections and interventions in this country, and I do think that convenience often overpowers nature in many aspects of birth.

But what if you are in the small percentage that actually DOES need a c-section? Or your baby does end up needing emergency medical care? Are hospitals still evil then? I’d be pretty thankful for doctors. I’d like to see Ina May Gaskin make a documentary. I bet hers would be inspiring without being so critical.

I’ve read/listened to so many birth stories, and no matter how anti-hospital you are, doctors do save lives. And because of that, I wish these documentaries would portray them a little differently. One woman on Pregtastic had a baby in a birth center, but her baby had a collapsed lung. Thank goodness for hospitals. This story about a crunchy mom was determined to have a natural home birth was incredibly eye opening to me.

I think it’s important to be informed and flexible. Do your research on all options, interventions and natural birth alike. I would never want to have a hospital birth without an experienced doula at my side throughout the whole labor. Nor would I want to have a homebirth without being less than 5 minutes from a hospital. For me, the best plan is to bridge the two. I feel that bringing the natural into the hospital is easier than driving yourself and possibly a traumatized baby TO the hospital in an emergency. When the couple in the film had to do this, it made me wish they had just been there all along.

Luckily, it seems that our hospital and my group of doctors are not part of the “evil side” of medicine. My friends who birthed at Martha Jefferson had nothing but good things to say. And most of them did it naturally. I think I have heard an equal number of birth stories split between “My birth was awesome!” and “This and that went wrong and I went into a downward spiral.”

Matt says if he has learned anything from the two films it’s to be aware of the domino effect that induction –> pitocin –> epidurals –> c-section can bring. And the important role of oxytocin. But he is still glad we chose a hospital. For me, I’ve learned the importance of movement during labor. I want to be in all kinds of different positions. In the tub, walking, on a ball, on a birthing stool. We’ll see how it goes…

I am not anti-epidural. But I hope to labor without one. My tentative birth plan is to go natural unless my birth is extremely long OR I have something abnormal going on.

What is most important to me is to experience labor. I’ve been curious my entire life what it’s really like to have a contraction. How it feels to push a baby out. I admit I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get to experience either of those things. (A scheduled c-section would be my worst case scenario as far as birthing goes.) If I get a few hours into labor and decide I’ve experienced enough contractions to know what labor is like, I’ll consider an epidural, but my hope is still to be strong, focused and as athletic and mobile as possible.

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Baby You’re A Firework

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23 Weeks: Baby You’re A Firework

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Feelin’ good. Feelin’ pregnant! My bump is in that small round petite stage and I’m savoring it up before it starts to affect breathing, standing up, rolling over and more : ) Although I already have a hard time rolling over – I think my abs are just shot already!

23 weeks (1)

Speaking of abs, some of you might not realize as I never did that the baby grows UNDER the abs. When my friend Becca was first pregnant she let me feel her stomach and I couldn’t believe it. Of course it makes total sense than the uterus would not grow on top of the abs but what I couldn’t believe is that even with a huuuuge belly you can flex your abs and make it hard just like when they were flat. I’ve noticed on walks and things that I’m starting to get sides to my bump and it’s hard – abs at work! Some days the top layer is more jiggle-prone, but other times it’s firm and hard. It’s like my abs are in 3D now!

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The baby movements are getting to be stronger and even a little more predictable. They are just like fireworks! Unpredictable and some are bigger than others. Waiting to feel them is just like watching a firework show when you don’t know what the next boom will be like. He almost always kicks around within 10-15 minutes of eating a meal. First thing in the morning he doesn’t move but within maybe 5 minutes of me waking up I feel my first kick. It’s so sweet – like we’re waking up together. I should probably start saying “Good morning baby!” because his ear drums are apparently working! They say the baby will recognize his parents’ voices when he comes out, so I have to get Matt to start talking to him too.

23 weeks (6)

I feel movements most when I’m lying down, second when I’m seated and rarely when I’m standing, but I’m feeling those more now too. The other day I was lying down on the porch and Karen was over and he kicked hard twice and I told her to put her hand on my stomach and press down and just then he gave her a big kick to the palm!! Matt has finally been able to consistently feel them. Sometimes they are SO strong I can’t believe it!!

23 weeks (12)

I’m still having a handful of symptoms: nosebleeds and lower back pain being the worst two. With the nosebleeds, it’s not like when you were a kid and your nose just started gushing blood, but it’s just like it leaks a lot. I haven’t had any moments of “I’m trapped in the time warp in LOST” dripping, but it’s just sooooo much more than when I wasn’t pregnant (I’d have these symptoms maybe twice a year then!) Edited to add: I did get a REAL nosebleed on Saturday morning – right when I woke up! SOO weird since I had just written this the day before!

My back pain is actually better, but still noticeable. I feel like my posture is a little bit better this week and perhaps that is helping? I’m also not sitting on our squishy couch every night watching LOST, so maybe it’s also sturdier chairs!? I do feel like my whole torso is a little unstable – like things are getting looser.

23 weeks (10)

One symptom that I do NOT have that really surprises me is that I don’t have to pee that often. So many pregnant women talk about having to pee all.the.time and getting up all night, but I don’t get up in the night at all, and feel like I pee the same as I used to! Maybe slightly more when I’m on a walk. I wonder if this is because he is/was feet down? I’m sure this symptom will come in time!

23 weeks (11)

It’s so hard to believe how long I have been pregnant. When I think “23 weeks” it seems like just a small bit of time. But if I think “Since December…and it’s MAY” or “NEARLY SIX MONTHS” – gosh that sounds like a reallllly long time. And I’m not even close to my due date! It has been a fun ride so far though, but I’m already so ready for a big glass of wine…

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23 Weeks: Pumping (And I Don’t Mean My Breasts)

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How has exercise changed since becoming pregnant?

1) I stopped running.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with running while pregnant. I’m in awe of the women who are still doing half marathons or speedy distances. The main reason I stopped running was that in the first trimester, my body just felt fragile. It felt wrong to me to get out of breath and pound the pavement that much. Everything down there just felt more tender, especially since you use your core and lower abs a lot while running. And while I felt like exercising, I just didn’t really feel like running. It was also winter, so of course the cold was a major deterrent. I did go on several runs in the first tri, but they weren’t great ones. In fact, just before I found out I was pregnant I had an awful run that had me stopping every mile for cramps in my sides. I suspected my body was a’changin’. I ran at about 20 weeks too on a beautiful spring day and it went fine, but since I hadn’t ran in so long it wasn’t a great one. Psychological or physiological? I think I’m just out of running shape now, so I doubt I’ll run again. So I just don’t think running is in the cards for me. Luckily I’ve been active in many other ways!

2) I took up walking. Lots of walking.

95% of the reasons why I run can be satisfied with walking. Walking (especially on the hills here) is good weight bearing low intensity cardio while enjoying the outdoors. In fact, I kind of like walking more now. It’s great because most of the time (it’s not summer yet..) it doesn’t require a second shower because I don’t get too sweaty, and I have been able to do it in my street clothes. I do miss the high of running (especially when anyone is talking about a race or I see a runner out on a beautiful morning) but for now, I like walking more. Thankfully I have the time to put in the miles. Podcasts, magazines and moms on the phone are a plus! Since I walk a lot around town anyways, some days I have covered 7,8,9 miles in a day when I add my exercise walk with social or commute walks!

3) I swapped out yoga for prenatal yoga.

I hadn’t done too much regular yoga, so this was more of an addition than a swap. I didn’t start prenatal until I was about 14 weeks, but it was about this time when I could no longer lie flat on my stomach in a class and figured regular power yoga might be a bit too bendy for my growing torso. Love prenatal yoga! Yay for squats and pelvic circles.

4) Once a week cycle class.

I really enjoy my Wednesday cycle class and figured I could easily modify it to suit however I was feeling that day. I have taken my intensity down just a weeeee bit and opt out of the jumps at times, but for the most part this is my one high intensity, sweaty workout of the week. I’d go a second time but I just don’t love any other class as much as Amy’s and I hate that it’s always held in a dark, dark room.

5) And there’s Body Pump.

I’m very happy that I’ve continued to go to Pump throughout pregnancy so far! I really enjoy the class and have a group of friends I look forward to seeing on Mondays and Fridays. I want to keep myself strong for labor and the baby care beyond. When I couldn’t imagine something high intensity like a run, Pump still sounded appealing.

A few Pump changes:

-I dropped my weights down a hair after becoming pregnant. Like with running, I just didn’t want to feel that edge of fatigue. And feeling more fragile meant I didn’t want to be picking up the heaviest weights I possibly could. So I stepped down just a baby weight on everything and continued on. Still get tons of burn!

-Around 20 weeks I started to incline my bench. No idea how much this might impact the whole vena cava compression, but it is a bit easier to get on and off of. I often prop my leg up in a “figure four: while I’m on my back, as it seems to take some of the pressure of lying flat and lets just my lower body tip to the side just a bit, hopefully reducing the pressure. My upper body is still square though.

-I’ve modified the abs track since about 7 weeks when I had that horrible cramping. I was worried I had irritated my lower abs, so I stopped doing abs. Once the second tri started, I felt stronger and less fragile and I added back planks. During the abs track I try to do some leg lifts, 3 planks (front, both sides) and then some stretching while everyone else is still crunching. A kegel or two if I can remember!

-I still opt for the higher intensity options – like if there’s an optional hop, I still do it. Most of the time.

-I’ve added a nice 1 minute camper’s pose to my stretching. Can’t hurt right? (Oh yes it can!)

6) I’ve cut out the elliptical. And vacuuming!

My prenatal yoga teacher is big on keeping the pelvis aligned square to the front throughout pregnancy. Certain movements with reaches or twists pull the pelvis to one side or the other. She has three things she strongly recommends we not do:

-the elliptical (more often than not, the motion pulls hips forward and back, misaligning the pelvis.)

-vacuuming (she tells us to get our partners to do this – or hire an intern!)

-gardening (unless we are VERY careful to keep the hips forward. Reaching side to side is forbidden. Weeding right in front of your body while squatting is OK)

7) I’ve added in some home workouts.

Since I’m running less, walking a lot, and no longer doing cardio equipment like the elliptical (see above) or Stairmaster (too intense), I started to seek out prenatal DVDs. I first bought Summer Sanders’ DVD and then did a review of Expecting More (which I like a lot more). I also have a Knocked Up Fitness one to try out and review! And some YogaDownload prenatal yoga saved, but I haven’t tried those yet either.

Weekly Workouts

Mon: Pump Challenge

Tues: Walk + prenatal yoga

Wed: Cycle

Thurs: DVD/walk/inevitable rest day/swim?

Fri: Body Pump

Sat: Bakery/walk/rest/DVD

Sun: Walk/hike/DVD/swim?

What’s to come?

I would REALLY like to start swimming again, especially now that it’s warm!! I have almost scheduled it in a handful of times, but I don’t like going to the gym on Sundays and my Thursdays keep getting walks instead!! Maybe this week will be the week!

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23 Weeks: Saturday Snapshots

Things are coming along in the nursery…just a few updates this week:

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Bunting flags from Etsy are hung! They required a complicated mathematical equation to get remotely close to even. Love the colors!

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We also relocated Adam & Eve (painted by my grandmother) to the nursery when we got the new kitchen chalkboard. They help to balance the animals on the other side of the room. Lightweight too so less hazard for falling on baby than something big and heavy (like the glass frame that used to be there).

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Baby has book!

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Well, 3 at least. And shelves to put them on!

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Beaker says it’s too hot for swaddling! But he loves his pinwheel from Caitlin’s shower!

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I got a new [super supportive] bathing suit from Athleta at your recommendation! LOVE the top – I went straight to the DD bra size section and picked a halter with underwire. It fits great! I usually get suits at Old Navy, so this was by far the most expensive one I’ve ever bought, but worth it for a secure fit.

Any suit that makes a pregnant lady feel good is a winner!

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