Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Preggo Princess and the Pea

I'm living in a fairy tale. Not in a handsome-knight-with-a-white horse kind of way or even a birds-and-chipmunks-make-great-singing-companions kind of way.

As in I'm the Princess. And there's a pea under my mattress.

No one told me before this whole Preggo thing that I wouldn't be able to sleep on my back. I kind of figured I would have to stop sleeping on my stomach, because I can imagine how comfortable it would be trying to sleep with a volleyball strapped to my stomach. But no one told me that it would no longer be comfortable to sleep on my back, either. That, after 27 years, I would have to change to being a side sleeper. I didn't even know side sleepers existed.

Apparently there are many reasons to switch to being a side sleeper. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down to the feet, and lying on your back causes the uterus to put more weight on the nerve. Read up on it if you want the more scientific explanation of what this is, but it sounds bad for both me and baby. Lying on the left side increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the placenta, giving Bjorn an extra hit of vitamins and essentials. Good to know. And I am happy to oblige (as long as I get a good nights sleep).

But not only is it not recommended to sleep on the back, its not even comfy anymore. I breathe shallower, and find my back arching so far off the bed, DTB can stick his arm under my back without me even having to move or arch at all. I twist and flop around so much even Dog has decided she wants to sleep on the floor to get away from me.

But its not comfy to side-sleep either. I can fall asleep that way - sometimes - but I can't stay asleep. I wake up and try to stomach-sleep or back-sleep only to sigh deeply and try the side position again. This bed is too soft. This one is too hard. Oh, Goldilocks, where is the one that is just right?

Yes, I could go invest in a $70 pillow from Target or Baby Superstore that is supposed to ease my sleeping pain. A large body pillow meant to be wound around a Preggo to aid comfort, but winds up preventing DTB from even being able to fit in the bed. But did these pillows exist 100 years ago when women were having babies? Did they see the need during the Great Depression to spend a couple of dinners worth of paychecks on a pillow? Nope. They sucked it up - and that's what I'm going to do (or try to do). Hopefully I can train my body to adjust to a different sleeping position.

But first, I'm going to check and see if Dog might have hidden a pea under my mattress.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Simple Life

It's the simple things in life that are missed the most when gone.

I used to be able to walk into my closet, pick an outfit for the day and know that 99% of the time it was going to fit. Now I walk into my closet, try on a shirt, discard it for another shirt and repeat the process about twenty times. I automatically gravitate towards my non-Preggo clothes, the old stand-bys that I have worn a thousand times before and am comfortable in. After a few of these, I try a Preggo shirt - but it's still too big. Until finally I throw on the same shirt and pants I have been wearing the last two weeks. It's not like anyone really notices, right?

To back my car out of my driveway and parking spaces, I am one of those who like to twist completely around in the seat so I can peer out of the back window. Not anymore. No one told me I would no longer be able to twist my torso. To back out, I have to enlist every backseat driver in the car for help, or pray that the kids playing football in the street hear the desperate bleating of my car horn and move out of my way. Twisting is no longer an option.

I used to be able to put my socks on with no problems. I always laughed when pregnant women talked about not being able to put their own shoes on. How could you not? What a bunch of drama queens!! I apologize to all those Preggo's I sarcastically talked about to myself. It is hard to reach my feet and I'm just a little over halfway there. I find myself grunting like an 80 year old man whenever I frantically claw out for my feet, hoping that by some miracle I will be able to reach them myself today. And since I'm always cold (Yes, still! This whole bun-in-the-toaster thing hasn't warmed me up like it is supposed to!), I always have to have on my thick socks.

I'm also a fast-walker and a fast-talker. I like to get to where I'm going and I don't like to dawdle - just get up and get going. Strolling just doesn't work for me. I can usually keep up pretty well with DTB's six foot tall frame, even with the whole foot in height difference. Not anymore. Now I'm lagging behind even the elderly mall walkers exercising on the indoor "track". I also find that if I talk really fast - as I usually do when using the intercom for all my announcements on the plane - I have to pause for breath after every sentence. That puts alot of pauses in the wrong places in my emergency demo: "If needed, four oxygen (breath) masks will fall from the compartment (breath) overhead. To activate the flow of (breath) oxygen, pull down on the tubing until (breath) fully extended. The bag may not (breath) inflate but oxygen is (breath) flowing."

I never noticed before how easy things were for me. I didn't notice how nice it was to put on my socks and shoes, and to get in and out of my car without grunting and using the "Oh, shit" handle. I never noticed how many of my everyday actions involved dashing from one activity to the next, not taking any time to eat, breathe or sleep. Now my days revolve around those three things!

Take advantage of the simple things in life, because they may be the biggest things there are.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Per Your Requests . . . . . .

Have you ever wondered what an occupation that has been rated in the Top Ten Sexiest Jobs (usually ranked in the Top Five of that list) gives its pregnant employees to wear? In other words, how can a Preggo look like the average toned, well-manicured, and barely-Botoxed Flight Attendant? Take a good look below and you'll see. . . I do with it what I can, but the uniforms are definetely a throwback from the early '80s maternity wear. . . .

Note the large, billowy shirt with tie in the back. Because of the flattering cut and style, I believe it was featured in the latest Vogue maternity special. Or maybe it was on 'What Not to Wear'. I'm sure it was one of those.

I tried putting my hands on my hips to hold in the extra bulk of the shirt. Does that work? And, yes, those pants are tapered. Tapered. Like the Chic jeans you bought at Wal-mart in 9th grade. All I need are big bangs and a matching denim jacket and I'm ready for the high school football game - in 1992.

Here is my attempt to "cute up" the uniform. . .

With that apron on, there's no question - Pregnant or Just Plain Fat? Must be Preggo!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mission: Impossible. And now accomplished.

Whew. We finally did it. Now we can take a deep breath and forget all about it.

We registered at Babies R Us.

First, I want to give a shout-out 'Thank you!!' to Monkey Mama for giving me some tips on registering, the most important being to feed DTB before stepping foot into the store. When DTB gets hungry, he gets cranky, then I get cranky and then we're just one step away from a full blown temper tantrum from both of us. So, thanks again!!!

Now, on to the story. . . .

I've always been a big fan of registrys. I never buy off of them - or if I do, then I buy one piece from the registry and then a bunch of things that I think goes well with that piece. But, I do like the idea of someone saying "Ok, I know you're going to end up buying me things, so why don't I give you an idea of what I'm looking for and then we can all go from there." This takes the guess work out of personal style. For example, I am a country-shabby-chic-not-too-girly-and-absolutely-nothing-modern kind of girl. My sis-in-law is modern and funky, girly but still classic. We may both be awesome people, but we have very different tastes. It helps to let her know what I like, because I can be pretty sure that I like is not what she would have chosen!

But baby registering is ridiculous.

First of all, DTB and I have absolutely no idea what we are doing. NONE. We didn't know if we should register for sippy cups, plastic plates, toys, board books or any of the million things that blare "BUY ME or your child will forever be unhappy!" through the aisles of the baby mega-store.

So DTB took the gun and we started scanning. We don't know what bottle Bjorn will like, or even which type we need, so - let's just scan any of them and see what happens!

We need some bibs, right? Let's scan 'em! Hooded towels? Check. Baby lotion? Check. We're on a roll now!!

We just began scanning and scanning, and only a few of the items are ones that we actually want. The rest is stuff we think we need. Should we go back through the registry and delete all the stuff off there that we don't care about? Take off the bibs and blankets and toys that we scanned merely because we think we needed to have them for people to buy?

Then we can keep the items we really like - such as the stroller that took an hour to choose. (Yes, that's right!! An hour!) We opened them all up, then tried to close them one-handed. We bench-pressed them, pretending to lift it into the trunk of a car while holding a baby in one arm and an over-priced coffee drink in the other. You know, a dry run of the daily happenings of a Preggo and a DTB. Finally we chose the perfect stroller.

We did the same for the Pack and Play, the bouncer and the baby monitor. I had researched baby carriers and breast pumps, so I knew which of these were what I wanted. All the big ticket items are ones we spent hours - if not days - researching online and getting advice on from previously Preggo friends. Really, everything else is fluff.

We spent four hours in the baby megastore scanning and re-scanning. We chose items only to go back and delete them ten minutes later. We argued, discussed and threw up our hands because - let's face it! - neither one of us knows what we are getting into. All in all, it was a pretty good day.

We did what we needed to do and we are still happily married and not too overwhelmed. And I learned a valuable lesson. Registrys are a good starting point, but by no means is it a end-all, be-all of gifts to get. The best gifts are still the thoughtful, unexpected and completely personal gifts. Oh yeah, and gift cards. Nothing beats a gift card.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

One woman's Spanx is another woman's straitjacket

Confining and awkward underwear has been around as long as fathers had to lock chastity belts around their rebellious daughters.

Throughout the years, with the invention of the sports bra and the low-rise hipster, underwear has only gotten better for women. Yet there are still women today who choose to wear uncomfortable types of underwear, preferring to be confined and look good rather than be comfy and look only slightly-so-good. Most of these women grace the covers of the smutty tabloids daily, or have their own talk shows. Regardless of how much money they make, I still call them crazy.

I guess one woman's Spanx is another woman's straitjacket.

For those of y'all whom live away from mass market media, Spanx are body shapers that women wear underneath their clothing to smooth bulges and flatter the figure. They really caught on in the last few years when everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Jessica Alba admitted to wearing them on the red carpet.

I tried them once. But it feels confining - like jail time for a crime I didn't commit. This definitely was not the undergarment for me! I like to be comfortable above everything else. And if comfort means that I have to buy a dress in a larger size, have some unsightly lumpiness in that fancy cocktail gown or forgo that last plate of nachos (or better yet, just eat it and work out harder the next day), then so be it. I have no problem showing the world that I may have a few extra bulges here and there, but I can still laugh, dance and drink with the best of 'em.

You're probably thinking, ok, that's a good story Preggo, but what does this have to do with being pregnant?

Hold your horses! I'm getting to that.

For the last few years, I have subscribed to Fitness and Shape magazines. I love them, and read them over and over again. (I also cut out the pages of exercises I like and throw them in a drawer. Once a year I clean out that drawer and wonder who has the energy to exercise.) Each magazine has usually one page - or maybe one article - on pregnancy and how to stay fit during. I remember reading about the 'Bella Band', a stretchy band that goes around the midsection and allows Preggo's to wear their pre-Preggo pants longer. It covers the upper part of the jeans - you know, the part where my pants have been precariously held the last couple weeks by a hair tie and some hope.

Of course, I ran out and bought one. The only thing that I bought full price and brand new.

After wearing it for the first time for a full day at work, I had to ask myself one question. Why would any pregnant woman do this to themselves??

It sounds great in theory - a band that holds up your well-fitting pre-Preggo jeans so you can look cute for longer. But, at the cost of comfort?! No way! This band is stretchy and wraps around your midsection. Or, let me put that another way - it is tight across the bladder. Yes, that place that, when something presses on it, you have to go to the bathroom right-now-I-don't-have-time-to-find-a-clean-place-the-gas-station-will-do-just-stop-the-damn-car. Multiply that by twenty times when pregnant.

Yes, I was still able to wear my pre-Preggo pants for longer. Yes, I still looked cute, because the Bella Band just looks like a layered cami underneath a shirt. But I couldn't breathe. I had to pee every few minutes. And (the worst part, I think) it rolls just like pantyhose does when you move around. (I still refuse to wear pantyhose, and will continue to refuse for as long as I can. I will be one of those women who spray a line on the back of my legs to make it look like I'm wearing those funky, kickback to the 20's pantyhose, but I will not be. Ever.) As long as you remain perfectly still, I am sure that the Bella Band works great. For those of us who are constantly up and down, there is constant re-adjustment. Let me tell you, nothing looks prettier than a Preggo readjusting her underwear.

Yeah, try to get that image out of your head!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

One small step for a man. One giant leap away from bachelor life

There is nothing more terrifying than stepping into a baby superstore on a Sunday afternoon. It is like feeding time in the shark tanks.

Around every corner is a beached whale of a Preggo ready to scan you with her registry gun. This gun is like catnip for Preggo's! (Yes, I realize that the analogies I use are probably the reason I don't have any other Preggo friends!!) She scans everything she sees, while the hapless DTB stumbles behind her, blinded by the numbers he sees rolling quickly out of his back account. Calculating the extra number of hours he must work in order to afford the teething ring that guarantees the infant will never grow up to be a teenage brace-face, he struggles to hold back the panic that makes him want to dash out of the store and back to 2003, when all he worried about was who was going to buy his beer and how to beat his top score on John Madden Football.

This is how DTB and I decided to take our second giant step into parenthood. (The first step being - and let's be honest here - the easiest.) On a Sunday afternoon amidst the chaos.

No, we did not register yet. That comes later. What we did was took DTB on his very first ever foray into the world of the Baby Superstore Mart madness. And he was scared.

First of all, there is no preparation for this. I found a list online detailing all the various items we need to buy/register/put-on-credit-cards-to-pay-off-in-twenty-years, but none of these lists told us which of the ten different infant tubs is the best to choose from. And don't even get me started on different strollers!!

DTB and I walked up and down every single aisle in the store, pointing out thermometers and saying "Do we really need this??". We like all the stuff we don't necessarily need - the gadgets like a Fetal Baby Monitor so you can listen to Bjorn inside the womb and a tray table for the stroller with a car horn and a steering wheel. At one point (after looking at the enormous costs of bouncers, bassinets, cribs, car seats), DTB just sighed. "Can't we just put Bjorn on the Laz-y-Boy? It's comfortable enough for me. It will be comfy enough for him!" I wasn't amused.

We get to the last aisle on the "Baby Preparation" side of the store (not to be confused with the other side of the store, the "Over-priced Bedding & Clothing Bjorn will Poop and Vomit on"), which is all stocked with baby food and formula. After what seemed like hours of weary torture through the maze of Baby-Hell, DTB finally broke out in a huge smile. "Well, you're going to breast-feed, so this is one aisle we don't have to worry about!"

Not so fast there, pardner. I ain't nursing forever. Remember, there was this talk about me going back to work sooner or later? (Which, in a totally different story, might end up being sooner rather than later.)

Knowing the rational thinking DTB uses, I approached the topic from a logical view.

"What if I can't nurse? Bjorn might be allergic. Or maybe I just won't have enough milk - that happens, too, sometimes. So we might need to supplement with formula."

DTB is nodding along with me, this logical thinking connecting with his male-logical thinking brain.

"I mean, what if I go to the store and leave you and Bjorn at home and I forget that there is no breast milk in the fridge or freezer?"

Logical thought flew out the window. DTB went white. (Until this happened, I didn't fully understand it in all the books I read. Now I know just how quickly the blood can drain from a man's face.) He grabbed my arm and wouldn't let go.

"Where are you going? Don't leave! You can't leave me!"

Remembering back to the Laz-y-Boy comment earlier, at first I thought he was joking. But his darting eyes weren't amused.

"Seriously, you can't leave me!"

"I would just be going to the store. I would be back!"

"No." DTB had already decided. "We'd go to the store with you. I'm not doing this alone."

I have the feeling this is going to be a huge learning process for all three of us.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Once again - Not Finding Out

I'm gonna rename this blog "Not Finding Out".

Apparently, that is a huge deal. Doc says less than 10% of his DTB's and Preggo's fall in this category. Everyone I talk to has a very solid opinion, from "That is SO awesome!" to "How can you stand the suspense? You're crazy!"

I had no idea it was going to be this big a deal.

There is a shirt on cafepress.com that a fellow Preggo (whom I will call Mamma Mia) sent me the link for. If I ever order it, I am wearing it everyday. That, and the one that says "Yes, I'm pregnant. We're not finding out. It's not twins." That will save me from a lot of explaining to complete strangers.

Practice makes perfect

20 weeks!

That's right - count 'em - Preggo is officially 20 weeks along today. That means that if you went backwards in time 20 weeks, I wouldn't be Preggo and if you fast-forward 20 weeks, I will have a squirmy, wiggly thing to call my own. And I'm not talking about a puppy here.

Where did the time go? And how the hell am I going to learn everything I need to know by the time this is over? I only have 20 weeks to learn how to change a diaper, feed a baby, burp a baby, figure out how to pay for day care, pay for college. . . . . . this last 20 weeks better go by s-l-o-w!!!

I just have to keep repeating my mantra to myself, sort of like the Yoga meditations I hear so much about.

"If a 16 year old and a crack addict can do it, so can I. If a knocked-up cheerleader and a crack addict can do it, so can I. If a 16 year old and a crack addict can do it, so can I."

I'm just going to have think to think of Bjorn as my practice kid. After all, all first-borns really are the practice ones, right? These kids were the ones that fell off the bed because the parents didn't realize they could wiggle and squirm all the way to the edge. These first-borns are the ones the parents tested out their theory of "If we don't go to him, he will stop crying" only to find out the kid has an ear infection or colic. These first-borns have been forgotten, dropped, mis-feed, mis-changed and mis-used. All because parents aren't perfect and really, don't know what they are doing.

When DTB and I were married in the Catholic church, we had to go through preparation with a priest and a sponsor couple to prove that we were ready for the leap into wedded bliss. No such preparation is required before we have a baby. Yes, we have childbirth classes and parenting classes. But these were all given to us (and not required) after we found out we were pregnant. No one placed a form before us and made us sign up to be great parents. No one taught us the ins and outs of parenting and babyhood. We just sort of stumbled into this world of miniature clothes, dirty diapers and a six hundred different types of cries.

So, Bjorn will have to be the practice child. We'll mess him up, screw him up and he will still be ok. From what I've heard, first-born children are resilient. He can handle it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Rumble Down Under

Lately I've been feeling a rumble in my tummy, and I don't think it's gas. And why don't I think it's gas, especially since that is a daily staple for the average Preggo? Well. . . to put it simply. . . when I feel the rumble, there hasn't been any gas. Simple enough for ya?

This is around the time when I should be feeling some kicks and punches from Bjorn (between 17 and 20 weeks), but this isn't quite what I was expecting to feel. I was expecting something more like I felt in junior high soccer, when the Man-Girl who went on to play pro ball confused my shins with the soccer ball. You know, a good solid kick that can't be mistaken for anything but a kick. And that's not what this is like at all.

I've tried explaining the feeling to DTB and I'm not sure I'm getting the point across. After all, how can I? There are very few things as odd as having something happen to your body without any aid or warning. Here's what I've come up with:

-You know those rolling massagers that are held in one hand and can be used to roll across someone's back? And when they roll across your back, you can feel as they roll on top of your muscle and then the little lip where it falls off the end of your muscle? Thats what this feels like, but on the inside of your tummy instead of on the outside.
- It feels like a somersault on really, really soft grass. One of those easy somersaults where there is no effort involved. But its as if your stomach (or something in there!!) is doing the easy somersaulting. Barely somersaulting; so softly it is often missed.
- Remember those bubble wands you had as a kid? You would dip the big bubble wand into the jar of bubble and you would get a stream of bubbles. Some would pop automatically, but others were stronger and would stay intact until they floated up to the sun. It feels like Bjorn is blowing bubbles - and some of them are fragile, barely touching the inside of my tummy before popping. Others are strong, and I can feel them rolling across my tummy until they, too, are gone. Its just a faint feeling, because bubbles aren't very heavy. But it's still a feeling.

This all could be just me, being a Preggo and looking for signs of something that 'should be happening' around this time. Or it could really be. I felt the somersaulting/massage rolling strongly last night, so DTB put his hand on my tummy to see if he could feel it. Nothing. Of course, I did have seven-layer dip for dinner (Hey, its got protein, dairy and veggies. Its healthy!), so that could be a reason for the inner-somersaulting. . .