Monday, November 24, 2008

17 Weeks pregnant

Hello! As my post title says, today I am 17 weeks pregnant. Wow, those words astound me! I remember thinking 7 weeks was a big deal! All is going well here. I'm still waiting to feel some baby movement...I think I've maybe felt a flutter here or there, but nothing is for sure yet. I figure in another week or 2 I'll start to feel something I'll be more sure about. I hope! Chris and I went out to dinner on Friday night and when we got to the waiting area a lovely woman and her two young children jumped up off the couch as she proclaimed "let's go guys, this lady needs the seat more than us!" Woa. That was the first time a stranger had acknowledged my "condition!" And gave me her seat, at that! I told her she didn't have to, but she very much insisted saying "I remember what it was like." And I chuckled and stated that I wasn't very far along. But, I took a seat and and sat there kind of stunned. I'm just glad I am pregnant...what if I'd just had a few too many cheeseburgers? She made a lucky guess...or maybe I look more pregnant than I think? Today I went to the dentist, and when I walked in, the receptionist (after I took off my coat) said "OH! I guess that answers our question of if you are or aren't!" Again, I was called out. Believe me, I'm not complaining. I guess I'm just amazed at how fast time goes. And that it's ME they are talking to! How many times do I need to pinch myself to believe this is truly happening?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thoughts on Miscarriage

Hello! I've been reflecting a lot on the past lately...remembering some of the hard times we have been through in our journey to conceive this child. I remember how after each loss I would scour books and internet sites looking for advice on how to cope. I just didn't find very much out there. I ended up joining an online support group that helped a lot. There were instant connections with tons of other women like me going through the same things; it felt soothing to hear the kinds of words I really needed at those times. I highly recommend joining an online support group if you ever have to face miscarriage or any other sort of problem you may need help with. That being said, I've had emails from lovely people all over who have wanted to get in touch and ask me for advice on moving forward after early pregnancy loss. Let me say, I'm no expert but I do have a few thoughts on the issue that I feel are paramount in MY moving forward through each day with a little less pain. I restate: these were discoveries that worked for ME and I share them in hopes that they may very well help YOU.
1. You will need to grieve. Don't expect to just "get over it." You won't. I don't know if you ever do. The pain will start to dull (like any wound) but you will carry the event with you forever (like a scar.) I don't know how long it takes...I would burst into sudden tears over my first loss even over a year later. It still bothers me to think about it. This is the death of a most precious loved one. It is the loss of the hopes and dreams you had started to formulate for this little life. The loss of what might have been. Don't be shy about being upset about it or needing to cry. And don't let anyone tell you not to feel upset.
2. While it is important to grieve, do not allow yourself to lose touch with life and become entrenched in depression. There is a difference from feeling sadness from loss and feeling unable to get out of bed every day. I slipped into a depression myself and it was a dark place to be. I just didn't know how to feel better. I was dwelling on all negative things...feeding the beast. When I made a conscious decision to focus on only positive things my life completely shifted and I felt light again. If you need to consult a grief councilor then do so! They are trained to help you move forward and this is a good time to be proactive in your mental healing.
3. While grieving, please remember that your partner/husband, family, and friends are not all trained councilors. Most people have no idea of what to say to you to make you feel better. Frankly, there's nothing to be said that can make it better. But it is easy to try and always turn to family and friends for a listening ear when you are feeling upset...and after several months they may throw up their hands in dismay and say "snap out of it!" Try and remember that while everyone cares, they simply aren't trained to know what to say to you. You will likely hear a lot of sound-bites in attempts to make you feel better: "God works in strange and mysterious ways" is an example I heard a lot (not quite sure what this even MEANS) or even better "at least you lost it early and you know you'll appreciate your next pregnancy even more!" Yes, that was a gem. I guess my point is, don't let it get to you if nobody knows what to say anymore...they DO care. Again, consider an online or in-person support group or grief councilor to help you. And also, remember that for many of you: your partner is hurting too. My husband was a rock for me...showing me so much love, attention, and concern. But after several months, I hadn't really seen HIM shedding tears and asking WHY. It took a long time before I saw him start to show those sorts of emotions...he'd just been such a strong force for me to lean on...it was harder for him to "let go" his feelings in light of that. It's not like he could call up his buddies and just bring up the topic. I wish he'd had more of an outlet for his sad feelings. Women seem to have a much easier time talking to each other about these issues. Remember to be sensitive to your partner's feelings as well. It's a loss for you both! Communication makes a big difference.
4. Avoid the internet. This, for me, is the biggest piece of advice I could give. After my losses, I scoured the net looking for comfort. I looked for reasons and explanations and statistics. I read other people's sad stories. In a nutshell: I made things so much worse for myself. I read so many horror stories that I worked myself up to tears nearly every day. I'd convinced myself that I would NEVER have a healthy child. That I would NEVER get pregnant and keep it. I read horrible statistics and warnings. The truth is, most people aren't out there to write about how "everything went great." Usually they are out there sharing their terrible stories in hopes to find kindred spirits. So, in your quest to find comfort and "success stories" you will really mostly find tales of woe and heartache. The medical sites focus on clinical data and leave you feeling hopeless. Let me tell you this: You are unique. Nobody has YOUR EXACT medical history and DNA. Your issues are your own. That same rule applies to everyone else. So if you read a horror story, remember that it is THEIR story; not yours. You don't know the full medical history of these people or what they are leaving out. In the end, surfing the net for answers and comfort only leads to tears, fear, and hopelessness (in general). I'm all for using it here or there if you want to look up basic information. But don't spend hours and hours scouring and falling into the "web of horrors." It took me a year and a half to turn away from the computer. Remember that negative brings more negative? I'd decided to focus on the positive in my life and that meant turning away from my beloved internet every time I felt sad and wanting "answers." It was the best decision I'd ever made. Avoid the seductive call of the internet! Find peace and comfort amongst humans and through your own doctor. It's all you truly need.
5. Try to find a sense of acceptance. I know this is virtually impossible. But in life, bad things happen to us all the time. It's all part of the cycle of living. I asked WHY!? every single day and I'll never know the answer. It just IS. Why do birds sing? Why is earth round? There are some things that just ARE. And this, I feel, is one of them. I had a much easier time moving forward when I accepted my losses as a part of life and that I will never know the reasons. Whether it is one loss or 20 losses, each one is painful and horrible. Nothing takes that away. But we move to a place of acceptance that this is what we've been dealt and we must choose the path of love and peace (don't we owe it to the little ones we lost?). In love and peace we will always find happiness.

These are just thoughts of my own on the topic...they were specific to the feelings I dealt with. Everyone is different and has different circumstances. There is no cookie cutter way of handling our feelings. But, I wanted to share my own experiences in hopes that maybe someone out there can pull something out of this entry that is useful in their own journey. My thoughts and best wishes are with you all!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The first purchase




So...I'm going to share with you my very first baby-related purchase (as I promised yesterday). It's more for me, as I'd said, but I'm getting more brave toward the idea of getting things JUST for baby. I'm really waiting for after I know if we are having a boy or girl. Anyway, it's a diaper bag by OiOi called the "Giraffe Tote." You can find it here.
Yes, it was a big splurge. But I figure it will get a ton of use and after over a year and a half of researching diaper bags (during each pregnancy) this was the only one that screamed "I'm YOURS!" to me. I wanted to truly love the look of the bag and I wanted to make sure it came with everything it needed while still being stylish. It fit the bill and is now mine. Mind you, I've NEVER owned anything with an animal print on it. But, for some reason, this reads more as a general pattern for me. I know the look is not for everyone, but I was thrilled to find it. It's made of a tough canvas material and the inner liner is waterproof. The bag comes with changing pad, insulated bottle holder, wipes case, and dirty duds pouch. It also features little straps you can attach as loops that can affix to a stroller. You can see OiOi's other diaper bags/collections and products HERE.
All images were pulled from BabyCenter.com's online store. The svelte blonde model is also obviously not me. I'm sure the baby isn't hers either. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

15 weeks pregnant

Today I'm officially 15 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Not that I'm counting in detail or anything. I finally decided to take my first belly picture since there is finally something to see other than the swelling from my breakfast. It's pretty small as far as pregnant bellies go but I know it's very early. Don't mind the background...I'm standing there in the full-length closet mirror in our laundry room. I also didn't put on any makeup today but I figured you'd forgive me. Tomorrow is my monthly doctor's visit where I'll get to hear the wee one's heartbeat (Knocking on wood all is still ok). Today was the first day in months that I woke up feeling 1. rested and refreshed 2. not sickly or headache-y in some fashion. I actually have had some energy today for the first time in what feels like forever. Good timing too, since I'm working on some holiday card and invitation designs for a lovely client. I hope you are all well and I'll be back soon to show you my very first baby-related purchase! Well, it's more for ME than the baby, but I'm working on my bravery toward getting "just for baby" items. See you soon!

Friday, November 7, 2008

14 weeks 4 days

Hello everyone! Happy Friday! I've actually been feeling ok this week...no queasiness like before.
I'm just crazily tired. To demonstrate this, I went to bed last night promptly at 7:20 in the evening. I've even managed to shock myself with that one! I was going about my business and I started to almost fall asleep while I was eating dinner. I had this urgent need to just "get into bed dammit! and Hurry!" I obliged and after 12 hours of sleeping I am "awake" and ready for a new day. Supposedly. In the meantime, I noticed that I have a little pouch finally! Usually when I wake up my stomach is pretty "flat" and as the day wears on I get all bloated and belly-rific. Yesterday, I woke up and when I glanced in the mirror at my side view (yes, I check each morning...don't judge me!) I noticed a bit of a bulge/pouch taking shape. Only I would notice it, but I swear it is there. I also noticed that the jeans I could button the day before could no longer button (or zip). Scientific proof! I realized the other morning, when I was getting dressed for Bob's funeral, that most of my pants no longer fit. I'd sort of figured I could wear them, but just leave them unzipped and unbuttoned but wear a stretch band across the top that hides that fact. A long shirt to hide it all and voila! But, my plans were foiled when I pulled on each pair of pants to find that my thighs were so squished into them that they looked painted on. They were so tight up there that I was giving off an impression I just didn't want to give! So much for the "just unbutton the pants" theory. I'm sure Bob wouldn't truly care that I looked like a bag lady at his service, but I was starting to panic. In the end, I luckily found one pair of pants that still worked in the thighs and off I went. This little exercise made me realize that while it's fine to wear sweats and pajamas at home during the day, you can't really go into the real world like that. I scurried off to the mall yesterday and found a pair of maternity cordouroy pants that are like heaven to wear. Now, at least I can leave the house and not look like a hobo. I am at the interesting "in-between" stage where I don't look pregnant yet but a lot of my clothes aren't fitting right. Yet I'm too cheap to just buy clothes a size larger that I'll only have for a few weeks. Perhaps if I become a temporary hermit, I can spend the next month in the house wearing only jammies and then emerge as a fully blossomed pregnant woman come December. It's a little "Howard Hughes" but it just might work. I promise I won't pee in any jars.

Monday, November 3, 2008

14 weeks

Hello!
Well, today marks the start of 14 weeks for me and I'm officially into the second trimester. It feels so nice to be able to say those words! I have no belly or bump yet to show. I know I have a while before that will happen. When I wake up, I look like I always have (just a thicker torso now). And by the end of the day, I get so bloated I look 5 months pregnant. I choose to see it as a preview of what's to come and not that I'm just a gassy fluid-filled mess. What IS cool is that when I lay flat on my back I can feel my uterus bumping up out of my abdomen. I run my hand over it and it's nice to think "wow, our baby is in there!" I can't wait to have some sort of bump as a visual cue that yes, I'm pregnant. No, it's not a figment of my imagination. Yes, it is real. It will be nice to feel kicking and flutters of movement...because up to now there are still no signs that soothe me and say "everything is ok in there." I have to rely on ultrasounds and dopplers for that. Although, the fact I'm asleep almost 24-7 or feeling mostly like I will vomit at any second should be a good enough cue. I'm still having those symptoms and no, they haven't lifted yet. In fact, I'm having a hard time finding ANYTHING that I want to eat these days. Everything just sounds gross to me. Don't worry Mom, I'm eating. It's just not fun like it used to be. :)
That's ok, though, I know it won't be forever and the fact that I feel so sickly just reminds me of the good things to come.
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