“I can’t see my toes.” Week 24: Preggoland gets (more) real.

So this week in pregnancy marks a prominent turning point in my mind. It’s the week I officially consider myself incapacitated by my growing belly. Not that I’ve been swilling beer and lifting heavy boxes up to this point, but there has been a certain feeling of….shall we say flexibility? I could bend, turn quickly, walk normally, stand up on my own, etc. I’ve been careful, but because I wanted to be, not because I felt like I couldn’t do things. Now I feel like there is stuff I can’t do.

I see things I could normally do- lifting stuff, certain cleaning tasks, biking- and now I can’t, or it’s more of an effort than I want to make. For someone who is used to a full range of motion, being incapacitated like this is a profound shift. It reminds me constantly of my impermanence, which is a good thing (except at 3 am, when I you can’t sleep and there’s nothing good on Netflix). I’m not used to feeling fragile. Don’t really like it all the time, but it’s worth it. I wish I could say that I feel perfectly fine stepping back and leaving more tasks to my Significant Other, but really, it makes me feel a bit lazy. I’m trying to get over that feeling…practice, practice, practice!

So, there’s that.

I can’t bend a the waist or see my toes without leaning forward. Sitting down requires consideration (will I be able to get back up easily?), and I can honestly say that I’ve never before been willing to kill to satisfy a sugar craving. Now I am. Mentally, when I flash-forward to the summertime, I foresee a lot of time bobbing up and down in the pool, trying to escape the hold gravity and Georgia’s heat. Also, lots of chilling in the house, prenatal yoga, learning more Photoshop, and reading. I’ll be doing a lot of reading.

There is a lot going on in the country right now, socially and politically. I don’t feel compelled to comment on it here and now, except to say that there are certain national conversations going on that I never expected we as a country would need to have past, say, the 60’s. (The right of women to control their own bodies? REALLY?) Beyond those issues swirling around, I attempt to keep myself focused on the tasks at hand- eating, nesting, loving, and living. That occupies quite enough time, thank you very much.

This weekend, we will be decamping to the flavorful N’awlins for the annual NOLA Girl Jam– and I can’t wait! I love that city! Escaping to NOLA and (in May) Florida will be two of the last times we far afield before July. After Girl Jam, I have several events to look forward to around the southeast, but the final stages of nesting and  enjoying what social and physical mobility I have left will take priority. I’m not saying I’m going to crawl into a hole for the last three months or anything! I’ll be around…just slower. Like an old Chevy.

Evita Arce- one of the instructors for the upcoming Hop Shop in Atlanta.

To my dancer buddies, I look forward to some serious stationary hang out time in the near future, with the Hop Shop coming to Atlanta in April. I miss a good, hard swing-out, but I’ve reached the point where gentle, medium tempo swing-outs feel most comfy. Don’t be offended if I turn down a dance. I’m likely just taking it easy.

Lessons from The Business of Being Born

In general, I think it’s a bad idea for pregnant women to watch certain pregnancy related things during the more vulnerable moments of their amazing transformation. I’m all for educating yourself about what is coming, but honestly at certain times, in certain moods, a pregnant woman is just being masochistic and scaring herself.

Once, a few weeks ago, at 10:30 at night, I accidentally watched a 5 minute video of an epidural being given and the subsequent birth that followed. My dreams that night (when I finally slept) were…colorful.  Bad idea. Very bad. I promised myself that I wouldn’t do that again. Scaring myself serves no purpose. Besides, there’s plenty of random people who are willing to do that for me by sharing scary labor stories from hell.

Then last night, I started watching The Business of Being Born– don’t ask me why. I don’t know. Consciously, I was trying to educate myself about birthing options. Unconsiously, I think I was trying to toughen myself up. The documentary primarily covers the entire maternity system that exists in the United States and how it got from where it was to where it is. But it also shows several home births, water births, squatting births, and regular hospital births. And it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. I didn’t even know birth could be that way.

I’m not being hyperbolic here- I think this documentary just changed my life.

There’s one scene that absolutely fascinated me and captured every speck of my attention: early in the documentary, a woman is doing a home water birth. She’s-

Wait, I’ll just warn you that this is going to get intimate. If you’re not interested in learning something about a primal process that is indelicate to say the least, you should stop reading right here. Really. Still here? Back to my story then…

So, a home birth in a tub. The soon-to-be mother is squatting in the tub. The midwife reaches around, into the water, and a few moments later, there is a baby, between the woman’s legs. No fervent screams, no crazy scary chaotic scenes. She’s been in labor for a while of course, but the final moments of the process are more…calm somehow than I thought they could be. Less antiseptic. The logic of the position (not being flat on your back) makes total sense when you see it. But I’d never before in my life seen it. It stopped me in my tracks. I rewound the scene and watched it again. I didn’t know it could BE that way in birth. What an amazing realization.

I don’t know if I can describe what a mental shift it was for me to see an option that I didn’t even know existed before. What it’s like to see a process that you thought you knew, but see it in a completely different way than you thought possible.

Sharing something more personal than usual for me: I have felt from the very beginning of this experience that my body knows exactly what it is doing. I’m growing a healthy baby, and I’m doing it just fine without a doctor standing there, telling me how to do it. My body knows how to tell me what I need, when I need it. In short- I’ve got this.

The Business of Being Born just reaffirmed for me what my body was already telling me- it knows what it’s doing. And I learned some cool stuff about my options for the future, and how they might affect the entire labor and delivery process. There’s more research and education to be done, but my desire for a doula is stronger than ever, and my anxiety is lessened…somewhat. 🙂

A Friday morning “Wake Up!” Surprise

Fridays are always special to me. I cherish my weekends with a reverence that is close to worship. Having said that, today was an extra special Friday.

Normally, during the weekdays, we ‘dog-sit’ for the dog of some close friends. They live in the same condo complex we do, and since we work from home and L.O.V.E. their dog, we get to pretend by day that she is our pet too. Our friend just drops the dog off in the morning when he leaves for work, so we go to bed without a pet and wake up with a dog downstairs. It’s like the Christmas I always wanted to have, but it’s every day. Adulthood is so COOL sometimes!

Here’s our daily visitor, Reese:

I can tell...she's thinking something deep.

This morning, there was an extra surprise waiting for us downstairs, in the form of a familiar face whom we have dog-sat for in the past. We knew she’d be coming sometime soon to stay with us during the day, but we didn’t think we’d see her until next week. So little Evie, the Pomeranian Marshmellow Dog, was a wonderful surprise to greet when I can stumbling downstairs this morning, blearly eyed and slow-witted.

Here’s Evie, saying hello:

Why hello there...

Evie’s owner/mom is out of town for two weeks, so for the next two weeks, we are going to be treated to a full house of two daily doggie visitors, a constant stream of welcome out-of-town guests, and some beautiful spring-like days. Add in the Atlanta Lindy Exchange, which is happening this weekend, and it’s going to be good times for the rest of March!

Happy Friday to us!  

Week 20 in Preggo-land: The Gender Reveal!

Baby Bump at 20 weeks!

Here I teeter, at the halfway point of pregnancy. 20 weeks is officially the halfway point, as pregnancy is supposed to last (officially) 40 weeks. Before I found myself ‘in the family way,’ I always wondered why pregnant women would count their time in weeks and not months. Now I understand completely. If you changed this much on a weekly basis, you’d keep close track too.

Taking stock at 20 weeks:

Damn- it is SO COOL that I’m growing a human! That is never not going to be supremely cool. I’m pretty sure it also means that from here on out, everyone is someone’s child to me.

I’m still somewhat comfortable, and glad to finally be ‘showing.’ It’s exciting. I don’t know if it will be as exciting if I decide to do this again…maybe the novelty of a pregnancy belly is a first-time-only thing. Maybe not. Time will tell.

The News We’ve Been Waiting For…….

We went on Friday for the Gender Sonogram (yea, sure they were looking for other stuff, but I was looking for gender).

And I’m thrilled to say that we’re having a GIRL!

How I felt at the doctor's office.

I guess the natural follow-up question would be about names, but we’ve decided that, whatever we decide to name our delightful little bundle of genetic potential, the name will only be revealed in the birth announcement. No Facebook update, twitter announcement, special tattoos- nada. That way, if we see her and change our minds (“She doesn’t really look like an ‘Edith’- she looks more like a ‘Maude.'”), we’re free to adapt.  The only thing I can safely reveal at this point is that her middle name will likely NOT be ‘Danger,’ as was originally suggested by someone I won’t name (and shouldn’t have to).

Aside from the gender, Friday’s appointment revealed that everything looks fine. No extra fingers or toes or limbs appeared- always a plus. Size-wise, our baby girl looks good and on track to grow just as she should. Everything I wanted to hear. No ‘uh ohs’ from the doctor or technician. I like not being surprised on that side of things.

Status Report: Everything looks good. I’m healthy, my baby girl is healthy (and kicking more every day!), and at the halfway point.