16 Week Update

16 1/2 Weeks Pregnant

I’m nearly 17 weeks along (almost halfway, yay!) and anticipating the reveal of our baby’s sex on March 4th! I’m definitely showing and can feel baby move from time to time. I still get nauseous every now and again, but I am feeling much better at this point (unlike last time, when I was sick the whole darn pregnancy). I think I had a more “normal” experience with morning sickness this time around – I was nauseous often and vomiting about once per day, but none of this seven-times-in-one-day business. Fortunately, this time I usually felt the worst at night, which is when I had Sean’s help with Caleb. In general, I found the morning sickness bearable, and didn’t need to take medicine this time (…could this mean it’s a girl!?!?) I am SO grateful it’s been manageable this time, because I have no idea how I would have survived taking care of a *very* active little boy if I had been as sick as last time. I do know women who have done it and are still alive, though, so I suppose it’s possible 🙂

While the morning sickness has been better this round, I’ve had back pain since my first week of pregnancy (last time I didn’t experience back pain until after giving birth), and the pelvic pain that began during the third trimester last time, began near the end of the first trimester this time. The pain is still at a bearable stage if I limit movement, but I can no longer exercise (even just walking)…unless I want to be immobile and popping tylenol for the rest of the day 🙂 When I spoke with my doctor about it, she unhelpfully said: “hm, that’s bizarre…it’s obviously not due to weight…it’s probably a nerve…are you planning on having more kids?” Ha!

I feel less depressed than last time, largely due to the great support system we have here in Livermore, and all the wonderful “mom friends” I have who can relate to what I’m going through and are so encouraging to me (plus feeling less sick doesn’t hurt either). However, between the physical pain, wacky hormones, and unending exhaustion, I’ve definitely been struggling in all areas (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). I feel extremely unmotivated to do anything beyond the bare essentials, and find myself taking things just one day at a time. I guess I just don’t feel much like “myself” when I’m pregnant. I can’t focus or remember squat, I’m obsessively and frustratingly indecisive, I’m easily irritated, and I have a hard time emotionally connecting with God and others, among other things. I keep reminding myself that this won’t last forever, and will be over before I know it.    …And then I’ll have two kids and different problems 🙂

In more positive news, I’m eating better than last time (and started off 10-15 lbs. lighter at the beginning of this pregnancy, compared with last time), I have not drenched myself in urine, and I have not used a suppository yet…good thing I have 24 more weeks left for such entertaining blog material 😉

In non-pregnancy news, Caleb keeps me on my toes. Although he can be a very sweet boy, he is extremely strong-willed and knows exactly what he wants. He is highly independent, has never exhibited stranger or separation anxiety, has no fear of getting hurt, is always pushing physical limits, and has never cared much for cuddles. He will not take ‘no’ for an answer without a “nuclear meltdown” as we call it, and absolutely cannot comprehend why on earth you would not give him what he wants, if he prefaced it with “please”. I thought this wasn’t supposed to start until kids turned 2!? Such an overachiever. Anyways, instead of giving in, we usually attempt to distract him from such tantrums with absurd tactics such as armpit farting, mooning him, pretending to throw a tantrum ourselves, etc. Hey – if it works, it works…don’t judge.

Here are a few recent stories of typical life with Caleb:

About a month ago, I took Caleb for the first time to the library for toddler story time. It went about as well as I expected…which was an epic fail. He refused to sit down, he kept walking up close to the woman telling the story and blocking the book from everyone, he ran circles around the group, weaved in and out of the table and easels up front (nearly knocking them over), kept going in and out of a storage closet I couldn’t fit into, practically demanded another child’s snack even though he had his own (the kid was Asian, so of course he very politely obliged), and ran out into the library yelling…multiple times. There were about 30 other kids there, and I am not exaggerating when I say he was the only one pulling such shenanigans. All the while, I’m getting hot and nauseous from chasing him around and desperately trying to keep down my breakfast. When we were leaving, Caleb got away from me (yet again), and the librarian said “oh…it’s you.” Haha! I took a pretty awesome nap that afternoon.

Two days later, Caleb made a mad dash straight towards a 45 mph street and got about halfway into it before I could catch him (by God’s grace there weren’t any cars coming at the moment)! I hadn’t cried/hyperventilated so hard since Caleb was an infant and wouldn’t eat…it was a really scary experience. After I wrestled Caleb into his car seat, I spent 10 minutes calming myself down before I could manage the drive home. Of course he just thought it was the most hilarious experience and couldn’t stop laughing! ????????????

More recently we were at a park, when Caleb made a mad dash (darn those mad dashes…the kid is FAST) straight towards a clearly agitated, unleashed dog. Again, I ran as fast as my (pained) body could go, and scooped him up before disaster struck. Seriously? I cannot catch a break! All I can say is hopefully this mad-dash-straight-towards-impending-doom nonsense ends before I’m 8 months pregnant. I swear I’m gonna have a heart attack one of these days!

Though it’s true Caleb is a handful (for which I apparently have myself to thank…my mom says he is just like me when I was his age), he also has many wonderful qualities. For starters, he’s hilarious…and maybe a little OCD. He is always pointing out dirty spots on the carpet or trash outside, and exclaiming “EWWW! GROOOOSSSS!” He’s always asking to dust or vacuum, and I’m telling you, he really gets into it (video included below). Hopefully his fondness towards cleaning lasts until he’s at least 18 🙂 Whenever someone farts, he reliably yells “poop!”, which is pretty funny. He hates wearing clothes (he’s constantly discarding his pants), and loves running around naked after his bath. He’s flirtatious and particularly into blonde-haired girls, and likes to tell them they’re “pretty.” He had his dream come true this Valentine’s day when he was fed chocolate covered strawberries by (blonde) Tanza Lewis, while groping her leg (reference below picture).

Let’s see…whenever he has seen me dry heave or barf, he starts to imitate me. He has an “evil laugh” that inevitably surfaces when he is trying to pull out my earrings. He loves babies, and usually tries to hug and/or kiss them, and becomes very concerned if they are crying. Our friends with dogs know they have to put the dog bowl up before Caleb comes for a play date, because without a doubt, he will flip it. He typically plays very well with other kids, and is especially fond of his friend Isaac. His laugh makes me happy, and in the rare moments he concedes to giving me a hug or kiss, I’m even happier 🙂

10 Ways Pregnancy Crushed My Dignity: Part 4 – Mourning Sickness

If you haven’t yet read the intro to this series, you should do so before reading on for some context.

No, I did not misspell “morning” sickness – I just think the word mourning is a much more appropriate term after vomiting well over 50 times while pregnant. “Mourning” also fits much better because there is nothing exclusively “morning” about morning sickness. I was nauseous in the morning, afternoon, evening, wee hours of the night, and everything in between.

When we discovered I was pregnant, we wanted to announce the news in a creative way as most people like to do. As we generated ideas, Sean entertained the thought of telling people the following:

“Dear friends and family – As many of you know, Melissa has been feeling very sick lately. We went to the doctor last week and they ran some tests. A small growth was discovered in her abdomen and the Dr. believes it is rapidly increasing in size. It is probable that in the next several months, it will grow to be several pounds. It doesn’t need to be removed yet, but will need to be removed in the next 7.5 months or it could become very dangerous to her health. Please pray for us, because this growth is sapping her energy, stealing her best nutrients, making her vomit all the time, causing her to be emotionally unstable, and will completely drain our savings account as time goes on. In other words…we’re pregnant!”

We ultimately decided that kind of announcement was just mean, but throughout my pregnancy, Caleb truly had disturbing similarities to a parasite. After all, the definition of parasite is “an animal or plant that lives in or on another (the host) from which it obtains nourishment. The host is often harmed by it.” Yep, sounds about right.

Most women’s nausea/morning sickness wears off by the second trimester (fortunately), but mine lasted throughout the entire pregnancy…I was still vomiting the week Caleb was born. By the tenth week of my pregnancy, I had thrown up so many times I lost count. Early on, I was quite familiar with “vomiting marathons” as I liked to call them, in which I found myself barfing with almost no breaks in between. These marathons would typically leave my body extremely sore, because apparently upchucking uses every…last…muscle in your body – who knew?? During one such marathon, I actually threw my back out and could barely move because I had heaved so violently and so many times in one night. In fact, at the peak of the marathon insanity, I vomited eight times, yes – eight times, in less than four hours. I had had enough. At this point I was so dehydrated and weak that Sean considered taking me to the hospital. I called my Dr., and she immediately prescribed medication which I then took multiple times a day for the rest of my pregnancy (it was mind-blowingly helpful in ending the vomiting marathons, but still didn’t completely take away the nausea/end the vomiting). I really would have preferred to avoid medication like that, but reasoned it would have most likely been more harmful to Caleb if I had died of starvation/dehydration, ha!

I am trying to keep these blogs funny and light, but here’s where I’ll just be blunt – it was an exceptionally challenging season of life for me. I was scared to go out anywhere, for fear that I would just lose it and barf all over myself, other people, store floors, the car, etc. This fear led me to a life of severe isolation for nine months and made for an incredibly awful experience (there were times I didn’t even leave our apartment for five days straight). Even as I write and reflect back on this season of life now, tears come to my eyes because it was so miserable and depressing.

Fortunately, Cru allowed me to do a lot of work from home and my bosses were super flexible with me and my situation (though I was saddened I couldn’t do more hands-on ministry with the students). However, other normal, basic activities became a daily struggle. I couldn’t get through a shower without nearly losing my latest meal (for whatever reason, taking a shower always brought me to the point of incessant dry heaving…luckily I was always able to get out before it was too late). I couldn’t drive without getting queasy. I couldn’t be around people who wore perfume or used strong laundry detergent (I even had to switch out my own shampoo/conditioner for ones that had a less potent smell). It was difficult to go to other people’s homes/go to the store because I couldn’t handle new, different, and/or powerful smells. The few times I went shopping, I had to hold my breath as much as possible – every time I went to Target I was so embarrassed because I couldn’t keep myself from dry heaving every few minutes (garnering plenty of amused stares!) I couldn’t exercise or clean because both required more movement than my stomach could handle. I couldn’t cook because of the smell. I couldn’t even take “normal” medicine – I had to take a dissolving kind because I would immediately throw up anything needing to be swallowed with water. It was truly an ironic situation; in the course of growing a baby, I felt as useless and helpless as a baby myself. I was forced to rely on Sean (and others) in more ways than I ever had before – it was quite the humbling experience.

Ok, enough of the depressing talk…back to a story we can laugh about now. As you can imagine, the toilet was my best friend throughout my pregnancy. Between blowing chunks, constipation, and peeing constantly, I swear I saw more of the toilet than I saw of Sean. Unfortunately, I wasn’t always so lucky to have my good buddy by my side. Earlier on in my pregnancy (before I knew that driving more than 10 minutes in the car was a high-risk endeavor), Sean and I decided to visit my mom who lived 45 minutes south of us. The entire visit I felt nauseous and terrible, but that had become the norm for me. I became thirsty while there, and helped myself to a lemonade. Mistake #1. It came time to drive home, and as soon as we got on the freeway, that all-too-familiar feeling came over me, but I thought to myself: “I am tired and just want to get home…I can hold it back.” Mistake #2. Cognizant of how often I was vomiting, I had intended to grab some barf bags from my mom’s house before we left. However, as I was desperately holding the barf back, it dawned on me that I had left them on the kitchen table. Mistake #3.

As that horrifying realization swept over me, so did an ample amount of puke…all over the center console, myself, the seat, and the floor. Here’s where mistake #1 comes in – citrus drinks are simply not as good on the way out as they are on the way in…just so you know. My nose was on fire, my throat was on fire, and Sean could barely drive because the sounds and smells were causing him to retch himself. We rolled down the windows and for the next 40 minutes until we got home, Sean and I held our breath hoping neither would lose it and vomit again due to the putrid smell. I was hoping to remain somewhat attractive to my husband during pregnancy, but after marinating in my own throw up for 40 minutes with Sean by my side, I just let that hope die. By the time we pulled up to our apartment, I had the all-too-familiar urge again, and Sean didn’t even have time to park. I jumped out of the car, ran up the stairs to our apartment, and was never more relieved to see my best friend Loo waiting there for me 🙂

The other 9 ways pregnancy crushed my dignity:

Part 1 – Constipation
Parts 2 & 3 – Appetite and Weight Gain
Part 5 – Incontinence
Part 6 – Crazy Hormones
Parts 7, 8, & 9 – Pain, Pain, Pain
Part 10, the Pinnacle – Diarrhomit

Also, read about Caleb’s birth:

Caleb’s Birth Story: Rated PG-13 for Language, Nudity, and Drugs 🙂

And here’s the adventures we had after Caleb’s birth:

Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Hospital (Part 1)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Neighbs (Part 2)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Breastfeeding Blues (Part 3)

Caleb’s Afterbirth – Body Slammed (Part 4)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Am I an Incompetent Parent (Part 5)