Posted in Musings on Mommyhood

Balancing my many hats

caps for saleIt seemed appropriate given that I study children’s literature, that I use a picture from a kids’ book to describe my life. It’s from Esphyr Slobodkina’s book “Caps for Sale” and  illustrates how I feel most days lately. In trying to balance graduate school, an international move, being a new mom, having a decent house, eating/showering myself, and taking care of my ousted furry firstborn (border collie), it feels like my hats have to be stacked like this picture if I want to get anything done. (You may ask why in the midst of this craziness I am blogging. The answer is I have no idea, but it is likely procrastination.)

IMG_20170607_123335063The photo to the left sums up my days. Coffee that has gone cold, a baby who sleeps only while touching me, a laptop with thesis research on all the tabs that aren’t Google results of random parenting questions, and a notebook scattered with thesis jottings and schedules of house showings (the joys of moving #475: having to keep your house clean for strangers).

 

I love being a mom. Little dude’s smiling face (yes, I know it’s probably gas, but it’s so darn cute) is the best part of my day. I just have to make it through the turmoil of this move and then focus on my thesis until September. I know life never slows down; the crazy just evolves into something new. I am going to 100% — (pause for diaper and outfit change; resume typing with one hand while feeding baby with the other) — anyway, I will 100% miss this time once it’s gone, but it is a little more chaotic than I anticipated. Please forgive infrequent posting. I suspect that will be the new norm.

 

Oh and did I mention I have horrid allergies and my sneezing frequently wakes baby? It’s great.  😉

Posted in General Updats, Musings on Mommyhood

5 Things I Wasn’t Warned About…

It’s been a pretty smooth pregnancy. This is week 39 and not a single complication, everything normal, on schedule. Although it is my first pregnancy, I thought I was prepared. I have friends with kids; I remember my mom’s pregnancies with my little sisters; I’ve read the books. Unfortunately, friends don’t share everything, memories are fallible, and the books don’t always present the clearest picture.

Here are 5 things about late pregnancy that are apparently normal, but I was entirely unprepared for:

  1. Dizzy spells and seeing stars: this one freaked me out a bit. Two weeks ago I had an ocular migraine (seeing flashing lights, blurry vision, headache) and went to bed early. It was mostly gone by the next day, so I moved on. Yesterday, I was curious and Googled ‘seeing stars in pregnancy’ because lately this has been happening to me a lot — despite staying hydrated. I was worried when I saw it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, but since my blood pressure has always been ok, this isn’t a concern (for me personally, but always check with your OB – I certainly did).
    Solution/Explanation: Drink extra water and move slowly from one position to the next.
  2. Nausea when laying down: the last few nights I’ve woken up feeling incredibly nauseous. No actual vomiting, but I felt it in my throat. Nasty.
    Solution/Explanation: A lovely result of acid reflux. No rest for the weary, this only gets worse as the pregnancy progresses. YAY! So eat those TUMS and sleep propped up (I make a pillow armchair and sleep kinda reclined. If I had a LazyBoy, I’d sleep there).
  3. BRAXTON HICKS EVERY TIME YOU MOVE. I’m not totally unprepared; I knew Braxton Hicks were part of the deal. Last Friday, I spent the day running errands and had tons of Braxton Hicks. Since my husband was leaving for his business trip Saturday morning, he begged me to take it easy. Hm, Netflix and microwave meals all weekend? Don’t have to ask me twice. Since then, I am just dandy if I am sitting down, but as soon as I get up (Even if it’s just to pee!) BOOM Braxton Hicks. This morning’s shower cost me two.
    Solution/Explanation: Normal for this stage of pregnancy. Call Labor and Delivery if they become regular (and frequent), don’t stop when you settle down, or are really painful.
  4. Really achy tummy: outside and in, this is not a comfortable stage. I’m not sleeping, getting up to pee every hour, and my stomach aches (like someone’s standing on it….or, I don’t know, growing inside it) all the time. It is increasingly difficult to find a position that doesn’t hurt. Sitting up straight on a comfy chair seems optimal. Of course, you can’t sleep sitting straight up, so good luck there.
    Solution/explanation: the world has just chosen to keep secret how freaking uncomfortable the last month is. I thought early third trimester was bad. Experiment with positions until you find something you can live with. Move slowly when you wake up or else risk killer cramps.
  5. Weird poo: Ok, this is gross, but you know what this whole pregnancy and birth thing is disgusting and not one bit “beautiful”. Those women who gush about missing pregnancy and what a beautiful experience it was, they are lying. Or else they have memory loss. By all accounts my pregnancy has been a breeze and perfectly textbook, but it is pretty horrific the things going on with my body. This latest development I blamed on my obsession with not getting sick (ie eating tons of oranges and other vitamin C fruits). I had read this could be a sign of labor, but I didn’t expect it to start in week 38 and last for…?
    Solution/Explanation: Various types loose and/or strangely colored things showing up in the toilet are apparently normal (?!). WTH. Best part is there is zero fix for this. I’ve basically cut out fruit and upped the carbs, but as this hasn’t helped, I may just say screw it and eat my precious oranges and blueberries again. Just stay hydrated, my friends.

The combination of these symptoms since last week had me slightly concerned, my absent husband even more so. At his request (and giving in to my slight paranoia), I called the OB. First, I hate when a medical professional (ha, professional) is condescending, so I had to deal with that. Otherwise, it was a reassuring call. All normal, and they’ll see me later this week for hopefully my last appointment (39 week).

Of course, they covered with “if you start bleeding, have a sudden loss of fluid, or experience regular, frequent, and increasing contractions, contact Labor and Delivery right away.” Well, actually, I knew that much, it was just items 1-5 that I was unprepared for.

Lesson learned. Pregnancy is a gross and uncomfortable process. Little baby, you had better knock my socks off. All for you, kid, all for you.

Posted in Milestones, Musings on Mommyhood

Good Wife?

Trying to be a good wife over here, but honestly struggling. My husband is talking about going out of town for the weekend with his nephew. They’ve been talking about going hiking for awhile, but I feel like now that we are three weeks from the due date (with a hospital bag packed) it is a really bad idea to go off in the mountains with limited cell phone reception. I don’t want to be a nagging wife, but I also really don’t want him to go – even though it would only be Saturday – Monday. Grr, how do I balance this?

Speaking of balance, I find the bump makes my center of gravity way off and have reached that oh-so-fun point where bending down/cleaning house is more of a chore than usual. My husband’s job has been hectic and he’s been working 12-13hr days. Understandably, then, when he gets home he just wants to sit and chill. Meanwhile, I have been trying to run errands and clean all day and am exhausted, but not going to bed because now it is time to work on my master’s thesis.

DEAR JESUS GIVE ME PATIENCE. I keep swallowing the bitterness that wants more help around the house, because I have yet – in five years of marriage (this week – happy anniversary us!) found a way to discuss his lack of helping around the house in a way that gets results.

Yeah, I know, this is hardly mommy-related, but I can tell you what, if he doesn’t feel the need to help his 37-week-pregnant, full-time graduate student wife with household chores, why should I expect help once baby is here? Everyone is telling me to take it easy, especially once baby comes, but I can’t when the house is falling to pieces and I am behind on schoolwork.

I apologize for the whine-fest, but this is reality – this is life. My husband and I have one of the best and most fun relationships I’ve ever seen and I adore him to pieces, but sometimes the work-life balance is a struggle. Every late night and all those long hours are to support me and this little one, I know…. is it selfish to want help at home too?

Posted in Musings on Mommyhood

Peaceful pregnancy moments 

When you’re a grad student and an expecting mom, late night PopTarts are bound to happen.  Tonight  (this morning?) at 2:30 am I took a study break to treat my progress with a snack. I guess the sugar woke little man because he started turning and stretching. Despite looming deadlines and tired eyes, I was suddenly so peaceful and happy. As I brushed crumbs off my bump, I relished the moment – the quiet stillness of my home, the contented breathing of my dog curled on rug, the progress I’ve made tonight on my essay, the tasty midnight snack…and most of all the sweet company of those tiny, sleepy kicks. 

I can’t wait to hold him in my arms, but sometimes I just love being pregnant. 

Posted in Musings on Mommyhood

Napping?

In the first trimester, I couldn’t make it through the day without a nap. When I found it too hard to fall asleep at night, I starting purposely exhausting myself (by not taking a nap) so that I’d fall right to sleep at night. 

The second trimester was a breeze and I didn’t notice any fatigue, but now I’m in the third trimester and it’s a different story! My trouble is though I have so much I should be doing (homework, cleaning house, devotions and yoga (would be nice), spending time with D, making meals, more homework) that I feel far too guilty to nap. When I mention to D that I am just so exhausted, he’ll reply with a casual, ” Oh yeah, me too.” Or “ugh, I feel ya; I’m tired too.” 

OK, yes, I get it; work’s been terribly hectic and you are working long days and don’t even get a lunch, but I am growing a HUMAN. And when I get home from class, I can’t rest because I have chores to do or a dog to walk or HOMEWORK (SO MUCH homework). It’s Sunday afternoon and I’ve been awake since 8:30 (which was my “sleeping in”). I breakfasted and did devotions, and took care of the dog then hit the books…

Now I am desperate for a nap, but I don’t think I could live with myself if I laid down amid my massive to do list. There’s laundry on the couch and dishes in the sink. I have a very important assignment due this week that I’ve made scant progress on and my hormones are in full swing. 

All this to say, hope to the busy moms. I feel ya. I assume this overwhelming desire to cry and sleep and a strong inclination to knit little hats (which I definitely don’t have time for) is all normal. 

It’s a tough season, this third trimester thing. 

Posted in Musings on Mommyhood

Sweet husband

I think my husband picked up on me hesitating to share baby related news. The past two days when he gets home from work and gives me a hug, he immediately puts his hand on my belly and asks, “How’s he been doing today? Is he kicking?” Part of me is thrilled, but he cynical part of me is wary. I feel like he’s humoring me and I’m reluctant to take the bait. 

But he is being quite sweet so I guess I should just accept it. 

How involved should dads be at this stage?


 

Posted in Musings on Mommyhood

Are people sick of hearing about my baby yet?

The other morning as my husband commented that he was surprised I wasn’t bored of feeling the baby move. While, yes, I sometimes wish this kid would calm down a bit (like when I’m trying to sleep or do some studying!), I love feeling his energy as a sweet reminder that there is LIFE in my belly. But you know the old adage that there is truth in humor? Well, the next time I felt baby really getting excited, I – as usual – grabbed my husband’s hand so he could feel. He never refuses, but this time I teased, “I know you’re bored of it but…”  I can’t even remember his exact reply, but it was definitely not the “No, I LOVE feeling our son move!” I wanted. So now when I feel the baby kicking, I feel guilty if I point it out – like he’s secretly rolling his eyes. Same with sharing bump pictures with my family (some of whom are trying to get pregnant).

May I please be excited about this without feeling guilty?

Yesterday I was leaving the library and I felt a group of students looking at me. They were laughing (undoubtedly at their own conversations) but my first thought was that they were laughing at my bump – like I’m the unwed teenage mom here! #bumpshame! Can that be a thing?

For the record, I’m married and I graduated college 3 years ago. I’m only in school now because I decided to go back for my Masters before (‘before’ – ha! God had other plans apparently) we had kids.

Anyway, I’m tired of trying to hide my growing belly (at 29 weeks I’ve only gained about 15lbs, so the bump itself is my only real giveaway) and tired of feeling like I’m boring the world with my news. I’m starting to understand why ‘mommy groups’ are a thing – for the exact reason I hated them pre-pregnancy: it’s a place to talk non-stop about your kids! OH MY GOSH, I AM BECOMING THAT PERSON.

I swore I wouldn’t, but I can’t help it. I love this little (still nameless) guy and I want to share every time he does something new.

#bumppride #mykidisawesomeOK

Posted in Milestones, Musings on Mommyhood

Baby Anatomy – Was that a foot??

I first felt baby “flutter” at 16 weeks, and by 20 weeks (on Christmas day actually!) my husband could feel him kicking. Now at 28 weeks, this kid’s a regular acrobat. He especially loved that sugary glucose drink at the doctor’s this week. 😛  (no gestational diabetes – yay!) What’s starting to weird me out though is feeling parts of what is clearly an arm or a foot. It’s happening more regularly now that I’m able to feel actual body parts and it’s more than a little freaky… like I’ve got a little alien inside of me.

Milestone this week: we bought the baby crib! And a pair of Motherhood maternity lounge pants that I can’t WAIT for. Loving me some bump support.

Posted in Musings on Mommyhood

Baby a nightowl?

I’m studying again (guess most of my posts will be the result of procrastinating homework) and it is well after midnight. To be clear, I am a morning person. Once I can convince myself to relinquish my warm feather comforter, I love being up with the sun and having a productive start to the day (which for me would mean yoga, devotions, breakfast and coffee, and maybe a finished chore or two). My husband, on the other hand, is the nightowl. He is impossible to wake up once he’s asleep, but that man has been known to accidentally stay up all night if a good book, programming/Photoshop project, or whatever has captured his interest.

This baby is his father’s son. His “witching hour” is when I am trying to go to sleep. Usually, this is around 11 and I fall asleep to him happily bouncing around what little space he has left in my stomach.

Tonight I am up way later than normal, and I keep getting distracted by watching my stomach move. That’s been a cool development over the last month. His kicks are now so strong that I can watch my tummy twitch and sway with his movements.

I hope his preference for nighttime activity does not carry over into post-birth, but for now it is nice to have the company while I write an essay at all hours.

Posted in Musings on Mommyhood

First blog post

Ok, so. I have a mommy blog now. Didn’t really see that one coming. I am 27 weeks into my first pregnancy so that makes me third trimester-ish, depending on who you ask.

Here’s the quick run-down of the last 7 months:

  • Late July: we decide we aren’t trying to get pregnant, but we are going to stop trying not to get pregnant
  • Mid-August: we get pregnant.
  • September: I quit my job (Planned in advance, but I did end up taking several sick days for fatigue and nausea and confiding in my boss that I was 6 weeks pregnant so he wouldn’t think I was just trying to use up all my personal days before I left the company).
  • October: I start graduate school full-time at a good university whose program runs only 1 year (which was intentional because we are moving in the summer) so basically an insane schedule.
  • November: Second Trimester! And welcome relief from nausea.
  • December: It’s a boy!!! I come from a family with all girls….and all aunts…and all great aunts. We don’t know what to do with a boy. So, obviously, we have no names picked out.
  • January: I fly to my hometown to be in my friend’s wedding, bump starts to show, mom throws a baby shower.
  • February: So here we are in February. I’ll be 7 months in a few days, by which point everyone agrees I will be in the third trimester.

While the second trimester was fun, heading into the third is not looking so hot. First, SLEEPING – I want to sleep all the time (and frequently doze sitting up at my desk) but when I go to bed I can’t get comfortable and only sleep in fits. Not to mention getting up to pee is a pain (literally. a pain in the belly). Also, some of the not-so-fun pregnancy things are —- pause. Guys, he’s kicking. I think he resents being complained about 😉 —– anyway, things like acid reflux, constipation, bloating, and nausea are resurfacing.

When we first found out we were pregnant, I told my husband I was scared of losing my identity to the pregnancy. I didn’t want to be one of ‘those moms’ who can’t talk about anything but their kids and are only friends with women who have kids of convenient ages for playdates….you know the type. Not that there is anything wrong with being proud of your kids (I’m already so enamored with our little guy!), but I wanted “Mommy” to be a hat I wore…along with “professional”, and “wife”, and “best friend”, and “20-something girl”, and “traveler”. I didn’t want to lose me to this new role.

My sweet husband promised I wouldn’t.

Yet, 6 months later this baby (sorry kid, you still don’t have a name) is pretty much all I think about. I could talk about him all day and I spend a good bit of study time researching names or shopping for cute baby and/or maternity clothes.

All that to say, I need a place to unload all these thoughts about ‘joining the mommy club’. I type way faster than I handwrite, so digital seemed the way to go, and blogs can be customized – I love things like planners with stickers and multicolored pens, highlighters, Bible journaling, categorized notebooks….. ok, yes, I worked in Administration. Does it show?

Ok, back to homework. Time to put on my “graduate student” hat.