Despite the triple digit temps (it was 111 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday), the last 2 weeks have been my highest-energy weeks thus far in the pregnancy. It’s been so awesome to be able to run errands after work again or to come home and cook dinner or do housework. I also have a renewed sense of gratitude for my health and basic abilities (like being able to see, walk, hear, eat normally, etc). I’m still far from 100% capacity, though: as my body changes, I’ve noticed some weird limitations:
1) Lifting anything over 15 lbs is actually painful (my stomach starts cramping and my lower back complains)….I think it must have something to do with my core muscles being totally displaced by the kidlet. Not to mention, I wasn’t anything near athletic when I got pregnant! :-P
2) My feet ache almost unbearably if I a) spend too much time on them, b) don’t wear my comfy, supportive shoes (walking or standing barefoot is torturous), or c) eat too much salt (aka, ANYthing salty). I’ve also noticed that when my feet ache their worst, I tend to get random nosebleeds.
3) I can STILL participate in my twice-weekly BATs (BunsAbsThighs) class, though I don’t do any jumping exercises and have to modify some of the ab work. I’ve even pumped up my hand weights to the 5 lb dumbells (from the 3 lb ones).
4) I’m still horribly sensitive to smells (all), but not nearly so sensitive as I was 2 months ago.
5) I look amazingly awful in photos–I like how I look in person, and enjoy my pregnant silhouette in fitted clothing. However, I do NOT enjoy what the wunderhub gleefully calls my “pregnant face” (aka, what I call my “fat face”). Let’s just say that my face is definitely, umm, more filled out during this time period. :) Thankfully, the wunderhub thinks it’s one of the best things about this pregnancy (Can I just say how much I ADORE the whole love-induced blindness phenomenon?).
6) Pregnancy forces me to live more consciously and in a more “day-to-day” mode, rather than in fast forward. It’s been a huge blessing to have to learn to appreciate and listen to my body and to pay more attention to my emotional state. It’s life-changing to look down, see a protruding tummy, and not feel a surge of hatred and loathing for not being the ideal shape. Instead, I’m just grateful that I can brush my teeth without throwing up! :) It’s also humbling to have a to-do list that gets scrapped b/c I need to go to bed 4 hours earlier than I expected.
And my whole attitude toward food has been transformed–skipping meals “to save time” (lame!) and functioning at a lower productivity level is just not an option when my physical resources are already taxed with the production of another human. I can’t eat fast food or most restaurant food (too salty): so in order to be at my most productive, I have to take the time to prepare or purchase healthy, appropriate food choices AND take the time to sit and eat them. I can’t wolf something down in a few minutes b/c I’ll get awful heartburn. So now, I get up a little earlier to sit and eat a quiet breakfast (instead of gulping something down in the car). I pack my lunch the night before (or don’t, and regret it the next day!!) :-P These are all things I should have been doing more frequently anyway…so it’s nice to have the impetus to make them more habitual.
Other random updates:
1) I’ve gained 14 lbs. Bummer–that’s what I hoped to gain over the entire pregnancy. Obviously, not gonna happen. However, I have high hopes for staying below a 25 lb total gain. Also, I know I’m in better shape now than I was pre-pregnancy, and my legs have a lot more muscle (and probably more insulation :-P) than I did pre-pregnancy, so I’m excited about continuing and augmenting my regular exercise routine post-pregnancy.
2) I’ve learned that it’s OK to NOT do other things in order to exercise. This was a ridiculously difficult concept for me at first, and thanks to my friend Kourtney and my other BATs buddies, I’ve realized that it’s OK and very necessary to prioritize and block out the TIME required for exercise, even if that means saying “no” to other opportunities.
3) I’ve decided on a hospital birth. Unfortunately, it was too stressful and expensive to do a midwife attended home or birthing center experience, given my geographical location. I’ve happily come to terms with making my hospital experience as positive as possible and my anxiety level about the birth has measurably decreased, which tells me that I’ve chosen the right path for me at this point in my life and for the resources I’ve been blessed with.
Part of what deepened my appreciate for the opportunity for a hospital birth was reading Inventing Motherhood by Ann Dally, a fairly die-hard, 1980’s feminist. She had all of her children via homebirth, not b/c it was the medically best choice but b/c she refused to subject herself to what she saw as the “paternalistic, domineering” male doctors and male-oriented health system. Then she did a TON of historical research on the birthing experience for women, starting with the first records of labor & delivery and moving up to stats from the 1980’s (the book is a bit dated as it was first published in 1987). She noted that “nature” is often cruel and harsh and that when things are “left to nature”, they frequently end in the same way. Women’s bodies *are* made to bear children, but that doesn’t lessen the trauma of birth or its risks to women. She noted that birth as a routine, non-life-threatening event for the woman is an astonishingly modern concept, brought on mostly by advances in medicine, technology and quality of life. Naturally, advances in medicine have brought several down sides (impersonal care, over-agressive surgeries, over-medication, etc), but her riveting stats and anecdotes of birth experiences from even just a few generations ago impressed on me how ridiculously lucky I am to be giving birth in this time period and in a first world country!
4) My birth preparation includes doing a Hypnobabies home study course (for relaxation and pain-management techniques) and writing out my birth preferences. Who knows what will actually happen during the birth–hopefully nothing more exciting than a totally uncomplicated emergence of our new daughter–so, I’m not writing an entire plan.
I find the idea of planning my first birthing experience rather counter-intutive b/c there are so many variables and unknowns that are impossible to know how I’ll react to. So, my preferences are frequently conceptual and occasionally specific (for example: Conceptually, I’d prefer not to have an epidural, but I’m not going to say that I won’t get one….how would I know? I’ve never experienced labor, so how can I possibly know if I’ll actually want or need one? One the specific side, I know that I hate bright lights now, and will probably always hate them, so I’m asking for my room lights to be dimmed).
Hypnobabies is intriguing–I find their philosophy extremely humanistic and centered on the self (sometimes good, sometimes bad) and am finding many of their adjurations to be annoyingly incompatible with my own spiritual beliefs. Consequently, some of their concepts seem very silly and infantile or just plain dumb (e.g., “your unconscious mind is always working for your good and knows what is best for you”). However, I love their relaxation techniques and verbal cues for deepening a calm state, so I’m continuing with the course.
Whew–sorry about how “journal entry-ish” this is… Thanks for suffering through, if you made it this far. ;-)