Adventures in pregnancy at 19 weeks

19 weeks. It’s been 19 weeks. Already. I’m almost halfway through. Um. Wow. I’ve had 15 weeks to adjust to this life change…it’s been a long 15 weeks, and yet it hasn’t.  Paradoxical, I know. I’m surprised by it. And glad.

My 19th week has seen the arrival of a definite belly. Baby Howell is making his/her presence known. Also, my appetite has finally come roaring back. I would have eaten cardboard today, if I’d had enough ketchup. I’ve had a relatively normal-sized appetite for the last few weeks, and was actually starting to get worried that I didn’t want to tear a path to the local Dunkin Donuts. Apparently, I needn’t have worried. My cravings for pineapple, grits, dark chocolate, water, cottage cheese, almonds, cheese, and burritos (not in any combination) are nice and strong. I am a danger to the local grocery store- as I should be. Done and done.

Why no, I haven't taken up beer pong...I'm pregnant. No, really.

I’ve also felt Baby H start kicking up some more. S/he’s the size of an apple (or an onion, depending on the guide you consult); after this, I’ll think of fetuses every time I’m in the produce section of Publix. While I can feel Baby H kicking, my husband can’t yet. I think he’s really looking forward to the point where he can feel our baby. I am to. But I’m also very much looking forward to dinner, so I think my priorities are a bit more…short-term focused.

Visiting Doula-ville

Sometime very early on in my pregnancy, I decided that I felt very strongly having a doula. For those of you who don’t know what a doula is, the all-powerful Wikipedia defines it thusly:

A Doula [1] provides non-medical support to women and families during labour, childbirth and the postpartum period.

Non-medical support- as in, the job of a doula is to be there for the laboring mom-to-be, guide her through breathing, suggest different positions and pain-management strategies, etc. It’s also a doula’s job to make sure that the soon-to-be-parents aren’t stuck trying to remember everything they learned in lamaze class by themselves. Labor is a tense time (so I’m told) and the doctors are otherwise focused, so the doula will focus on the experience for the new parents and help them navigate the whole chaotic, over-medicalized mess.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the medical aspect of it. I’m against resorting to medications first, and against any attempts to bulldoze me through the process. I’m against being taken advantage of while at a trying moment of life by a doctor for whom labor is routine and just wants me to not ask questions and do whatever s/he tells me to. I want minimal medical interventions, and I want someone who is trained in childbirth pain-management techniques who isn’t going to immediately reach for the Pitocin (a drug to speed up labor). I’d like for Baby Howell to avoid starting life stoned.

So, with these things in mind, I am searching around Atlanta for some trained doulas. Recently, I went to a Meet-n-Greet that was sponsored by Lumina Birth here in Atlanta and met a roomful of potential doulas. I’ve found a few to interview, and I feel better already. They were kind, knew their stuff, and had a lot of good advice.

The Meet-n-Greet too place in a chiropractic center in Decatur that apparently does prenatal chiropractic work. I’d never heard of it and didn’t even know it was possible. Based on the testimonials, it might be another thing I need to consider. Maybe.

In the meantime, Doula Search 2012 (it’s like Star Search, but without a mic) enters into Phase 2- Interviews.   I’ll update you on what comes out of it.

Just eleven days until the Gender Sonogram! I’m not saying I have a paper-chain to count the days in my office. I’m not saying I have a list over a page long of potential boys and girls names. I’m just going to say that I’m fully prepared- and leave it at that.

For now.

Week 16 of Knocked-up-ness

I will mark this year not just as the year of my first pregnancy, but as the year that Winter never came. And I’m sort of fine with that. I like to think that this year is just Mother Nature apologizing for the last two years.

I am officially 16 weeks ‘gone’ now. My most exciting pregnancy update from this latest week- I felt the Baby kick! It’s about as early as you can usually feel these things, but it was definitely my little rider, and not intestinal bubbles.  I think I smiled for about two hours after I first felt it. It’s nice. It’s like a reassurance that there’s really someone in there, and I’m not just putting on weight.

Speaking of putting on weight (which I will not harp on much during this blog, I promise), I’ve gained about five to seven pounds so far, and for someone as short as I am, that is a lot of weight. I feel it very keenly right now, since my frame is not used to carrying an extra five  pounds. So I can’t imagine how I’ll feel in the 9th month. I already feel like I need a warning sign and accompanying safety car on the freeway, and I don’t really have an obvious baby bump yet. It just looks like I’ve taken up beer pong right now.

On a [somewhat] related note, it turns out pregnancy is contagious. I have no less than 11 friends/acquaintances who are also currently ‘in the family way’ (I’m enjoying finding all the euphemisms for this condition- there are a lot, and they are funny!), and it seems more are announcing every day. As I predicted several years ago, this is the baby-making season of my life.

Better now than in my mid 20’s. I remember myself in my mid-20’s. That would have been a disaster.

Today marks another monthly doctor appointment- one of the non-exciting ones where they take the vitals, ask how you’re feeling, and send you on your way with nothing to show for your time except the next appointment marked in your calendar. Fortunately for me, the next appointment is the Gender Revelation!!! Next time, I’ll be at 20 weeks, and they’ll try to see if I’m brewing a lead or a follow. Hopefully, Baby Changing Fruit will cooperate. Then the naming fun begins. (And no, I will not be posting the name on this blog. You’ll have to wait for a birth announcement.)

I don’t have a huge bump yet (it’s more of a pooch…and yes, pictures are forthcoming), but I’ve been reading stories online of how common it is for some pregnant women to have people just come up and touch their bulging bellies. Blows my mind. I think I would slap the hell out of anyone who invaded my personal space like that. So the idea that this might become a regular occurrence is scary to me. I’ve been looking for deterrents to this practice, something that will send a clear message that invasion of both my personal space and my bump shall not be tolerated. I’ve found some pretty good options so far: