Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The difference a week can make

Two Saturdays ago, it was snowing. This past Saturday, it reached 80 degrees. Thanks, Fairbanks, just thanks. Summer is finally here and instead of giving us a bit of warning it just decided to show up all at once. With absolutely no time to get used to the weather, nearly everyone I talked to was overheating and *some* of us got quite cranky about it. (I was warned that being pregnant in the summertime is miserable and now I'm finding out just how true that is. Note to myself: next time aim for a winter pregnancy!) However, this didn't keep anyone indoors...for long. Friends were visiting from Eagle River so we spent a lot of time this weekend hanging out with them. Frolf (or disc golf, if you prefer--I prefer neither, so I walked the dog around and watched everyone else play), BBQing, seeing "Star Trek", going out to eat (!), house parties, bike rides, and nerd games. It was great fun. I did have to be careful not to overheat in the sun, which I was in serious danger of doing at the BBQ. (There was no shade at all.) However, we were right next to the very high and still icy river, so I dipped my feet in until I cooled off.
From all of this outdoorsy-ness, I actually have a bit of a tan. I got a light sunburn on my shoulders after the frolf and BBQ, so there are some funny tan lines going already.
In and around all of the activities, I did manage to check most of my own weekend to-do list off. Pretty much everything on the list was gardening, since I'm so far behind. But, the combination of the extreme heat and me being pregnant meant that it was much harder to do than usual. For one thing, I can overheat faster than ever and it would be bad for Baby. So I need to be careful about that. Additionally, though, I don't think I ever realized before how much gardening takes out of me. I'd work for 30-45 minutes and then be exhausted, needing a break to lie down in front of the fan and either read a book or take a nap. So while most of the work got done, it took the better part of the weekend to accomplish it.
So here's what I did manage to do: finish prepping the planter boxes and got carrot seeds in 3 of them. (Let's hope they germinate!) Raked the garden, turned over the rows that I wanted to plant and did some "light" weeding. Tried a new method of killing weeds by dumping boiling water over the rows where I wanted to plant. (Will hopefully kill some roots or at least any dormant seeds.) Planted peas in the garden, re-started some seeds which didn't germinate, and started hardening off my seedlings.
When laid out like that it doesn't sound to impressive, but it was a lot of work. And I have more still to do. I didn't get my potatoes planted, so that will most likely happen tonight. And I realized that I did plant my peas rather far apart so I'll almost certainly go back and put some more in between, just to nicely fill it all out. I already have more peas than last year but in my household you can never have too many peas.
Lastly, my squashes are about ready to transplant. I'll get most of those into the planter boxes and the rest will have to go into the garden. I'll need to buy some more dirt soon, too, so that I can plant my tomatoes in buckets rather than in the garden. They do all right in the garden, but not great. So some will go out there but my main producers will have to be in buckets.
So far, this is shaping up to be my biggest garden yet. I'm not sure how productive it will be, since I started it so late, but hopefully it will justify the effort I've put into it. When figuring out what to plant I looked at three things: what seeds I already had (since there were plenty leftover from last year, I saw no need to buy new seeds); what produced well for me last year (peas, squashes, cherry tomatoes, and carrots--as long as they're in planters--have been my best crops); and finally, what's expensive? That's part of why I focus so much on tomatoes, especially the big ones. The ones available at the stores are absolute crap. They taste like red water. The ones bought at the farmer's market, however, are $4-5/lb. That gets rather expensive very quickly. So if I can supplement as much as possible with the fruits from my own garden, so much the better.
Gardening is only going to get trickier as I get bigger, I know this. And I don't foresee my exhaustion leaving anytime soon since I'm having so much trouble getting comfortable at night. I can tell how much my hips are loosening up from how much they hurt each morning after sleeping on my sides. I've got a new plan of action for tonight, we'll see if adding more pillows in strategic locations helps any. And, I'm always open to suggestions if anyone out there on the Tubes is willing to share.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thoroughly amused

With no job in sight (though lots of applications out there), Shane has been staying up really late. And frequently, he's been waking up a bit when my alarm goes off, at least enough for us to have a short conversation. Mostly it's along the lines of, "How did you sleep?" "Fine." "Ok, then, have a great day at work." On Monday, however, when I said I'd slept fine Shane asked, "Really? Because you were sure up for a long time last night."
Me, "What? I never got up last night."
Shane: "Um, yes you did. You got up and went to the bathroom and then made a piece of toast, which you ate in bed."
Me: "I don't remember that at all. Are you sure it was last night?"
Shane: "Yes. I was still awake when you did all of this."
Me: "Did I say anything?",
Shane: "No. I asked if you were all right and you sort of grunted at me."
Me (snorting with laughter): "Um, I think I might have been asleep during all of this."
Monday night I slept horribly. I was awake for at least an hour in the middle of the night, having gotten up because I needed my 2 a.m. (or, rather, 4 a.m.) pee and snack break. I tossed and turned for a long time after that.
Last night, however, was eventful for an entirely different reason. When I woke up this morning Shane asked his usual, "How'd you sleep," and when I said, "Fine," he gave me another, "You've got to be kidding me," look.
Shane: "Are you sure? Because you were up and down a lot last night. Like, 3 times you got up and went to the bathroom."
Me: "I only remember one of those. Are you sure I got up that many times?"
Shane: "Positive."
Me: "Wow, I must be sleepwalking."
Shane (after a pause): "Well, I suppose I'm just happy you're not peeing the bed. Whether or not you actually made it to the toilet, I haven't determined."
We giggled for a second over that before I finally started getting dressed and he went back to sleep. However, I was intrigued enough to look it up today while at work. Apparently, hormonal changes during pregnancy can trigger sleepwalking, particularly in those who've been known to sleepwalk in the past. Check and check. Here I'd been thinking for a couple of weeks that I needed to get up during the night less than I had before but it turns out my body/brain has come up with a different solution: just don't wake me up for these nightly excursions. I can't say it's a bad thing. The only scary part is that I made toast in my sleep the other night. Since I'm back to making all of our bread, this means that I used an extremely sharp knife (seriously, I sliced my thumb open through the fingernail a while ago because it slipped while I was washing it) to cut the bread. I still have all my fingers, and no new cuts, so nothing bad actually happened. But I have heard of people breaking their toes and such during the night because of sleepwalking. !!! In light of that, I think Shane is starting to stay up late on purpose to monitor me when I get up and make sure I don't hurt myself. It's easy enough for him to tell when I'm sleepwalking since I rarely sleepwalk and talk at the same time. (Although it has been known to happen--I've got a really funny story about working at a summer camp when I was 18 and running around waking people up in the middle of the night....)
Ah, the little joys. If you're surprised by how many times during the night I need to get up and pee, you've clearly never been pregnant yourself. This is typical. With all of the extra blood I now have I need about 80 gallons of water each day to sustain myself. (That might be a slight exaggeration, but it doesn't feel like it.) Just last night I drank a glass of water, took the dog for a ten minute walk, and then needed another glass of water when I got home, from the "exertion". (It was a flat walk, and not particularly warm or cold.) So of course I keep a glass of water next to my bed, which often gets drunk and refilled when I get up in the night. (At least...on nights when I'm awake for that.) Unfortunately, the cat decided a while ago that the water in my glass was the best water for him to drink and he frequently comes over to drink out of it. Even worse, he taught this habit to the dog! No glass of water is safe in our house anymore.
I booked my next ultrasound appointment today. Four more weeks and we get to find out the sex of the baby! That seems crazy fast. And yet, I already feel like I've been pregnant for the longest time. :)
In other news, I saw my first hint of greenery on my walk home yesterday and today saw lots more. The leaves are just starting to come out and some blades of grass are finally green. Spring is here, by next week it will officially be summer in Fairbanks! ...My garden is so behind....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

One step backward, two steps forward

It's still crazy cold outside. It's May 16th and there is snow in the forecast. I just...I don't even know what to do with that. Where normally it would be in the 60s or 70s during the days now we're lucky if it's in the 50s.
Last week was finals week. Naturally, it was crazy busy at our house. One of Shane's classes finished the week before, so he *only* had four finals. And to make it worse, he found out an hour before one of them (his physics final, no less) that work this summer is a no go. He'd talked to his boss just a couple of days before about possible start dates, so this was a huge shock. B later took Shane out to lunch to explain. It turns out that B had no idea himself that any of this was happening or he would have given Shane a heads-up. I guess the price of gold has dropped so much in the last few months that they can't find investors for the project anymore, so the camp isn't opening at all. I feel bad for B, too, who has spent all winter working on some contracts and then had to call the contractors to say, "Sorry, cancel all of that." And then there are the contractors themselves, who are now at a loss and scrambling. So, what sort of sucks on a personal level really sucks for everyone else.
We're both looking on the bright side, which isn't that hard. Shane gets to be home this summer, rather than gone 2/3 of the time! He'll take some classes, too, so that he can finish his degree that much faster. And I'm certain that he'll find something else, it just won't be quite as lucrative. So the only downside is the money. I'm sure that if I said how much money he would have made a lot of people would think, "Well that's not so much money." But for us, it would have been a huge boon. We'd already planned out how we were going to allocate the money (some people would see that as dangerous, "spending money you don't yet have", but we were planning what we would save and what we would throw at student loan debt).
I feel like a whiner. We'll be fine. We only have student loan debt, which is manageable, and we've got money in savings. We just won't be as comfortable as we would have been. And I really wouldn't care at all if it weren't for the baby. We've got medical bills which will need paying and my maternity leave to finance. And again, we'll be fine. It's just me, freaking out about all of the possible things which could go wrong. So I'm pushing those to the back of my head and concentrating on all of the things which are in my control, and all of the positives. Like Shane actually getting to be around this summer.
I coped in one of my usual ways, which is to clean. Our apartment looks better than it did all semester, and we got rid of tons of junk. We actually mostly filled the car and took that much stuff to Value Village. (Where I found two pairs of maternity pants for cheap, score!) We got rid of a couple of pots we don't use anymore (now that we have nicer ones), clothes, old sheets we never use, stuff which my brother-in-law and his old roommate left with us when they moved out of state last summer (thanks, guys), and so many other things which made me think, "Where on earth did we get this and why haven't we gotten rid of it before?"
We've got tons of boxes in our garage storage space which I've been hoarding "just in case we move" at some point. Well, there are clearly no moves in our near future now. So I offered some of the boxes around to people. My boss is retiring and moving to Oregon a week later to be nearer to her kids. She and her husband were super grateful to get both boxes and the packing material I've collected, which was lovely. Most of the rest of the boxes will most likely go to friends who are buying a house and moving in June. It's all part of a larger scheme so that we can clean up our half of the garage (until now, used as storage since we couldn't fit the truck in it) so that we can actually park our car in there during the winter.
Our second bedroom, which is almost exclusively used as storage at this point, is also slowly getting cleaned out. I discovered a few things which we can (and should) return to my in-laws this weekend when they're visiting. And hopefully, they will be taking the truck home with them as well.
My brother left a bunch of stuff with us when he went home at the end of fall semester, so I'm going to get my parents to take most of it home with them. Although, I'm hoping that I can convince the Boy to come up here again to both finish his degree and also be childcare for us. (We would work out some sort of payment system, most likely just giving him a break on rent and such if he watched Baby for us when we can't.) So maybe they won't take too much of it, but some of it really should go.
It's amazing how much better I feel when I get rid of stuff. I don't know if I'm "nesting" or what, but I'm looking at things with a very critical eye lately. In the interest of doing my fair share, I've even agreed to go through my books this summer and get rid of some. Most can be taken to Gulliver's to trade for credit on other used books and the rest can be donated to the literacy council. I've even already identified some which I know I won't miss at all, I just hung onto them because when is having books a bad thing?
The one big project I'm hoping I can talk Shane into is going through his old high school keepsakes. His mom brought up boxes of stuff last summer, all of which Shane had packed up right after high school and decided to keep. But, he hasn't looked in those boxes since high school for the most part. Now, ten years later, I'm wondering how much of it is still meaningful? Some things, such as his letterman jacket and yearbooks, will definitely be kept. Those sorts of things are important. But most of it? It's lost its meaning and is now junk. I'm sure that before the summer is over we'll take another trip to Value Village to drop off things.
I've also got a box of stuff that I want to take to the Really Free Market this weekend, stuff which I don't think I could sell or donate, but perhaps I could give away. And I have a bag of clothes which I want to take to the Fireweed Boutique and see if I can sell it there.
Of course, part of this great purge is because there are things which we will need to buy soon. I already mentioned my new maternity pants. I also bought a maternity shirt, also used, since I'm already growing out of some of my regular shirts. I found this shirt at Once Upon a Child, a used maternity/baby/kids stuff store in town. We were over there anyway (it's right next to the shop where Shane buys his beer-making supplies) so I stopped in to check it out. I can already tell that store is going to become my new favorite one in town. Used joggers/strollers, baby carriers (which I know from my nanny experience that I love), bouncy seats, clothes, shoes, cribs, bedding, maternity clothes, toys.... Perfect. And of course, it had so much stuff I don't know why anyone in town would ever want to buy new baby clothes. It also made me wonder how many people don't know about it and just throw out all of their used baby/kid items.
Other than what I need for maternity wear, we are of course going to hold off on buying anything. For one thing, we don't need it yet. For another, we're waiting to see what other people will gift to us. If this seems mercenary and calculating, it really isn't. You just don't know my MIL. One of the first things she said after we told her about the baby was a joyous, "I GET TO BUY BABY THINGS!" And then she sent us a baby gift which she already had waiting. She didn't even know we were thinking about having a kid, just bought it for when we did! (It was a book, thankfully.) The in-laws are visiting us this weekend (yay!) and she's assured us that she has baby things for us. I was only half joking when I told Shane, "Oh God, she went to Baby GAP and bought the store, didn't she?" So, we'll wait on buying anything for Baby to see what friends and family want to give us. (I understand that impulse--you want to do something nice for the new parents!) I'm hoping that I can get my mom to raid the boxes I know she has of mine and my brothers' old baby clothes and send some of them to us. That would be really fun.
Stuff and junk are not the only things on my mind, of course. I finally started my plants (and labeled them this year, I'm so proud of myself!) and I already have cabbage starts popping up. Hurray! I'm hoping the rest start coming up soon. I used last year's seeds so I'm a little nervous that not all of them will be viable. Cross your fingers for me.

Friday, May 10, 2013

More on pregnancy

I am just on the cusp of starting my 2nd trimester. Woot! And I'm already starting to show! Woo...oh. No, that one kind of sucks since pretty much all of the baby websites essentially say, "If you're showing already, you're probably eating too much. Or you're just gassy." Thanks. I found one, one, site which said that if you're starting to show at this stage it could simply be a combination of your figure and how you're carrying. After that I realized that where my baby bump is starting to form is exactly in the spot which used to be the slenderest part of my torso. Of course it's visible already! Instant relief, and no more baby websites for me.
For the record, I haven't gained weight anywhere except for my waist and boobs. I've checked, almost obsessively. My pants still fit everywhere except my waist. My arms don't seem fatter, although they are less toned. (I should start lifting light weights again.) I've been doing my best to be careful about what I eat, which is sort of mandatory for me anyway with the ways my body has been reacting to foods. Now that the worst of my food aversions and morning sickness are over (mostly), or somewhat under control, I'm back to eating my normal diet, with a few adjustments. So here's what it's like, for me, to be at this stage of pregnancy. This is what my body tells me:

"Oh, you ate two hours ago? Time to eat again."

"It's been 2 1/2 hours since you last ate? Well then screw you. I'm going to make you gag over every bite you put in your mouth, no matter how tasty it is and how much you need it."

"Your husband made one of your favorite foods, which happens to be super nutritious? Ha! No, you don't want anything except a grilled cheese sandwich."

"Brushing your teeth first thing in the morning? Enjoy the dry heaving!" (At least this one means that I don't really gag during the rest of the day, unless I break one of the other rules.)

"You ate enough to feel full? Raging heartburn. You're welcome."

"You drank three cups of water in the last hour? You're still dehydrated. Have fun with the record-breaking pee you're about to have, though."

"Middle of the night wake up to pee? Oh good, snack time! Good luck getting back to sleep after this, by the way."

"You didn't have a snack in the middle of the night? Enjoy being sick for the next two days."

"You know that thing you've been kinda wanting to eat for the last four days which you finally made or bought? Take one bite. I can promise you won't want it anymore."

"You used to walk up stairs without getting winded? Not anymore! Now you'll sound like an asthmatic trying to run a marathon."

"That smell that's making you sick? I can guarantee that animals are the only other ones who can smell it. And they all love the smell."

"Congratulations, you stayed up until 10:30! Now get into bed before I make you fall asleep upright. And I will make you drool on yourself if you force me to do that."

Believe it or not, all of this is better than things were just a few weeks ago. I'm making pregnancy sound so fun, right? It is, and it isn't. There are major trade-offs. On the other hand, I never have to clean the cat box. And when I looked at the state of the toilet last night I was able to get a grudging, "Fine, sure," when I told Shane that he could clean the damn toilet once in a while. (That is the first time that has happened, ever. We'll see about the follow-through. But his parents are visiting next weekend, so I'm hoping that will motivate him.)
There's also just the sheer coolness factor of having a baby growing in me. I'm creating a life, a thought which makes me smile every time. I hear babies laughing, even babies crying, and think, "Wow, in just a few months I'll have one of those!" and it's a happy thought. I can't wait to feel the baby kick, and to finally meet this kid.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Always the unexpected

At the end of a crazy weekend of trying to finish up my 18-page paper and having pretty much zero food in the house (at least, nothing that could be made into a meal, as well as zero fresh fruits and veggies, and very few frozen ones) Shane and I needed to go to the grocery store. It was desperate. I got so hungry that I actually snarled at Shane when he didn't seem to feel any urgency about getting to the store. (I believe I said something along the lines of, "We need to go now because your pregnant wife is *freaking* hungry but you think it's fine to sit there playing your stupid-ass iPod games!")
We knew that having cupboards so bare meant too many groceries to bring home by bike. Way too many. I also wanted to get some dirt to (finally) start my plants. So, we called around to see if we could borrow a vehicle and, at the same time, I decided to call the local car dealership we've been checking up on infrequently, hoping they'll have the car we want.
Well, they did. So after we borrowed the car from our friends (and she fed me a little bit) we went straight to the dealership. We test drove a car and discovered that we really liked it. Good safety ratings, decent mileage, good reliability ratings (both online and from a friend who knows Subarus), and big enough to take a kid and a dog on a road trip, or camping, or whatever. I even checked to be sure it has the straps for a car seat, which it does. Best of all, it's used! We were not looking forward to having to buy a new car, which was becoming more and more of a possibility as Shane's work date draws nearer. But it's fine now, we bought this one. And it was *cheap* enough (ha!) that we can pay for it outright, so they (surprisingly, considering that it was pretty much at the Blue Book recommended price) knocked a couple hundred dollars off for us. Don't get me wrong, it's still hellishly expensive. But not as bad as a new car, which we would have had to finance a bit of.
What did we buy? A 2010 Subaru Impreza Sport. We don't actually have it yet, since we need to pay for it first (and banks aren't open on Sundays) so we'll go get it tomorrow. Also, we need to get insurance as well.
When we were waiting for the salesman to draw up papers and such we discussed some ground rules for the car. We're both worried that having a car will make us more inclined to be lazy. So, rules. No driving to the Pub, which Shane is really bad about wanting to do, since it's only a 15 minute walk. No driving to friends who are close by, which I can be bad about when I know it's going to be a very late night. No making small random trips to the grocery store, make a list instead and go no more than once a week. (And bike whenever possible.) Generally it comes down to no driving anywhere when we can bike or walk instead. We want to keep our car use down about as low as it's been when we've been forced to borrow cars to drive anywhere. Are we the only people ever to buy a car and immediately start planning how to not use it?
My MIL already freaked out that I won't have access to the car for most of the summer. Shane needs to take it to work, 2 weeks at a time, so I'll continue biking and, if necessary, grabbing rides from friends. I'll be just fine. But we'll have reliable transportation when Baby gets here and for running errands too big/far to do by bike.
$500 deposit on the car, (almost) $300 grocery trip later, we have food and a car but our bank account is hurting. Oh well.
I did manage to finish that paper. Tonight I get to turn it in and give my presentation, then I'm done for the semester. Good thing, too, since I'm mentally done in as well. Wednesday I should be able to relax a bit, but until then my time is scheduled to maximum capacity.

Spring dreams, part 5

I've already had at least one person subtly ask about our pets and how worried we are about their reaction to a new baby. Well, honestly, we're a little nervous, but overall we're fairly confident in them.
The dog is the only one of the two who truly makes us a bit nervous. She tends to be rather anxious naturally. If she's not perfectly content, she's nervous. There's no in-between. So having the entire household disrupted and a new, squalling baby taking over will definitely be an anxious time for her. She has been around infants before. Most notably, J&L's little girl, when she was a baby. At that time, L set the baby in the car seat down on the table for just a moment. Before we could blink, Pepper was on the table with her face stuffed in the carrier, licking the baby's face frantically. I had to actually work to haul her away, and as soon as I got her down she was right back up on the table again. I eventually had to just hold her, trembling and squirming, and then toss her outside until they left. Not exactly a comforting incident to think about.
However, there are some things in our favor. For one, she'll get a lot more prep this time around. L is allergic to dogs, so they don't spend much time over here. I think Pepper saw her once, maybe twice, while she was pregnant, and then there was this thing that she brought over. I've already stated that Pepper knows I'm pregnant, and while she was super anxious at first, she's calmed down now. I mean, she still guards me and watches out for me. The other evening I took a nap, and while I was sleeping Shane started dinner. My food-crazy dog stayed on the bed with me (staring longingly at the doorway, where we could both hear the sounds of cooking) until I sat up. Only then did she feel that I was well enough for her to leave my side and go watch for dropped food. She wasn't anxious, just watchful, careful. I think the fact that I haven't popped out a baby immediately is giving her lots of time to calm down.
And I'm certain that, after Baby arrives, she'll calm down fairly quickly. She will love this new tiny human the way she does us, and we'll get lots of pictures of baby and dog snuggling. As the baby grows up, she'll be even more fond of it. Around toddlers she is incredible, mostly because she knows that they're a fantastic source of dropped food. She's careful around them, not (too) pushy, but she's an opportunist and will actually steal candy from toddlers if given half a chance. I know, I know, that will create its own issues in time, but for now it's comforting because I know that at least she won't be attacking my child. She'll do her "I'm a good girl!" act and wait for people to stop being wary before she will oh-so-gently take the food. (She's got a lot more experience with toddlers than she does with infants.)
As for the cat: well. Him we are not worried about, mostly because of his personality. He prefers to be aloof. He's an observer, not a participator. Even when we're just having a quiet evening watching a movie in the bedroom, he prefers to watch us from the hallway. He sleeps on my chest, occasionally, but generally he prefers to perch on the computer chair where he can be near us and watch us, but not too close to us. I am his chosen human, in part, I think, because I'm the quieter one. Shane talks loudly, laughs loudly, makes noise. (It's not a bad thing--it's part of his total enjoyment of life.) I'm the one who spends long, quiet hours reading, or doing other quiet activities. My voice is softer, and for a cat who's terrified of loud noises (or really, any noise above a whisper) I think I'm like a beacon of calm for him.
So what does this have to do with a baby? Well, babies cry. I'm pretty sure that right there will take a lot of getting used to for Zap. So mostly, he'll be his aloof self and sit back and observe the baby, at least for a while. He might approach when I'm holding the sleeping baby, but maybe not. Either way, he won't do the things most people are afraid of: he won't scratch the baby (he only scratches Shane, and then only when Shane is deliberately roughhousing with him) and he won't sleep with or on the baby. He'll probably try to co-opt the crib or bassinet or whatever as a lovely, safe perch, but never when the baby's in it. (And he's going to be trained out of that right quick, baby or no he'll need to learn that the crib is not his place.)
I've been looking up lots and lots of tips on how to prepare pets for a new baby. Things like setting up baby stuff well beforehand, so that they both get used to it. (And so that we have time to train the cat not to get into things we don't want him climbing into.) Playing Youtube videos of crying babies at random times in the month or so before my due date, just so they get used to it and don't think it's a four-alarm every single time the kid cries. Having a friend take a blanket or something which smells like the baby home from the hospital before we get there, so that they can get used to the scent.
There are so many more. And we will probably end up trying some combination of all of them. I am confident in the resilience of our pets. At this point, they have about seven more months to get used to all of this.
Holy shit, only seven more months for me to get used to this....

Yesterday was the first morning where I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, "Holy crap, I'm starting to get a belly!" As it didn't go away by this morning, I can only conclude that this is the start. I both want to cry and to jump for joy over it. I mean, as a woman there are really only so many times you can be told that most of your worth is in your looks (don't kid yourself--this is the message that society still gives out) without it affecting at least some of your thoughts. My waist is supposed to be small and toned, not round! Additionally, I've worked hard over the years to not be overweight. I exercise. I've earned that flat(ish) tummy!
But at the same time, I'm so excited. There's a baby in there! Sometime over the next ten weeks I'll get to start feeling it move around, something I'm eagerly anticipating. And in some ways, I'm looking forward to having a big round belly. It's part of being pregnant, after all.

I'm still exercising a decent amount. It's good for me, and should help make both labor and recovery easier. However, I have had to seriously switch up my routine. I'm physically drained most of the time. As in, trying to exert myself for something more difficult than walking is almost painful. So I've stopped weight lifting and doing any of my normal workout stuff. Instead, I've been focusing on lots of walking (the dog is loving this!) and a prenatal yoga video. I can't stand some of the shit the voiceover in the video says ("Breathe in your entire body and your baby luminous!" "Bow slightly toward your baby, and take a moment to give thanks to your baby." "Keep your gaze sweet...." "Turn respectfully toward your left shoulder....") but the stretches and exercises are definitely helping. I'm also glad that I started it so early, before I get big at all, because some of these positions will only get tougher as time goes on. I'll get to ease into them rather than trying for the first time when I'm huge.
I do also know, though, that I need to carefully monitor my exercise. I already need to eat and drink more than I did before, and it's all a delicate balancing act. One which I've failed at several times. I got dehydrated a few days ago, so I spent the whole next day trying to rehydrate myself. However, I focused so much on my water intake that I didn't eat as many calories as I should have. The next day was pretty rough, starting with dry heaving first thing in the morning (the only good part of having an empty stomach). So then I had to focus on both eating and drinking enough. Exercise means even more water and more food, so I have to be extra careful about how much I do. I don't think I've ever thought so hard about my food habits and my exercise routine before.
On the plus side, among the many benefits to me that come with exercise, are also benefits to Baby. Like perhaps an increased IQ? (Some studies have shown that mothers who exercise have smarter babies, but this could also just be an effect that smarter women tend to exercise and tend to have smarter babies. Or women who tend to exercise are focused on taking care of themselves and their babies, so they work harder at developing their babies IQs than moms who don't exercise. Who knows?) Baby will be at a decreased risk of health problems farther on down the road, such as diabetes and even weight problems. So no matter what, no matter how big I get, I will still be exercising. Just not as much as I used to.

I got to have an ultrasound today, just to make sure everything is developing as it should. (Basically, to make sure the baby isn't developing Down's Syndrome or a couple of other things.) It was awe inspiring. Since the morning sickness has passed, I really don't feel pregnant. It's a little scary. My tummy has gotten a bit bigger, as I said, but not so much that I'm actually showing yet. (Although I can see my friends checking me out when I see them! "Is she getting bigger?") My weight stayed the same between my first doctors' appointment and this one. So I was starting to get a little nervous. (Never ever read "What to Expect When You're Expecting"--horrible book! It will put so many fears in your head about all the different things which can go wrong, and the detailed explanations of how much labor and delivery hurt, plus the next few weeks, was terrifying! There's such a thing as too much information.) I can't feel the baby moving, and without really any internal or external indicators of how things are going in there it's easy to let fears get the best of you. So I was very happy about the ultrasound today. And it was massive! Around fifteen minutes of just looking at Baby. Since the skin and even what little of the bones there are is translucent, I mean everything. I even got to see the start of the brain, which was so cool. (And reminded me that I should get walnuts next time I'm at the store.) I got to see the heart pumping again and the little arms and legs moving, the feet and the fingers. Even the bladder, which the tech said is unusual but a good sign since it means the kidneys are working well. She told me several times, "Wow, this is just perfect. Everything looks absolutely perfect." Exactly the words I wanted to hear.
Also, there is no faster way to make yourself feel badass than to bike to your ultrasound appointment. There was nowhere to lock up my bike outside so I had to bring it in and ask where I could put it. The woman raised her eyebrows at me and said, "You know, this is the first time we've ever been asked about that." :)

Springtime dreams, part 4

As the old joke goes, there have been mountains of pickles and tubs of ice cream consumed in our house (not at the same time). Shane keeps eating them. Some of the ice cream was meant for me but when it sat in the freezer for a couple of days without me touching it, Shane went ahead and ate it all. I realized last night that I really haven't been wanting ice cream. Or any sweets, for that matter. Salt seems to be my overriding craving. And Asian food. When I think about what I want for dinner, it's almost always something Asian. This baby wants salty snacks, lo mein, and Thai curry. The only exception is my middle of the night snack, which is almost always toast with butter and jam or jelly, courtesy of my MIL. Total lifesaver. I've been told that I look like "a toast zombie" while I sit there eating it, but what do you expect? I woke up in the middle of the night because I desperately needed to pee and to eat, then I'm going right back to sleep. Now that my brain isn't constantly shouting, "OMG YOU'RE PREGNANT!" at me, I'm able to get back to sleep very quickly.
I have been put in charge of meal planning now because this has forced a whole new way of eating on me. And because Shane got fed up with cooking something, having me eat it once and then shun it. I also used to be a three square meals type of eater, with maybe a small snack in the afternoon some days. Now? My stomach feels like it's about the size of a grape. I can't eat much at one time, and the few times I've pushed it just a bit too far has resulted in the worst heartburn I've ever had. Additionally, I need to drink more water than ever before, but I can't eat or drink at the same time because that overfills my stomach and results in said heartburn. At least the food aversions and morning sickness are going away.
Last night I complained to Shane that I have to take in enough fluid each day to drown a baby water buffalo. ("Umm, you know they can swim, right?" "Exactly.") He said, "You know, with as big as you're going to get in the next few months you might want to avoid any comparisons with large animals." When I laughed he added, "I'm so glad you laughed at that." I haven't really had many mood swings, but I think Shane is living in terror that I'll turn into a hormonal rage monster Hulk at some point. It's a little mean, but I find it hilarious. When he makes a joke and I laugh, he's always a bit relieved and it just makes me giggle that much more.

We've begun the long process of informing friends and extended family now. Shane called a lot of the people on his side last night. Not having phone numbers, I sent out a private FB message to my cousins and aunts and uncles (to the ones who are on FB, at least) since that would be easiest on my side. A few friends know, but others whom we want to tell just haven't been able to get together with us yet. Oh well. Slowly but surely the number of people in on this secret is growing.
Kinda like my waist. My pants already don't button comfortably. I'm trying to take solace in the fact that they still fit everywhere else, so I'm not actually getting fat. Just building a baby. Still feeling a little bad about it, though, since I know some women don't start expanding until way after this point (ten weeks).

For a variety of reasons, I started telling a few people at work that I'm pregnant. It's earlier than I intended, but the more I thought about it the more I realized this would be the smart, polite, and professional thing to do. For one thing, they broke protocol in one matter earlier, which put me in rather a tight spot. My boss is retiring this summer, which means that our office will be down to two people (plus some from the main office to occasionally pop up or fill in if needed) for the most part, plus one full-time student worker. So, there's a hiring committee being formed for the open position, and instead of asking me and my coworker who would like to be on the committee, I was assigned to it. And I didn't even find out until they'd sent out an email to everyone. The last time this position was open, it took about a year to fill because the requirements are so particular. So I had no chance to say something like, "Due to some personal circumstances, I think [my coworker] might be better suited to this," and then wait another month or so before telling them about my pregnancy.
In addition, there are a few duties which I alone perform, for my entire department. Such as purchasing. If I'm out for my full maternity leave (3 months), and I probably will be, there needs to be someone who can fill in for me and that will take time and training.
When my annual review came up and I had a one-on-one meeting with my boss, I told her and explained all the reasons why I felt that the chain of command on up would need to know. She agreed, although they can keep it sort of quiet. (If you think that the entire administrative office knowing, as well as the faculty council and the others on the search committee knowing is "keeping it quiet". About half of the people who work there will end up knowing in the next week, plus a few people that I'm close with and will probably tell soon.)
So, that's out of the way. But with the expanded network of people who know has come the advice. Not from friends, thankfully, but from older women who've had kids themselves. My husband called his mom one night last week to get the phone numbers of family so he could call and tell them, and ended up saying that we were headed to the Pub for trivia and to hang out with friends. About an hour later he got the text, "IS THERE SMOKING IN THE PUB??!!" (No, there isn't. I've been avoiding places which allow smoking since even before I got pregnant, too.) Ever since I told my boss, she'll pop out of her office at random times to ask me things like, "Are you taking a vitamin?" and impart wisdom such as, "Don't forget to drink lots of milk!" When I had the meeting with my department head, after she got over the shock (mostly due to, "Holy crap, how will we manage..." I think) she started giving me advice on how to dress for pregnancy! "You need room for your belly to expand! Why don't you have maternity pants yet?" (Because, although my pants are starting to get a little tight in the waist, I've still only gained about four pounds, and some of that has been in my boobs!) She suggested things like wearing leggings instead of jeans, making sure I don't have tight shirts (do I ever, at work?), things like that. It was kinda funny.
My own mom hasn't gotten on the advice wagon so much yet (thank you for trusting me, mom!) but she did sound nervous when she asked if we've talked about baby names at all yet. (We haven't, and won't until we find out the sex of the baby.) If she keeps asking, I'm going to start with Engelbert and move all the way to John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. What on earth does she think we're going to name this kid, Sauron? Chastity? (I did know a Chastity once. She got pregnant when she was 15. Seriously.) I do like less common names, but only to prevent things like what happened to my little brother: there were four kids just in his class, more in his grade, who had the same name he did. I once heard my mom say that they should have switched his first and middle names, but they didn't realize how common his name would be for that year. So we'll stay away from the top 20 baby names, but there are still a lot to choose from that aren't completely out there. (I can't picture myself looking down at a tiny baby and thinking, "Ah...Nicodemus," or anything like that.)

I keep picturing us having a boy. Perhaps it's because that's what Shane really wants ("I don't want to deal with a teenage girl, I barely know what to do with you!") or perhaps it's because, between our collective parents' six seven offspring, I'm the only female, but I just can't picture this baby as a girl. It makes me a little sad. I would love to have a girl. But, I would love to have a boy too. I guess all I really want is a healthy, happy baby (who sleeps!). Still, a girl would be nice....

Springtime dreams, part 3

It is absolutely astounding to me that a parasite which is only about the size of a lentil has taken such complete control over my body and has been able to mess with me so badly. In other words, morning sickness has begun. Not nearly as bad as some women get it, thank goodness. I haven't actually thrown up (yet), but having a few days of nausea is plenty bad, thank you. I'm trying to learn what coping mechanisms work for me. I thought at first that smoothies for breakfast would be a good idea, since they're smooth going down (and, um, if they have to come back up), and they don't seem to make me gag. (Brushing my teeth most mornings is interesting, on the other hand.) However, they make my stomach feel far too acidic first thing in the morning. So, bread-y things it is.
Sandwiches are a lifesaver right now. And crackers. Not even super healthy, organic crackers. Like, Ritz crackers. The salt and the calories seem to be just what I need at certain times most days.
Shane and I have had a joke for years that our dog is constantly on the prowl for calories. We do our dog voice and say things like, "Guys, I don't think I've gotten all the calories I need today! Give me those calories you have in your hand." I'm starting to sympathize with that, though. When I pack my lunches in the morning it's always with the thought, do I have enough?! A couple of days it hasn't been enough and I've had to make a purchase at the cafe, which gets rather pricey.
I would absolutely love to say that getting pregnant has made me totally and completely dedicated to healthy eating and all of that. And I feel like it should. After all, eating clean food is more important now than ever! But....wow. When they say, "Be prepared to be more tired than you've ever been in your life," they're not kidding. Fatigue has struck on a level which won't let me do much in the evenings beyond sitting. Seriously. Other than a few short walks (and, of course, walking to and from work) I haven't really been able to exercise. Shane asked me the other day if I was going to start doing something like prenatal yoga and I said, "Yeah, that's the plan...when I actually can summon the energy." This, too, shall pass. I know that. But it's being pretty horrible for the moment.
I actually bought bread the other day. I haven't done that in...how long? But just going grocery shopping was exhausting and I was feeling kinda sick. Ok, very ill. And the smells were absolutely overwhelming. Shane keeps threatening to carry around a small recording device to get all the "crazy" things I say, like walking into the kitchen the other day and saying, "What smells like fish? It smells like fish! Ugh! I can't be in here!" According to Shane, nothing smelled like fish. (I think I was reacting to the dishes in the sink.) He also came home the other day and I was standing at the counter, casually eating a jar of deli-style pickled peppers, straight. This is something I never, ever would have done before. I was told, "Your eating habits are getting so weird." Yeah, thanks.
Slowly, however, I am coming into knowledge of what I need. Mostly it involves lots and lots of sleep. A lie-down or nap in the afternoon, then an earlier bedtime (in part to make up for the fact that I've been waking up to pee and get a snack in the middle of every night). Amazingly enough, despite my own mental protestations, I've mostly given up tea for now. It was making my stomach feel worse a few times so I decided to leave it alone for a bit. *sigh*
Supposedly I will start to feel better in the second trimester, and I'm really looking forward to that. I'm sure Shane is, too. I've been so tired that I stare at the pile of dishes in the sink and think, "That's just...so much work. No, I'll leave them for later." I think about making dinner and pretty much every thought is struck down. None of it sounds tasty to me. Remember how I said that sandwiches have been a lifesaver? That's most of what I've eaten this week. When I do want real food, I can't seem to stomach it for more than one meal, so Shane has to eat all of the leftovers. The poor guy ate halibut tacos for four days straight so that they wouldn't go to waste, since I couldn't eat any of it after the first two meals. (He was so sick of tacos by the end--and actually, we finished them off by giving the halibut meat to a friend who came over and said she'd love to have it for lunch the next day once we explained how sick of them Shane was.)
Food aversions suck. My cravings have been really mild so far. I sent Shane the text the other day, "I need Pad Thai. The dish, not the restaurant. Although, theirs is the best. So both." Ten minutes later, "Never mind, it's gone now." And that is what my life has become.

I had my first appointment yesterday. Nine weeks and two days, according to the ultrasound. It was so cool to look at that screen and see the heartbeat, the little arm stubs waving around. We have an alien baby! Shane couldn't be there, both because he had class and because we were told that this would be incredibly boring for him. (The ultrasound was super quick. But I got pictures and a short video on my iPod, so he didn't miss out on much.) So we finally got to tell our families last night. Since we told his parents that we were engaged first, we called my parents about this first. Skype is such an amazing thing. I'm so glad I actually got to see their faces, I just wish I had a video of it. They reacted about like I expected. I just asked them if they'd thought of what they want to be called as grandparents (family tradition--no one gets called just "grandma" or "grandpa" in our family) and Shane held up the ultrasound pictures. My mom started screaming, "OH, OH, OH!!! OH MY!" and my dad just sat there smiling. Shane's parents did pretty much the same thing. Both of our dads said something along the lines of, "Well, when you asked us to get on Skype I knew it was something big. You'd either bought a house or you were having a kid." Our moms seemed taken by surprise, though.
Then we started the long night of trying to get in touch with all of our brothers, except my younger brother who was on Skype with my parents. Of course the other three were all busy on a Thursday night, why wouldn't they be? We had to sort of give it away to my brothers, because if I just said my usual, "Call me when you get a chance," it could have been next week before we got to talk to them. So after my, "Call me tonight!!!" texts, they did both call and we got to tell them. And then I got to say that I win, because nothing they do will ever top providing the first grandchild. :)
I think possibly the funniest moment of it all, though, was the Skype call to Shane's brother. I had already gone to bed, in part because I was feeling pretty sick and I thought it would be best to sleep through it. But I told Shane to wake me up when Spencer called, so he did. I stumbled out to the dining room, where the laptop was set up, and stood in the background just long enough for Shane to hold up the ultrasound pictures and say something about how Spencer was going to be an uncle. Almost as soon as Spencer responded, "Oh, SHIT!!", very excited, I ran off to go throw up. So the initial conversation about, "So how are things going?" had the sounds of me throwing up in the other room as a background. Even as I was bent over the toilet I thought, "This is really funny. It sucks, but it's funny." I'm pretty sure that will be one of those stories we hang onto and tell our kid when it's older.

Springtime dreams part 2

Ok, so now that the cat is out of the bag and I've said that I'm pregnant I can mention some of the changes that it's causing in my world.
For one thing, having babies is rather expensive. I don't mean in terms of stuff they need (although there is that--cloth diapers are expensive, and even knowing that I can later re-sell them doesn't make the initial cost less expensive!) especially since I'm sure we'll receive lots of donations and gifts from family and friends. (I already called dibs on a baby/toddler sweater my mom knitted when one of my older brothers was tiny--probably will be good for the second winter Baby is around.) No, I mean in terms of things like healthcare costs (insurance doesn't cover everything) and in terms of lost income. Shane and I haven't fully figured out yet what our work lives will be like after Baby comes, but I know that it will involve 3 months of maternity leave without pay for me. After I do go back to work (if I do) it will almost certainly be scaled back. I don't know about you, but when I have a three-month-old I'm not really going to want to have it in daycare for a majority of the day!
In addition to the potential cost of daycare, one of us would also need to drive Baby to daycare, at least in the colder months. I did a little bit of research online and I can't find any baby daycare centers within walking distance of us. Blech. However, there are a few close enough that during biking weather we could transport Baby that way.
There are also additional costs that simply come with being pregnant. I just bought new bras at the beginning of the year (my old one that I had finally died) and here I am needing new bras again to cover my rapidly expanding chest. (Holy shit! I already had enormous boobs, not happy by the extra size/weight of them now!) I'll need maternity clothes at some point. We have a friend's wedding to go to this summer and I realized that I'll even need a new dress, since by then I'll almost certainly be getting huge. (Hopefully for that I can use a gift certificate to an online clothing shop that someone wonderful gave to me as a birthday present--but of course I'll wait until the date is closer to order anything.)
As soon as I found out that I'm pregnant I bought prenatal vitamins. Those things are expensive. (And, just a warning, some of them will turn your pee electric yellow. I had to Google that to make sure there wasn't a problem, as I've had kidney and urinary tract problems in the past.) I've mostly been against taking vitamins in the past, since they're pricey and it's questionable how well they work. However, when it comes to giving Baby the best start possible I'm willing to do this. (I was taking a regular multivitamin, when I remembered, while we were trying to get pregnant too since folate is incredibly important during the first couple of weeks, before you even know you're pregnant.) I did my research, however, and went with one which had good reviews and is supposed to be both food-based and more bioavailable than other brands. This is important as some multivitamins/prenatals won't even break down in the stomach the way they should. (I got the Rainbow Light Prenatal One, if you're interested.)
But, as I said, they're expensive. I thought it was important at first to start taking them as quickly as I could so I bought them locally, even knowing that I could most likely get them much cheaper online. And I can. So I'll order them that way next time. (Even with shipping they'll be cheaper, and we'll probably bundle with other things to get free shipping.)
There are ways to mitigate the costs of being pregnant. My friend L wears the same size I do and has saved most of her maternity clothes for next time she needs them. Since she won't be needing them at the same time I do, I'll be able to borrow some from her.
[Edit--it turns out that L does need them at the same time as me! She's about a week ahead of me in her pregnancy!]
We'll see what other newborn baby/maternity things we can borrow/buy from other people. Perhaps a breast pump? (If you're grossed out by that, get over it. I would clean it very thoroughly.) Or a Moby Wrap? If anyone knows people who are looking to get rid of newborn items and maternity clothes, let me know.
There are always online venues for second-hand items, as well, and some local places which we can check out. Anything I can't get from friends and family can almost certainly be found through those resources.
I understand that there are some things which shouldn't be bought second hand, or at least need to be looked at for recalls. We'll do our due diligence before making any purchases which affect the health and safety of Baby.
We haven't totally decided yet what we'll need/want in terms of gear. Also, what will fit into our small apartment/bedroom. We have the pets to consider so we'll probably start buying things early in the third trimester to get them used to the new stuff and training them not to jump in/all over it. (I'm imagining our cat in a bassinet/crib. He'd love that, but it absolutely will not fly when there's a baby to put in there.)
Along with the costs, though, there are some cost savings to be found. At least for me. Since pregnant women are encouraged to reduce caffeine consumption I dramatically cut back on the amount of tea I drink each day. I'm holding myself to 2-3 cups. This means less buying of tea. Why not switch to herbal? Well, actually after doing research I was surprised to find that a lot of herbal teas may not be safe for pregnant women. There is so much conflicting research that I finally threw in the towel. Other than my carefully hoarded cups of black tea I'm sticking with water and milk. I might add raspberry leaf tea later on (it's safe, and in some studies has been shown to help through the second and third trimesters/labor) but for now I'm not.
I'm also, of course, completely abstaining from alcohol. Not that I was ever a big drinker anyway, but it became normal for me to have a few drinks every third or fourth month. (I know, right? Such a lush.)
Shane even said that he's almost expecting that we won't have to pay for groceries for a while after having the baby. We're going to be talking with both sets of soon-to-be-grandparents about visiting after Baby is born to both help out and bond with their first grandbaby. When they do visit, they'll most likely insist on paying for things like groceries because that's the way they are. Super generous with us, always.
There are cost savings, mostly things which I can't/shouldn't have, but it's something to think about when people say that babies are so expensive.
In addition to cost savings, I've mentioned before that Shane and I were spending a lot of time in March getting our shit together and figuring out what some of our goals will be. Well, finding out that you're having a baby sorta does that. At least for us. This is going to be a huge change, one so big I can't even comprehend it right now, and that requires planning and preparation. We want to have enough saved up that unexpected expenses aren't stressful. If something awful happens, like Baby needing to be in the NICU, the last thing we're going to want to worry about is the cost.

Springtime dreams

The following posts have been written over the past few months, starting near the beginning of March, and are part of why I haven't posted very much recently. Keeping this secret under my hat for a while was tough!

I have a huge grin on my face right now. One which might even be described as shit-eating. You see, I'm pregnant. And right at this moment, I'm the only one who knows it. Oh, sure, Shane knows that I might be. Just last night he asked, "So, um, when are you supposed to get your period, again?" But even if he suspects, he doesn't know. I know.
We have friends and family who know that we've started trying, or at least that we've stopped preventing it. (Totally different in my mind, and sort of our approach--I feel like when people start "trying" it becomes all about ovulation times and such, rather than about actually connecting with your spouse/partner, the person you're trying to create another human with, and letting things happen as they will.) But while some of them are waiting anxiously for our "Hey, guess what?" no one actually knows. (Although, his mom did call the other night and when Shane said, "So, I just wanted to tell you--" I heard her break in and exclaim, "You're giving me a grandbaby!" I shot Shane a deer-in-the-headlights look which he didn't seem to notice. Is his mom telepathic? We didn't even tell her we were going to start trying!) Aside from a few things like that, for now, it's just me who knows this.
I suppose I should add my pets into that equation. They know. Of course they do. They were actually the first signs I had that I might be, could be. You see, my cat has always been very in tune with me. When I'm sick, he's the first to know it and he lets me know by transforming into a completely snuggly cat. (SO not his usual style!) I even noticed, after I stopped taking birth control, that he'd get extra cuddly around the time I was supposed to be ovulating. (And isn't that weird to notice in your cat?) Well, he never really stopped being cuddly with me this month. I thought that it might have been the stomach flu I had, but that has passed and he's still paying extra attention to me.
The dog, too, slowly started freaking out more and more in the past couple of weeks. She's often a bit nervous, but this is crazy. She even defected from sleeping with Shane to sleeping with me. When the dog has abandoned her favorite person in favor of her second favorite person, something's up.
I've tried to keep myself from freaking out about all of this. I wanted to be so zen about it all, the waiting and the whole process. I can't be, though. I'm just not that kind of person. I make lists, and plan endlessly, and come up with alternatives and try to think of every possible outcome. How could I possibly wait patiently to see if I could be pregnant or not? I've been a nervous bundle of energy and half-suppressed excitement. I tried to tell myself all the reasons why my period could be a day, two days late. Three days, keep breathing, it probably hasn't happened yet.... HOLY CRAP IT'S BEEN FOUR DAYS!!!!!! That's sort of what my internal self has been like this week. Fireworks going off in my head and another big, shit-eating grin.
I hope it stays on my face. I know I'll be uncomfortable at times. I know it's not easy. And still, in my head there is a running list of things which could go wrong. We're going to tell only a few select people at first, because what if I miscarry? Trust me, keeping that secret will be ROUGH. I want to tell everyone.
Despite the cautions in my head, I refuse to let all of the "what-ifs" stop me from being ridiculously joyful.
This is my springtime dream. I'm still doing fine, still only looking ahead to when I'll be unable to see my own toes and feeling like I lumber and waddle more than I walk. I'm going to use the time I have for now to get as much done as I can, to be sure that my major goals and projects (such as the garden) don't fall by the wayside. It's helping to renew some of my commitments, such as eating healthy and trying to preserve as many of the earth's natural resources as possible. I mean, being a mom means wanting the best for your kids.
I'm going to be a mom. Am a mom? What a heady thought.

I popped awake at 4:40 this morning, needing to pee. This seems to have been happening a lot in the past week. Since I'm very much an impatient person, I decided to go ahead and use the test that's been waiting patiently behind the trash can in our bathroom cupboard. Does it surprise you that I didn't take it until now? Whatever, I didn't need its confirmation to know what I know. And thankfully it didn't take the full five minutes to give me a result like I expected. (Or maybe I fell asleep a little bit while I waited?) Soon enough that little pink plus sign was staring back up at me and I was smiling. I might have even done a little happy dance.
I wanted to rush back to the bedroom and wake Shane up to tell him. But, I just couldn't do that to him. He has three tests today, two of them being in his hardest classes. I won't even get a chance to tell him tonight because he arranged to have friends come over around the same time he gets home, perhaps even before he's home. More waiting.
In the meantime, I've been surreptitiously reading up on this whole pregnancy deal. I found some pregnancy books through ListenAlaska which I've placed holds on. I'm reminding myself that it's ok to go easy on myself now. I tried to workout last night and only made it about half an hour. I don't seem to be extra tired (in fact, considering that I was up for about the next two hours after taking the test, I'm amazingly alert and awake today) but certain things tire me more than they used to. Walking up the hill to work in the morning is leaving me winded, things like that. It will be so fascinating to see what changes occur in me as this moves forward. I can even tell that I'm hungrier than I normally am, and it might be psychosomatic but certain tastes seem exaggerated. No sickness or anything (yet), thank goodness..
This baby, when it arrives, will transform two people into parents. Four people into grandparents. Three new uncles will be made, and 1 man will have a nephew or niece by blood rather than marriage. (Not that that really matters, but I didn't want to leave him out!) Several people will become great-grandparents. It's such a heady feeling. So much for what is, right now, just a bundle of cells.
When does it start to feel real?

I finally told Shane yesterday morning, Saturday. Waiting a full day to tell him was hard, but he needed Friday to be focused on his schoolwork. Then when he was done, when I could have told him, he was flying so high from finally getting through the day that I knew he just needed to unwind. Not that "Hey, we're having a baby," is bad news, but I didn't want to steal his moment, you know?
Which absolutely doesn't mean that I was patient about waiting to tell him. I haven't been able to focus on much (not good--I have schoolwork I need to focus on too!) so I waited very impatiently for him to wake up yesterday. Thankfully, the sun took care of that fairly early. I laid down with him and when I was sure he was actually awake I told him. There was no big, "Wha--what?", of course. He can do math, he knew when I was supposed to get my period. But the confirmation was cool. We laid there and talked for a long time. I finally got to tell him about all of the early pregnancy symptoms I've noticed in myself. (Like the fact that my uterus feels like it's stretching--which is pretty much exactly what's happening right now. Or the fact that I go from, "Hmm, I'm starting to get hungry," to "FEED ME!!!!" in about the same amount of time it's taken me to write this sentence. Not super exhausted yet, but a few smells have started getting to me and things taste very potent first thing in the morning. All this for something that's still only the size of a sesame seed.) It was so nice to finally be able to confide in him.
When I offered to take another test to show him he said, "You just want to assert your dominance by peeing on things, don't you?" I married such a romantic guy.
We're trying to think of clever ways to tell our families. Shane cleaned off his desk yesterday and found a cigar that he got at the wedding we went to last summer. (He doesn't smoke, really, but about once or twice a year he'll have a cigar with friends/family.) I suggested that he send a cigar to his brother with a note which just says, "Call me when you get this." That way, even though they're long-distance, they can still celebrate together.
For my parents, I think I'll set up a Skype talk with them. In my family it's tradition that grandparents get to have cool nicknames. No grandma and grandpa in my family. My own grandparents were Mimi (dad's mom), Nonnee (mom's mom) and Poppa (mom's dad). My aunt and Uncle have chosen Grammie and OGBO (standing for Oh Great Bearded One--because he didn't feel old enough to be a grandpa yet, and most variations of "Pop" had been taken by other family members). So to tell my parents, I think I'll just (casually, of course) ask them if they've started thinking up their grandparent names yet.
This is fun.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Weighty issues

I went to a burlesque show last night, which I keep thinking of with mixed feelings. I had fun, it was very fun and funny, full of bad sexual puns and silly little skits. However, I also realize that it was quite bad. I mean, it was a Fairbanks burlesque show. It's not like there are tons of resources going into things like this around here. (I'm sure regular strip clubs here make bank, but while burlesque involves stripping it's more along peep-show lines, more artsy.) I have friends in Seattle who are involved in burlesque shows and all I could think was that they'd be weeping if they saw this.
The props were terrible. One of the two men had a fake mustache which kept falling off. At first I thought that it was supposed to add to the comedy, but when it kept happening I realized that, no, it was just bad.
The dancing...oh my word, the dancing. There were four women actually on stage, and only one of them was what you'd call thin. And she was awful. She couldn't dance worth anything. I wanted to shout, "Move your hips! No, not jerky motions, flowing! Like you're in water, dammit!" Instead of a sultry finger flowing up her body and then slowly pointing it upwards, she'd stab her finger into the air like she was trying to rip the ceiling.
The other three had varying levels of skill but only one of them was truly entertaining to watch. One of the women doesn't seem to have an expression other than scowling, so while she would otherwise be very pretty her expression was rather off-putting. The largest gal's "sultry expression" looked more vacant and dimwitted than anything else. I could see that part of it was because she was concentrating so hard, but I thought she would have done a much better job had she simply smiled. (I saw her later and she does have quite a nice smile. It was warm and friendly and she's very pretty when she smiles.)
Of course, it naturally got me thinking about weight as well. The only person involved with the show whom I would say was in shape was one of the men. Despite this, I don't want to make it seem like the weight of anyone on-stage was either off-putting or that I'm critiquing them for it. I just want to point it out because it got me thinking about weight in our society. You see, my friends who do burlesque in Seattle are all quite thin. It's expected that if you're going to be showing off your body, you should be in shape. Right? One of my friends, before she got back into doing burlesque, lost nearly 20 pounds. I saw her last summer and then again at Christmas and there was a marked difference. When I mentioned, at Christmas, how great she looked (she was all dressed up for New Year's and really did look gorgeous) she mentioned her weight loss. At the time I said something along the lines of, "Wow, good for you!" because that's the expected response. But I wasn't happy with myself for it.
Should we really congratulate each other on weight loss? I know that we put a lot of emphasis on weight. A lower weight does tend to correlate with a healthier person. I know that weight also isn't everything, though. When people mention weight loss I tend to be happy for them because, for the most part (at least among my friends) it means that they've been exercising more and eating better. And that is fantastic, I want to encourage that. I like my friends, I want them to live long and healthy lives! But I don't necessarily want to encourage the idea that weight loss is everything. I know plenty of people who are skinny but probably rather unhealthy, given what they eat and their amount of exercise. (I knew a guy several years ago, a senior at the U, who had never eaten a cherry, blueberry, or raspberry. He subsisted mostly on pb&j sandwiches and macaroni and cheese--it's what he'd eaten his entire life and he saw no need to change, or to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. I made him try a cherry.) Conversely, I know people who are overweight who eat well and run marathons. Weight is not necessarily a symbol of how well you take care of yourself.
Of course, those marathon runners who are overweight do tend to be outliers. Most of the people I know who are obese are in that category for a reason and I don't want to downplay that either. I get a bit googly-eyed when I hear about how much soda most people drink, or when I realize just how many times certain friends and acquaintances get fast food each week. Or the fact that some people don't exercise, ever.
So here's my conundrum. What do you say to someone who's lost weight if you don't want to be seen as congratulating them on the weight loss itself, but on the healthy habits they've developed? In what way can we have a conversation about weight and health which doesn't shame those who are overweight but otherwise healthy? That's a conversation I'd like to have, and one which I think is necessary for our national dialogue. As it stands, there are sweeping generalities about who is healthy and who is not, and it mostly ignores those who don't fit the generalities. Then people are offended and nothing productive occurs.
In this day and age, how do we address matters of weight without placing judgments on the wrong people?