Archives for the month of: March, 2015

It’s true, I don’t have time to post. I hate it! I want to curl up and write and enjoy being pregnant, but I only get to do that an hour or so a week. I’m not complaining because I appreciate my job and the fact that we’ve figured out  our living situation. Also, J and I had a really nice weekend, despite the work and moving chaos. We met up with www.ladyloveandbabydust.wordpress.com and her wife, which was a blast. It was as if I’d already met her, since I’ve been reading her blog for a year. We compared lots of pregnancy notes, our partners compared partner notes, and we chowed down on Thai food and beer for the partners. It was great! 

  

 Here’s my pregnancy update: 

Doctors and Doulas 

 I had a monthly prenatal appointment two weeks ago with a wonderful female doctor I also saw during my miscarriage last summer. She offered to be my primary doctor, along with the midwife on staff there. So far I’ve been taking a learned helplessness approach with Kaiser being my pregnancy provider, just seeing whatever doctor was available since you don’t get to choose your doctor during labor anyway. I feel much more comfortable now, knowing that I will only see her and the midwife as much as possible. My next six appointments are with the midwife! I googled her and she’s also a prenatal acupuncturist and gets rave reviews on Yelp! I can’t wait to meet her at my April appointment. 

 We’ve also hired our doula. She’s my prenatal yoga instructor, and a super upbeat, funny and positive person. It makes sense for my yoga instructor to be my doula, since I feel so connected at yoga and feel like my labor will be very athletic and she’ll know my body pretty well by then (I started going every week starting at 12 weeks). The doula came to our house for a consultation. She explained everything – she only takes two to three clients a month so she can be readily available for our births, she empowers J and I to be ready for whatever may come our way, she does massage and helps me cope with the labor pains. She included J in everything which was great. My birth team is now my mom (midwife by profession but mom during my labor), our doula, and of course J. We talked about natural childbirth but also my fear of c-section and desire to avoid one at all costs. Both of my sisters had truly unavoidable c-sections and my doula explained how this may lead me to feel like it is inevitable. We talked about fear and control, perfectionism and other such emotionally vulnerable topics that I’ll get into in a later post. Suffice it to say that preparing for a natural childbirth and becoming a parent brings up a lot of stuff I’m already working on in therapy, and it all seems to be coming together… 

My Body 

 I’ve gained exactly fifteen pounds. It’s crazy to look at the scale and see numbers I never imagined I’d see! It’s kind of exciting, too. I keep track of my weight gain on an app so I know it’s within normal range. This helps me not obsess about it. I’m still exercising five or six days a week, doing low impact aerobics, going for jogs and doing my prenatal video. Jogging is hard with a bigger belly but I go slow and walk a lot. It’s already hard to put on my shoes and last night I painted my toenails which was really interesting! I may have to start getting pedicures. My belly button piercing started to bleed a little and I read that this can, in bad cases, cause blood poisoning, which is no joke, and affect the fetus. For the first time in fifteen years I took the belly ring out. We’d already ordered a maternity belly bar but J couldn’t get it in so for now, it’s out, and I don’t care if it closes up as long as Glitter is healthy! 

Movement 

This is the most exciting thing ever! I feel her move constantly, pretty much all day. It feels like my stomach is turning over, but it’s pleasant because I know it’s her. If I press into my stomach while I’m lying down, I can feel her kick on the outside, too. The other night she started kicking and I grabbed J’s hand and told her to press and she felt her. J’s whole face lit up! 

Clothing 

I’m almost completely in maternity wear now. I still fit into a couple of regular dresses and shirts, but pants have to be maternity. I bought two maxi dresses at Destination Maternity and I love wearing them because there’s no pressure on my belly, but I feel more professional wearing black pants and blouses to work so I still have to iron and pull those damn pants on every day. My feet also hurt a little now so I’m trying to wear more comfortable shoes. Most of my sandals are platform so I think I can keep wearing them to work. 

Food 

I only crave the same things I always have – mostly Thai food and cheddar cheese (not together). I’m eating kale salad with tofu for lunch every day to keep things flowing and healthy, and we’ve been making wild caught salmon twice a week. The only true pregnancy craving I can claim is fruit, especially tropical. I want pineapple, kiwi, coconut, oranges and apples all the time! One night I ate five blood oranges at 3am and in the morning J didn’t understand where the supply had gone… 

Sleeping 

Speaking of 3am, yes, insomnia is in full-force. I sleep well until 3am then I’m awake, sometimes until my alarm goes off. I also have terrible restless legs, which is common in pregnancy, which is now making it hard to fall asleep. I’m talking Calm brand magnesium before bed but some nights nothing helps.

Reading

I’ve been reading some parenting books and feel good about attachment parenting. I know when the baby comes everything will change and a lot depends on circumstance and our baby’s disposition and patterns, but it’s nice to be prepared and informed. I read Beyond the Sling by Mayim Bialik (yes, the actress who played Blossom). It was a little cheesy but very helpful. She explains why natural childbirth and breastfeeding are important and has chapters on baby wearing and relationship adjustments. My favorite chapter was on discipline. I have always felt very strongly that physical discipline is harmful, sometimes traumatizing to emotional development, and I work with women every day who have neglected and abused their children because they were uneducated and unable to cope with their own emotions. The book takes gentle discipline a step further though, providing alternatives to yelling “No!” at your poor one-year-old who has no idea what’s she’s doing wrong, and giving alternatives to time-outs, which I believe are shaming and cause a young child to feel emotionally abandoned. Note: If we have different beliefs about these issues, it’s okay; I’m expressing my parenting intentions for my own child but not necessarily for others.

I’m also reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Parenting from the Inside Out. I’d like to start some reading on natural childbirth and meditation and hypnotherapy next. 

That’s all for now, but I’ll definitely post a six-month update and some tidbits about our new apartment between now and then! 

  

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My office has gone up in flames. Without getting into the whole story, since I’ve spent the past few days processing it with coworkers over and over, there have been a few political and structural changes at the clinic where I work. It’s a wonderful mental health clinic with an amazing group of talented and caring mental health therapists, but it’s in a very rough area in South LA (formerly known as South Central) and the clients are tough. They love drama, they love acting out the chaos and verbal violence of their childhoods. Boundaries are tough for them despite the growth and positive changes they bring.

In the past few days, one of our clients, high on PCP, threatened to shank another client. Social security cards were stolen. Staff was snapped at and clients who don’t know how to handle their emotions tried to organize a walk-out. My coworkers and I are utterly exhausted. We have put forth every effort to show the clients compassion, organization, strength and positivity, to no avail. The drama is intense. I haven’t had a moment to eat lunch quietly or take a break. I’m drowning in paperwork because I’ve spent all of my time supporting clients who are upset about the changes and processing the stress with my team.

On top of this we are packing. Last week we weren’t sure where we would end up because there were water problems with the rental we wanted and the leasing agent wasn’t sure we would have our own washer and dryer. It was so stressful to pack all weekend, in 90 degree weather, not knowing where we were going. It’s resolved now and the apartment, complete with washer/dryer, will be gorgeous and comfortable, but it’s been a full week of intense stress.

Glitter has been swimming in a pool of cortisol. I’m generally very high-strung and stress is normal, but this has been a whole new level. I have acid reflux, shortness of breath, and my heart is occasionally skipping a beat. I’m concerned about how all of this affects her.

So this is why I often miss pregnancy updates and bump pics ­čśŽ I want to get better at posting them! I’ve been exercising and doing relaxation exercises, eating pretty well and in bed over eight hours a night, but it’s no match for the stress. I can’t wait until April when things at work have calmed down and we’re settled into our new place.

This weekend I’ll post some pics and updates! Have a nice weekend!

I used to feel hopeless easily but during my quarter-life crisis at 33 (a few years ago), I leaned how to take control. I learned that’ll i want something badly enough, I can believe in it instead of fear it’s demise, I can take steps to avidly pursue it, I can go ahead and envision it, welcoming it to happen but not necessarily assuming that it will. 

A few days ago I started to write a post called “First World Desperation.” It was about our deciding not to buy a house and feeling depaerate about not having a new rental lined up. I don’t want to have my baby in a small apartment or an apartment without certain amenities – air conditioning, bathtub, washer/dryer, a nice couch. J is really good at accepting a situation and “going without,” but after ten years of wanting to get married, but a house and have a baby, I’m not feeling like compromising. We make good money, we’re stable, we have support. So we put our rental notice in for the end of March. For three days we searched for rental houses and by the end I had a full meltdown – came home from three hours AFTER WORK of looking at apartments and houses and started freaking out about having our newborn in a crappy place. I couldn’t stop crying. The next morning I woke up, got ready for work, sat down on the couch and kept sobbing. I called into work and curled into a ball in bed.

Later that morning I pulled myself together and J and I came up with a plan. We chose the most reasonable and fabulous of the places we had looked at and decided to apply. We’re now waiting to hear back from the leasing agent. I’ve been anxious and unsettled and haven’t slept much in the past week. I need this apartment to come through by the end of today so I can SLEEP and we can pack all weekend knowing we have somewhere to go!

*UPDATE*

We got the apartment! It’s really nice. It’s on a very nice street and is currently almost finished being completely renovated. Hardwood floors, all new appliances, a sun porch with French doors, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, with a deliciously modern bathtub for me to spend my third tri and labor in, and a storage and laundry room. It’ll be a great place to spend the first year of our baby’s life, and since we’re renting, it’ll be easier for us to escape LA in a year or two. Yay! Maybe I can go to sleep tonight.

I’ll leave you with a funny story. The apartment is in Koreatown – a really nice part on the edge. When J went alone to look at the apartment at first, the landlord’s mother was there to show her around. J wanted to be very clear about our family so that cultural differences would be out there from the beginning, and when she told her she had a fianc├ę who was a woman and was pregnant, the lady said in a thick Korean accent, “Oh, are you – what’s the word – lesbian?” She also told J she wanted someone Korean to live there and that J “sort of” counted. She ended up telling the landlord that she liked us best though, so I guess our little estrogen-filled family left a good impression on her!

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Does anyone know what fabulous movie that’s from? It’s a scene in which things feel like they’re falling apart… How I feel right now. 

My boss gave me these Toms shoes someone gave her when she had a girl. Of course her baby only wore them once for two seconds. I don’t like pink but these sure are cute… Plus, they say “Glitter” on the box!

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I’m feeling depressed. The house we were buying needed a lot of repairs and we did a request for the owner to credit them. Tonight we found out that the owner refused all repairs so we’re backing out of escrow. As of right now we have nowhere to live. I have no room to start a nursery and no yard to have a baby shower in. Glitter has no nest. 

We put so much time, effort and money into finding a house. We’d stay where we are – our apartment is cute, has two bedrooms and is in a good location – but the walls and ceiling are too thin for a baby and it has no bathtub, which Id like to have for third trimester and labor. 

I know we’ll find a place and in some ways this is for the best. Real estate in LA may not even be worth it, especially as we don’t want to settle down here. We’re moving on to rentals… But for tonight, I feel depressed. 

Warning: Post contains more disgusting throw-up stories. I want to document these but I’m sorry it’s so nasty. 

20w,2d

I can’t believe I’m 20 weeks along! I read this week that most first time pregnancies last an average of 41 weeks, 1 day, so that’s almost halfway there. I’m so incredibly excited and love being pregnant. However, my symptoms continue to ail me. This morning I woke up and started sobbing from hip pain and lack of sleep. I cried for awhile then made myself eat frozen waffles with cream cheese, which normally would settle my stomach. J went into the bathroom for a few seconds to pee and I projectile vomited coffee and breakfast into the kitchen sink. Normally I can hold it until I’m near a toilet but no today. As usual, J was so sweet and supportive. I got in bed and heard her cleaning the sink. I feel bad that what was supposed to be a fun Sunday is now a day of me in bed feeling miserable. My philosophy is that just like having a newborn and beyond, pregnancy is full of difficulties that are normal. Baby doesn’t sleep all nigt and cries all day? Sucks, but she’s a baby, so too bad! I throw up well into my second tri? Well, I’m pregnant and pregnancy can be hard. Embrace it and don’t complain too much because it’s such a blessing. 

Symptoms

I still have morning sickness, but not all the time and not every day. Most days this past week I have been waking up and throwing up bile. Throwing up bile is horrible – it’s a physical strain, causes me to gasp for air and tastes awful. I’m not sure why this is happening but I believe it’s linked to lack of sleep. I also get very nauseous and sometimes lightheaded right before lunch and dinner and I’ve realized just how much eating I have to do. The lightheadedness feels like a blood sugar issue but who knows. Being the passenger in a car, or even the driver, brings on the sickness, too.

I believe the worst symptom is the hip pain. This occurs in the middle of the night and is literally so severe that it wakes me up between 1 and 4 times a night. I wake up in agony, with shooting pain deep in my hip joints. Since I have to sleep on my side now, there’s no relief for it, even with a pillow between my legs and behind my back. This morning I broke down in tears before I’d even had my coffee. I want to minimize spending any money on extra things since we have so many expenses right now and have to save for Glitter, but today I’m marching straight into Bed Bath and Beyond and buying a Snoogle body pillow. LadyLoveandBabyDust, thank you so much for the offer of the pillow and the suggestion. I need one today though and have run out of strength to cope with this pain!

To end the symptom section on a positive note, I’ve really been enjoying eating and my appetite and hunger have definitely increased. I used to watch my carb intake and try not to snack at all between meals. I would eat only salad with tofu and low-carb crackers for lunch. Now I’ve eaten two breakfasts by 10am, eat a big healthy lunch, usually weaken and grab some office junk food in the afternoon (only in tiny amounts) and eat a snack before my evening workout, a huge dinner and a pre-bedtime snack. Yesterday we did a big grocery shopping trip and I made a menu of food for the week:

Breakfasts (have to be hand-holdable as I eat on the freeway):

egg burritos with vegetables and vegetarian sausage in low-carb whole grain tortillas with salsa

whole wheat waffles with berries and cream cheese

plain yogurt with GoLean crunch and berries

Lunches:

salad with spicy tofu, hummus, and crackers with fruit (this is still my favorite lunch as it doesn’t make me fall asleep in afternoon therapy sessions)

Snacks:

trail mix, yogurt with granola, brown rice crackers with hummus, wasabi peas, sour cream and onion corn puffs, Thai Lime and Chili cashews, peanut butter and bananas, high-fiber berry protein smoothies

Dinners:

Vegetarian chili with avocado, sour cream and salsa, with tossed salad with pepitas

Grilled organic chicken breasts, linguini with sauteed spinach, butter and parmesan

Black bean and spinach quesedillas with avocado and sour cream

Poached salmon with roasted broccoli and rice

Frozen vegetable lasagna for the night we just don’t have it in us to cook

So that is how much food I now require!

Exercise

Working out remains one of the loves of my life, as I’m a highly energetic person who needs a lot of movement, but this week it was hard! I’m still getting over a cold. Thursday night I headed out for a jog and made it one block before I had to stop. My stomach hurt and I couldn’t breathe. I’m trying to listen to my body and take days off. I notice that sleeping is directly correlated to my symptoms – with a good night’s sleep I’m not as nauseous, breathe more easily and just feel better. Friday night I slept really well and yesterday decided to do a workout video I haven’t done in months with plyometrics, light weights and cardio. I kept it fairly low-impact and used lighter weights than I used to, but felt great the whole time.

Bump

My belly is seriously growing. Last night I wore regular jeans and a belly band to a dinner party. My friend made amazing black bean and sweet potato enchiladas, and we had beet and lentil salad with cilantro and chips with homemade guacamole. The belly band was a little tight but the worst part was the unzippered part of the jeans cutting into the bottom of my belly. I went to the bathroom and took the band off – thank goodness I was wearing a longer maternity shirt!

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My belly at 12 weeks and 20 weeks! It’s stretching!

Everywhere I turn I hear about people trying to get pregnant – friends, co-workers, etc. Here’s to the fertility Gods!