Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sometimes Isolation Serves a Purpose/PG Update

When I was working in banks, part of the robbery training was to isolate the victim following the crime. This was to avoid cross contaminating stories or influence as far as I understand it. I was reminded of this training earlier today when leaving ornaments work.

I've always been a youngin' in the ornaments room with most of the other ladies being 30-something mothers and older. Unfortunately, instead of becoming a role model/nurturing relationship during my pregnancy this atmosphere has become a negativity minefield. I've ended up trying to avoid talking about my pregnancy (which is kinda difficult with my rather obvious bump and need for extra breaks) just to prevent the onslaught of sarcasm, war stories, and negativity.

This afternoon I couldn't avoid it. I got trapped by a question about my sleep. My first impulse is always to tell the truth so I replied that I wasn't sleeping well. Cue the deluge. Not only were there war stories of pregnancy sleep but the obvious sarcasm about "you'll never sleep again" and "you've never known tired until you've had a newborn" which I understand is a reality but I'm sick of the negativity. It's a wonder anyone reproduces anymore with how horrible motherhood and childbirth is portrayed (on the flipside there is the overly rosy, positive portrayal of fulfillment and joy that leads people to feel guilty for negative feelings or hard times-basically, it's all out of wack).

So, back to isolation. I've been struggling with loneliness (not out of the usual for me) but find myself treasuring isolation when it protects me from such negativity (a huge reason behind not doing childbirth education classes). It's a double-edged sword. In order to protect my experience, my "story," I feel the need to isolate but that defensive tactic leaves me lonely. Add to this social safari the fact that I am often shamed or belittled when I'm honest about my pregnancy experience so far ("it's only going to get worse" or "that's nothing...." or "be careful what you wish for!") and I'm often left with the conclusion that not talking is better than talking.

Thankfully there is one lady at work (also pregnant) that I'm able to commiserate with but also share positive hopes and views on motherhood, but I would like more positive ladies around me. One gal that I see intermittently and don't really see outside of work doesn't quite fulfill my need for positive pregnancy interaction!

SIGH. Nothing worth doing is ever easy, eh?

I supposed this would be as good a time as any to give a pregnancy update :)

I'm 7 months now and feeling the baby weight. Only 13 lbs gained so far but my pelvic floor is sure feeling that engorged uterus every time I stand or roll over in bed. The pressure is building and I'm still riding the good ole donut pillow nursing my 'roid, Arnold, and peeing more often than I would like.

I suppose stretch marks are a notable change but with my history of weight fluctuation I don't particularly notice or care about stretch marks (old news!), more noticeable is my ever-shallower belly button. That fascinates me. Can't wait to see how it looks when labor starts.

My face has been interesting.... I'm enjoying some marvelously clear skin except for the odd pimple or two but dry skin has made me run for the moisturizer like never before (lest I look like a leper). I'm letting my hair grow and it's nearly to my shoulders now. The long hairs straying on counters and clogging my brushes isn't pleasant but the hubbo likes the new look and I'm enjoying the feminine feel. Quite a change from my pixie cut!

I've been really enjoying baby's movements and the hubster continues to be amazed every time he feels baby with his own hands. There are times when it feels like my bladder is getting assaulted but so far it hasn't been that uncomfortable. I'm sure further along that will change ;)

The heartburn still sucks. I have to be very careful when consuming sweets (especially chocolate) and consuming more than a small portion leads to the worst chest-wrenching heartburn of my life. Other discomforts include the pelvic pain (pubic bone, hip joints) and back pain (low back and lately between the shoulders and, of course, my perennial shoulder agony). I'm not sure if the back pain is a combo of ornaments work and bigger boobs or one alone, but either way the massages sure are a blessing as is my heating pad.... and the miracle salve BENGAY.

Emotionally I've been dealing with more rough waters of late. Anxiety has perked up and being the over-thinking, contemplative type that I am thinking about pregnancy and my experience and others' experiences and weighed heavily on my mind. Trying to be gentle with myself and acknowledge my struggles and pains without feeling shame or guilt or "whiney" and also staying positive overall. The hubby has been a good listener and tells me that he appreciates it when I finally come clean and lay out all the dirty details of how I'm really doing. He's come to have a new appreciation of pregnancy and what I'm going through, that's for sure!

I've noticed that when I'm tired or achy my perspective is much different; I feel overwhelmed and unprepared for labor and motherhood. But when I'm energetic and relaxed I feel confident and blessed. It's quite the roller coaster! I feel stressed by the lack of confidence during the down spells but most disheartening is imagining the little baby in my gut as I have these "what have I gotten myself into?" thoughts. I know I'm not alone in this though. I know it's natural. I just feel so bad about myself and sad for baby-but no matter how stressed I get I always feel love and attachment to my baby, so I don't get too upset.

I'm hoping to increase my positive thoughts and confidence after ornament season is over when I have more time for self care and can better manage the input I receive about pregnancy/birth/motherhood. When I'm in good spirits I'm really confident and excited about labor and motherhood, so I think my last couple months will be focused on nurturing those good feelings and getting closer to the hubster and preparing our little two-person birth team.

In other news, the hubbo and I got a new mattress for our mutual Christmas gift this year. Who would've thought replacing a 17 year old mattress would make such a difference!? It's awesome! Still dealing with pregnancy sleep but I can feel a difference despite the short term pains I'm going through.

Whew. Got eye strain? ;)

Christmas Tree 2014

Little different this year, we've got an artificial tree. Also, I burned out my last string of green lights so we went with a red/white tree this year at the hubster's request. 

Every year we name our tree and while this tree will bear it's name for multiple years, it gets a name nonetheless. For the first time we went with a female name, Agatha, for our pencil tree. Behold! Agatha!

It's a special Christmas with our first baby on board and I found this stork ornament on clearance at Hallmark. It was originally blue and boy-themed but I painted it up more Christmas color-y and now it's our "waiting for baby" ornament :)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Historical Hypothesis

The hubster and I were "fighting" earlier (it's kinda like a pout-off with spurts of commentary followed by heavy silence before a confession and some tears, growth and moving on) and as I angrily brushed my teeth in my bunker (the bathroom with the door shut) I thought, "This is why women used to go into confinement when they were pregnant, just so they didn't have to hear their husbands ask "Why are are you so cranky?" over and over and over! It's called pregnancy! Get with it!"

This pregnant lady be cranky. I don't think that's totally unwarranted or unexpected but it sure goes over his head sometimes.



Been feeling busy lately so blogging has fallen by the wayside a bit. Between ornaments and self care and trying to get quality time in with the hubbo the days have been coasting by pretty quickly-and now it's nearly December!

Last week things got a bit rocky for me... I mentioned before how the personalizing has been getting to me and last week I started out weak. Monday I came to work with a load of anxiety which was only made worse by the atmosphere that day. By Tuesday I was feeling pretty fragile and the infant CPR class we attended that night seemed to put me over the edge.

I think it was partly the instructors nonchalant, sarcastic, "your efforts are futile" attitude but also the fact that we shelled out twenty bucks for what I considered a disappointing and offensive class. What kinda guy thinks talking about dead babies to a room full of about-to-pop moms-to-be is a good idea!? We're already tweaking!

Even though I was rationally aware of the anxiety inducing pitch of his presence and the frustration I felt regarding the money (as nominal as twenty bucks is, you know me, a nickel on the wrong day could be a trigger) I couldn't prevent the excruciating slide into panic mode. That night I was crying and anxious and overwhelmed.

I didn't work that following day and even opted to work from home the day after that. The time away from additional stress definitely helped though I hated to raise alarm bells and have people worried about me (though in my mental state it seemed they were just worried about the workhouse disappearing and not so much my well being). In the end I'm glad I isolated and healed up a bit before returning to work. Thankfully that Friday and the weekend was pretty slow and this week was a short work week since we left for Thanksgiving at the in-laws Wednesday morning.

The drive to Pasco wasn't quite arduous but definitely uncomfortable and slow going. I needed 4 pit stops on the way (North Bend, Ellensburg, Yakima, Prosser) and 3 on the way back (should've taken more, by the time we got home I loony and achy and done for!). I'm glad we weren't planning to make the drive for Christmas this year, I'd be crying already!

I wasn't a huge fan of sitting elevated on the donut pillow the entire drive but it really did save me. It couldn't save me the aggravation and pain of Fio's psychotic barking at every stop. I was starting to go dog-crazy he was so piercing and noisy.

Overall our visit went well though I was definitely low-energy. I spent a fair amount of time with a heating pad battling shoulder and back ache and a noticeable amount isolated in cooler areas because I was burning up in the heated house. At one point I sat outside reading with Fio on my lap to cool down and at others I shut myself up in the guest room we stay in with the window open. I thought I was running hot but nothing like this!

Baby is definitely getting bigger and stronger, kicking against mugs of tea and rolling around in there like some Cirque do Soleil act :) I'm feeling the increasing weight and pressure though my overall weight is still on a very slow incline (I'm at about 13 lbs gained overall).

Emotionally I've been feeling more ups and downs. When I'm tired and achy I feel overwhelmed and not ready for baby but when I'm energetic and relaxed I feel excited to meet him/her. My baseline anxiety is still up but recognizing it as a pregnancy symptom helps me manage the waves of negativity.

Getting excited for the holidays but also wary of the next 3 weeks of ornaments. A short burst of craziness but I feel vulnerable this year and I'm already balking under the pressure and Cyber Monday hasn't even hit. Guess I'll just have to take it one day at a time... Those weekly massages sure help.

In other news, Millie didn't take our Thanksgiving trip too well. She was upset (crawled in a corner and mewed, shying away from pets and treats) when we left and took a while to get back to normal when we returned. Iroh, of course, was totally fine. Munching kibble and rubbing legs as we left and when we returned.

Fio. Well. Fio and I aren't exactly best friends at the moment. Maybe once my ears stop ringing I'll be able to enjoy his company more ;)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Aches, Pains, Progress

As I mentioned before, ornament season has arrived and I've been personalizing about 4-5 days a week. That's a lot less than usual for me and a lot fewer hours (I stay about 5 hours instead of all day) but my body has been complaining.

I'm not sure how things will shake down after Thanksgiving when orders really pick up. I'm physically incapable of doing the workload that I have in past years and it stresses me out thinking about "slacking off." In reality, I ain't slacking one bit-I'm just baking a baby!

Not only have my shoulders been aching, my pubic bone barking, and my back sore I've felt my jaw grinding kick it up a notch. My baseline anxiety has been increasing and while the midwives said that is totally normal for this stage of pregnancy it makes alarm bells go off in my head-I don't wanna devolve into "Unhealthy Hannah" again just in time for the birth.

***On this note, I did have a panic attack last weekend but it was precipitated by a specific event and dealt with pretty efficiently. I'm a little more wary now but not quite freaking out that I'm losing my cool entirely. Overall my mood has been pretty stable and good. Was pretty dehydrated afterward but the aches and days-long hangover wasn't as bad as usual, I bounced back pretty quick!***

Thankfully, the hubbo and I are a pretty good team with an established coping strategy. Talking about "issues" is nothing new to us (even though some of these troublesome pregnancy symptoms are) and being able to share what I'm struggling with has helped. More than that the hubster helps pick up the slack around the house when I'm flagging and reminds/encourages me to treat symptoms. He's helped make sure I'm taking baths, using ye olde donut pillow, heating pad, Bengay, and massage therapy and somehow he still has the gogetum to ask me "what's bothering you?" when I'm fidgety.

While I'm not feeling stellar, it certainly helps to feel like I'm fighting back to some degree-though some days I'm totally walloped and end up doing oodles of couch and heating pad time! Which probably explains why I was able to complete my stocking project so quickly....

I was so happy to finally find this kit after dead-ending at oodles of online shops where it was listed as in stock but actually not. I got my share of "We're sorry, this kit is out of print" emails but when it popped up as in stock on Amazon I pounced and got my dream stocking! Barely a month later I had the thing stitched!

Now it's back to working on baby's stocking, which is much more difficult. Smaller aida grid and way more color variance but it'll be worth it when it comes together.

In other news, Fio finally got groomed and Iroh has become quite the couch czar. If he isn't sitting on the right side when you approach he'll come up and try to take the spot by force after you sit down! I think it's warm for him or something... Millie has been bogarting my body pillow and still loves the foam mat in the bathroom. Such a classy broad.

6 1/2 months down and I'm feeling the baby weight! I've only put on about 10 lbs overall but must be in all the right places because my pelvis is feeling it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Don't Jinx Yerself!

I finally caved and had the hubster buy me a donut pillow.

My "little 'roid" finally became a big problem for me. Never having had to deal with hemorrhoids I tried to ignore the issue and hoped extra fiber would fix the issue but sitting all day doing ornaments was driving my butt crazy. The hubster even got me some TUCKS pads and hopefully I'll be less symptomatic soon enough.

It took a lot of discomfort to finally make me acknowledge the problem and do something about it. Hemorrhoids don't exactly have a wonderful public relations record. But it feels better to be addressing the issue and I figured, "if this is as worse as it gets, I can't really complain."

But that's old news now.

Just when I thought I had enough embarrassing, uncomfortable pregnancy business tonight happens.

Exactly? I couldn't sleep, felt slightly hunger-barfy then next thing ya know I'm barfing up a ton of crap from 5 hours ago, peeing my pants as I lean over the toilet, and watching drips of blood swim among the debris as a nosebleed erupts.

The hubby started laundry for my pissy pajamas and the poor bathroom towel/rug while I hopped in the shower. I was barely able to finish a quick rinse/wash before my gut began rumbling.

After hastily toweling off I sat on the toilet while goosebumps and shivers overtook me before a massive bout of diarrhea. One for my record books (not that a barf/pee/nosebleed hadn't already made the record books-this was just a cherry on top!).

When I finally got around to redressing and looking in a mirror my face was splotched with red dots around my mouth in a clowny goatee of what I assume were burst capillaries. Just when I was cozying up to less attractive pregnancy symptoms, the universe goes and ups the ante!

Surprises and shockers. Pregnancy is full of new experiences. Hemorrhoids and what I can only call "mass exodus" being some of the more exciting incidents-more colorful than I expected!

Can't wait to see what 3rd trimester holds in store....

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Geekin' Out Withdrawals

At the Calgary Zoo we got to see wood bison (as opposed to plains bison) for the first time. Having had no idea there were different subspecies of American bison I felt my head implode a little bit.

Another implosion moment occurred when I was surfing Wiki and read the scientific name for the plains bison, Bison bison bison.

Seriously. Gotta be the best scientific name ever.

It also reminded me of this trivia from high school, I think a history teacher brought it up? But maybe my lit teacher? I don't recall, but I certainly remember "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo."

After using one word that many times it ceases to resemble a word at all, don't you think?

I suppose I'm withdrawing from the vacation and missing the beautiful blue skies, chilly air, and gorgeous mountains-and apparently the zoo visit ;) The withdrawals got me thinking of Iceland again and that beautiful landscape. *lesigh*

I think I've spent too much time indoors since we've returned, the rain has been so gloppy! Now that my sinuses are clearing up and my back is almost back to normal (tweaked it hardcore Tuesday or Wednesday, lower back has been agony) I should be able to resume some walking this next week. I hope the time outdoors will satiate my need for scenery!

In other news, I finally got around to tuckin' in the balcony for the season. It was a little dried out but still wet so many of the pine needles clung to the surface and it's not pristine by any means, but I did empty out pots and planters and such. I'm saying "good enough!" and letting it go for now. I'll be on my hands and knees scrubbing algae off this spring regardless.

I did get more thyroid pills and the visit to my ND went better than expected. I think I'm doing a better job of separating myself, creating boundaries and realizing that other people are just doing their jobs. I pay her for her opinions but that doesn't make them law and I don't have to feel bad about myself for not adhering to every bit of advice. I do the best I can and make my own judgement calls as life rolls on, and that's that.

And really, I'm doing loads better and I need to appreciate that!

November already and 6 months pregnant tomorrow! Time is flying. Welcome to the holiday season everyone! I can't wait to put up the Christmas decorations, feeling very festive this year and savoring it already. Too many "ho-hum" Christmases in the recent past ;) And on that note, I'll get back to stitching my stocking.... !!!