Documenting Pregnancy

Documentation of my pregnancy with Little Jaguar. I got lazy at the end – with the move and everything, but it still turned out pretty fun. I’ll have you note that the pic of me holding Jaguar at the end is not doctored. That’s what new motherhood really looks like, tired eyes, messy hair, “curvy” body, and a new baby who shows you how trivial vanity is.

 

Five reasons to love pregnancy

Well, I did it! I’ve successfully graduated with a BS in Communications notwithstanding being 9 months pregnant. It’s been a fun road, slight sarcasm included. :)

As I get closer and closer to the end of my pregnancy I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief that my discomfort will soon be over. Everyone know that pregnancy is hard. From mood swings to nausea in the first trimester, to heartburn in the second, and waddling like a duck by the end it can get pretty trying. Still, I’m trying to maintain a positive attitude. There are definitely things I will miss about pregnancy. Despite the pain and discomfort there are things to love about being pregnant.

  1. The smiles from passersby: It takes a village to raise a child, and the whole village is excited about your new arrival. Despite my misgivings I only got a handful of raised eyebrows and rude stares from people who think I’m a pregnant teen. I loved the realization that most people aren’t looking at you to judge you, but rather to be happy with you. My favorite moment was when a senile old man smiled at me and muttered, “cute cute cute” as he walked by.
  2. The tummy rubs: I definitely am not a fan of strangers rubbing my tummy, but I love when my husband does it! I’ll miss the bonding we have together when there is no longer a reason to lavish attention on my burgeoning belly.
  3. The butterflies: Feeling baby move always brings me joy. I love her so much and it’s fun to know she’s growing inside me.
  4. The gimmies: When people see that you’re pregnant they go out of their way to be nice to you, from the stranger who holds the elevator for you to the best seat on the couch it’s nice to get the gimmies – although I have to admit it can be embarrassing sometimes.
  5. The service: I’m a firm believer that we are better, happier people when we serve others and there is no greater service than to give up sole ownership of your body for nine months. Every time you puke, it’s for the baby, every time you answer an embarrassing question about weight gain – you’re putting up with it for the baby. It’s all worth it because you’re about to embark on the greatest adventure of your life! It’s a happily given service and that sweet child is worth any amount of pain, discomfort, and lack of sleep.

I have occasionally heard women talk about why they don’t want to ever have children. They will cite stretch marks, career ambitions, weight gain, and losing their identity as reasons why children aren’t worth it. Some of what they say is true. Pregnancy does create unsightly stretch marks (battle scars as my husband calls them), it does put a damper on career ambitions, it comes with weight gain, and many do lose themselves in their children, but they fail to mention the many wonderful things that come with children. Children bring greater joy than one can imagine, they bring love and purpose and hope for our future. Having children helps us progress and become better, it teaches us selflessness, faith, work ethic, and gives us the tiniest glimpse of the love our Father in heaven feels for us.

So, here’s to remembering the joys of pregnancy as I embark on a journey of motherhood.

Please don't use this without my permission - it took time to create!

Almost there

So, I don’t think I did one blog post during my second trimester. K, maybe one, but that was early on. Ironically, it was easily my favorite one. I finally was able to understand why some people consider pregnancy to be a joy. I wasn’t nauseas, I wasn’t huge, and I wasn’t dog tired. It was great! Still, the trimester didn’t go off without a hitch. Unfortunately, I was exposed to CMV at work, and endured a weekend of fear as my husband and I worried about whether or not I contracted the disease. CMV can cause severe mental handicap, blindness, deafness, and even death to a fetus. It was a truly scary time, but my husband and I were able to pray and find comfort, knowing that the Lord has a special plan for our baby and he is ultimately in charge.

Lately, as d day gets closer and closer, I worry about my indaquecies and how I’ll be able to care for another life. I worry about the responsibility that comes with motherhood, amazed that the Lord is willing to trust us with his children. He sends these perfect spirits to us, and we can only hope we don’t mess them up. Well, no matter how much I worry she’s coming soon, so I guess I just need to keep trusting that everything will work out.

Here’s to my baby girl. I love her so much, and I’m so excited to hold her in my arms.

Keeping the broken glass

Do you ever feel like a broken glass? I do. I experienced this feeling a lot during this last semester. With morning sickness, pregnancy fatigue, upper division courses, a major surgery in the family, work, and a husband  to take care of I had a full plate. There was so much to do and there was never enough of me to go around. At a time when I had tons of tasks I had no motivation to do anything. All I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and take a nap.

Towards the end of the semester as I was washing a large mound of dishes I started creating a mental to-do list. I don’t know why we women do this. We can always think of more things to put on our list than we can physically accomplish. I started to overwhelm myself as I kept repeating my list over and over.

Suddenly I was jolted back into reality when the glass I was washing shattered. It was a cheap glass bought at a dollar store and decorated with blue snowflakes. I once had six of the same glass but with the loss of this glass I was down to one. I had been careless and put the cold glass in some very hot water. The glass just couldn’t handle the heat.

I picked the pieces out of the soapy water, and I empathized with the cup. I felt like I was breaking too. The glass broke because the water was too hot, and I seemed to be in a similar situation. I fought back tears as these debilitating thoughts came to my mind. My husband was doing homework in the other room, and I didn’t want to put him through another one of my “pregnancy breakdowns”, so I tried to keep my emotions as quiet as possible.

As I struggled to continue the dishes I prayed for understanding and hope. Then I remembered the lesson my husband and I had just given to the 8-10 year-old Sunday school class we teach. The lesson was about Job and in it we explained to the children that the Lord makes us strong through our trials. We showed the children my wedding ring and asked them how the diamonds in it were made. We explained to them that through many many years of heat and pressure coal turns into diamonds.

The thought crossed my mind that the Lord did not make me out of cheap glass designed to break as soon as it hit hot water. On the contrary, the Lord intends me to be something far sturdier and infinitely more valuable. The Lord intends me to be a diamond, and tough times now will only mean a stronger me in the future.

It’s interesting to note that I wasn’t immediately comforted by these thoughts. I knew that they came from the Lord and I knew that I was his beloved daughter, but I still felt the frustration of the day, and I still felt a certain amount of empathy for that glass. It wasn’t until later that night as I knelt for prayer that I finally experienced that sweet wave of peace that only the Holy Spirit can bring. It wasn’t until I had let go of my worldly worries and focused myself on God that my previous thoughts came to mind and brought me solace. I kept the glass. My husband tried to throw it out once, but I quietly took it from the garbage and placed it near the sink as a reminder of my lesson.

Over the rest of the semester I continued to struggle with my never ending load of schoolwork, housework, and of course work-work, but I looked at the glass and remembered that the Lord is by my side every step of the way. This life will never be easy, but we will never be asked to do it alone. I’m so grateful for that, and I hope I can keep it in mind throughh the next few months of pregnancy. With graduation and a baby due so close together I know it won’t be easy. That’s why I’m keeping my broken glass.

Amber may be…95% sure it’s a girl!

We went to our last OB appointment at 13 and a half weeks pregnant. I was hoping to find out gender, but I figured it was probably too early to tell. Our OB surprised us with a 95% sure statement that our baby is a girl!

It's a girl!

I was so surprised! My husband had me convinced we would never have any girls. He comes from a family of men and he gave me all kinds of weird medical and statistical reasons why it couldn’t be a girl. I never understood what he was talking about, but my husband is so good at bull! He could convince you of anything. He thinks it’s funny to see what kind of crazy things he can convince me are true. I guess it’s partially a statement about myself as well…”Hey Amber! Gullible is written on the ceiling!” “What? Where? I don’t see it!”

Ha! In your face honey! My family is thrilled. They’re mostly just glad the husband is wrong about never having girls, and my mother-in-law  is so in need of a little girl to spoil. After raising five rowdy boys she deserves the grandma reward!

I’m already making little girl plans. The flowered hair bands that are so in style, the cute pink outfits, the general sweetness a little girl brings to the home, not to mention the latest big study in the news about how people with sisters are generally happier.

Check it out: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7977454.stm

Anyways… I went off into a great fun day dream, but if our little girl grows a hot dog before the next doctor’s visit we’ll still be happy! I’m sure I can write an equally mushy blog post about sweet little boys.

A pregnant woman’s super powers

Where is my super suit? For Halloween this year my husband and I have matching outfits just like the ones in Disney Pixar’s movie The Incredibles. The suit is tight enough to show just a little bit of a baby bump, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.

The costume inspired me to write my list of super powers that I believe pregnant women seem to possess, most of which are probably undesirable. 

Elastigirl

  1. Super Smell: The ability to smell vomit inducing bad breath from a mile away! Sometimes its nice to be able to detect a flower sooner than you used to, but beware because smells that used to be welcome can now be deadly!
  2. Bathroom Detection: The uncanny ability to scan any room, grocery store, or building for bathrooms. This ability is necessary due to the urinary urgency associated with pregnancy.
  3. Super Speed: This is a great power but it comes with a catch, this power can only come into play when you need to either pee or puke.
  4. Glowing Abilities: No, it doesn’t help you see in the dark, but as soon as people know you’re pregnant they can immediately see a “glow” that they for some reason couldn’t see before. Soon you will find your nemesis captivated with watching your growing butt, thighs, and tummy allowing you to do… something  bad to them. Ok, hopefully you don’t actually have a nemesis, but seriously people watch carefully once they know you’re pregnant.
  5. Super Acne: Pop a new zit to blind your opponent! K, that’s just gross, but I’ve had a lot of new acne since I got pregnant and it’s no fun.

K, maybe not the best super powers, but hopefully they’ll improve once you get mom’s super powers, you know, like eyes in the back of the head and stuff life that! 

Enjoy one of my favorite clips from The Incredibles. My only regret is that the clip stops before the best line. Unfortunately the only clip I found that included this line also included added text blips with profanity. :( sad day! So I’ll write it in for your enjoyment. if anyone can remember Frozone’s wife’s name let me know so I can include it! 

Frozone: “Think about the greater good!” 

Wife: “I am your wife! I am the greatest good you are ever gonna get!”

Amber may be… sleeping through her pregnancy

Lethargic, worn out, exhausted, pooped, beat, done-in, tired, dragging, burnt out, weary…have I described pregnancy yet? This constant nausea combined with constant lack of energy, it’s like someone stuck me on the Tea cups at Disney World and wouldn’t let me off.

I know I should feel lucky. I can just hear all of those women who have already passed the child bearing age,

“When I was pregnant with my first, I couldn’t leave the house because I was glued to the toilet!”

Well good for you. Knowing that your pregnancies were all worse than mine sure makes me feel better…not!

I feel like I’m sleeping my way through my pregnancy.  I practically live on the couch… feeling sick but knowing that I won’t actually throw-up.

What’s worse is that there don’t seem to be any solutions. I spend most of my waking time at all of the different pregnancy websites and they keep saying I’ll be tired, but just eat healthy and exercise and it might get better. I eat pretty healthy (saltines are healthy right?), and my job involves hiking around the hospital pushing a heavy cart. Apparently it’s not enough.

I’ll have to just take comfort in the fact that I’m growing another human being inside me. It takes a lot of my body’s energy to create this baby, to help it grow all the things it needs.  WTE.com tells me that at ten weeks it’s growing bone and cartilage, little teeth beneath the gums, and at an inch and a half it’s rapidly growing in size. Not to mention I’m still growing the umbilical cord, the lifeline that will eventually feed my baby.

So I’ll have to remember that it’s all worth it, this never ending exhaustion and nausea, because in the end I will hold a beautiful baby in my arms, and my life will change forever.

Amber may be… a pregnant student

As of right now I’m 12 weeks pregnant, a senior in college, a housekeeper (not my own house), a wife, a writer for the school newspaper, and a major slacker!

It is so hard to go to school and be pregnant at the same time. Don’t take this blog post as defeat, by no means is it defeat. I’m going to graduate on time, and I’m not going to fail any classes. In my mind I have no other option. I’m just admitting that it’s really hard!

I feel sick all the time, my apartment is in a shambles, and I’m finding it nearly impossible to get to my early morning lecture classes. The fact that I work nights doesn’t help. So I figured I would try to motivate myself a little by writing myself a how to blog post.

All right Amber, here is your How to go to school, work, be pregnant, be a good wife, be perfect message!

  1. Saltines: eat them. I know you hate them. They have become the bane of your existence. That dry mouthed salty, cracker feeling might just make you throw up rather than prevent it, but you’ve got to try! For the sake of the baby, just try.
  2. Sleep: get it. Sure you don’t get off work until after midnight most nights, and sleeping on your back and stomach (the two preferred sleeping spots) is now either off limits or very painful, but sleep has got to be possible. The fact that you are exhausted all the time whether you get eight hours or not shouldn’t be considered. It’s time to start scheduling brief naps, and going to bed at a reasonable hour whenever possible.
  3. Wake up: when the alarm goes off. You have a choice, you have will. The bed is not swallowing you whole. You can refuse to stay in bed. You can get up! You can conquer!
  4. Eat: healthy balanced meals. All of the popular pregnancy sites tell you that eating healthy will help you feel less exhausted, less sick, less awful. If you can eat without throwing up, then do it! Say no to the empty corn dog, nacho, potato chip calories and start saying yes to a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy. Maybe it will work. I kinda doubt it.
  5. Pray: for motivation. You had it before you got pregnant. It can’t have just completely disappeared like that! It defies the laws of nature. One minute it’s there, the next it’s not! Dig Deep Amber! Find the motivation to attend class, clean, do laundry, do anything but sleep.

*Deep Sigh*

I’m ruminating on my list… trying to let it sink in and cause some kind of change in me. Perhaps, I should just acknowledge that I don’t have to get a 4.0, I don’t have to have a perfect apartment, and just maybe my best effort is good enough.

Here’s to all the pregnant students out there. I feel your pain!

Amber may be …a fat graduating momma

It will be a while before I publish this blog. I don’t want to make any announcements too soon. The chance of miscarriage is so high on the first! But I want to record what I’m feeling. After being on birth control for two years, we didn’t expect to get pregnant so fast. We were told it stays in your system, and on average it takes a few months to get pregnant. Not with us, the first month we went off birth control we got pregnant. I had been feeling like we needed to take a test for about a week when I finally told my husband. We’ve jumped to conclusions so many times and I didn’t want to get his hopes up, so I hesitated, but somehow I knew this was different. He did too. Still we weren’t sure we could believe it when the stick turned pink, but after taking a second test it was obvious that this was the real deal!

I had so many questions running through my mind. How should we tell our parents? How will they react? How much worse will it be when I go to the grocery store looking like a pregnant 12-year-old? What can I eat? What can’t I eat? How much can I exercise? Is it a boy or a girl? Is it twins? Nah. Will we be good parents? and then… the killer question…wait a minute… nine months…May…graduation…how will I handle graduating with my bachelors a week before or after I deliver our first baby!

We figured we would get pregnant after a couple of months and then have some time to graduate before our first child came, but no my husband will graduatewith his LPN, I will graduate with a Bachelors in Communications, and we will have a baby all at the same time. This is going to be a crazy nine months.

Amber may be… delivering on Mother’s Day!

We went to our first doctor’s visit yesterday (September 20th). I was so nervous and excited. I had so many questions to ask. Our doc probably thought I was crazy! We listened to the baby’s heartbeat and watched an ulrasound of our offspring. From what I could see on the screen, we have spawned a potato with four little buds growing off of it. I’m sure it will look more human the further along we go.

We also were given a due date. May 8th, 2011. We’re due on mother’s day, of course that will mean we probably won’t deliver on mother’s day, but no matter what, this coming mother’s day will be a special one.

Here is what the baby is supposed to look like right now at seven weeks pregnant. Seeing the baby almost makes the morning sickness bearable!