Thursday, May 30, 2013

Myles' Birth Story Part I

   As some of you may know Myles was due to make his entrance into this world on August 22nd, 2012. Most babies are not actually born on their due date of course; it's just an estimate. I was 100% sure that my little one was going to be late. I had guessed he was going to come around the 27th. He seemed perfectly content right where he was all snuggled up in my tummy and to be honest I really wasn't in any pain or discomfort besides being ridiculously heat-stroke-style hot. On top of that, I was only slightly dilated to 1 cm at my 38 week appointment. I mean I was happy to have even just that little bit of progress, but I was told that you can be at 1-2 cm for weeks before you go into active labor. At that appointment, we also discussed the possibility of induction. It was nice to hear that I wouldn't go past 41 weeks, however I was not in the least bit happy about the idea of induction. Everything about induction does not sit right with me, so I was hoping I would be able to avoid it. I also heard from many people that most first pregnancies go past the due date. I remember thinking it's kind of like a Catch 22: I was certainly WAY over being pregnant, but not being pregnant anymore means...well.. the baby is born and ready to be taken care of 24/7... ish just got real... But I was so ready to meet him; the anticipation that had built up over those past 30 something weeks was no longer manageable and I was as ready as I would ever be, aka I had absolutely no clue what being a mom was going to take.

     Operation Get This Baby Out of Me began on Saturday August 11th. Well actually it began in the evening of August 11th for I had a date that afternoon that I was not about to miss! She goes by the name of Julia B. Not only does she have the coolest name in the world, she happens to be one of the coolest people in the world. It had been almost a whole year since I had seen her last so I made sure that my little fetus knew he would have to stay put for a couple hours. I had to drive about an hour to see her but I wasn't really concerned because like I said earlier there was no indication that he was coming anytime soon. And really nothing short of my water breaking in the car was going to keep me from my Julia. 

     We met where she was visiting in a Chicago suburb and decided to have lunch and walk around their little downtown area. (Funny how I remember exactly what I ate.... Preggo much?!?) After lunch we walked around checking out all the little shops and may or may not have stopped for some ice cream (for me) and fudge (for her). I had such a great time I almost forgot I was 38 weeks pregnant... you know besides the hot flashes, swollen feet, and all around beached whale feeling.

    After my hot afternoon date, I met Mark at the Boone County Fair for a not-as-hot evening date ;) We spent 2 1/2 hours walking, eating, more walking, visiting with family, more walking, a Ferris Wheel ride, and more walking. The sign to the Ferris Wheel had a big RED line crossing out a pregnant lady, but you know me, I live on the wild side! I tried hiding my belly when it was our turn to get on.. yea right.. but he let us on anyway..  I'm not going to lie I was a little scared (and so was Mark..haha). It felt way higher than it looked from the ground... and the rocking... eehhh.. I definitely could have done without that. But no worries, it did not make me go into labor. So I would say it is probably safe to take the No Preggos sign off of the ride (lol). By the end of the night, I was very achy and tired, and my back was hurting very badly. Just when I thought I couldn't feel any worse.... Mark confesses that he has no idea where his car is parked (mine was further away so he was going to drive me to it). We walked around for a least 30 minutes while Mark pretended to know what was going on. When we finally found it, we quickly realized that we weren't going anywhere anytime soon. The car was suck in their sad excuse of a parking lot. After what felt like hours later, I somehow managed to get home and very quickly passed out. 

*This is where I feel it is necessary to put in a disclaimer. If you don't want to read about all the fun bodily fluids, functions, and pain of childbirth I suggest you back out now, because it's about to get real*

     I woke up on Sunday August 12th feeling pretty well recovered and my back wasn't hurting as bad. When I went to use the bathroom, I discovered some blood on the toilet paper. My first thought was mucus plug; so I called my mom and started up my Google searches. I came to the conclusion that I most likely was losing my mucus plug. I wasn't 100% sure though so I decided that if I didn't stop bleeding after 24 hours that I would call my doctor just in case. I got a little excited that maybe this was the start of going into labor. While researching, I did find out that even if I had lost my mucus plug, it could still be weeks until I went into active labor. So I tried playing it cool.. TRIED... 
   We carried on with the day as planned and met family out for lunch for my mother's birthday. While at lunch my mom's cousin said "Wouldn't it be cool if they (my baby and mother) shared the same birthday." It's funny because even though I had just lost my mucus plug, I still felt so far removed from the fact that I was going to give birth to my son very soon. I thought there is no way I'm having him before his due date, let alone today, on my mother's birthday! Of course that didn't happen as the rest of the day went by VERY uneventfully. Even though I continued to bleed on/off that whole day, I had no other signs of labor. I wasn't having any contractions or any other pains. 

My brother and I at lunch

   Monday August 13th I woke up feeling fine. I was still bleeding a little, but it was very random and faint. Around 3pm I decided I felt good enough to go run some errands and pick up a couple of baby items that I bought from people online. When I was driving around, I started to get some light cramping in the stomach and back. It would come about every 5-10 minutes and last 10-15 seconds, but it wasn't anything too painful. It continued this way for the next couple of hours. On my way back home, I had to stop to get some toilet paper. When I was walking up to the store, I got an EXTREMELY painful "contraction" on the left side of my back. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I had to wait until it passed to finish walking into the store. At that point, I probably should have just turned around and drove home, but of course we had absolutely NOOO toilet paper in the house. It happened two more times while finding the paper and getting in line. As I was hunched over holding my back wearing a look of complete terror, the lady behind me said "I think you're about to have a baby. Why are you at the store?" Trying not to sound like my uterus was being pulled out of my vagina I said, "Uhh I needed toilet paper!" 
   I made it home with the toilet paper and by this point, the contractions were coming more consistently and getting stronger. Mark came home and I made dinner, hunching over the counter every time a contraction came. I made a suggestion to watch a movie while we ate thinking that it would help keep my mind off of the contractions. So we picked "Machine Gun Preacher" (really good movie BTW) and I somehow managed to make it through the whole three hours (I'll never understand the reason for a movie to be anything over 2 hours long). Throughout the movie, I tried tracking my contractions with apps on my phone. I ended up just getting annoyed because they didn't work how I wanted them to, so eventually I just gave up. Pretty much they were coming about every 3-5 minutes and lasting about 15-20 seconds. If you're reading this and have never given birth, you might be thinking Really.. that doesn't sound so bad... Let me just tell you that the 3-5 minute break is the shortest 3-5 minutes you will ever experience in your life and the 15-20+ seconds of a contraction is the longest 15-20+ seconds you will ever experience in your life... AND it doesn't ever stop! 
   The movie was over around midnight and I decided to give going to bed a try..... futile effort on my behalf as I quickly realized I am only a human and have no business pretending I would be able to fall asleep with the contractions coming so fast and strong. I was only in bed for maybe 15 minutes when I could no longer take the pain. I yelled to Mark that I needed to go to the hospital now! He asked me if I thought we should bring all of our stuff. I was in no condition to think straight and honestly didn't care at that point, so I just grabbed my bag (that had a couple of things in it already packed) and Myles' diaper bag (previously packed as well) and RAN to the car. I tried to play it cool with Mark and act like I didn't know if this was really it; if I was really about to have this baby. Little did he know, in my mind, I knew that there was absolutely NO way I was going back home without having him. The next time we drove home we would have a baby with us. I was going to the hospital and I was going to have our baby!

Come back for part II: 
                                                                           The Actual Birth... the good stuff

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pregnancy V: Babymoon and Birthday

       This is my last pregnancy post. If you have stuck it out thus far, thank you! I promise more fun stuff to come :) Again if you missed any of the previous, read them here, here, here, and here.  

      This last post is going to be a little different for me... very little writing and lots of pictures. This feels so wrong, but here goes... 
     We were originally going to take our babymoon during my work spring break, but the threat of a strike (and then an actual strike) put a damper on that plan. Honestly, I was kind of glad because I needed a real break from school; one in which I did nothing for a whole week but be huge and lazy! So we moved the trip to two days after I finished for the school year. I was 29 weeks when we went. Mark took me to my MOST favorite city ever: San Fransisco! I am in love with that city and the weather was perfect for a 7 month preggo!
 I was nervous for the flight being that I was so far along, but it actually wasn't bad at all. I waited until the last possible minute to get on the plane so I wasn't sitting longer than needed and made sure to get an aisle seat. I went to the bathroom and walked around a couple times and that was it. No problems at all and I was definitely grateful! Even though this was not my first time in the city, I was still blown away by its beauty and cultural flavor.

Day One:
 We arrived in San Fransisco in the early evening and picked up our hamster mobile, aka the Kia Soul. We found a hotel in downtown San Fran and headed out to explore and find a place for dinner. San Fran streets were a definite work out for my pregnant lady legs! Walking is a lot less scary than driving though... there were quite a few times I thought the car might just flip backwards trying to drive up those steep hills! We found a small Japanese restaurant in a cute neighborhood! After dinner, we explored some more before calling it a night.

Yummy.. food! (You'll see a lot of these pics.. I was preggo!)

Day Two:
All of day two was spent being typical San Fran tourists. We had breakfast outside, then walked around the piers for a couple hours. Then we took a sight-seeing trolly ride (totally recommend) all through San Fran. We ended the day with a nice stay in the business/shopping district.   

Prefect weather!!
Getting my Rosie on!
The trolly took us across the Golden Gate Bridge


Day Three:
I convinced Mark to take a trip south down Highway 1 to check out the 17-Mile Drive. If you end up in the bay area, this is a MUST. Even if you aren't a water person, you will be in awe of the beauty of the coastline on this drive. For me (a water lover), it is the most peaceful place I've ever been.

On our way to the 17-Mile Drive we stopped at a beach for some photo ops.

This does not even come close to doing it justice.. beauty in its simplest form.
Day Four:
This day was spent visiting friends and family in the area. I got to meet one of my late grandpa's brother's sons for the first time. We went to dinner and they graciously let us stay at their house for a night. I don't know why, but I don't have any pictures from this day :(

Days Five and Six: 
These two days were spent exploring areas we had on our list for moving to. We checked out a couple of houses in our price range to get an idea of what we could afford. We also drove around to get a feel for what the cities were like. We went to a couple of restaurants and a mall and got to stay at my favorite hotel chain Microtel (lol). Our last night there we had a date for our four year anniversary that was the week before. We had dinner, then went to a movie. We saw The Dictator.. not a very good date movie, but we like comedies the best.

And then of course we get to day seven.... the worst day of them all... going home day.. booo
As you can see, I'm not very happy here.
 I have about 5 other pictures of us eating and a couple...hundred of random people doing random things that Mark finds interesting enough to take pictures of everywhere we go. I'll spare you the pointlessness of a lesbian couple at dinner, a mailwoman on her delivery route, a couple getting married, two dogs tied up to a bench, wall decorations at the airport.. I could go on and on, but I'll end saying it was an awesome trip as our last as just the two of us.

                       My 27th(?) Birthday                                        
                                                                 ... I seriously don't know how old I am anymore

  Because I decided to have one huge shower for all our family and friends, I really wasn't able to visit and spend time with anyone for very long at my shower. So I asked my mom to help me coordinate a birthday party. It was about a month after my shower; I was 35 weeks and still miserably hot. Even still, it turned about to be exactly what I wanted/needed. 

It's pretty funny looking back at these pictures because for some reason I didn't think I was that big for 35 weeks!! HA.. Who was I kidding I am huge! And no Mark and I did NOT plan to match.. how creepy!

I can still see my feet!.. Although I may have been leaning forward a bit ;)

ICE CREAM CAKE... enough said!

And then my favorite pictures from the day.... these 4 pictures explain my mom and I perfectly.

Comparing bellies :)

My belly wins!!!

Trying to touch bellies and noses.... yea we weren't too successful because....

...we couldn't stop laughing... Totally my best friend!

Stay tuned for Myles Birth Story coming up next

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pregnancy IV: Gender and Baby Shower

On to Part IV... if you missed the previous, read them here, here and here

     From the very first moment I found out I was pregnant, I was hoping for a boy. I guess this was for a couple reasons. One being that growing up I spent a lot of time with my much younger sibling (11 1/2 year difference), who happened to be a boy. He was my sidekick and we were together ALL of the time. I watched him grow and learn, eat and play; we had a very strong bond. So raising a boy is what I know most about. Two, growing up and still for the most part now, I was never very 'girly.' And although not a total tomboy either, I certainly never cared too much about what girls are 'supposed' to care about. I only ever played with Barbies because I liked building their houses. My true love was Legos. I never actually played with them though, I would just build them and set them up on my Lego land table. I was never into dress up or princess type stuff; if I was allowed to dress myself I would just grab two random things out of my closet and run off to go play. I also loved getting dirty. I used to love riding my bike through the potholes in the ally after it rained. Anywho..... point being I am way more comfortable with boys and boy stuff. I was scared to have a girl because I don't know anything about how to raise one. Girl babies are supposed to be dressed up all cute with bows and ribbons and pink (blah!) and I am just not into those things. I felt like I wouldn't be giving her a true girl experience if I didn't make her all 'girly.' I really worried that I wouldn't be the mom I should be to a girl because I didn't know how. And I really wouldn't want to rob her of being a true girl just because I didn't like those things. Luckily, my mom knocked some sense into me with some great advice that it would all work out as long as LOVE always comes first. What a smart mom huh? Not sure what I would do without that woman. I knew that I would love my baby no matter what the gender, but if I had a choice I still wanted a boy.

    During the first few months of my pregnancy everything pointed towards us having a girl. I was pretty positive I was having a girl for several reasons:
  1. Early on every dream I had about the baby it was a girl
  2. Most of the old wives tales indicated girl:
    1. Baby had a high heart rate 
    2. Dad gained weight 
    3. Craving more sweet things (RED MANGO!!!) 
    4. Stealing my beauty.. duh blaming that one on the growing fetus inside me
    5. Preferring to lay on right side
    6. Mood swings.. also blaming this one on that fetus
    7. Carrying baby weight all over mid-section 
  3. Chinese gender predictor chart said girl; try here to see if it was right for you
  4. Since I was scared to have a girl (as explained above), I figured that's what I would have so that I would be shown that I could raise a girl perfectly fine.
    My mom and step-dad had been encouraging us to not find out. It would probably be the biggest rush and most exciting thrill to be surprised by the gender at birth. Ideally, I would have loved to have waited, but in reality I knew that my OCD and anxiety wouldn't have allowed it. So we had planned to find out at our 20 week anatomy ultrasound. The ultrasound tech began by showing us all of the organs e.g., heart, brain, stomach, liver, lungs. I loved being able to actually SEE the little heart beating. She took pictures of everything she could and then asked if we wanted to know the gender. I hesitated because I knew that once I said yes, there was no going back... but then I jumped back into reality... duh... of course I wanted to know!! So she moved her wand to check it out and low and behold... the little stinker had its legs crossed!! No big deal... right... just move around a little bit... push on the stomach a little bit... I mean it can't keep its legs crossed forever.... can it? 

  Well I found out that the answer to that question is yes... well maybe not forever, but as long as my ultrasound took. However, the tech did say that she was pretty certain it was a girl because although the legs were crossed, she didn't see and boy parts sticking out. So at that point we were pretty convinced we were having a girl. We starting making a baby girl name list and encouraging each other that we would do just fine raising a girl; we realized that if God wanted us to have a girl, he would give us the love and wisdom to raise her the best possible way.

  Maybe I should have taken it as some sort of sign that we weren't able to find out the sex at the 20 weeks ultrasound; maybe that sign was that we should listen to my parents and not find out. Maybe.... but then the tech told me that she wasn't able to get all of the heart pictures she needed so we would have to get another ultrasound in a couple weeks. If that was to test my willpower against temptation.... I clearly FAILED, because at that second ultrasound at 24 weeks I again said yes when she asked if we wanted to know the gender... and this time I had no hesitation. The build-up of having the ultrasound, not knowing 100%, and then waiting another four weeks was just too much. Naturally, during that four week waiting period, I did a lot of gender ultrasound picture "research." I could have probably gotten my ultrasound tech certification for all the hours I logged. Point being, I knew exactly what the girl and boy parts looked like in an ultrasound picture. So when she put that wand on my belly and I looked over at the screen, I knew in an instant what I was looking at! I knew Mark didn't have a clue what he was looking at, but I didn't say anything; I wanted to see his reaction when she said "It's a boy!" I think we were both shocked, really shocked at first. We had a hard time actually believing it.
    Over the next couple of days as it began to set in, we grew more and more excited. So it was complete torture to have to wait to tell everyone until the weekend. I wanted to wait because I had had plans to take gender announcement pictures and didn't have time to take them until Saturday morning. So that morning Mark and I went out into our backyard for a little amateur photo shoot; just him and I and an iPhone. That night we told our parents, and then the rest of the internet world with these pictures: 

  I had my baby shower in June at about 32 weeks. I decided I wanted to have just one big shower for all family and friends: we invited people from my mom's side of the family, my dad's, my step-dad's, Mark's side, and our friends. I went with a green and brown jungle theme. I thought it would be really cute and I had originally wanted to do his room in that theme. Unfortunately, I really didn't get a lot of pictures from the shower, but here are a few. 

The sitting tables had brown table cloths with palm tree center pieces, confetti, and streamers. The food tables had green table cloths and brown 'dirt' (the paper grass used for baskets). My mom and aunts made all the food and my cousin made cupcakes. I don't have a picture but it looked super cute and all tasted delicious.

My mom made these party favors: trail mix inside of the blue bag tied with blue ribbon. I wish I would have taken a picture of the gift table. I was so blessed with all the gifts for Myles. He was so spoiled with lots of cute clothes, blankets, pacifiers, diapers, wipes, a tub, toys, and LOTS of books (per my request).

This was the front entrance table. I framed a few pictures: the first is Mark when he was little, the second is me when I was little, the third is a picture from the gender reveal, and the last one is two ultrasound pictures of Myles at 20 weeks. We also did a door prize where everyone that came put their birthday on a piece of paper (shown in the picture) and whoever had a birthday closest to Myles' due date won. Mark's grandma won for closet before in July and my friend Katie won for closest after on September 5th.


We also had everyone decorate a plain white onesie for Myles. My step-dad cut out cardboard to put in between the layers of fabric so they wouldn't stick together and then people used fabric paint to make a custom onesie just for baby boy. I made the sign that said "Please show baby Ham how much you care, make him a onesie he will love to wear" and credit for the baby drawing goes to Mark. I hung a couple in his nursery and kept the rest for keepsakes.

Here is me opening a present. It took a long time to open them all and at 32 weeks, I was definitely tired after all that. While opening presents we played present Bingo. I made Bingo cards for everyone that had different types of gifts that are typically given at a baby shower.  Every time I opened something on the card guests marked it off, then when someone got a Bingo, they won a prize. I liked it because it kept people entertained while I opened gifts. We also played a "Price Is Right" style game in which people had to guess the price of certain baby items like diapers, wipes, onesies, soap, etc. The last game we played went with the jungle theme. I made a list of animals and people had to match them with the female, male, and baby name of that certain animal, e.g. Deer would be matched with doe, buck, and fawn. Unfortunately, that one was not very fair because I had a guest that was in Vet tech school at the time (I did not know this though lol).

             A few shots of Mark and I                                   My mother and I

This is one of the invitations my very talented aunt made

All in all I had a great shower. So many people came out to celebrate and love on Myles. To know that he was so loved even before he was born brought (and still brings) so much joy to my heart. More than anything else in the world, I want Myles to know how much he is truly, honestly, and deeply loved. One day I will show him this and he will see that from the very day we knew of his existence he took over our hearts in such a way that we would never be the same. Even as I am sitting here writing this and he is sleeping in his crib 5 feet away from me, I can't imagine how I could possibly love him any more; and yet when we wake in the morning I somehow love him more! My father and I had a special bond over something he would always say to me and now I will pass it on to Myles:

"I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow."
My words to love by

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pregancy Part III: Symptoms Continued

Well here we are at Part III... if you missed the previous, read them here and here.  

     Remember my "impending doom" syndrome? Well it pretty much lives in all parts of my life. Regular life is hard enough with this put a growing human inside of my body that I can't see or feel (most of the time); my worriness (yes I just made up a word!) was at an all time high during my pregnancy. It didn't help that Myles was not a big mover. Sometimes days would go by without me feeling him move; every time I went to the doctor, I would get sooo nervous when they would get the fetal doppler out to check his heartbeat. What if they couldn't find his heartbeat? What if his heartbeat was too slow/fast? What if he wasn't moving enough? Even when I got to see him on the ultrasound, I would freak out. Are all his organs okay? Is his brain functioning right? Does he have 10 fingers and 10 toes? Is his nose going to be as big as his dad's ;) ? The questions, the worry, the helplessness: it never stopped! 

His version of "The Thinker"
    For some reason, I felt like the blessing of a healthy baby was too much for me. I have made TONS of mistakes in my life and haven't always followed the road less traveled. One of my biggest character flaws is thinking that bad things will happen to me if I'm not perfect. Having a healthy baby was something I felt like I didn't deserve. God's forgiveness is hard to fathom, especially in the world that lives off of hate, grudges, and revenge. (Of course, I now know THANKFULLY that God doesn't work that way and I did in fact get blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby boy!) However in the process, I couldn't get my mind to keep those negative thoughts away. In fact, in my mind finding something wrong wasn't a matter of if, but a when. I was just waiting for the day that my dream come true would turn into a nightmare. Looking back and really thinking about the feelings I had, I now see how irrational they were; but at the time they consumed my pregnancy. That is probably the main reason why I found it so hard to enjoy being pregnant. In my mind, I never thought the outcome would be Myles; I never thought it would really happen. I never wanted to get too excited because I didn't think at the end of it all I would actually have my baby. 

         This all made me really hesitant to tell people about being pregnant. I found out I was pregnant December 19, 2011. The first person I told was my dad a couple days after I found out. I know he had been wanting a grandchild son for a while. I am my father's only child; he knew he only wanted one and whether I ended up boy or girl, he would be happy. He loved me unconditionally, but I know I didn't quite fulfill any sports aspirations he had for his offspring. I was pretty excited to tell him because now he would have another chance at a little boy! (You're welcome dad!) The second person I told was my mother on Christmas Day. I was pretty nervous for this one and I really didn't intend on telling her when I did. However she knew something was up because I did not feel good at all that day. I then had to tell one of my bosses at my part-time side job because I was having a hard time working the morning shift and was completely exhausted from teaching full-time and still keeping hours there. I finally quit in March as I couldn't handle only one day off a week anymore :(  After that, I only told three other people: my cousin Melissa, and friends Katie and Megan. I didn't tell anyone at work; they all just figured it out on their own. I also never told any of my students; however it didn't take but a couple of weeks for them to realize something was up. Kids notice EVERYTHING. They whispered and gossiped about it until one brave kid finally asked me...  
     "Ms. Anderson, are you pregnant?" 
     "Oh, I thought so because your stomach is big, but your not fat everywhere!"
      Hmmm.. thanks I guess.

  This was a conversation on the LAST day of school.
     "Ms. Anderson, you're pregnant!?!?!?"
     "How far along are you?"
     "About seven months."
     "So you've been pregnant almost this whole time? Man if I had know that I wouldn't have  been so bad."     
      Hmmm.. thanks I guess.

Because of my constant worrying and fear, I really had no intentions of telling anyone else. I didn't announce to the world until after I was 20 weeks and the only reason I shared on Facebook was because the pictures of him at our anatomy ultrasound were just too cute to not share! I also didn't buy anything for him until around 25 weeks or 6 1/2 months. I felt like if I bought things for him, it would make it more real and I would get excited, which would have made it even harder if I didn't end up having him.
My stinkin' cute little one at 20 weeks (before we knew it was a boy)

      Of course the summer I was pregnant ended up being the hottest summer on record for Rockford. Several days were in the 100s and rest were 90s. Needless to say, I stayed inside for most of the summer. When I did venture outside, I was pretty much asking to end up in the hospital. Pregnant + HOTTT = cranky Julia! Even with the air on in the car, I would sweat like a fat disgusting pig. I drank a ridiculous amount of water, but that still didn't keep me from getting dehydrated. I got sick from the heat several times...not fun :( I also became a thermostat Nazi; I usually kept it set at 70 degrees and I would know the instant it went up just one degree. I may have freaked out on Mark at few times daily over changing the temperature in the house. No matter how many times I told him not to touch it, he still felt the need to turn it up when he was too cold. Really.. I'm a half-ton, beached whale over here, having hot flashes like a menopausal cranker and you're cold.. Go put a hoodie on! 
     Another one of my favorites was developing pregnancy brain. For those of you who call BS, I'll be the first to put my hand on the Bible to testify! I pretty much became completely unreliable. Luckily I kept it together at work, but at home I was a mess. Some how I only forgot my lunch one time (maybe because I was preggo and if I remembered anything, it was food!) One day I was filling up the sink to wash dishes when I noticed the garbage was full, so naturally I decided to take it out. While outside I remembered it was garbage eve so being a good housewife I brought it to the curb. When I walked back inside I heard this strange noise.. like water flowing. I walked into the kitchen and then it all came back to me. Oh yea I was filling up the sink with water.. Oh shit... The awesome thing about pregnancy brain though is that it is the greatest excuse in the world when you do something dumb or absent minded. I wouldn't even be able to count how many times I told Mark "I don't know.. I have pregnancy brain!" 

    Like I said earlier, Myles wasn't much of a mover. When I went for my anatomy ultrasound at 20 weeks, I still hadn't felt him (at least not enough for me to realize what it was). During the ultrasound, she moved him around a lot while trying to get pictures of his organs. She must have got him going, because the next day was the first time I really felt him move. I worried a lot (so strange for me right?) because I barely ever felt him moving around. I found out at that ultrasound that I had an anterior placenta (placenta in front towards my belly and baby behind), so I am guessing that's why I didn't feel him as much. I did get a Fetal NonStress Test once because I hadn't felt him move in days. The test turned out okay but she did have to "buzz" him to get him moving. Really the only time I felt him move was when he got the hiccups. During the last couple of months he got them at least once, sometimes twice a day. It was always around the same time too; between 10-11pm lasting between 20-30 minutes.
Baby boy around 35 weeks. I think he looks just like daddy here.

   I have saved my least favorite for last and I'm sure you can guess it. I mean what woman wants to talk about weight. This topic was a reason why I was so hesitant to start this blog. Every pregnancy blog I read has beautiful women with perfect bodies that gained maybe 25 pounds, lost it all in 2 weeks, and 3 months later look like Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. It is very intimidating and quite depressing. Like most women, I have struggled with weight issues and never feeling comfortable with my body. When I moved to Florida I got into the best shape I had been in since my freshman year of college, weighing 118. Before getting pregnant I was about 125, not my ideal but I could deal with it. While pregnant, the problems I had with my sugar really screwed me up and I had to eat more than I wanted. I have the type of body that can only maintain or lose weight on very little food and lots of exercise, so of course I got FAT! During my pregnancy, I felt so crappy all the time I had no energy to even care that I was gaining too much. Obviously now that I am trying desperately to lose the weight I wish that I had cared a little more. Luckily I ate well while I was pregnant because I probably would have gained even more if I had typical pregnancy cravings. I only drank one glass of juice everyday and the rest was water. I didn't (and don't) eat fast food or sweets (including chocolate) because they make me sick. I still managed to weigh 175 the day I gave birth, thus gaining about 50 lbs... so disgusting! I also got a couple battle scars, i.e. stretch marks, on my lower waist and sides. I hated looking at myself and I didn't want anyone else to see me either. I was definitely not the cute little pregnant woman I had always envisioned I would be. I ALWAYS felt uncomfortable and never wanted to go out so I only have a dozen or so pictures from my pregnancy. I wish that I would have been able to feel good and enjoy my pregnancy more. It makes me so sad that I didn't make it more of a positive, memorable experience (as I do NOT plan on having another)!

Now on to the fun parts of pregnancy; next up: Gender and Baby Shower!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pregnancy Part II: Symptoms

This post is pretty much about all the 'symptoms' I had during pregnancy. I put quotes around symptoms because I am using the word loosely; it is pretty much going to encompass the "meat" of my pregnancy... so it's going to be a long one!

If you haven't read part one, check it out here: Pregnancy Part I


Unlike most preggos, my first symptom was not nausea; it was my blood sugar change. There are two main reasons I had been terrified to get pregnant. The first being the pain I would have to endure with the actual birth process (explained previously here) and second being how my body would react to being pregnant. To say my body is very sensitive to change is a HUGE understatement. Most of my troubles started when I was 13 years old. I will spare you the details of my complicated, never-ending, puzzling "disease" that I have had on and off for the last 14 years and just say that it is some sort of strange combination of hypoglycemia and generalized anxiety disorder. Before becoming pregnant, I had been feeling good for about 7 months. I naively thought that I could get pregnant and everything would be okay... Literally the day after finding out I woke up in the middle of the night with low blood sugar symptoms; at which point the anxiety set in because of past experiences (elevated blood pressure, shaking, fainting, etc). It pretty much turned into a viscous cycle of mixed symptoms and no cure, followed by a completely frustrated, broken-down Julia. And so began my pregnancy. 

            On top of my anxiety about my physical well-being and if I would be able to create a healthy baby, while staying healthy myself, I had the added stress of my job. Now don't get me wrong, I love the idea of teaching. I have always had a passion for kids. I will say that I did try my best everyday and I know I had a positive impact on some (as I still keep in touch with them); however as an exhausted, irritable, anxiety-laden pregnant woman, I was in no condition to really be all I needed to be for my students. The daily stress and overall helplessness I felt dealing with some of those kids really stole a lot of joy and happiness I should have felt during my pregnancy. Some of my students totally made it all worth it; and well... for the others, I don't think a traditional high school setting is the best place for 3 time felons that just got out of prison.... I had a few of those and let me just say their bad days were something out of an exorcism. My life was threatened on several occasions and by the end of most days I didn't know how I had survived.
Sums it up perfectly

         Moral of the story: I pretty much felt like crap the entire first seven months of my pregnancy. Strangely as soon as summer break started my anxiety/stress level dropped drastically and in the last two months I felt better than I had all pregnancy. Also there was this...
I mean who doesn't instantly feel better after looking at this (celebrity crush since forever)
 *Side note.. I have been taking Zoloft on and off for the last 14 years as well, but decided to stop when I found out I was pregnant. It was a catch 22 for me; I knew that the anxiety wasn't good for my growing baby, but on the other hand, I would never be able to forgive myself if something were to have happened to Myles because I took medicine while pregnant.

Our first time seeing our little one :) 8 weeks!

     My first normal pregnancy symptom was exhaustion. I'm not talking about just being tired; I'm talking about the zombie-style-sleep-while-standing-and-eyes-open thing. Only women who have been pregnant know this feeling. I was this way for about the first 25 weeks and the last 5. It really wouldn't have been that bad could I have actually slept. Another thing that happens when my anxiety runs high is that I have problems sleeping. I would always try to go to bed by 9:30 as I had to get up around 7:30.. There were nights that I would literally lay there for the WHOLE 10 hours never once falling asleep. I have always been the type to never be able to fall asleep quickly (usually it takes about an hour), but with my anxiety I usually only end up sleeping just a couple hours a night. It also wouldn't have been that bad if I could have taken naps. But that is yet another thing my anxiety does not allow me to do. If I fall asleep during the daytime, I wake up in an panic attack (heart racing, rapid breathing, sweating, etc). 
    Funny thing is I could almost always fall asleep when Mark and I would watch a movie before bed. I would try so hard but almost instantly I would be out. I learned to lay in such a way that Mark couldn't see my eyes so he didn't know I was sleeping and as long as I mumbled something every 10 minutes when he asked if I was sleeping, he never knew. On Valentine's Day, Mark brought me to dinner and a movie. It was perfect because a Denzel movie happened to be out. You would never have guessed what happened if you knew how obsessed I am with that man... I am quite embarrassed to admit this but.. I fell asleep.. during the movie... in the theater... to a DENZEL movie (granted it was Safe House.. I don't know what he is thinking with some of his movie choices lately)... now that's what I call exhaustion.

      I only threw up a couple of times and never in the morning. I threw up twice from food and a couple other times from an empty stomach. My work schedule was stucky for a preggo lady: I had planning from 8:15 to 10:20, then class for an hour, then lunch at 11:15, then no more breaks until school was out at 3:30. I would eat breakfast at 8:30 and have a little snack before class started, so at lunch I wasn't very hungry. I did make myself eat though because I knew I wouldn't be able to eat until I got home at 4:30. By the time I got home, I was so hungry that I was nauseous and would throw-up. I also would get really bad headaches. So I decided to start having a snack before my last class. That helped a lot and the nausea and headaches got better.

This is the yearbook page dedicated to Kham
     I did suffer my first migraine ever while pregnant. It came on a Friday after a VERY long week. At the beginning of the week, I got the worst news a teacher could ever receive: one of my students had passed away. Over a year later, and I still have a hard time writing this without having a breakdown moment. He was the first student I had made a connection with; the first one I had invested myself in; the first one I was going to make a difference in. I was determined to see him graduate on time. I would help him with math after school and EVERY Friday that I saw him I told him "be safe, I want to see you back here Monday..." I still get mad at myself thinking that I should have done more; I should have been able to save him. I had heard about a really bad car accident that weekend where three kids died, but of course I never would have thought... until I got the condolences email. I was in utter disbelief and shock. That day and week was something I had never wanted to experience as a teacher and although it's something that I knew was possible, it happened way too soon into my career. Friday was the visitation/funeral and since I soon would be becoming a mother, it was completely heartbreaking to watch as his mother had to say her last goodbyes; something no mother should ever have to do. That night when I got off work was when the migraine started. Since I rarely ever take medicine, I always just eat and go to bed if I ever get a headache. I tried to do that and it did nothing. Every time I woke up it seemed to just be worse. Luckily though by the morning it had finally gone away. (Sorry for the seemingly irrelevant story, just something I want to always remember).
       I never really had any food cravings or a aversions. I did have a taste for certain things here and there but I never had a Mark-go-to-the-store-right-now-before-I-break-your-balls kind of craving. I did always have bowl of cereal in the morning and frozen fruit at night, but that is something I may often do as a non-preggo. I did crave cheese popcorn once, but the bag sat there half full for the duration of my pregnancy as that craving lasted all of one day.

      I was very sensitive to smells. Even not pregnant, I can't take strong smells for longer than a couple minutes. I typically get nausea and a headache. Very early on I had to stop wearing perfume because it made me really sick. At work, I was blessed with a classroom that had no windows and EXTREMELY poor ventilation. It was always Sahara Desert style hot and muggy in the room. The climate in the room in and of itself was bad enough; then put 30 pubescent students in there (some just coming from gym class!)... I want to vomit just thinking about it now (I'm pretty sure I will be haunted by that feeling and smell for the rest of my life). Being equipped with extra strength Febreze and my desk fan couldn't even save me. There really are no words to describe the feeling and odor in my room EVERY single day. On top of that, I had several girls who thought they were at Macy's everyday straying their perfume ALL over the place. I may have had a crazy pregnant lady freak out once telling a girl (in not the nicest tone) that she HAD to stop putting her perfume on in my classroom because it was making me sick.   

My hair art; this was from just one shower.
   Oh and the glowing-skin-beautiful-thick-hair pregnant fairy....well I guess she forgot about me! For about the first 6 months of my pregnancy, my hair was coming out in handfuls. It was quite upsetting as I was not prepared for that. I was always under the impression that during pregnancy you stopped shedding and then post-pardum you lost all the hair you had kept while being pregnant. Yeah, not me! Pregnancy also had an atypical effect on my face. For about a year leading up to me getting pregnant, I had a horrible re-occurrence of acne. I tried EVERY product out there and nothing helped. Then I got pregnant and.... it went away... I always thought acne was brought on during pregnancy by changes in hormones. Yeah, not me again!

Okay, well I think I have reached the max allowance to hold an adults attention in the blog reading world, so I will continue with a Part II to the symptoms on a new post coming soon!