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: Parts 7, 8, & 9 – Pain, Pain, Pain

(My response to Sean’s post about my crazy pregnancy hormones)

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

As if barfing my face off day in and day out was not enough, in about the 6th month of my pregnancy, I began feeling much more like an 85-year-old than a 25-year-old. There were three specific types of physical pain I experienced during my third trimester (hence three parts to this post), but this segment also easily deserves 3/10 of the pregnancy series because these aches were, well, that painful.

7. Back Pain. Like many pregnant women in their third trimester, my lower back began aching quite a bit from the pressure of the baby and from postural changes that occur while growing a babe. I won’t go into detail here about the back pain I experienced during pregnancy, because it actually became a much more significant problem after giving birth (I will blog about my recovery and the few weeks following Caleb’s birth once I complete the pregnancy series).

8. Rib Pain. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I am short and petite. Unfortunately, my body did not recognize that fact as it went about growing a baby. While most other short/petite people (in my experience) grow huge tummies that stick out super far to accommodate the baby (plus their own organs), my tummy grew the positively minimum amount required (in contrast to pretty much every other part of my body). Please reference below a picture of me and my friend, Ally, exactly one month before Caleb was born (we are of a similar height and build, and we were at the exact same point in our pregnancies). You may need to click on the photo and enlarge it to see better, but her belly protrudes a solid4 inches further than mine.

So what? Well, since Caleb was not growing outwards so much, he evicted all my existing organs and wedged himself all up ins my rib cage. There were times when I legitimately questioned if his leg was caught in between two of my ribs. Yes, I realize that is not anatomically correct, but I could swear he was training to be the next karate kid because my ribs felt like they were being used as punching (kicking?) bags. Every time I sat down, I had to lean back and continuously push Caleb downwards to relieve the overwhelming pressure on my ribs. It was incredibly uncomfortable, but nothing compared to the…

9. Pelvic Pain. The other bodily aches were a challenge, but it was the pelvic pain above all else that was the dignity-crushing-clincher of my last trimester. I’m sitting here debating which was worse – the pelvic pain or being terribly sick for all nine months…and really, it’s a toss up. At about 6 months, I developed a condition called pelvic girdle pain (PGP) and I’m not entirely sure why I got it, but two causes of PGP mentioned on wikipedia are “hypermobility, genetical ability to stretch joints beyond normal range” and a “history of pelvic trauma”…which I suppose could both be explained by my cheerleading/dancing days growing up…please reference picture below (both my feet are touching the wall):

Ok actually, as I examine that picture in this moment, I know exactly where the PGP came from, haha!! In any case, it is no doubt the worst (chronic) pain I have ever experienced and certainly the most debilitating. As the pain in my pelvis quickly intensified, I required assistance to stand up, roll over in bed, get out of bed, walk any notable distance, get in and out of a car, and go up and down stairs. Additionally, I developed a sharp shooting pain that would radiate down my right inner thigh at random times while walking…stopping me dead in my tracks for several moments.

For the entire last month of my pregnancy, I slept in our living room recliner because it had become too painful to get in and out of bed (even with assistance), and I could no longer lay on my side (let alone sleep), because the pain was far too intense. Moreover, when I was in labor, the nurse kept making me turn on my side to wake Caleb up (which I had not done in a month), and I am not exaggerating when I say the pain in my pelvis easily matched the pain of the contractions. It’s impossible to describe what the pain was really like, but the best picture I can paint is a feeling like my pelvis was getting dislocated over and over again while simultaneously being crushed by something very heavy (i.e. Caleb).

Do you understand now why I felt like an 85-year-old?? I walked as slow as one, required as much assistance (if not more) as one, lost most of my personal freedom like one, and of course, lost my bladder control like one. It was a very difficult and frustrating situation for me, because I couldn’t do almost anything or go anywhere by myself. It was embarrassing at best. Wikipedia actually describes the psychosocial impact of PGP rather accurately: “PGP in pregnancy seriously interferes with participation in society and activities of daily life; the average sick leave due to posterior pelvic pain during pregnancy is 7 to 12 weeks. In some cases women with PGP may also experience emotional problems such as anxiety over the cause of pain, resentment, anger, lack of self-esteem, frustration and depression; she is three times more likely to suffer postpartum depressive symptoms.”

Well, that was a fatty downer. However, in the spirit of keeping these posts optimistic, I’ll leave you with this encouraging thought: if Sean ever decided to leave engineering, he has more than enough experience to launch a highly successful career as a hospice nurse. Such a well-rounded husband.

The other 9 ways pregnancy crushed my dignity:

Part 1 – Constipation
Parts 2 & 3 – Appetite and Weight Gain
Part 4 – Mourning Sickness
Part 5 – Incontinence
Part 6 – Crazy Hormones
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)