Monday, August 25, 2014
S and I have had some major trials since having a baby. We've been together for 10 years and never had we encountered bumps in the road as large as the ones that cropped up - for both of us - as we became parents.
I am a big advocate of therapy (for everyone) but especially couples who need some help getting unstuck while slogging through a long haul (infancy, the death of a parent, law school, etc.). Something several different professionals suggested to us but we only just came around to, and I think it's one of the most important thing we do every day to keep everyone happy, is being vocal and specific about what the other person does that we appreciate.
When Spartacus went back to work the week after Olive was born, I felt like I disappeared. I had no idea how much of my self worth I derived from working. My work made my life feel meaningful and important and it was personally fulfilling. Caring for my baby felt the same, except I received absolutely no acknowledgement for doing it and that hit me hard.
When we started talking about having another baby, the first thing on my list of things for us to tackle as a couple was how to deal with the pregnancy (rough) and postpartum (rougher). I needed to feel like somebody saw what I was doing every day and appreciated not only the job I did, but the personal sacrifice I made to do it. This baby is for our family, to be sure, but I think Spartacus wanted him/her most and he knows how rough pregnancy is for me, so he makes a point to remind me allll the time how much he appreciates me for doing it. A couple weeks ago he came all the way home to pop his head in the bedroom where I was laying down (so much laying down these days) just to say, "This is really hard. I love you. I am so thankful you are carrying our baby and I'm sorry it makes you so sick. Let me know if I can do anything to help." Just a couple seconds and some awareness and intention to communicate but the ripples last for days.
Likewise, I make a point to tell him that he's doing a good job as a dad, even though he wishes he could spend more time with Olive. I remind him that I don't take for granted the fact that I get to stay home as I deal with this sickness instead of having to go to work every day.
I really think the ticket here is to overdo it. In our experience, you can't say this stuff to each other enough (I think Spartacus would agree). It's free, it's simple, it makes all the difference.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Pregnancy is not my favorite season of life. It may sound funny for a doula to say that but I truly loathe it. I feel sick, drained, invaded, not myself. That being said, I was disappointed that I didn't take memory keeping more seriously during my pregnancy with Olive. I have so little to show her or share about it. There are just a handful of pictures from that whole year. And so, this time, I'm going to try to regularly record something about each phase and perhaps (gulp) some pictures, too (though apparently not yet).
What they say about showing faster the second time is so true but, for me, showing in a different way than the first time. Before my whole belly grew (really, even at the top) in one round ball from the beginning and this time I notice just the firm little roundness at the base of my tummy.
My boobs are huge, as they do. I was pumped when the Nordstrom Anniversary sale stocked both of my favorite Natori bras so I could get my next two sizes up. The things you know the second time around...
We didn't find out whether Olive was a boy or a girl until she was born (even though I had a pretty strong feeling). It was easy to decide - neither of us wanted to know and we didn't have a 20 week ultrasound so that was that. This time Spartacus doesn't want to know but I do. Both because I'm sort of hoping for another girl (sisters!) and because I'm having a harder time connecting to this new person, especially with how sick I feel, I think it would be helpful to know ahead of time. I'd LOVE to hear what any of you who were split on that decision ended up doing. I sort of think the person who doesn't want to know should get veto power but I don't know why.
Food cravings/aversions: So unlike last time. So different. Food in general seems horrible and gross. I force myself to eat and never enjoy it. Last time I was open to anything other than chicken and though some of it came back up, no certain foods were better or worse than others. This time the no fly list is long and eating the wrong thing can make me lose it in a second.
This part has been really hard emotionally just because I love food so much. I love to cook and eat and I didn't realize how each day was full of edible special treats. A coffee in the morning, a perfect peach, a juicy chicken, a sweet afternoon bite, a beer, etc. They all buoyed my mood and I don't have them anymore. Food is something I have to choke down a few times a day and nothing sounds good. It changes my whole outlook.
I'm taking Zofran this time, which I wish I had done last time. It helps me feel a little more human.
Weight gain*: 7 pounds. I'm eating much less than last time out of pure necessity. I know there is no way I'll stay within the recommended 25-35 lbs (ha!!!) but even cutting my previous 80 in half would feel like a major win.
That is all for 14 weeks. I still feel very much first trimester-ish, only with slightly larger hips and I'm getting through each day one at a time. I am working on some faith that my next update will be more...uplifting.
*I want to be sensitive to ladies/people with complicated relationships to food. I plan to record my weight and my feelings about it because it was such a source of suffering and grief last time. I gained 80 pounds with Olive and it hurt, literally. My body was and is still changed in irreversible ways and I want to do my best to achieve a more healthy weight gain this time. If this is triggering for you, I will always put it at the bottom of the post so you can leave it out if you want or avoid the posts altogether. They'll always be called "_____ weeks".
Friday, August 15, 2014
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I am not feeling better. Everyone says one trimester and that's it, but everyone is wrong. Since my first pregnancy was one long first trimester with throwing up most days, I don't have much personal experience with this. So the weeks tick by and I keep waiting. Waiting to feel better, to have a little energy, to feel differently about food, to be second trimester-ing. Well, 13+ weeks and I'm still waiting.
Yesterday was the hottest day we've had all year: 96 degrees. I will willingly concede my level of discomfort to all you bout-to-pop mamas. Being hugely pregnant in the heat is definitely worse than being nauseas in the heat. But yesterday was something else. Olive watched 4 movies while I slept (passed out?) and barfed. I don't even know which movies because I never got up. Yesterday definitely could have been better.
But the weather. Oh, Seattle, you and your rain. I straight up prayed the weather would turn - into anything other than the hot hot heat of yesterday and after Olive fell asleep we heard a little thunder and then the clouds rolled in and Spartacus brought me some soup and it cooled off just a little and I ate and slept and I woke up to rain. Sweet sweet rain, washing yesterday away. Don't get me wrong. I feel like shit today. But I can breathe and I'm not cowering in our dark bedroom next to the air conditioner, wishing I would just die of heat stroke. I haven't thrown up yet today! And it's already 10:30! Look at that!
I never thought I'd see the day I wished good weather away but here it is and I'm so thankful for this storm. I often tell people about labor that you are given all you can handle and not more. Everyone feels pushed to the breaking point but everyone makes it through. Trying to remind myself of the lessons in this phase of pregnancy and the gifts of suffering. This too shall pass.