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I have officially entered the stage in pregnancy where my body hurts and mostly all I can do about it is cry.  Although I am going to going to see if visiting a chiropractor will help.  And for the record, the second time around is so much harder than the first, you know, cause there’s a toddler demanding what little energy you’ve got.

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of having your child attend your birth.  I’ve read accounts of children Mr. E’s age who’ve done just this.  I’ve never considered it for us though because honestly, I believe it would make me attend to him in ways I simple can’t during labor and thus adversely effect my progress (knowing my son, he would not just let me labor, he’d need to be on top of me through the whole thing).  Nonetheless, I still pondered the idea.

Today confirmed that this would not work for us.  Mr. E had a breakdown, complete with tears, when my midwife took my blood pressure!  We managed to calm him down and explained it did not hurt me.  Next was listening to the baby’s heart, which A wanted to hear, we did our best to keep him relaxed so they did not have to leave.  He protested a little, but was caught in awe when he heard the heart and we told him, that’s the baby. Still unsure, he asked me to “close my shirt” which means pull it back down.  And so the heart listening was over.

Any thoughts I ever had of him attending have when squashed.

I compose so many posts in my head.  In the space between showering and laundry, wiping runny noses and cooking, between brushing my teeth and laying my head to rest at night.  There is so much I want to write.  But for some reason, the thought of logging in here and putting fingers to keys seems like too much work.

At twenty-two weeks I am feeling a bit down.  Somewhere around 20 weeks the morning sickness subsided.  Still sometimes I over do it and get knocked down.  I almost got a pregnancy pick me up last week when I start to feel movement.  With an anterior placenta, I have waited longer this time to feel anything.  And even now it’s rare.

Mostly, though, bringing this baby into the world is so preoccupied with the daily care of a two year old, that we often forget that she’s coming in 3 and a half months.  I have yet to take a belly shot, buy anything, or even start to look through what we’ve already got.  We’re blessed, of course to have another baby.  But last time around, well it was just so very different and exciting.  And I feel we’re already treating this one as “the second child.”  I am the second child in my family, I know how crummy it is not to have a baby book, far fewer photographs, and so on.  I swore I wouldn’t be that parent.

With three and a half months, we have yet to decide if we’ll hire a doula this time.  I’ve sort of got one that I’ve verbally asked, but we’re trying to decide if we need her.  My midwife will be with us for the entire labor and will offer labor support.  And has assured me she supports my birth plans.  Paying extra is not really in our budget.  Yet, my doula was my savior last time.  I am certain I would have ended up with a very different birth, full of interventions I did not want, had I not had a doula.

My little Mr. E gets that there’s a baby sister in my belly and that she will some day come out just like he did.  We’ve shown him pictures while pregnant with him and also the pictures of his birth.  He will gently touch my belly, and say “hi sister.”  This is all very new, as just a couple of weeks ago talk of the impending baby brought silence or tears.  He talks about how the baby will have Mommy’s milk, just like he did.  Another huge milestone!

He has no idea how his world is about to crumble around him, and I have no idea how to really prepare him, and I feel pretty rotten about the whole thing. He is, he will always be, very needy, I’ve decided.  He’s gained lots of independence in recent months, but sharing his Mommy and Mama, is still not something that comes easy.

I know our challenge is not new.  I know we’ll all come out on the other side, and we’ll have an amazing family, but in these days of pregnancy, these last months of having one child receiving my undivided attention, it’s hard to imagine how we’ll all change.  And truthfully, I am not just worried about him; I am terrified to be a stay at home mother to two children.  One seems like a piece of cake when I think about adding another.

I’ve got so much more swirling in my head, most of which I don’t want to write about, I am hoping it’s pregnancy hormones and once my body returns to normal, my thoughts will too.

When pregnant the first time we wanted the sex of our baby to be a surprise and we waited till birth. It was truly amazing to have that experience.

This time, I assumed we’d do the same. Both times, A wanted to find out. She convinced me that we should find out and I decided a little mid-pregnancy pick-me-up was in order since I am still sick! Also, I was having a hard time bonding with this baby given that I run after a toddler all day. And the constant sickness has made me pretty miserable and hating being pregnant.

So we had out anatomy scan two days ago and we are having……. a GIRL!

We are so thrilled! We almost didn’t get to find out because her legs were crossed and she was not budging, but on the tech’s last attempt she opened them and we all saw it at once. I knew what to look for and as I saw the three lines she excitedly exclaimed “it’s a girl!”  It’s a moment I’ll never forget!

Today I am home from work for what I am calling a physical health day. You’ve heard of mental health days? Well today I am home taking care of my pregnant self because I stupidly over did it yesterday. I don’t regret our decision to travel into NYC for the day to catch up with and meet so many of our fellow blog buddies, but if I had it to do again, I would do it differently. Pre-pregnancy I was a go go go go go go type of person. I could push and push and do ridiculous things (like spend 11 hours in a car in one day). You could also call this stubbornness. But now that I am growing a human and have physical needs, not to mention nutritional needs, I just can’t keep that pace. And when I try to keep my old pace, I end up as I was this morning, feeling hung over and run over by a truck, and certainly not capable of going to work and being productive. So I emailed in sick.

We did have a really great time in the City yesterday. We also learned it’s not a day trip. This was only my third time ever to NYC! I’ve never been a big fan of cities – they are too big and overwhelming to me. Yesterday it was really nice to be in the company of so many folks who knew their way around, which made the whole experience so much easier and fun.

We’ve meet several of our blog friends in the past, but I’ve never met so many at once or gathered with that many at once. It was so wonderful to sit and talk in person to people I’ve been talking to on-line for two plus year and to meet some new folks (my bloglines has already been updated…). It was so comfortable and I felt like I already knew these people and yet, in most cases, it was only our first meeting. I wish we had been able to spend more time together. The suggestion that we rent out a floor at a hotel for the weekend next year was genius…(not sure who to credit here) but I second the motion.

On to other ramblings about my life (sometimes I am amazed people read my blog). You’ve read me bitch a lot lately about people always leaving this area for greener pastures and most recently about how we too will jump on that band wagon. Well today another good friend bites the dust. He’ll be moved out of here in two to three weeks. He’s moving on to a truly amazing opportunity that would never present itself here and that will position he and his wife to move forward in creating their family. But he is probably my closet friend here, and just another in a long line of close friends to leave. I am sad he won’t be around for Moon’s arrival. And sad in general that he’ll be gone. I am so happy for him though.

Now I am off to try to be semi productive since I am at home and there are lots of house hold things I could be doing…

One of the things I love most about the fall is my desire to spend weekends in the kitchen cooking with our farm veggies or baking just about anything. This year I’ve taken to cooking multiple dishes at once. Maybe I am up for a greater challenge, or want to spend more time cooking, or it could be that we bought a full farm share instead of a half this year so we have twice as many veggies to work with every week! Last night I began to formulate a plan for everything I wanted to make today.

My day started when my alarm sounded at 6:30am so I could get up and drive our host student to the bus station, while that may sound early, the truth is I would have been awake by 7:00 naturally. I tried to crawl back into bed upon returning home, but I was so hungry that I lasted just a few minutes. A was also getting up. She started the coffee and I made apple oat pancakes. They were so yummy and we topped them with the spiced pumpkin butter we bought on our get away to NH a few weeks ago.

After breakfast I headed to the store to pick up a few ingredients. Once home I began my marathon cooking session. I baked pumpkin chocolate chip bread and zucchini bread (to take with us to the blog partay in NYC tomorrow) as well as potato leek soup and a Moroccan veggie dish. I peeled, cut, shredded, processed, etc. for five hours! I used to be able to stand in the kitchen for hours on end but today I moved a stool into the kitchen to sit on – and my legs still hurt from when I had to stand. At one point I was so tired I knew I should stop cooking, but since I had everything going at once, there was no backing out. I am exhausted from my day…I’m sure tonight will be an early night, which is really okay since we’ll be getting up at 6:00am tomorrow to start our trip to NYC.

If I have any energy left on Monday night, there are more veggies I could work with…really I think I will be happy when the crops end this year…

p.s. the foliage seems to have peaked in the last day or so. I had hoped to get out and take a lot of pictures today, but didn’t end up with the energy once I was done cooking. I managed to take a few pics and they are up on Flickr. Here’s one of my favorites:

A while back I was given a trunk full of hand-me-down maternity clothes in all sizes. These clothes have gone a long way in keeping me dressed while not breaking our bank. Some of them fit great, others not so much, and others I will grown into. The trunk was a huge blessing! But what I was missing were pajamas. There was one pair of pj pants in the trunk. I’ve been wearing those pants and big shirts to bed (and believe me I tried to wear pre preg pjs, and they were too tight). But as my belly is growing the pants are getting a little, shall we say, snug. And my belly hangs out of the one bed shirt that still fits me, so I often wake with a cold belly. I’ve searched everywhere for maternity pjs lately and just when I was starting to think I am the only pregnant women who sleeps, I found a pair of reasonably priced pjs at Ol.d Na.vy. I am sitting in them right now and I am in heaven. When you’re pregnant you tend to forget what it’s like to have comfortable clothes that fit you. Right now I don’t even feel like I am in maternity clothes! It’s so wonderful.

And totally unrelated…

I’ve been having the best conversations with Nephew #1 lately. We’ve talked on the phone twice this week. The last time being tonight. When I answered the first thing he asked was “Where is A?” That’s always his first question. Then he went on to tell me: grampy is picking up pizza for dinner, and baby brother is sleeping in his seat, and he went to play group today, and then he asked how I was doing (fine and you I ask back), he replies, I’m doing okay. Then he states over and over to who ever would listen “I’m talking to E.” I can’t get over how well he is talking and how engaged he is over the phone.

Two days ago I was looking at a calender for 2008 and plotting out when I’d return to work if I delivered at 38, 40, or 42 weeks- which are all well within the range of what’s to be expected. Now granted when I go back to work I will then leave my job on June 15th when my “contract” is up and we move across the state. Once there, everything is a big question mark.

But back to me looking at the calender. I realized how sad I was at the thought of going back to work, even for 6 to 8 weeks. I’ve been telling myself – and everyone else that once we move I’ll mostly be a SAHM, while I work a very flexible and part time gig with my Dad. Child care will be provided by my SIL and/or my hours will be worked around A’s work schedule in effort to avoid day care. My Dad has gone so far as to say, just bring the baby to work. Which I would not do with regularity because I know I’d get nothing done.

Those feelings of sadness were eased by knowing that when I do return to finish the school year A will be home with the baby and that we know for certain that Moon will be home with one of us from birth till through August, at least. I am truly thankful for that. But for the first time I began to accept the reality that I have no idea if I’ll be able to stay home. I am cozily balled up in my fantasy of staying home while A works. But the truth is, we have no idea what our life and financial situation will be after we move. The  unknow has let me carry out this dream of being a SAHM and I’ve begun to truly believe it will happen. I know we will do anything with in our power to make it happen, but that may not be enough.

I find myself incredibly jealous of women who can easily make the choice to stay home. By this I mean those who have the financial resources. The privilege. I remember telling my mom I waned to stay home (back before the plan to relocate, which does make staying home more attainable) and she knew that in our current situation we’d never make it after giving up half our income. And she kind of gave me the are you crazy look? Yet, she and my Dad still scoff at how my brother and SIL put their son in day care at 17 months since they didn’t need to.

If I get to stay home we’ll be living on a shoe string. But I’ll be with our baby. That is what we both want. We don’t have anything against day care, and do respect that each family makes a decision that is best for them. We think avoiding day care is best for us. This is a huge shift for me. When we first started ttc I never imagined I’d stay home, let alone want to stay home. The shift came after all the pain and effort it took for us to conceive. Through that process I began to want this baby more than I ever imagined possible.

Before conceiving my career path was my priority. And I am at cross road where if I want to strategically advance my career now is the time to make the next move. But our journey lead me to this desire to spend every possible moment with the baby. I do think the challenges we faced drives this shift. At the same time, our expanding family unit shifted our priorities to wanting to live in close proximity to family. In embracing this, I have essentially decided to put my career in the back seat (maybe even the third row). There are no where near as many opportunities for me where we are relocating to. Yet, I couldn’t be happier about providing our child with the opportunity to grow up with his or her cousins, aunt & uncle, grandparents, and many other extended family members.

We have no idea how this will all play out. I am holding on to the hope that I will stay home and we’ll just find a way to make it work, and I am working on accepting that my dreams of being a SAHM may not turn out just as I expect them to.

I learned today how deeply in denial my boss is about the fact that I will going out on maternity leave in three months. I have been pushing her since August to start making a plan to cover my leave. I’ve given her lots and lots of creative ideas to cover the various facets of my job in my absence. We last talked about it a month ago and at that time we had half a plan that we wanted to present to some folks but she wanted to see if she could secure some extra money to pay my co-workers who will take on much of the work. She thought money would soften the blow…

Over the last month she’s been busy, or out of the office for various reasons so she and I have not been meeting with any regularity.  Everyone is asking me what the plan is. I keep replying I don’t know, which is true. And this is beginning to make some people very nervous, especially those I supervise (two full time employees and 10 students). We met today and in that meeting I brought up the need to solidify a plan. Her face turned white in horror as she realized she had completely forgotten I am going on maternity leave and she realized she hadn’t done anything in the last month to move forward in making a plan! D.e.n.i.a.l………………………………………

So we’re back to square one.  At this point I think she’s moved into crisis mode and wants to gather my staff and the three other people that do the same job as me in a day long retreat to make a plan. Um, this is what I’ve been asking for for several months. But of course, she won’t have time to do this for another two or three weeks, because well, we’re all really busy, and over worked, and this is how the planning slipped through the cracks in the first place.

I have stopped caring. I can’t stress about it any more. I have done more than enough to ensure there is a plan in place and at this point I need to give it up and hope she follows through. I’ll keep getting my office ready and making all the notes I’ve been making about how everything is done. But other than that I can’t worry about it any more. I need to shift my energy onto all the things A and I have left to do in our personal lives before the baby arrives.

I had a much better day at work today and managed to sort through all the notes on my desk and make a plan for catching up. It’s amazing what I can get done when I shut my office door! And maybe there is some truth to pregnancy hormones…

Question. Is it possible for the baby to have flipped head down? Something happened today and it all feels different, so I thought maybe the baby flipped, but it seems kinda early…

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