Friday, May 21, 2010

A Taboo Subject?

After reading this article in my latest Marie Claire, I am starting to understand some of the feelings I've been having lately. I wish, wish, wish I was one of those ecstatically happy pregnant girls who LOVE being pregnant. I know they are out there and I know some of them personally. I am one of those pregnant girls who does not enjoy the 9 month process, but knows the end result produces a miraculous gift. I feel like I've been complaining a lot on my blog... well, maybe I have. Maybe it's a good way to hash out the aches and pains I've been feeling. But I don't want to sound like a whiner who doesn't appreciate what I have. On the flipside, I am GRATEFUL that Steve and I are able to have babies. I know of so many couples who struggle with infertility and I feel blessed that I have been able to get pregnant twice within a reasonable timeframe.

But, as I've mentioned before I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, and my predisposition to depression makes it all the more likely that I am also struggling with pregnancy depression. It's probably a taboo subject, but maybe someone else has gone through it.

Ever since I have had Brett, I've been a part time stay at home mom. Usually it works out great. I am able to enjoy the best of both worlds... holding down a job in the work world while having a couple days at home with B. And, don't get me wrong, B is a WONDERFUL kiddo. I love him so much and he's a good natured little guy, but lately, especially over the past couple of weeks, it is HARD to be a good mommy to him right now. Oh, I had the blahs of the first trimester where I just felt miserable and sick, but then I started to feel better around the beginning of my second trimester. The fact that the sun started shining and the days were much nicer also helped TREMENDOUSLY.

But, over the past few weeks I have started to DREAD my days at home. I feel like my house is a prison cell. Minutes turn into super long hours. Yes, I still keep those days filled with lunches and/or playdates, but they don't take up the whole day. Plus I've been EXHAUSTED lately and I feel like I want to spend the whole day lying in bed. Not such a great plan with a 2 year old. And, I think this might make me the worst mommy ever, but I've NEVER enjoyed playing with toys or games with kids. I HATED babysitting in high school. I'd do it, but I never liked it. I figured that would all change with my own kids. And, yes, it has changed in many ways. I love my little boy more than life itself, but I still don't want to play. I'd rather park him in front of the TV (which is what I did on babysitting jobs) while I lay in bed. He seems content with this arrangement, but I know I am not being the best mommy I can be.

And, I feel "removed" from loved ones. I try to stay positive and lighthearted and all around people, but really, I just feel this sad, empty void. All. The. Time. My husband is a saint. What can I say? I don't know how he puts up with me. It's such a challenge to even keep the house organized anymore. Without him, we truly would be living in squalor.

I am hoping this will pass. I really am. I don't want to take any "happy drugs" during my pregnancy, and I also don't want to try a therapist (been there, horrible experience), so I am left to wait it out. Here's hoping things turn around on their own, or the next 3 months are going to be hard.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another Trip Into The Blog Archives

I guess this pregnancy is making me nostalgic. I keep going back and referencing old posts from the first time around. This was one of my favorites...when we found out we were having a boy, and some of our first pics of sweet little man. Here is the post I originally wrote on December 21, 2007.

So, here I sit at nearly 3:00 a.m. Wide awake. Just awakened from a bizarre dream. No inclination of falling back asleep. Wishing I had taken a Tylenol PM (which IS legal by the way). Welcome to my pregnant world.

It's been an interesting past few weeks for me. Around week 15 I started to feel the baby move. At first it really did feel like "butterflies" in my stomach (and not from nerves…just little flutters moving here and there). And then about 2-3 weeks ago I was sitting at my desk at work and suddenly I felt this little poke at my abdomen. My first baby kick! Then, with increasing frequency the baby decides to run a marathon one day (that's the only logical explanation I have for it), and then sleep all day the next. On Sunday the kicks were finally palpable enough that Steve was able to put his hand on my belly and feel them for himself. It definitely makes the experience much more real.

The most obvious change has been my ever-expanding belly. Seriously. The only pregnant picture I have posted here is at week 14. You can see a round belly starting to emerge. It's crazy now. I am in week 20, and when I tell people I'm due in May they give me this look that seems to indicate fascination-horror. If I had to judge, I'd say I look more like I'm about 7 months pregnant than 5. And, what started as a slight overall weight gain has gone straight to my belly. (When I walked into work Monday, my co-worker Brandie looked at me and told me that SHE thought my belly had gotten much bigger over the weekend, and she sees me practically every day). This has made life slightly more uncomfortable. First of all, sleeping has become quite a challenge. I have to sleep on my side (and my body desperately wants to be on it's back). This causes leg cramps, and even though I am following all the advice in the book (sleeping with lots of strategically placed pillows) it's not generally working for me. Also, beginning this past week I've started to experience lower back pain. I don't think there is too much that I can do to prevent this (I mean, I can't even see my feet when I look down any more, it's all belly). Luckily for me I have a loving husband who doesn't seem to mind the fact that I am growing like a whale and gives great back massages.

There are other slightly un-pleasant parts of pregnancy that I am also experiencing, but I don't feel like going into that much detail on my blog. Let's just say that pregnancy is a total body experience.

Finally, the biggest thing that has happened in my pregnant life lately was the ultrasound we had on Tuesday. Now, keep in mind, EVERYONE was telling me that based on every old wives tale in the book (baby's heart rate, how I was carrying, etc. etc.) that I was absolutely having a girl. Even my own mother (who rarely gets the gender wrong) was so convinced that she was calling me up every few days with suggestions for girls' names. I was trying to keep an open mind here. I mean, I didn't have the evidence to support the fact that I was having a girl, but deep down I knew that's where I was leaning. I'd already had visions of sharing experiences from my childhood with my daughter and decorating her nursery pink and putting her hair in bows and buying her all of my old favorite toys – Rainbow Bright, Care Bears, My Little Ponies. You see, secretly I am afraid of having a boy…I grew up with 2 brothers and Steve had 2 brothers (so I know the gene pool towards boys is strong). And, I HATE, I mean HATE football… and I know that Steve would have the little man watching football with him all day on Sunday, every Sunday. I also don't like to wrestle or play with cars or those violent Playstation games.

However, I know several friends of mine who have recently had boys and absolutely love them to pieces. I also know how horrible and catty pre-teen/teen girls can be (yes, I was one of the "picked on" ones in grade school and it was on of the worst feelings in my life). So, I didn't want to have that all waiting for me. As girly as I can be, I HATE drama.

So, here we are on Tuesday, sitting at the doctor (and yes, I did have to drink all ungodly 32 ounces of fluid to have this ultrasound). The doctor covers my belly with that gel-like stuff and starts to look around. I let her know that we want to know the sex if possible. Immediately she smiles and definitively tells us it's a boy (and trust me – he is most definitely a boy, absolutely no denying it, a very proud boy. We have the blackmail pictures – which I didn't post - to prove it.) I was immediately shocked and so was Steve I think. Although, I could tell that he was incredibly excited (I mean, what father doesn't want his own little man around?). At this point though I was so relieved to see that my baby was healthy. It's amazing to see what detail they can show on those ultrasounds (you can even see all 4 chambers of his heart). He was growing like a normal baby and that made me so happy. You see, I was secretly worried that I'd be at the doctor and they'd tell me my baby had like 2 heads or it's spine was growing outside of it's body or something like that. Not the case. He was a large healthy boy, contently kicking his feet and rolling around. Needless to say, I have to re-adjust my mindframe towards having a boy, but I've started to come around. We've got some cute nursery themes in mind – I just really,really hope that he's a momma's boy, you know?

His Little Foot

But, at least now I think that my massive belly is starting to make sense. See, my husband is 6"4' (compared to my 5"3' height), and all of the men in his family are super tall. And, this kid obviously has Steve's genes. He is in the 75th percentile of size for his age. He should weigh ¾ of a pound and he's already at least a pound. And, he has super-long legs (which the doctor noted with his femur length). Yeah, my belly doesn't stand a chance here (again, the doctor noted that my abdomen was larger than normal). When I told one of my friends who I had dinner with on Wednesday about my predicament, she emailed me a link to this girl's blog who recently had an 11 pound girl! (She is about my height/weight and her hubby about Steve's height). Near the end of the pregnancy her belly could have had it's own zip code. Seriously. I had a foreshadowing of the future. I don't think it will be pretty. I just hope that Steve can keep up with the back massages!

Well, that's all for now. I wish I had different subjects to blog about, but this pregnancy thing is kind of all-consuming and the most interesting thing going on in my life right now. I will attempt to find my way back to bed now that it's almost 4:00. I guess I could have another 2 good hours if I am lucky.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Well it's arrived, and sooner than it did with my pregnancy with Brett. The downturn towards the third trimester. Granted I'm not QUITE there yet...tomorrow I hit 25 weeks, but I'm close to the last 3rd of the journey.

It started about 3 weeks ago, when I began having problems putting my rings on because my fingers had started swelling. Well, I'd have hit and miss days where I was able to wear them until the middle of last week. Yep, ALREADY the rings are on a chain around my neck for the remainder of my pregnancy. I think I hit this mark around 28-30 weeks with Brett, however I was also much skinnier starting pregnancy last time.

I've also noticed my face swelling a little bit, and my features, like my nose, starting to widen (this all happened the first time around too). Makes me a little bummed for sure when I apply makeup in the morning. And the belly has started to take on a life of it's own. I feel it grows another foot each day. Again, same thing I experienced the first time around.

But the real kicker happened when I went to my OB appointment last Wednesday. I gained the most this past month and it made me depressed. Now, I know I NEED to be gaining for the baby, I do. But, ever since I'd stepped on the scale during my first appointment and realized my STARTING weight, I've been SUPER conscious to eat better so I don't get too big and I made a mental note to whip myself into shape after baby girl is born. Chances are we aren't having any more kiddos, so it's not like I am anticipating another pregnancy. I still own my size 2/4 jeans, and darnit, I WANT to wear them again. But, that totally bummed me out.

And, then the worst part of the appointment was when my OB told me that she is getting concerned about my blood pressure. Over the last 2 appointments, I have gone in and have registered a high reading, which has prompted the nurse to have me lay down and rest for about 5 minutes before she retook a lower reading. Again, this is EXACTLY the pattern that started mid pregnancy with me when I was pregnant with Brett. And, my pregnancy with Brett didn't exactly end nicely. That swelling I talked about earlier? Yeah, I swelled up to the size of the stay puff marshmallow man near the end due to pre-eclampsia, which put me on bedrest for a week before I was induced at 37 weeks. My blood pressure had also gotten way ridiculous.

So, since the doc is catching this early this time, I bought a home blood pressure monitor so I can take my reading once a day or so. I asked if I should take it easier and cut out high sodium foods, and she said it didn't really matter at this point. If I'm going to get pre-eclampsia, it's going to happen regardless of my lifestyle. Anyway, I've fallen into a bit of dispair and have started eating horrible junk like I did during my first pregnancy. I'm going to try to be better today and eat a healthy lunch, but it's hard to stay positive when I know that no matter what I do, if I'm going to get pre-eclampsia, I'm just gonna get it. And, it's hard to talk rational sense into my pregnant head sometimes. Oh well, I need to stop complaining and just let nature take it's course...while trying to stay positive and making myself eat better, of course. Is it August 31st yet?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

2 Year Old Stats

Here is the obligatory post of Brett's 2 year old appointment stats for posterity.

This is the first time we haven't taken his pic in front of his teddy bear chair for growth comparison. This is mainly due to the fact that the teddy bear chair is in the nursery, and the nursery is currently full of Brett's old baby stuff, as we await the arrival of baby sister.

He decided he'd rather climb into his bed this morning and be goofy with his cheetah pals. (Yes, there are 2 cheetahs, but one is different. We have cheetah version 2.0 along with a brand new cheetah that we bought from the zoo gift shop, as cheetahs are the new exhibit this summer. I'm guessing this will blow Brett's mind).

So, here are his stats about a month after his 2nd birthday...this was the soonest we were able to schedule his appointment.

Head: No Measurement (I guess they stop doing this after 18 months).

Weight: 25 lbs. 12 oz. (20th percentile)

Height: 36 inches (82nd percentile)....note on this: they had originally measured him laying down but he measured over 36 inches, which is what the mat went to, so they had him stand and took his height that way. That measurement came in right at 36 inches. The nurse explained that sometimes their spines don't stretch to their full capacity when they stand at this age, so who knows exactly how tall he is. All I know is that he is still one tall and lanky boy.

Anyway, here are some cute pics of my little man :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Belly

I have been more self conscious this pregnancy, and have not felt like taking any baby bump pictures so far. But, since I am more than halfway through my pregnancy, and by this time with Brett, I'd taken like 5 different shots, I thought that I'd go ahead and humor you all. If nothing else, it gives me something to look back on. Hopefully, by this time next year I've gotten rid of a lot of this weight.

Anyway, here I am at just shy of 24 weeks. These pics taken 5-9-10 (Mother's Day 2010).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thoughts From The Father To Be

This is from my original post on December 28, 2007. I was looking back into my blog archives the other day and had a great time reminiscing about my thoughts and feelings on my first pregnancy with Brett. Steve had written this blog on his Myspace page (don't you remember the good ole' days of Myspace? :) ), and I decided to post it on my blog back then. Here it is again in it's entirety to re-read. I laugh because I'm sure he feels the same way about some things this go around as well :)

Things I would like to know in order to be a better “pregnant” father:

1. What is the appropriate caring male response to the question "you wish you were pregnant instead of me, don't you?"

This is a loaded question. Carrie read in one of her pregnancy books that there are men out there who wish that they were pregnant instead of their wives just so they could experience the whole miracle of birth thing. There are even supposed "pregnancy simulation camps", where men get to carry around large fake pregnant bellies and experience what it would be like to be pregnant for a weekend. Frankly, I think that's a little weird. If you think about it, there's very little difference between that and those goth kids who run around the forest pretending to be vampires. Anyway, I have no desire to actually be pregnant, thank you. But the thing is, Carrie isn't really asking "do you want to be pregnant." She's actually asking, "if you had the opportunity, would you shoulder this burden for me." And yes, I do want to be helpful and supportive and make things as easy for her as possible because, as an understanding and thoughtful contemporary male, I understand and appreciate that pregnancy does take a physical toll. So now I'm looking for ways to answer this question that sound as if I'm a caring and compassionate partner without sounding like I have some weird pregnancy fetish. This is a growing dilemma for me, as Carrie asks me this question at least once every 1.5-2 weeks. I'm thinking now about faking sympathetic pregnancy symptoms. Maybe she'll stop asking if I start developing all kinds of unexplained lower back pain; we can trade stories.

What am I going to have for dinner?

On 99% of occasions since we've been married, Carrie has picked what restaurant we go to. This occurs for two reasons: 1) I can go to any restaurant in the country during their normal business hours, find something on their menu, order it, eat it, and be happy; hence I honestly never care where we go eat, and 2) Carrie is very discerning about what she has an appetite for at any given time, hence there are only a limited number of restaurants at any given moment where she could eat and be happy. This discerning attitude has only become more prominent during her pregnancy. It is now to the point where it is virtually impossible to predict what she will be craving on any given day. Obviously, this makes planning meals very difficult. We have devised two potential solutions for this problem: 1) buy every food and/or ingredient that could conceivably be made into dinner so that we have everything on hand at all times, and 2) eat out every night. Neither of these options is at all appealing. I think we've found some middle ground and we're making progress on this front. Still, it's hard to be the caring and sensitive cook of healthy meals when your wife would prefer a Qdoba burrito.

Will I make it through the winter without contracting hypothermia?

As an involved husband, I know that the increased blood flow that leads to the notorious "pregnant glow" may also result in an increase in body temperature in pregnant women. This has certainly happened with Carrie. Normally, at this time of year, Carrie would be very upset about the cold temperature. This year, we are keeping our house at 62 degrees, because this is the temperature at which Carrie is comfortable at night. I will repeat this in case you didn't think you read that correctly; IN THE DEAD OF WINTER IN INDIANA, OUR HOUSE IS SET AT 62 DEGREES! The good news is that I am not as worried about the rising cost of natural gas as I would be if we were heating our house as normal. The bad news is that I wake up every morning shivering, use a ton of hot water in the shower, and proceed to shiver even more once my shower is done. Carrie, of course, is completely comfortable.

Please know, I am not complaining, nor am I at my wits end or anything. I'm just adjusting to life with my pregnant wife and trying to make the experience as easy for her as possible. That's what the caring husband is supposed to do isn't it? After all, it isn't about me, it's about Carrie and the little baby she's carrying right now. I think I can stand being a little chilly for them. =:^)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Gracie Girl

If you've read my blog in the past you may have come across a post or two talking about how much I love the music of Ben Folds. When I was pregnant with Brett, his music became almost another craving of mine. Well, I haven't listened to him often lately, partly because every time I get out my iPod it seems like I am playing Laurie Berkner. But, I was inspired to listen to Mr. Folds again, and this song really hit me today.

It's a song he wrote to his daughter Gracie. As a pregnant (and hormonal) mommy, I am suddenly in love with this song again.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sickness and Adventures in Getting a Good Night's Sleep

When I was pregnant with Brett, at least according to my hazy memory, I was pretty healthy. I think I only had one minor cold and it was near the end of my pregnancy. It was mainly just a chest cold that produced lots of coughing, and my wonderful OB was able to prescribe Robitussin with codine, and well, that pretty much took care of it.

This time around was a different story. I had a HORRIBLE cold that lasted about a week and a half and has only just started to clear up. It started a couple of weekends ago. I was totally fine, and then my head started filling up with mucus. I knew I was a goner. I have battled sinus infections my entire life, but this seemed to be 10x worse and the pregnancy seemed to make it even harder. Not only was I extra tired already from carrying another human being around, I also couldn't take any of the multi-symptom medicines I was normally able to take. I essentially laid in bed for about a week. Not fun, but at least I am past the worst of it.

But the real purpose of this post is really to address the tricky problem of sleeping when you are pregnant. I had planned to write this post a couple of weeks ago, but if you reference the above-mentioned problem, you can understand why I was not motivated to talk about it.

I am by nature a back sleeper. I even have a pillow that is one of those amazing memory foam pillows that supports your head while you sleep on your back. And, no matter what position I try to fall asleep in, I always wake up on my back.

Not a problem when you are not pregnant, but when you become pregnant and start reading all of the literature about what you should and shouldn't do, you find out very quickly that as your pregnancy progresses, sleeping on your back becomes more and more dangerous, and heck, practically "lethal" if you can believe some of the things you read. Essentially, the growing weight of your uterus puts pressure on key blood flow areas, like your aeorta. And, it cuts off the blood supply to your growing fetus. It's no big deal during your first trimester so I didn't really worry about it, but now that my belly is getting pretty big I am getting paranoid about it.

I always try to start off by sleeping on my left side (all research points to this being the optimal sleeping position as it is best for your growing baby). I even have my body pillow that I used when I was preggers with Brett. I feel kind of bad for Steve, since it kind of takes up half of the bed, but it's great for me to hug and put my legs around to take the pressure off. But, no matter how cozy I can make myself in that position, I always manage to end up on my back. Sometimes in the middle of the night I catch myself in a panic and quickly switch to the less desirable left, or even right side position.

And, I know this is just going to get worse. But in addition to fear of "dying in your sleep" I also suffer from the occasional charlie horse in my shin. Have you ever had one of those? They are horrible, and they are even worse when you are pregnant, and happen with more and more frequency. And, then, since my internal thermostat is so high because of increased blood volume, I need the house to be at igloo temps for me to be able to sleep. I worry about our AC bill this summer, and if the unit itself, which is 20 years old, will be able to make it through. If the room isn't like 32 degrees, I wake up in a major sweat and then I can forget even falling back asleep.

I have had a few bouts of insomnia thus far, but (luckily) I've had a few good weeks where my body sleeps pretty well through the night. I also am guilty of taking Benadryl or Tylenol PM to help me sleep, but they are both legal so I don't worry to much about it. I remember the worst happened during my 3rd trimester with Brett, and I'm about 23 weeks along, so the worst is still probably to come.

I just have to keep reminding myself... 17 more weeks, 17 more weeks...