STILL pregnant

No, this is not a comment on comments made…in fact, most friends seem to feel like this pregnancy has flown by.

I, on the other hand, do not feel as such. It seems as though I’ve been pregnant FORever.

A friend pointed out tonight, and somehow this was the first it dawned on me: our lives have changed ENTIRELY in the last 9 months. Since last February, we, as a family:

celebrated Finleigh’s first birthday

found out we were (unexpectedly) pregnant with our third

had our condo on the market

finally got our “maybe house” and moved

Ryan started kindergarten

bought a new (to us) minivan

sold off all of the REgarding Peanut inventory

and, soon, will have our third girl join our family.

It’s no wonder I’ve been reeling lately. It’s no wonder Michael has been on edge. And really, it’s a wonder the girls have been as awesome as they have been with all the stress we’ve had.

But to be honest, this has been an easy pregnancy. I worked out up until 35w. I’ve had very few aches and pains, and have really been pretty comfortable. That said, I’m whiny, cranky, and I’d much prefer to give birth over being pregnant. Now, at 37w, we’re excited to meet this little girl, and introduce her to our friends and family.

I know our lives will continue to grow and change over the years, and that staying stationary is never an option, but I would love (LOVE) to settle, just a little bit, into some sort of routine, just so we can all breathe a bit.

{all photos are taken by my AMAZING photog friend Chantelle of http://www.livelovelaughphotographblog.com/}

Hello, Second Trimester

And welcome!! How I LOVE you so…

Today, at 14 weeks exactly (yes, folks, THAT is the official start to the 2nd tri, not 12w) I am not tired. Nope, it’s 2:30 in the afternoon and I’m blogging instead of napping. For the first time in 12 weeks, I’m not crashed out on the couch like a narcoleptic whale (ok, still a tiny whale, but whatever). I have regained an hour (ok, two, who am I kidding) back in each of my days!! Oh, the possibilities!! Oh what I might do with my time!!

Sew? I do have a handful and a half of projects that I’d like to work on.

Like this (see, something for me!!):

Or this for Finleigh:

Or this for Ryan:

Or this for baby:

And, the bonus is: I MAY ACTUALLY GET TO DO SOME OF IT!

And I get to run. And I get to go to Stroller Strides. I might even make dinner and clean my house (hehe, probably not though). I’m looking forward to having the energy to pull out my camera more (especially with the sun making an occasional appearance).

So, yes, second trimester, though you mean I get even bigger, I welcome you…I welcome being able to feel the baby move more easily (just little pops here and there, but know in a matter of weeks it will be my constant companion), I welcome my belly growing larger, I welcome the increase in appetite (seriously, i eat ALL day long), and I celebrate the return of my energy. How I’ve missed you so.

Welcome back.

I heart running.

I never thought I’d utter those words. Never. There are a lot of things in life, and a lot of things I’m capable of, but I never believed that running was one of them. I’ve always liked the idea of it, but didn’t think I could.

About 8 weeks ago, I signed up for a Running Club through my local Stroller Strides group. I thought that, since we’d start out slow, and I’d be with friends, that this would finally be my ticket to running. I won’t say it’s been easy. The day before running club started we found out we were expecting our third baby (now affectionately referred to as “tres”), and of course I worried about it being a good idea. A quick pep talk from my coach, Hilary, confirmed that I would be fine, I’d been running at Stroller Strides for months and we start so slow it’s not a big deal.

That first day, when we were running 60 seconds at a shot, and I was dying. I didn’t believe that I’d make it to that 10k in May. I didn’t even sign up for it. I really wasn’t sure I could do it. Running is 90% mental, and only 10% physical. Your body will do what your mind tells it to. And that first day, I was scared. I didn’t think my body would ever cooperate with my mind.

Fast forward to tonight. Running 2.5 miles straight. We did it on Saturday, but I bonked hard. I walked more than I wanted to, and I let my mind lead the way. No good. Tonight I went into this run believing I could. At the first sign my brain started to take control and tell me I couldn’t do it, that I should stop and walk for a minute, that that was OK, I turned up the music and ignored myself. I CAN do this. I WANT to do this. I WILL do this. I WILL run 2.5 miles tonight. And my feet hit that pavement, and found a stride I could keep up with, over and over again. I found songs that worked, that motivated me to keep going, and I kept that volume high, so I couldn’t hear myself say it was OK to stop. It’s NOT ok to stop.

Today was the day I was going to run 2.5 miles.

And I did.

And I did it 11 weeks pregnant.

I think I can now officially describe myself as a runner, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Unrelenting Passion

I love that I’ve found passion in life. It’s an amazing thing to be passionate about things, and to be able to delve wholeheartedly into ideas and topics that mean so much to me.

But where I find passion challenging lies in the sharing of said passion. I sometimes get, well, overly passionate about it all. And even more so after Finleigh’s birth. I know that my zeal for natural childbirth and breastfeeding turns people off. And part of me really wants to say eff it. It’s the way it’s meant to be done, and dammit anyway, you have to try. If you don’t want to have a go at childbirth, then don’t get pregnant. If you don’t want to have a go at breastfeeding, then don’t have a baby. I don’t say these things though, because I risk losing people in my zeal. This comes off a discussion in a group, where I, as a mommy, said something about breastfeeding that set someone else, a mom who had chosen not to breastfeed her child, off. She was bothered by the “digs” that formula feeding moms endure. And while yes, I respect people’s right to choose, and telling women that they HAVE to breastfeed or go through a natural childbirth, to me, is akin to telling a woman that she cannot have an abortion, or telling gay people that they cannot marry, I just wish (and hope that someday) it’s all considered normal enough that breastfeeding or natural birth aren’t considered just another option.

So, I try to tone it down. And really, as an educator, a bigger part of me does believe that women and families have to go through birth in ways that make them comfortable (not talking about physical comfort, but personal, mental comfort). Birth is such a personal journey and I can’t even begin to pretend that I understand all of the implications for each individual. I suppose that I would just beg people to do real research. And by that, I mean REAL, DEEP, INVESTIGATIVE research into childbirth. The methods, the politics AND the practice. A family’s choices go so much deeper than “epidural or natural” which is so often the debate I hear.

And then there’s breastfeeding. Yes, I’ve heard it before: “but I couldn’t”, “I didn’t produce enough milk”, “my baby was allergic to milk”. I don’t entirely buy it. And while I applaud a mother’s effort (because they’re all valiant), I still don’t entirely buy it. Breast isn’t just “best”, it’s normal. If we didn’t breastfeed our babies, civilization as we know it would not exist (hell, if we do, civilization might exist in an entirely different way as well). So it doesn’t jive with me to hear as many women as I do that “can’t do it” for x, y or z reasons.

What I do know is happening is that we don’t support women. We (as an institution) want women to breastfeed, but we don’t help them do it. We want our babies breastfed, but again, don’t support it. We hear of women being kicked off planes, out of restaurants, and being asked to cover up while breastfeeding their babies. I see women all the time covering up with those awful “Hooter Hiders” (kudos for a cute name, but it’s still a lame product), more obvious than the women who can nurse discreetly without one. I even see women covering up in a mommy and me class. What? Seriously? That’s the safest place to learn to nurse your baby in public. A place no one cares if you flash your boobs! And of course, part of me thinks that if those are what it takes to get more women to nurse, then great. Use ’em. But a bigger piece of me, again, believes that we have to walk our walk, and if we’re going to promote breastfeeding, we need to promote it for real. Without coverups or caveats.

And beyond support the breastfeeding mother, how can we support the women who do need to formula feed without making that the norm? Yes, absolutely, women who need to use formula, for whatever reason, deserve to be supported. But how can we support those women, without allowing formula feeding to become “normal”. Because while, yes, it’s ok to use if necessary, it’s far from normal. And it shouldn’t be considered such. It shouldn’t be considered the immediate alternative. And it certainly shouldn’t be marketed as such (but there’s another topic that’s already been blogged about beautifully in so many other places).

I had this post in my head when I stumbled on this post from “Blacktating“. The author describes her experience learning to nurse in public, yearning to nurse in public:

I saw how a baby might start to wiggle a bit and like Houdini the mom had unhooked her bra, lifted her shirt and latched the baby in seconds flat. It looked effortless and it also looked like there was a baby in her arms – no breasts hanging out, no cover ups – simply a babe in arms. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to feel that assured. I wanted to look that smooth and at ease.

And she felt comfortable enough, with her community, to learn and try. Most women today don’t, and I guess I don’t understand that. They feel pressure from all angles to breastfeed, or to have a natural childbirth, but aren’t offered ways to learn to do that. They see the research that shows that epidurals and inductions are dangerous, but hear from friends that labor hurts and the epidural is a godsend. They know that breastmilk is the perfect first food for infants, but don’t know how to get started, or are made to feel awkward about nursing. Where are our communities?

And as usual, women do other women a disservice. We are our own worst enemies. This hasn’t changed since elementary school. We cut each other down to make ourselves feel better. Heck, I may even be doing it right now. Telling pregnant women horror stories of 40 hour labors and tears from here to there, and nipples trashed by babies doesn’t help. No one needs to hear your train wreck story. There’s a time and a place for it, and your pregnant friend is not the right audience.

What she does need to hear is that birth is normal. That feeding your baby, from your  body, is normal; and while challenging, possible. And that being a mama, if it’s something you really want, is the best job in the whole world. Becoming a mama will transform you. It will give you passion for something new.

(A huge part of me feels like I might want to offer an apology for this post. But I’m not going to. Because I’m not really sorry. What I will say is that this post IS NOT at all directed at women who’ve had to, for TRUE MEDICAL REASONS had to have a cesarean, or not been able to breastfeed. Lord knows y’all don’t need to feel any more guilty for choices that you didn’t really get to make.)

Feeling Restless

I’ve been feeling antsy for a while now. It’s annoying me, because my New Years resolution was to be content, and honestly, I’ve been doing a pretty decent job of it.

But lately, I’ve felt restless.

I feel like I’m ready to start a new adventure, a new journey, a new something. I’ve got a few things in the works (to share later), but nothing solid enough yet that it feels real.

Is it time to move (not out of the Seattle area)? Time to change careers (doubtful)? Time for new people (I can’t imagine it)?

So really, I’ve no idea what to do about this restless feeling I’m having right now. Instead of dwelling on it too much, I’m eating chocolate. And for now, that’s working.

Emptiness

I had a parent ask me in a labor and birth class the other night what it felt like after I’d given birth, and if I felt lighter (a lot of the moms have complained of that heavy feeling late in pregnancy).

Without missing a beat (or thinking) I responded:

“Empty. I felt empty.”

And I didn’t mean it in a negative way, but rather, in a sort of sad way. Melancholy, I suppose. I remember really mourning pregnancy, and the loss of having Ryan inside me, and the realization that I’d now REALLY have to share her, and care for her on the outside. It was more than just that my body had been emptied, but it’s really hard to describe it.

I think the closest I can get is that it’s like an amputee. You know your leg is gone, but it still itches sometimes, still hurts, and you still think you’ll be able to reach down and touch it.

Pregnancy is a little that way.

Your babe is here, and you are holding, touching, nursing and caring for her, but you still think that you’ll reach down and touch that huge belly, you feel “phantom kicks” and would SWEAR that you’re pregnant (but you’re not), and sometimes, years later, you feel phantom milk let-downs, again, swearing that you’re about to look down to find two huge wet spots on your shirt.

And so, as you celebrate the birth of your child, you mourn the loss of your pregnancy. It’s an important step, and giving yourself some time to mourn it is important. Again, this just came up, and I felt like I needed to write it out…for all the challenges, I LOVED being pregnant, loved that feeling of having another human being growing inside me, and loved bringing her into this world. And to love something that much, is to mourn it when it’s gone.


32 weeks, November 2005