Enjoying lately

37 weeks of pregnancy today: Technically full term! Plum can come any time before 42 weeks and we will [likely] be able to birth at the birth center. It’s a relief to be at this point—and that Plum is head down, which we had confirmed this week by ultrasound—but really I have plenty left I could do pre-birth. Plum, you can come whenever you want, but feel free to stay in there and grow a little bit more. And in spite of increased slowing down and discomfort (mainly with sleeping and getting up from sitting), I am not at the “get this baby out” stage that some people feel by now, and I am so thankful for that. Plum’s movements have changed from big movements to what feels like stretching and some kicking. It’s pretty nuts to watch my skin move as Plum moves underneath, and I feel delighted with feeling him/her through my skin and being able to identify what is a butt, foot, knee, etc.

Nesting activities: Hubs and I did an amazing living space rearrangement that opened everything right up in our open plan apartment. Some of the changes included him mounting the TV on the wall, finding a loving home for the TV stand my dad built for me in college, and me ordering a cozy new runner rug from Overstock. It’s starting to wear off since the initial rearrange two-ish weeks ago, but for a while, every time I walked into our living space, I thought, “Wow! I just love this!” Things are also mostly together for Plum’s room, including a new rug, which now has a rug pad and got rolled out this week.

Rug on top and opening up living space + Tonks on bottom | InvitingJoy.net

Rug on top and opened up living space + Tonks on bottom

Time with loved ones: My dear friend Sarah was here in early January for an amazing weekend of talking, walking, and eating copious amounts of cheese. Tomorrow, local friends are hosting a mother blessing party for me, and several out-of-towners are also joining us. I am feeling so well loved and supported by our community!

Swimming: It feels so good to put my [much heavier and more unwieldy] body in water and move around. I’ve been trying to go to our indoor community pool at least once on the weekends and on MLK Day, I even got to do aqua aerobics with the senior citizens.

Our new Roomba: We named it Kreacher, and after some fits and starts figuring out how to set him up so he will do his best work, it is amazing to live in a less furry house. Occasionally Kreacher has trouble finding the dock after he does a cleaning cycle, but I think that’s because Tonks lays on the floor and blocks his path. Bonus video of Zeda meeting Kreacher:

Pregnancy at 32 weeks

Physically, I am still feeling pretty good. I’ve had a bit of heartburn, and I am finally past the point where I can sleep on my stomach (so sad!), so sleep is getting trickier. A nearly-weekly happening is very early morning insomnia, where I wake up sometime between 2 am and 4 am and can’t go back to sleep for at least an hour. But I’ve continued walking (I aim for 2-4 miles daily), prenatal yoga classes (three/week), and acupuncture, as well as started seeing a chiropractor, which I think has all helped my body relax and prepare.

There’s absolutely no doubt that I’m pregnant and the comments from strangers have increased accordingly. Weirdest yet: I was going into the bathroom at some rural Tennessee McDonald’s, where we’d stopped for a break on our way back home from Christmas. A guy coming out of the men’s restroom stopped me, and said “Congratulations. Do you know what you’re having?” I answered that we were going to be surprised, and then excused myself because I HAD TO GO TO THE BATHROOM. I guess it could be weirder, but how funny that he thought I needed to stop and talk to him about my pregnancy.

The mental/emotional shifts that I’ve experienced over the course of the past seven-ish months feel like the most striking things I’ll remember about this time (even more than the terrible nausea early on). As a strong extrovert, I am pretty used to wanting to do all kinds of social things. But during this pregnancy, I have been happiest at home by myself, with Hubs, or in a one-on-one scenario. In larger groups, I feel dull, and as though I can’t quite keep up with the conversation. My fear of missing out, which used to be really strong, is now nothing compared to my desire to go to bed early or cuddle a cat or dog. It’s an interesting change for me, and one that makes sense, given how internally focused I am on myself and on Plum.

Speaking of Plum, s/he continues to have a strong heartbeat (135-145 beats per minute) at midwife visits, measures right on schedule, and according to my favorite pregnancy app is the size of one of those sit-on scooter boards that I played with in PE in elementary school. I also love that I am already getting a sense of Plum as an independent person: Monday morning, Hubs woke up early to go to the gym, but reached over to feel my belly before getting out of bed. Plum was kicking up a storm, all while I slept peacefully. It’s pretty fun to imagine that it won’t be more than 10 or so weeks (and maybe fewer) before we meet this person on the outside!

Pregnancy at 26 Weeks

I am definitely looking pregnant now (and not just like I ate a few too many donuts), which is mostly good. It’s led to some comments from strangers, but I don’t mind them as much as I did early on. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’ve had time to adjust to how my body is changing or for some other reason, but I am glad to not feel so annoyed. And interestingly, it’s only strangers that see me often (like fellow bus commuters) that have commented. Most people that I’ve never met before still can’t seem to decide baby vs. donuts, so they’re largely not saying anything.

I can also feel Plum moving around most of the day. It’s especially weird at night time when I lay down because that usually means A LOT of movement, so much so that last week Hubs could see my belly actually moving. Kind of like an alien.

I stopped taking the anti-nausea meds (without puking) around week 22, which was an awesome development. I’ve also been truly hungry and am finding the balance between wanting to eat sugar all the time and getting a good mix of foods that are satisfying and healthy.

I definitely feel a change in my center of gravity, which has led to differences in how I walk and how easy it is to do things like get out of bed. I also am more winded after less physical activity, but I usually feel really good after walking (especially in the awesome fall sunshine we’ve had).

Also, nesting is totally real. I’ve been clutter clearing and reorganizing to make way for Plum in our second bedroom. And I’ve scored some great deals on used gear/furniture from Craigslist/an insane estate sale, so I am excited to start getting the space ready.

Pregnancy so far (Week 17)

Weeks 4-5: Excitement mixed with supreme anxiety because I didn’t feel pregnant and therefore worried that I wouldn’t stay pregnant. I foolishly wished to feel something.

Weeks 6-14: I threw up every morning until I started to take Unisom/Vitamin B6, at which point I could function but felt nauseated pretty much all day. I puked every fourth or fifth day even on the meds. I didn’t feel hungry or thirsty and ate mostly very fresh lettuce, pasta, and potatoes.

Weeks 14-17 (present): I’ve felt increasingly less nauseated over the past few weeks and have only throw up twice. I’ve also felt hungry and thirsty again, and I can eat meat now, which was problematic texture-wise earlier on.

Another striking thing about being pregnant is how quickly my body has shifted from feeling like my own to feeling not mine. Being sick contributed to this shift at the beginning. Even more, though, the comments about my body, almost none of them intended maliciously, that everyone seems to feel license to make have surprised me and left me more cognizant of trying to maintain sovereignty of myself. The whole dilemma also has me thinking about why my sense of self feels so tied to my body that it can be this disorienting to hear comments about it.

Enjoying lately

Sharing good news. I’m 13 weeks pregnant! We just made a big announcement via email to family and friends, and all the love and support has poured in. How wonderful to have so many people offer prayers, thoughts, and good wishes to us as we embark on this life phase. I’m excited to write more about pregnancy and [future] parenting in this space, too. Right now we’re calling the fetus “Plum,” and I think that name will stick for the blog.

Teaching yoga. I’ve mentioned here before that I finished my prenatal yoga teacher training at the end of May, and that I was scheduled to start teaching a weekly class at the end of June. So that date came and went, and no students showed up then or for the next several weeks. But now, I’ve had three weeks in a row of having two students in my class, and I LOVE teaching. It challenges me intellectually, and I really enjoy sharing yoga (and now life experiences!) with pregnant ladies.

The Good Wife. My friend, Sarah, raved about this show for years, but I didn’t start watching it until last week. It. is. so. fab. It’s compelling and thoughtful and most of the episodes we’ve watched so far pass the Bechdel Test. I’ve gotten Hubs into it now, and we are working our way through the first season. It’s available on Amazon Prime and Hulu for streaming.

Mandala Magic. On a whim, I signed up for an online class from artist Alisa Burke called Mandala Magic. The class was just what I needed to get started on this creative, meditative practice. Mandalas are geometric shapes that radiate out from a center point. I so enjoy drawing them as I watch TV, listen to audiobooks, or take it easy on the weekends. It’s way better than playing phone games and has also inspired me to learn more about mandala creation as a spiritual practice.

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Thoughts lately

I’ve overscheduled myself this December. I tend to always overschedule myself during the holiday season. Next year, I am going to set a calendar reminder for late October to not schedule too much. Even though I’m an extrovert, I need time at home with my husband and pets to recharge.

Along with feeling overscheduled comes a general reflection on my values. Such as: Is it in line with my values to be away from home 11 hours a day (including my hours at work and commuting)? Is it in line with my values to live in (and pay to rent) an 1800 square foot house? Is it in line with my values to put future, as yet hypothetical children in daycare? For many people, these things are exactly in line with their values, and work exceedingly well in their lives. For me, I’m not sure they are. I like to read the early retirement blog Mr. Money Mustache*, and MMM made the point in his most recent post that

It is almost always possible to avoid the two-commute family with kids if you make it a priority.

I’ve been considering lately whether I might want to make it a priority while our kids are still hypothetical, and before we’re stuck for another year renting three times the space that we need.

But then I read something like this article on spoiled millenials, and I wonder if it is hard for me to commit so much of my time to an occupation (I certainly don’t have “company loyalty,” as they mention in the article) because I am spoiled and I feel entitled. Maybe. I am certainly spoiled a little, definitely privileged, and sometimes I do feel like I have worked hard to earn a PhD and that I do “deserve” more money. But then I also think that it’s not the job of the companies/academic institutions to pay me more, it’s my job to figure out how to find a balance in my life, so that I can be true to my values. And maybe that means finding a cheaper place to live, so that I can work less and enjoy the things that already make my life rich.

*MMM can be a little preachy. Avoid if it’s possible it will piss you off.

 

Royal Baby Fever!

I know that a lot of people think it’s stupid that everyone cared so much about the Royal Baby, but I LOVED it. It was just so fun for me to bond with the other fans at work and to watch so many people around the world get so excited about the new little prince. Maybe it’s all just superficial and shallow, but I actually did feel connected to all the cheering people. And welcoming a baby is special, regardless of the baby.

In June, my high school BFF and I watched Birth Story, which is a documentary about Ina May Gaskin and the Farm midwives. Each time the babies were born, we both cried. Something about them coming earthside, having not been there a moment ago and then suddenly being there, slays me.

Imagining that happening for William and Kate, whom I love a little bit (in a non-stalkerish way), and being so thankful to have something so joyous in the news after all the heavy, hard things that have been there lately made me watch the video of them coming out of the hospital so the world could meet their baby over and over again.