March 21, 2013

Oh, hey Third Trimester

We're in the home stretch!  Unbelievable that I'm already in the third trimester.  The first trimester felt GLACIALLY SLOW.  The second trimester has gone by VERY quickly.  And I have a feeling that this third trimester is going to be so very fast!  Before we know it, I'll be updating this blog with the birth story!  

I think some of this may have to do with the fact that we don't know Baby R's sex yet, but I still cannot really believe that I am going to go to the hospital and then come home with a tiny person that I am going to be responsible for raising and caring for.  It's...still pretty surreal.  

I'm copying all the updates below from my Birth Month Club buddy, Katie, who is a couple weeks ahead of me and having a little girl.  This will be a good way to document how things are at this point:
Baby R's size: The fruit/veggie comparisons are so silly. Some places say an eggplant, another says a large cucumber, and yet another says a "rutabaga." (Who eats rutabagas enough to make that comparison?!) The important stats, though: 15 inches long, up to 2.5lbs!
Baby R's developments: Baby R may be dreaming! Brain wave activity at this stage has been known to show different sleep cycles, including REM sleep. Coughing, thumb sucking, better breathing (the lungs are almost to full maturity!).
Currently Craving: Still sweets for the most part.  Sweet, cold things are just like heaven to me.  Slurpees, candy, even just an ice cold glass of sweet tea.  But the NEED for these things isn't as bad as in earlier weeks.
How's the belly looking: Big!! Made this comparison today.  13 weeks (when I first started noticing a real bump) vs. today at 27 weeks:

Sleep & Dreams: The dreams are still okay, really.  A couple of times a week I will have a really scary or upsetting, graphic dream that wakes me up in a slight panic, but those aren't as prevalent.  I've dreamed about Baby R twice.  Once, she was a girl and had lots of hair.  The other time, he was a boy and teeny tiny and premature.  Sleep is okay...not great, not incredibly restful, but I am sleeping! God bless whomever invented the body pillow.
How I am feeling: Really feeling okay.  I am starting to struggle again with my growing size. I miss my body. I miss my summer dresses I'd be pulling out of storage right about now.  But really, I can't complain. Just the usual aches and pains after a long day or overworking myself a little, and some relatively new and uncomfortable heartburn.
Evidence of Pregnancy Brain: Well here's a fun story: last night, I went to get a bowl of Froot Loops (cold...sweet...), and I was THIS CLOSE to just pouring milk into an empty bowl.  I FORGOT THE CEREAL. But honestly, that could just be me turning more into my mother.
Movement: I've felt consistent movement after meals, like I'm supposed to.  As for other movement, it depends on the day!  Some days I get worried because Baby R seems to be too inactive, but I also know that s/he is still growing, and that takes a lot of work and makes him or her sleepy! Then there will be days where it seems like there's a disco party happening in my belly.  So it depends.  It's big enough sometimes to move my phone or my coffee mug or whatever I happen to be resting on my belly at the time (hey, it's gotta be useful, too!). 
Exercise: Really trying to step this one up.  Trying to get some good walking in every day at the very least.  My doctor gives me Disappointed Parent face when I admit how lazy I've been, so that makes me wanna do better. I was also given a prenatal yoga video by a friend, so I need to try that.
Innie or outie: Innie. I haven't noticed a single change in my belly button.
Stretch marks: None! I've read that these are hereditary, so, thanks for that, Mom! :)
Rings on or off: Still on! My hands and feet haven't been swelling at all, thank God (*knocks on wood*).
Maternity wear: Exclusively.  I still wear the occasional pre-pregnancy shirt while just around the house, but they really aren't very flattering. I'm about to need a few more sleeveless dresses, though, so I may actually need to shop soon.
Baby related purchases: Just a few things! The Muppets for our nursery (Kermit and Animal!), a sweet little "My Best Friend is a Pit Bull" onesie...I have a couple of showers coming up, so I'm excited about those.  My mother-in-law bought us our stroller, and my father-in-law wants to get our carseat for us.  My mom and stepdad have purchased the crib, we were given an awesome rocker, and my dad & stepmom want to hook us up with a dresser, so we're really being taken care of!
Days until due date: 91.  I can't believe we're in double digits already.

March 18, 2013

Not Okay

Everyone knows this image.  It's famous!  It has a story behind it! This sailor was so very glad to be home from the war, back on his home soil, that he grabbed a nurse and kissed her! How romantic! 

Most young girls love this image, and I was no exception for a very long time. I think I even had a poster of it in my room when I was in high school.

But, the older I get and the more news stories I hear and read about the treatment of women in our society (please check your gag reflex and then go read the news about CNN's reaction to the verdict in the Steubenville rape trial) and what seems to be a MIND BOGGLING trend of pointing a finger at rape VICTIMS rather than RAPISTS THEMSELVES...the more this picture makes me uncomfortable.

Did this nurse ask to be kissed by a stranger?  Granted, from the photo, she doesn't seem to be fighting back or anything (and so goes the usual defense of misogynistic acts -- "but she didn't fight back!" or "her body sure seemed to respond to it!")...but the idea of it just turns my stomach. 

I imagine she was walking through Times Square, possibly on her way to or from work, and maybe even offering a small smile at the celebrating sailors around her and a prayer of thanks that the war was over, finally.  Then, one of the celebrating sailors grabs her and kisses her before she knows what is happening!  People laugh and clap and cheer, a photographer happens to be in the right place at the right time, and history is made!

Maybe he hugs her afterward and she smiles shyly back at him before they both go back on their merry way...or maybe he just runs back to his friends and leaves her standing there, straightening her hat and feeling a bit embarrassed.

If there's more about this story that you know and I don't, besides the recent articles that the members of the photo have allegedly been identified after all these years, please let me know!  But even with the truth, the fact that this was not pre-established couple with a relationship does not seem to have been disproven over the years. 

There was a Super Bowl commercial this year that Audi made, showing a very similar situation.  A young, dateless man goes to prom in his dad's fancy Audi, walks in, basically accosts the Prom Queen by grabbing and kissing her without her consent, and then getting punched out by the Prom King.  But the kid has accomplished his goal! He drives home with a black eye and a smile, and a primal howl that he did something he has probably always wanted to do!

It doesn't sit well with me.  The Prom King is made to look like a douchey meathead who doesn't deserve the girl, but you know what? I'm more likely to side with him for punching out the guy who grabbed his date and kissed her without the girl's permission. 

Back to the CNN reactions to the Steubenville rape case verdict for one second...

Can you believe that it was two FEMALE news reporters who couldn't focus on anything other than how these young men's lives were "ruined" because of the verdict?! Yes, it's really sad that two very young men who made very, very bad choices will now be marked as sex offenders for stupid decisions they made at such young ages.  But they made a choice, and we cannot -- WE CANNOT --  have a society that doesn't give out consequences for breaking the law.

Their crying on the video in the link at the top of this blog didn't affect me at all.  What did the first guy apologize for? Sending out the pictures and videos they took.  Not for taking advantage of a 16-year-old girl and physically and sexually assaulting her. 

Maybe they are sorry.  They very well might be.  But that's just too bad.  They broke the law in a disgusting and horrifying way and now they have to pay for it. 

There are so many cases similar to this that have not resulted in the right verdict, and this is a step in the right direction towards making ANYONE -- regardless of how important they are to a mother-effing football team -- pay the consequences for rape.  And shame shame SHAME on Poppy Harlow, Candy Crowley and CNN for making this news story all about the poor rapists rather than the 16-year-old girl whose life has also been irrevocably affected by these events and this trial.

If I have a daughter, I hope we raise her in a way that teaches her that it is never okay to be grabbed, touched, etc. by someone else -- male or female -- without her consent.  If I have a son, I hope we raise him to respect all people and to never touch or grab another person without their consent. 

No matter the sex/gender of my offspring, I also want them to know that they can stand up for situations like these when they see it happening.  How many people stand around and watch this sort of thing happen all the time and do nothing about it?

So, no...the "Kissing the War Goodbye" poster and its backstory is no longer quite so romantic to me.  My husband kind of gave me a "here she goes again" smile when I started in on this subject when we saw a print of the image in a local sandwich shop last week, but as I prepare for the birth of a child into a world where women (and sometimes men; I don't want to leave out the instances in which men are also raped and assaulted) are treated like objects and expected to take on the responsibility alone for their own safety and protection, these things hit me much more deeply and emotionally.

March 16, 2013

Sofar Sounds DFW Show -- March 10th, 2013

Last weekend, I attended my third Sofar Sounds show in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  This blog post, with MUCH better pictures taken by Brian Hamm, is posted on the official Sofar Sounds blog HERE, so be sure to go check out the official blog, too.  The photos in this post were taken by me via Instagram.

Sunday, March 10th, 2013 was when Daylight Savings Time officially kicked in for this year, and what better way to “spring forward” into longer days with more sunshine than to spend an evening with in a window-covered space in the West End of Dallas as the sun set a little more slowly, and incredible musicians shared their talents with a room full of appreciative music lovers?

White Space Dallas was kind enough to offer one of their 5th-floor meeting rooms to the SofarDFW crew as a performance space, and the amazing musicians who make up If Birds Could Fly, Kelley McRae, Locksley, and Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown were kind enough to offer their tremendous talents as they stopped through Dallas.  Also, the generous folks at Eno’s Tavern in nearby Oak Cliff were kind enough to donate pizza for the bands, and I’m told it was quite delicious!

The evening’s performances were kicked off by Virginia natives If Birds Could Fly (there was a fun discussion about whether they were from “south West Virginia” or “southwest Virginia” in our corner of the room, the latter of which was confirmed after the show!).  The group’s style is described on their Facebook page as a “haunting mix of Appalachian folk, Americana, and retro country,” which sums up the essence of their sound much better than I could.  Lead singer Brittany Ashley was nearly floating above the floor with her bouncy energy and her vocals (reminiscent of a young Dolly Parton) soared over the room.  The entire group had an easy banter and a pleasantness that one would naturally expect from natives of the Deep South.

Next up was one quarter of the band Locksley, singer and guitarist Jordan Laz.  Jordan’s performance could not have been more different than the opening act.  He combined storytelling with musicianship as he moved seamlessly from song to song with no room for applause (at his request), which gave the entire set a very “performance art” feel to it. Because of this, I found myself really listening to the lyrics he sang and feeling how the music changed with each story.  Those with keen ears probably noticed the repetitive vocal and guitar motifs used throughout the performance.  

After a quick break, the music continued with Brooklyn native Kelley McRae, accompanied by her husband.  There seems to be a special chemistry that exists between husband-and-wife artists, and Kelley and her husband were definitely no exception.  The two of them communicated effortlessly with a quick glance, a small smile, or a breath taken together before continuing a phrase.  Kelley was programmed nicely after Jordan Laz as she also told complete stories with her music, both lyrically and melodically.  Her rich voice and poetic lyrics, accompanied by her husband’s impressive guitar skills, provided a beautiful set that was over all too soon.

By the time the sun had officially set, the lights of downtown Dallas’s famous skyscrapers and Reunion Tower provided the background for Nashville residents Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown.  As I was sporadically tweeting during the event, I mentioned that I’d bet good money that this foursome was somewhat influenced by The Sheepdogs, but it turns out that lead singer Tyler Bryant has been influenced by the great musicians of earlier years: Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Black Crowes, just to name a few.  Between songs, my husband said to me, “I bet they don’t play in this type of [acoustic] setting often, but they definitely should.”  I couldn’t agree more!  These guys were born to rock, for sure, which was evident in their barely contained ability to sit still in their chairs. However, it’s when artist or group is stripped down with no lights or amps or smoke to enhance their performance that their true abilities and talent are able to shine through.  Tyler Bryant and his equally impressive band mates proved that they can (and should) rock any venue, regardless of size or style.  I hope they continue to explore their acoustic side, but I also would pay good money to really see them in their element.

It was a busy weekend for music for some Texas cities, with 35 Denton wrapping up to the north in Denton and SXSW gearing up to the south in Austin, but I know I speak for the entire SofarDFW crew when I say how grateful I am to these incredibly talented musicians were willing to stop by to perform in such an intimate venue, and to the audience members who, as always, are willing to take a chance on new music by showing up without any prior knowledge of who might be performing.  And once again, to White Space Dallas and Eno’s Tavern for helping with the logistics of providing space and food! 

March 12, 2013

Tuesday Tunes -- Penny and Sparrow "Tenboom"

I haven't done a Tuesday Tunes in a long time.  The last one was Foreign Fields, which you can read about here

The truth is, I've been pretty preoccupied with blogging about the impending arrival of the BabyMonster, but also that I really haven't been introduced to much new music lately.  That's kind of my own fault. I haven't gone looking for anything new, and the exhaustion and physical toll of work and life and growing a human and helping a dog recover from surgery has kind of kept me from going to music shows or attending SOFAR events*

However, in that downtime, I have been listening to "Tenboom" by Penny and Sparrow.  A friend on Facebook (an acquaintance through our mutual love of all things Seryn) tagged me in a post about P&S and, trusting her impeccable judgment, I gave them a listen on Spotify.

(Quick tangent about Spotify -- as a big supporter of local art and artists, I feel dirty being able to stream any music I want for free of charge. It is nice, for example, if I'm just randomly in a mood for Huey Lewis and the News (WHO ISN'T?!) to just be able to stream their greatest hits album without the randomness of Pandora or the purchase of an album I don't really want to own, but....the GUILT. However...if you're a good and decent human being, you should still buy the music you love. Listening to Tenboom over and over finally made me realize, "I want this with me always. I want the baby to be able to listen to it with me via our Belly Buds.  I'mma buy this mother!"  It's sometimes disappointing to think you want an album, spend the money, and then not actually love it as much as you thought.  So, let Spotify convince you that the album is worth it, then support the music-makers and artists and shell out the dough for the album.)


Tenboom was one of those albums that I immediately connected to even with the first listen. I'm not really a "lyrics person" when it comes to music (which is why it took 15-20 listens of "I'll Follow You into the Dark" to finally realize just how damn dark that song really is), but the lyrics of this album really stood out to me.

Allow me to give you a few examples.

From the track "Duet" featuring Stephanie Briggs:

I bet your shoulders can hold more than
Just the straps of that tiny dress
That I'll help you slide aside
When we get home

I've seen 'em carry family
And the steel drum weight of me
Effortless, just like that dress
That I'll help off

Because I've seen you
And I know you
And I'm not going anywhere

From the track "Brothers:"

I'm still a boy  
But you're not the same 
My skin still looks see through and I feel underneath like a fake
You're smiling again  
You show me a place  
You stay in that tree house and all I had wrong was a day
Don't give up  
Don't you quit on me  
Don't give up  
Don't you quit on me

RIGHT?!  So good.

The band's bio page on their website cites their musical influences as "The Swell Season, Bon Iver, Mumford and Sons, and others," and this is pretty evident in their sound...yet they're still incredibly unique. They also mention that they're a fan of musicals. SOLD.

Give this duo from the great state of Texas a listen. I think you'll be glad you did. 

*this is about to change! heading to one on Sunday withe husband!

March 11, 2013

The Business of Being Born

I'm not actually sure this blog post is ready to be posted.  If I were a good writer, I'd plan this out thoughtfully and structure it, but really...for a pregnant lady with a short attention span and a full-time job, that's a lot to ask, so I'm just gonna stick with my usual stream-of-consciousness blogging style and word-vomit out what I'm thinking.  If it veers off, let's just hope it comes back around, ok?

A couple of Facebook friends posted that they had watched the documentary "The Business of Being Born" on Netflix.  Just in reading the synopsis offered on Netflix, I was immediately skeptical.  I don't watch a lot of documentaries, because they tend to be pretty one-sided (though, I'm already a hypocrite because my Instant Queue includes a documentary on how awesome pit bulls are, and I will hear no arguments to the contrary!), but I thought that, since I'll be delivering a baby in the next few months, I should give this one a shot.

Let me pause for a moment and direct you to a friend's blog.  Lindsay wrote about this documentary just this morning, and she and I, while alike in a lot of our thoughts, had very different reactions to this documentary.  Neither are wrong, neither are absolutely right.  But I wanted to point you in the direction of someone who LOVED it, as I found myself generally annoyed by huge sections of it.

However, I think one thing that we both can agree on from jump street is that we as women have a responsibility to educate ourselves and be advocates for ourselves and make choices that work the best for us and for our bodies and circumstances.  A lot of the statistics offered up in the first half hour or so of the documentary regarding OB/GYNs, hospitals, C-sections, etc. in America, in my opinion are because a large percentage of American women just assume that birth is a terrible, scary, painful thing that only the mighty hospital doctor can help us through.  The documentary even mentions (and I agree) that the media (movies and television) has done nothing to change this view of labor and delivery. Think about it...what do you see in TV and movies?  Women screaming bloody murder until the mighty doctor comes in with his epidural and makes everything all better and hands you a fat pink baby wrapped up in a blanket.

I also agreed with the documentary that scheduled C-sections and "designer births" made popular by celebrities are a terribly selfish (not to mention unnatural) way to go.  Now, before you hang me up on a cross for that statement, let me amend to say that I know that there are many circumstances under which a woman needs a C-section.  Even a scheduled one.  My own sweet cousin is scheduled to have one on April 2nd, and I know it's not for "convenience" or to avoid the pain of a vaginal birth.  Every woman's situation is different.

However...the documentary spends a good half hour (at least) at the beginning of the film basically making hospitals and OB/GYN doctors out to be money-grubbing crooks who are just waiting, scalpel in hand, to give us drugs and cut us open and charge us ridiculous amounts of money for their time and facilities (hence the use of "business" in the film's title). One of the women interviewed actually said that OBs should just "only focus on surgery because they have no idea what they're doing with natural births."


I hate blanket statements, just for the record.  Just like "not all midwives are uneducated hippies" (which nobody *I* know ever said but is probably a fairly common thought), neither are all OBs butchers who care nothing about what a woman wants. 

So, suffice it to say I felt compelled to turn off the film several times, because I really didn't want to sit through another 70 minutes of anti-hospital/OB lectures.  But I'm glad I watched the whole thing.

I got to watch some actual, filmed live home-births (at which I waffled between covering my eyes and gagging a little [hey, I never needed to see that much of Ricki Lake naked or get that up close and personal with someone's baby crowning], and getting teary-eyed at the true miracle of giving birth), and I learned a lot about how far we actually have come as a nation regarding the medical interventions given to women in the past decades.

The parts about the "Twilight Sleep," for example, would scare anyone off of drugs during delivery.  Women having to be tied down to tables because they were trying to claw up the walls because of the drugs and then remembering none of it and being handed a baby that they had no recollection of birthing? HOLY CRAP NO THANK YOU.  And a fairly good point was made about how there really hasn't been enough time passed since the introduction of epidurals and Pitocin and other medications to see what the true long-term effects of these drugs could be.

Also I learned that I want to stay far, far away from Pitocin, but that's a personal choice I made, and one with which I plan to discuss with my OB (who, for the record, is completely on board with a natural birth and avoiding a C-section -- he said himself that it's the best overall and the easiest from which to recover).  One of my favorite little nuggets of trivia had something to do with the fact that (like that? this is where I should go look up the research and the exact statement, but whatever) if monkeys were given the drugs we women are given during childbirth, they would have nothing to do with their babies.  The drugs prevent (or manufacture) the natural oxytocin produced when we give birth, which is what helps us to forget the pain we just went through and produce strong endorphines helpful in bonding with our babies.  Pretty interesting, huh?

Also also, I was glad to see that there was a documented instance in which a woman (Ricki Lake's fellow filmmaker, actually) who had every plan and intention to give birth at home found that she had a medical need to get to a hospital and have an eventual C-section.  Her baby was premature, breech, and had the cord wrapped around his neck.  An intervention was necessary, and her doctor was on board from jump street with her plans for a home-birth and promised her no judgment or finger-wagging should she end up at the hospital.  I think that I would've written off this documentary completely had it not been for that particular OB (who seemed awesome, BTW) and this woman's situation.  The midwife knew when it wasn't working, and they did what was necessary to ensure the most successful birth for mother and baby.

(I did feel like Ricki was totally looking judgy and disappointed when she was talking to her fellow filmmaker, asked her if she was disappointed that she couldn't have a home birth, and heard the answer, "Not really" from her partner in crime.  But maybe that was just me projecting Ricki's pretty obvious bias onto her facial expressions. Heh.)

So I learned a lot. I'm glad I watched it, just because I know some things I didn't know before and I now have some questions ready for when Michael and I start childbirth classes next month and for my next OB appointment. 

Lindsay's blog (linked up in an earlier paragraph) talks a lot about our choices as women: choices to get pregnant, to stay pregnant, to choose what works best for us and our babies when we deliver, but also our tendency as women to judge other women's choices. 

So I want to offer up the big ol' disclaimer that I don't judge a woman's choice to deliver at a hospital, a birth center, or in a kiddie pool in her own home.  I don't judge a woman's choice to have an epidural or not.  I don't judge a woman because I see her preparing formula for her baby as opposed to attaching said baby to a boob.  However...

I do judge one choice: the choice not to research and educate oneself. To be spoonfed and accept everything we hear as Scripture and to ignore what may be a nagging feeling to ask questions and even make some hard decisions, such as switching doctors (or choosing not to have a doctor) or deciding that, despite all of your plans and wishes, you really do need that episiotomy you didn't want to have. Any decision which puts you or your unborn child in danger because of a lack of research and/or knowledge is just something I can't get on board with.

We were blessed with brains and with intuition, and we are fortunate to live in a country where we have many options.  It's our responsibility to use those gifts and those options to the best advantage of our bodies and our families.  We owe it to ourselves and to future generations of women to set examples of being advocates for ourselves.

I owe it to myself to know what's best for me and for my baby and my body.  So, in conclusion, I'm glad I watched this film (as biased as I felt it was at times), because I learned things.  And I feel even more secure in my decisions to hopefully deliver without the use of drugs or interventions, in a hospital room, with an OB I trust and respect one hundred percent.  And I feel pride and intense respect for any woman who uses her education and knowledge to make the decision to give birth in a tub, in the arms of her husband and to the sounds of soothing encouragement of a midwife in her own home. 

Women are amazing creatures, and I'm proud to be one of them.  I'm honored to have the ability to experience childbirth in whichever way I decide. 

Maybe I am starting to feel like a "sacred vessel" after all...

March 7, 2013

I Give Up

I give up on trying not to be "That Pregnant Woman" on social media.

Whatever.  We're all bad about it...whatever is going on and completely consuming our life consumes our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.  Whether it's a show that we're in, or a politically-driven issue we have to post memes and articles about, or's how this whole social media thing goes, really.

I've kept a lot of my deepest thoughts and fears to myself or to my husband and very closest friends, of course, but I have really felt like the things I've posted have helped me in one way or another.  Asking current moms about their experiences with certain products or issues...posting weekly or bi-weekly baby bump photos...or just blogging about how I've felt has helped me.  I'm definitely one who thrives in a "community," and my social community (most specifically on Facebook, because those are all people I do know in real life and love and trust, for the most part) has been very important to me and very helpful. It helps me to bounce feelings or thoughts or questions off of others and take in all of the responses and then make my own decisions. 

I also give up on trying to please everyone.  I've tried hard (too hard, at times) to maintain a sense of "cool, pre-pregnancy Mandy" throughout this process, but I'm giving up.  Actually, no.  I'm giving in.  I'm giving in to the changes that are happening to me and to my family and in my life.  Things are going to change.  It's too hard to fight them and try to stay this person who tries to make sure she doesn't make anyone mad by not going out somewhere or doing something when really I want to be at home. I need to be at home.

I'm amazed at how much I've changed in the past couple of years.  I used to be dying to get out of the house and be social.  Now, when I'm out, I want to go home.  I want to go sit on the couch with my husband and my dog and watch t.v. and laugh at our stupid wrong answers on Jeopardy! and fall asleep intermittently even though I just woke up/am about to go to bed anyway.

Here's a good example: I went to see some friends in a show this past weekend, and I desperately wanted to leave before the show was over.  It was a great show, one of my favorites actually, and I was really enjoying the production, but I just started to feel the need to go home almost to the point of anxiety levels.  Granted, I started to get physically uncomfortable, too, in those theatre chairs.  This baby likes to hang out all nestled up in my rib cage, it feels like, so sitting for a long time starts to get really painful.

During a Play Readers meeting a few weeks ago, I was anxiously checking the clock because I wanted to go home. This has NEVER been something I've struggled with.

I used to revel in my alone time at home, so I could watch whatever I wanted on TV or Netflix, but now I just watch the clock and my phone until Michael comes home or lets me know he's on his way home from work or a commitment.

I'm sure some of it's hormonal, but I also really think that God is using this time to shape me into the mother I will become, and how that will change me as a wife.  This is a blog post for another time, and I really do want to write about it, but I have a genuine fear of Michael and I becoming just parents and tending to forget that we are also partners in a marriage.  I'm ready to be home. I'm ready to be a nurturer to my child and a partner to my husband. I still long to create art and be onstage; that's not going to change.  It's also a fundamental part of me individually

I want my projects to enhance who I am but not define who I am.  I want motherhood to enhance who I am and not define who I am.  I want my marriage to make me a better person, but not to define who I am. It's a tricky, tricky balance.

I guess we never stop changing, do we? 

I'm okay with that.  I may put more of it "out here" than people are comfortable with, but I figure that for every annoying post that causes someone to hide me, I'm also hiding someone for an annoying political post, so it all eventually evens out anyway.

The word vomit helps me, and the support from friends helps me.  If I lose friends because I put my family and myself first, and/or because I'm too honest or public about it, I think that might be okay too.

Thanks for making it this far, if you did, and thanks -- as always -- for reading. 

March 4, 2013

Weighing on my Mind

With an emphasis on the "weight."

Since this blog has spent a good deal of time discussing my weight loss journey and my goals to living a healthier lifestyle overall, both physically and emotionally/spiritually, I think now would be a good time to talk about this aspect of pregnancy...

...the dreaded weight gain

I knew I would struggle with this aspect of pregnancy, at least mentally.  I had no idea how my body would change or gain weight, because I've never been pregnant before.  I also know that it's very different with every woman and even with every individual pregnancy the same woman experiences. But I knew that I'd struggle with the reality that the needle on the scale was going to go up higher and higher, whether I liked it or not.

Some of the things I was told:

* Your body is gonna gain what it's gonna gain, so eat what you want.
* You started out overweight, so you really shouldn't gain more than 10-15 lbs (by the lovely woman who works for United Healthcare's "Healthy Pregnancy" program on the phone...a woman who doesn't know anything about me other than my starting, pre-pregnancy weight).
* I'd like to see you get to this weight before you get pregnant, and keep your weight gain to about 30lbs.

Take a wild guess as to which I took the most seriously. 

If you guessed the third statement, you win the prize!  That was the advice of my doctor a year ago, when I became his patient and he encouraged me to drop about 20lbs to be at what he considered a healthy weight for me before getting pregnant, and what he said to me when I re-visited him after getting pregnant.

Allow me to go off on a tiny tangent here to say how much I love my OB.  This is why I stayed with him after that first visit in February of 2012.  He gave me a very matter-of-fact instruction to get to a healthy weight for me -- not to fit what was on a chart for my height and age.  He's also very matter-of-fact that I need to get off my butt more than I have in this pregnancy if I want to keep the weight gain under control.

Anyway, it's time to list some facts:

* I met my goal weight, or got within a pound or so (I need to check with my doctor's office to see what my actual weight was at that first visit after the positive pregnancy test) right before I got pregnant.
* So far, I have gained approximately 12-15 lbs (as of my last visit on February 8th).  Again, I need to get some legit numbers.
* I've let my eating habits slide big time because of how I've felt during the first trimester and a half.
* I've felt better and could be eating better and exercising more, but bad habits are so easy to get back into that I've let myself be lazy.
* If I'm careful, and if I gain about a pound more per week (which is pretty normal during the third trimester), I'll meet my goal of only 30lbs weight gain.

This will still make me heavy.  Heavier than I've been in a long time.  But I still have time to make sure that this weight gain is for the pregnancy, and not because I've allowed myself to have 3 Slurpees a week and all the candy I want (this baby either LOVES sugar, or my body missed it so much as I was approaching my goal weight that it's craving it like crazy...).

I'm getting nervous, though. I feel very big and awkward.  I feel incredibly nervous about my Glucose test on Thursday.  I'm nervous that I'm going to get lectured on weight gain.  I'm nervous that in my third trimester I'll hate how I look and I'll resent the pregnancy because, yes, unfortunately, I am that vain.  To be honest, I look forward to having this baby MORE so I can get back to a body shape I'm comfortable with than so that I can meet my baby.  OF COURSE I'm excited to meet this little dude or gal, too. 

But when you've struggled with weight and vanity issues your whole life, that doesn't just go away during pregnancy.  So it's a daily struggle and prayer to make sure that I'm giving the baby and my body what it needs (healthy food, water, exercise, etc.), still giving in occasionally to the MASSIVE sugar cravings in moderation (because, hey, you just don't know how singularly focused the mind can become on getting that Slurpee), and easing myself back into some healthy habits without starving myself. 

Because the fact is, I need more food than I did before. I need to eat more calories.  But they can be good calories and smart choices.  I'm not "eating for two."  Not two adults anyway. 

I'm also taking lots of pictures.  I'm THAT girl.  I've felt NO shame in taking selfies and posting them on my Flickr and Facebook accounts, because it's nice to hear people tell you that you look great when you are feeling more and more like a Weeble Wobble.

And finally, I leave you with a comparison shot (and the shot on the left will be my inspiration once the Little One is born).  The picture on the left is less than a month before I found out I was pregnant, and the picture on the right was taken this morning.  It's a fairly drastic change in my head, but in reality I can see in my face and arms that I am gaining weight where the baby is, mostly (no comment on the boobs), and that I haven't completely let myself go.