10 things that you will appreciate more when you are pregnant:
March 6, 2011, 2:50 pm
Filed under: pregnancy

1. pants with drawstrings–I had a horrible time finding pants to fit me, especially late in the game. Pre-pregnancy I was able to wear a 12/14 size pants in kids because I am so short…unfortunately, they do not make maternity pants in those sizes (or maybe that’s fortunately). I made due with lots of drawstring and yoga pants. It wasn’t very stylish, but your sense of fashion tends to go out the window around month 7, trust me.

2. a good back job. A back job consists of a 45 minute marathon of intense scratching, followed by even more intense kneading. Maybe kneading isn’t the right word. I would literally tell my husband to punch me in my lower back to work out the kinks. It felt heavenly.

3. a deep, soaking bathtub. Now, I’m only assuming I would have appreciate this if I had one. At around 5 months, I was no longer able to submerge myself fully in a bath. I would still take one every night, in the name of sanity, but I felt mostly like a beached whale. Let’s not even discuss the process of me getting *out* of the bathtub. My husband would often think I had gone into labor when the time came for me to haul my large self from the horizontal to vertical position. Near the end I wouldn’t even take a bath unless he was home because it was just that hard to get up. Neat.

4. your feet. I stopped being able to see mine around the same time I became a beached whale. You may be asking yourself why being able to see your feet is important. I’ll leave it to you to answer that question when the time comes for you to try and shave your legs with a beach ball cutting you off in the middle.

5. public restrooms. This is pretty self-explanatory, I think. However, even if you are in a store that doesn’t claim to have a public restroom, make sure you ask anyway. Those employees have got to be going *somewhere* and most people go out of their way to make sure big, fat pregnant woman are a.) happy and b.) not likely to go into labor in their presence.  You will also notice this phenomenon when standing in line at the grocery store, especially if you are holding your items. You get boosted right to the front of the line.

6. having control over your emotions. You know that scene from Saved by the Bell? Jessie Spano and the speed pills? I’m so excited….I’m so…scared! That will be you. Every. Single. Day. And it’s okay.

7. an understanding boss. If you are like me, and planning to work up until you go into labor (aka a masochist), it’s important to have a boss who understands that while it’s super awesome they get a few more weeks out of you, they should plan on your working probably only 65% of the time..and even then only at half of your normal efficiently. The last month of my pregnancy I would go into work maybe 4 out of the 5 days of the work week and schlump around the building, taking pee breaks every half an hour and spending a lot of time sitting down. My boss and all my co-workers were very understanding…I think they were all just glad that I was there and that I wasn’t working so hard that I would go into labor (that’s right) in their presence.

8. getting checked out by guys. Here’s the thing: I love my husband. Dearly. But, there was always a sense of satisfaction when I was out and about and would still get checked out by guys who were not him. I like to keep my stock in check. And nothing depleted that stock more than the first time a guy walked by me, started to give me the once over and stopped at the bump, arched a brow and walked (or ran?) quickly away. Calm down dude. I may be fertile but you’re not going to knock me up just by looking at me.

9. Tums Smoothie antacids. I still remember the very second my heartburn set in. I was sitting on the couch and burped. And then I thought I was going to die. It was LITERALLY like fire was coming up from my stomach. And it didn’t go away for 4 months. FOUR. MONTHS. It would get so bad at night that I would throw up blood. Not from my stomach or from any organs shutting down, but from my esophagus blistering. Gross. Tums Smoothies work miracles and taste like candy. STOCK UP. (ps–that old myth about heartburn leading to child with a full head of hair? bullshit. my tiny human is STILL bald, 4 months after giving birth to her. I want my money back.)

10. sex. Okay. Here’s the thing with sex in the last trimester: even if you still have a raging libido (some of us do); even if your husband can still muster the courage to venture into the part of your body where there is another human being; even if the both of you can ignore the leaking-boob-syndrome; you will be hard pressed to find a position that you can physically handle. Missionary? Nay. On top? Are you kidding? Any of those other, more adventurous positions? You’ll get a Charlie Horse (side note: for Charlie Horses and cramps, try not to tense your leg or massage the pained area….instead, slowly stretch the muscle. It’ll hurt worse at first and then go away).

So, with sex this late in the game, it’s mostly an A for effort, but an F for execution. Get used to it now, because after the baby comes….even when you medically get cleared for the duty, you’ll still be a little scared to get back in the water.


a disertation on vomit.
February 5, 2011, 12:36 pm
Filed under: pregnancy

Right. Morning sickness. Here’s the deal with this:

You may not get sick. You may coast through your first trimester all glowing and happy and basking in your awesomeness while still being able to eat food. Great for you. I, however, hit week 8 (to the day) and began dying slowly, it felt like. So, if you are one of those people that I listed first…kindly go into the bathroom, stand in front of your mirror, pat yourself on the back and never ever mention it to me because I will probably be tempted to round-house-kick you in the face.

Morning sickness is another one of those joyful parts of pregnancy that everyone and their mother (literally) has a suggestion for. Drink ginger ale! Keep a box of saltines next to your bed and eat one before you stand up! You know what these things did for me? Made me throw up. I still can’t drink ginger ale without getting queasy.

The best thing for conquering your morning sickness is to find out what exactly is causing it–or at least identify the pattern of what happens before you get sick.

For me, it was brushing my teeth or anything that could potentially activate my newly-highly-sensitive gag reflex. I would brush my teeth, go to spit and….yeah. Every. Single. Morning.

A lot of people also claim that once they would throw up, they would feel fine for the rest of the day. No such luck for me. I would throw up in the morning and feel like I was riding right on the brink of throwing up for the rest of the day. I dropped almost 10 pounds my first trimester. I had no appetite and what I could get in my stomach was clearly not welcome. It was a very rough patch for me…and my husband. Every morning he would wake up to the sound of his wife retching (loudly) in the bathroom, begging her tiny peanut fetus to stop pushing the vomit button.  I would finish my business, stand up and a hand would appear from behind the door, holding a glass of water. Every. Single. Morning. He later expressed how helpless he felt knowing that all he could do was to keep my hydrated enough so I wouldn’t pass out. Poor guy (this is only slightly sarcastic…a great departure for me, I know).

I am now going to disclose what finally worked for me (and by worked I mean, keep me alive until the magic of the second trimester began).

1. Emetrol. After about a week and a half of throwing up and coming close to passing out at work, I called up the nurse helpline at my OB…crying. That wonderful mother-hen of a woman gave me some of the best advice of my entire pregnancy–including Imetrol. It is a cherry flavored syrup (no alcohol in it so very safe for baby) that STOPPED the vomiting immediately. Now, it should be noted that I still felt vaguely queasy all day…but at least I was able to keep what little food I could manage IN MY STOMACH. I know some people end up getting a prescription for Zofran, too. I guess my point is: IT’S OKAY TO TAKE MEDICINE FOR THIS.

2. Get out of bed. It is really easy to let the fact that you feel so rotten keep you bed ridden for days at a time. What I realized, though, was that by staying bed…I was making myself feel worse. I think it has something to do with hormones settling but that may be a placebo explanation. The point is that the more you get up and move around, the less you feel sick. I promise. If you let the sickness control you, you will be miserable. You will cry and take back getting pregnant. GET OUT OF BED. GO TO WORK. They know you’re pregnant. It’s okay if you throw up a little bit once you get there. Take advantage of the fact that this is the only time in your life where it’s mildly adorable to vomit.

3. Change your toothpaste to a gel. Okay this may not help everyone but it surely helped me. I got a ‘sweet mint’ gel and found that it really cut down on the post-brushing gag fests. Less foam or something.

4. EAT. Did you know that the sick-to-your-stomach feeling is actually brought on by hunger? When the nurse told me this I almost cried harder because it seemed like a cruel joke. I know you are not going to want to eat anything. Ever. I understand…but this is totally legit. Proteins are where it’s at in this case. I ate peanut butter for an entire month. Keep a package of those little nabs in your purse and pop one in your mouth if you start to feel sick and you’ll notice that you will not actually ever throw up. This is the beginnings of your baby telling you exactly what you are in for. “Mommy if you don’t meet my needs…I am going to make you want to die. Love you!”

5. Don’t be afraid to drink soda. Everyone always talks about what pregnant women have to give up when they get knocked up. I find most of these things to be bullshit, honestly. YOU CAN DRINK CAFFEINE. The caffeine is NOT what hurts your baby or what doctors are concerned about–it’s dehydration. So, if you want to have a soda each day…just make sure you are drinking like 5 glasses of water to counter-balance that. Caffeine settles upset stomachs and helps with headaches and fatigue. So, go ahead. Be naughty and get dirty looks from people in public. It’s fun to be naughty.

Morning sickness is the beginning of what I like to call ‘Things That People Say Will End But You Don’t Really Believe Them Until They Do In Fact Stop’. You’ll see a number of these things leading all the way up to the birth and then continuing on after that. It’s fun.

Everyone told me that the vomiting would stop once I hit the second trimester. Ha! I’m not even going to survive that long, silly! I’ve already made out my will. You can have my Playstation.

And then, one day…I woke up. Got ready for work. And was suddenly STARVING. I thought, “Hm, what is this strange sensation in my stomach? I think I’ve felt it before it seems so long ago..oh wait..I’M HUNGRY. OH MY GOD I’M SO HUNGRY IF I DO NOT EAT 4 BAGELS RIGHT NOW I AM GOING TO PASS OUT. OH MY GOD DEAR HUSBAND PLEASE GO TO BRUEGGERS RIGHT NOW. I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU BRING BACK. CARBS. I NEED CARBS.”

So, you will survive. You will get hungry. And then you will get so wonderfully fat that it will all seem like a horrible, horrible nightmare.

to tell, or not to tell? that is the question.
January 9, 2011, 12:59 pm
Filed under: pregnancy

Some people are freaking weird about telling their friends and family when they are pregnant. Okay, that sounded harsh. I understand maybe 75% why people wait an extended period of time to tell friends and family when they are pregnant. Maybe there’s a cultural protocol that is above my plane of understanding. Maybe there is some superstition brought on by past trauma’s or miscarriages. Maybe they are waiting until they can tell people face to face or over a holiday situation so it is a huge “OMG” moment. That’s fine.

I, however, peed on a stick at 5:30 am, was on the phone with my mother by 8 am telling her and by about noon, most people at my place of employment knew. Why? Well, I’m a huge blabber mouth and gossip queen and what better gossip than, “Dude, I’m knocked up. Pass it on.” I take a sense of pride in starting my own gossip, honestly. It’s like buying stock early before it jumps up in price. And then by the time it gets back to you , you can fully assess who in your circle of friends is trust worthy and who is spreading shit behind your back. Did that last part make me sound bitter? My bad.

Anyway, yes, I told pretty much everyone when I got to work that day. Mostly because I was freaking out. Lots of people tsk tsk’d me for opening my big fertile mouth so early but here is how I saw it:

I am with you people for at least 8 hours out of the day. I am in and out of your classrooms. If I am not feeling so hot that day, or–God forbid–something happens…I want you all in know. To me, it wasn’t a fear of ‘if I lose the baby I will have to tell all these people’. It was more like, ‘if I lose the baby, look at all these people who will help me through it’. I really cut out the middle man by not having to explain, ‘okay, so, I was pregnant but then I miscarried so now could you help me through this hard time…that is, after you wrap your head around the fact that I *was* pregnant?’ See what I did there?  Of course, this all goes back to my previous theory that all women do once they are pregnant is expect the worst because of media’s overabundance of failed pregnancy messages. But, I digress (a lot…might as well get used to that now).

Another bonus to telling my friends and family early was that, honestly, I had a lot of questions even that early on in the pregnancy. If I sneezed more than usual I was able someone who had already been through it if it was normal, etc. It gave me a sense of comfort–like I was living in The Red Tent (arbitrary literary references–I do that a lot, too).

Plus, people treat you really nicely when you are pregnant. Like, really nicely. You get to cut people in line at the super market, everyone tells you how beautiful you look (even though you probably don’t), they buy you presents, they offer to bring you food ALL THE TIME (no, seriously. all. the. time.). Why wouldn’t you want to cash in on that AS SOON AS POSSIBLE? Because, trust me, they give you about a week after you push that Tiny Human out and then that’s it. The supply line is cut off so fast, you’ll think you’re fighting the front lines at Bastogne during World War II (random historical references–that’s right–I do that a lot, too).

So, here’s the thing with ‘coming out of the closet’ with your Tiny Human:

If you want an intimate opening experience with this little tadpole then fine, keep your secret. But there is something to be said for the whole ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ mantra. Get that village on high alert early. Enjoy the attention and love. You are about to enter the most trying time of your life and you are going to need them, I promise this.

grasping the concept of conception.
January 7, 2011, 10:37 pm
Filed under: pregnancy

The business of getting pregnant with a Tiny Human has proved to be horrendous for some women. People chart their ovulation, their body temperature, the consistency of their vaginal mucus…they get completely obsessed with their own fertility. Which is fine, for them. I decided early on that I was going to go off the pill and kind of step back and see what would happen–or what wouldn’t happen. I gave myself the benchmark of 5 months before I would start with the whole fertility circus. Everyone assured me that it may take that long, or even longer, to get the hormones out of my system from being on the pill for nearly 10 years so I was prepared for the long haul, I thought.

And yet, that first month when I stopped my BC and got a period my initial reaction was, “OH MY GOD. SOMETHING IS WRONG. I AM FLAWED AS A WOMAN.” Society and media put way too much emphasis on fertility issues, I think. By exploiting woman who have issues and cramming down our throats that, “it’s okay if your body can’t do it, we have petri-dishes that can do it for you” we are, in turn, still devaluing our female morale.  Everyone with a uterus walks around, afraid to find out if their equipment is going to work. The actual act of making this human is quickly swept under the rug of prognosis. Sex becomes a mechanical, scheduled procedure in which we expect our poor male counterparts to endure with a smile and a nod, so to say. “We are having sex on this day. Please tell your sperm to show up.” I suppose it’s not much easier for them, is it? Poor fellas

Anyway, I went through 2 ‘cycles’ after going off BC before getting knocked up. Only 2. I got knocked up real good–my periods hadn’t even gone back to normal yet so I wasn’t even sure that I was late when I was actually late. And I then proceeded to have a healthy, fairly uneventful pregnancy.

I suppose what I’m saying is–when you decide to try and grow a human, you need to give yourself a honeymoon phase before diving into the deep end of “why aren’t I pregnant yet???” Eliminate the birth control, get some wine and just have sex with your man already. And for the love of God, don’t listen to people when they tell you WHY you aren’t pregnant yet. Unless they are literally going to crawl up into your uterus and give your eggs a pep talk, they don’t get an opinion. The end.