“Never Have I Ever” Pregnancy Edition

Pregnancy takes a toll on your body where you experience changes that only occur during your 9 month baby cooking period.  Some changes can be mind blowing where you’re unsure whether or not it’s worthy to mention at your gynecologist visits.  Sometimes women worry about these changes that it can be a bit embarrassing to share with anyone.  Your body is reacting to your growing child as organs are being pushed around and your chemical balance is off due to your hormones.  But it’s part of life- there’s nothing wrong with these body changes.  These changes may be things that you never went through in life.  So these are my “never have I ever” experiences as my body has been changing these past few months.  Some are embarrassing, others are just changes I’m experiencing- you decide.

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Never have I ever had really bad constipation… When I first found out I was pregnant, I was having bad constipation for almost 5 days.  My husband told me to either take medicine for constipation or take a pregnancy test.  Lo and behold, the white pee stick showed 2 blue lines to confirm I was pregnant.  Throughout these past 8.5 months, I’ve been having periods of having constipation and diarrhea (not at the same time) which made my trips to the bathroom very uncomfortable and long.  My bowl movements are regular now (TMI), but it was a weird phase that I was going through during all trimesters.

Never have I ever been a noisy person while sleeping… Up to now, I hate sleeping next to a person who snores heavily (I can’t speak on behalf of my husband because I’m stuck with him for life).  Obviously, I can’t control people’s sleeping habits but the only reason for this is because my Dad was (and still is) the loudest snorer I know.  People have pet peeves that gets under their skin and mine is loud snorers.  Funny with this is now I’ve become that person!  Though this has become a recent development in the past month, I never thought of myself as a heavy snorer.  Yes I breathe deeply when I sleep, but nothing too annoying that would keep my husband up.  But now the tables have turned where he even wakes up to the strange noises coming out of me.  One time I dozed off on the couch while watching cartoons with my daughter.  I woke up a few minutes later with my daughter gone and the tv a bit louder.  I figured it was my loud snores that drove her away to another room.

Never have I ever enjoyed eating a pickle… I hated pickles growing up- the smell and taste would just gross me out.  Some of my friends were obsessed with pickles to the point that they would drink the pickle juice straight from the jar (gag me).  If my meals came with pickles in it or on the side, I would request not to have it or simply put it on the side for someone else to enjoy.  I don’t know why it’s a stereotypical question people ask when you’re pregnant if you like/dislike pickles.  I’ve had people ask me this question for both pregnancies where I was disgusted by them in the first one and I don’t mind them in this second one.  I had this debate with my husband where he says, “you like pickles” and I rephrase it by saying, “I don’t mind eating pickles”.  It’s pretty much a he said, she said when it comes to pickles but I really don’t mind eating them at all.  We don’t eat pickles at home so it becomes a treat whenever I have it served on a plate.  I’m not going to go out of my way to buy a jar, but it’s a nice addition to my meal whenever I see one.

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Is a “Push Gift” a Real Thing?

I received a text from my Dad asking me if my Mom would like a certain gift for Mother’s Day.  The text had a link and as I clicked on it, the idea of a “push gift” came into my mind.  I first heard about this from my cousin who delivered her 2nd child last Fall.  I look at this as a celebrity trend since they’re the ones who make this a buzz in the media (ahem, Kim Kardashian West), but I never thought it was a real thing.  I haven’t talked to other mothers about a “push gift”, but isn’t the greatest gift after pregnancy the little person that you’ve brought into this world?

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Picture from InstaFather.com webpage

I guess the concept behind the “push gift” is really a congratulations reward for what you and your body have just achieved.  No one said pregnancy, labor and delivery, and motherhood is easy, but it does have its greatest moments.  So I guess it makes sense to reward yourself with a nice little gift.  After all, everyone showers baby with gifts- not for mom.  Plus, who doesn’t love receiving gifts that put a smile on your face?  So now the wheels are churning in my head and I’m brainstorming on a “push gift” even though I know my husband will not go for it.  Only reason why I say this is because my husband is terrible at giving gifts that fall out of the traditional gift giving season.  Well, the only unexpected gift he gave me was my engagement ring.  But aside that, he struggles in the gift giving department.

What could I even ask for?  I’ve been selfless in taking care of myself for the sake of the baby these past 8 months.  It has been a tough road, but I’m finally at peace with my past struggles and look forward to the debut of my Baby Boy.  The one thing I’m definitely looking forward to is a nice cold beer post baby.  But I wouldn’t expect my husband to take me out on a drinking binge because first, I’m a lightweight and second, I’m a very cheap date.  So I wouldn’t want that for a gift.  If I’m looking for something tangible, then I have a few ideas up my sleeves.

Mini Crossbody Bag – Kate Spade New York (pictures from Nordstrom website)

I remember one of my first splurges post college was a Kate Spade wallet and an iPhone cell phone case.  I’m a huge fan of her collection and I absolutely love the simplicity of her handbags and wallets.  I usually switch my purses when the seasons change from summer to fall.  Now with Baby Boy on the way, I know my arms will be tied down with the baby, stroller and a baby bag when I’m on the go.  But I still need my own bag to hold my things such as my wallet, phone, keys, and some other small trinkets.  These 2 convertible cross body bags (Small Emerson Lane – Ryley on left; Cobble Hill – Mini Ella on right) look perfect for what I will need.  Plus the color selection is perfect for summer.

Watch – Fitbit vs. Skagen (pictures from Nordstrom website)

I remember being in love with my periwinkle Baby G Shock watch back in the day.  I thought Baby G watches were awesome because they were water and shock resistant, it had multiple functions (ie: time, date, timer, stopwatch, etc.) and it glowed in the dark.  How can you not love something like that?  Baby G watches are still around but I think the army of Fitbit-like watches have taken over.  These watches have revolutionized people’s awareness of their daily activities including any work out regimen.  I’m interested in this Fitbit watch to help me focus on losing the baby weight which I’m hoping will naturally happen through breastfeeding.  Plus I have 6 months to shed the baby weight in order to wear a Matron of Honor dress in the fall.  Maybe this watch will help aide me into working out which is not my strong suit at all.  If I don’t go this route, then a traditional watch will do.  I bought my husband and I Skagen watches a couple of years ago.  The face of my watch shattered last year and I’ve been searching for a new one to replace it.  Maybe this will be the year to get a new Skagen watch.

Compact Camera – Canon vs. Nikon

 

I’ve loved taking pictures since I was a little kid.  Capturing raw moments with a click of a button always fascinated me.  A picture is worth a thousand words, but snapping the right one makes it meaningful and worth while.  I’ve owned a bunch of cameras since my senior year of high school where a majority of them were either a Canon or Nikon.  I always wanted to pursue photography as a hobby or side job, but never had a chance to develop the desire to its full potential.  I’m done with taking photos on my smartphone- everything is over filtered and always looks grainy.  I know there are apps to adjust this all, but I want the real thing.  I’m not a camera enthusiast who understands the terminology that makes one camera “better” than the other.  I just want a compact camera that takes crisps pictures, has great video quality recording at 1080p and has wifi connection so I can immediately share my pictures to the virtual world.  For now, I will seek out the Canon PowerShot G7X  which is a beloved camera in the Youtube community.  Or I will wait for the new Nikon Coolpix A900 which comes out at the end of the month.  All I know is that once Baby Boy is born, I’d rather be taking crisp photos of him on a camera rather on my phone.  I’ve been dropping that sucker a lot lately so I don’t want his first accident to be of me accidentally having my phone slip out of my hands.

If all else fails, then a makeup shopping spree will do the trick!  Mother’s Day is around the corner- maybe I can get 3 gifts next month?  Mother’s Day gift, a “push gift” and a newborn baby sounds like May will be my favorite month of the year.

It’s the “I Will” Mentality

Since the end of January, I’ve been receiving my 17p shots weekly and have become best friends with the nurse who administers them to me.  In our brief 10-15 minute interaction, she’s very cheerful and uplifting with comforting words that everything will be OK with Baby Boy as he continues to grow.  She usually ends our interaction by saying, “see you next week and let’s make it to 36 weeks.”  I respond by saying, “hopefully I make it to then.”  She corrects me by saying, “not hopefully- it’s ‘I will make it to 36 weeks.'”

This past week was another bump in the road where all good feelings at being 32 weeks pregnant went down the drain.  First, I was laid off from my job on Monday due to my project being shut down indefinitely (I work in the construction industry by the way).  Secondly, my doctor told me on Tuesday that I barely have a cervix where it was measured at around 1 cm.  He didn’t want to induce me into labor, but wanted to send me to the hospital to be on bedrest for 2 weeks.  I convinced him I should be fine at home where he directed me to relieve all “mommy duties” to my husband and stay off of my feet completely.  Through these recent “downs”, I feel like I should’ve more upset with all of this.  Instead, I found comfort in the clarity of it all.

Throughout this pregnancy, I don’t think I’ve been true to myself and how I’ve been feeling this entire time.  It’s always “yeah, I’m hanging in there” or “yeah, I’m feeling fine” when really it’s something entirely different.  My biggest fear since the beginning of this pregnancy was to become a statistic of having multiple high risk pregnancies.  I convinced myself that I’m not meant to carry children to full term because of my past and present complications which are unexplainable.  These natural worries and anxieties made me feel that I couldn’t make it past 28 weeks because I thought my body was rejecting all the medicine I’ve been taking.  These feelings have surfaced throughout my pregnancy, but surprisingly this wasn’t my breaking point even after losing my job and knowing my Baby Boy might be coming very early.  I was definitely upset after losing my job, but felt better after talking to my boss in person as to understanding the situation of my project.  Losing my job wasn’t a decision based on performance, rather it’s the nature of the industry I work in.  Being told that my body is getting ready to deliver Baby Boy was no news to me at all.  I’ve been preparing myself for this since February when my cervix was being monitored and measured on a weekly basis.  So what has helped me get through these moments?  It was last Saturday while begrudgingly watching morning cartoons, I looked at my phone and my Periscope app popped up with a notification titled “20 Day Morning Meditation Day 7”.

At a young age, I was a spiritually active person finding direction and purpose in the Catholic church through prayer and worship.  I was involved in a prayer group that my parents joined in the last ’90s where they are still active till this day.  Once I went to college, my religious upbringing was quickly extinguished as I started to explore and understand other people’s views on life and their purpose.  Whenever I talk to my parents, they always remind me to pray and ask for the Lord’s guidance which I clearly don’t listen to.  Like them, I believe in the power of prayer but not as a way to talk to God.  I needed something to help me clear my mind and remove all my worries and anxieties that I’ve built up.  I didn’t want to follow an institution that would tell me what to do or how to pray.  Rather, I just wanted to find my center, refocus and recharge myself after not going or believing in the Church for the past 10 years.  I always had a hard time focusing during prayer.  I could never tune out the noise in my brain in order to listen to what my mind and body is saying.  I could never remove the feeling of being aware of my surroundings when really I just needed to focus on myself.  All of this changed when I listened to that 20 minute meditation series.

Listening to that Saturday morning meditation definitely prepared me for what was to come on that following Monday and Tuesday with my news.  Breathing deeply  through my nose and out of my mouth helps me calm my nerves and remove my anxieties that might pop up during the day.  I stay focused on my intentions of the day whether if it’s to complete tedious tasks on the computer or work on my blog.  I remind myself to let go of my worries and enjoy every present moment I have in the remaining weeks of my pregnancy.  I tell myself to say “I will” with everything I do.  The “I will/I can do” attitude helps me get through the day even though all of this has happened in the past 7 days.  I have to say that it’s been a while since I’ve felt clarity and peace during hard times.  I think all of these events have put perspective into my life’s meaning which is to enjoy the present.  Don’t worry about the future because it hasn’t happened yet.  Stop, look and savor the moment.  In just a few weeks, I will get to enjoy being a parent to 2 healthy children.  I will get to see my Baby Boy grow healthy in my arms and see him change my world.  Just writing this brings me tears of joy because it’s going to happen.  My heart is full of happiness to know that this is all going to happen.  I finally feel free of my worries.

Feeling Blessed & Fabulous

Since my husband and I moved last summer, it’s been a while since I’ve felt the power of extended family love and support which was showcased towards my growing family over Easter weekend last week.  Not only did we celebrate Easter at my parents’ house (which has been traditional for the past 20+ years), but my parents, sister and husband put together a nice baby shower for me and Baby #2.

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Picture taken by my sister (iPhone 6s plus photo quality)

Growing up in north New Jersey as long as I can remember, I’ve always been surrounded by my family members where if ever I needed something, I could ask them for help and vice versa.  Not only do I have my immediate 2 parents and 1 sister, but I also have 8 parents and 11 brothers and sisters (not including my cousin’s significant others).  It was hard to say “goodbye” to what we had when my husband and I decided to move over an hour away from it all.  It’s not like we moved to a different state or across the country, but we’re both used to being around family who were no more than 20 minutes away.  Especially with Baby #2, our immediate and extended family have become so important to us now more than ever.  We’ve shared our hospital “scare” to our family and they’ve been sending us their prayers and support in hopes that Baby #2 continues to grow to full term.  It has been an emotional ride since my hospital “scare” where I’ve been paying more attention to my body and taking it slowly at home and wherever I go.  I love resting during the day, but hate being told to do so.  Yet it’s a great reminder (with good intentions) that I should be taking care of myself and Baby #2.

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Photo credit: Jim Sewastynowicz Photography & Design

Baby #2 (which is a BOY by the way) has received amazing gifts from family.  We immediately received our crib, crib sheets and stroller after our hospital “scare” and we’ve been ready for him since then.  This little guy has received a TON of clothes in which I’m still getting used to seeing a plethora of blues and greens.  It’s funny that when my husband and I worked on the registry, I told myself to add the essentials and update the baby items we used during my daughter’s time.  Yet the majority of things we received are new clothes (which we obviously need), but not much essentials like bottles, breastfeeding pieces, pack n’play, etc.  I guess those items will come in due time even though the clock is ticking- I have 8 weeks left till this baby comes out.

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Photo credit: Carlos Tanseco

In short, I’m very grateful for my family and all their support thus far.  They may not be 20 minutes away, but their love is definitely felt in our household.  I have 8 weeks left in my pregnancy and my doctor is hoping I can last the next 4 weeks.  Once I turn 36 weeks, I will let the powers of the Universe decide the time of my son’s birth.  My medicine will end by then and I will (probably) be ready to get him out of me.  His non stop kicks, punches and pushes make it harder for me to sit in a chair, walk from room to room and relax in bed.  But he will be all worth it!

It’s Time For An Update

Two weeks flies by when you work from home while pregnant.  The morning routine includes waking up in a rush to relieve your full bladder then scuffling around to get your 7 year old ready for school with a packed lunch and completed homework.  Once she’s out of the door, the day becomes a blurr until 4PM when she arrives home from school.  Dinner, homework and bath time ends the night knowing you repeat this process all over again in the morning.  It’s all mundane, but it keeps me off of my feet which is what the doctor intentionally wants for me.  Yeah right- you can’t keep me from doing anything all day!  If you know me well enough, I can’t sit still for more than 30 minutes (unless I’m watching a Food Network/Cooking Channel program).

multitasking

Since my trip to the hospital 2 weeks ago, I’ve been trying my best to work and live life from my bed or couch while resting (horizontally) as much as possible.  Whenever I’m not resting, the baby will kick in odd places of my belly demanding I lie down for a bit.  Oddly enough, it makes a big difference to rest while baby calms down his/her kicks.  When I prep any meal of the day, I sit on a bar stool while listening to music or watching tv to keep my mind occupied.  My daughter has become my handy little helper as my belly continues to grow.  She helps me with chores around the house when really I’m just directing her to pick things up or get something for me while I’m sitting down.  I say to her, “Mommy can’t do certain things, so I need you to be a great big sister and help me.”  She usually follows my orders knowing she’ll get a nice reward afterwards.

I’ve become more aware of my body and what it’s saying especially when something doesn’t feel right.  If something bothers me or doesn’t feel right, I tell my husband which in turn he tells me to call the doctor if it gets worse.  My doctor has doubled the amount of hydroxyprogesterone that I take: I receive a shot weekly and insert suppositories daily.  During one of my doctor’s visits for my 17p shot, I was experiencing a rather sharp pain protruding out of my belly button.  The skin was very hard and I wasn’t sure if the baby was trying to come out or not.  It felt like inconsistent cramping and was hoping it wasn’t early signs of contractions.  I mentioned this to the nurse who was giving me my shot.  She said, “It’s the baby turning around; maybe it’s his/her head or butt that’s right on your belly button.”  She assured me that it was normal and felt relieved because the pain went away once I got home.  But still, I make sure to listen to baby and my body whenever anything feels wrong.

These third trimester feelings are all new to me since I didn’t go through this final stage with my daughter.  I try to stay in good spirits so that I don’t stress the baby and myself.  I thoroughly enjoy working from home because I get to spend more quality time with my husband.  We talk more about the baby and play around with potential names.  We finally finished our baby registry even though we won’t be having a baby shower.  My husband and I agreed that it’s important that I rest as much as possible.  He wants to make sure the baby makes it to 40 weeks.  He really has stepped up his game and putting me and the baby in front of everything he deals with.  I respect him more whenever we make decisions on any matter regarding me, the baby and our growing family.  He’s a great father to begin with and will become a better one once our little one makes his/her entrance into the world.

Wait You’re Sending Me Where?!

Oh man, yesterday’s post felt too good to be true [click here to read].  I was on cloud 9 after publishing my accomplishment to making it to my third trimester.  The baby has been healthy in my belly and has been actively kicking at odd hours of the day.  I’ve been feeling good- no cramping, distress, or any unforeseen symptoms as I enter my third trimester.  But how I feel may not be the same as how my body is acting.  Last night was my first “emergency” trip to be evaluated at the hospital.

Yesterday was another ordinary weekly routine to my doctor’s office where the nurse weighs me, tests my urine sample, and records my blood pressure before I see the ultrasound technician and doctor.  The technician takes a look at the baby plus measures my cervix via transvaginal ultrasound.  We both were in shock when the measurement of my cervix showed 1.8 cm on the screen.  She asked me if her eyes were playing with her and I said “no, I see the same number you see right now”.  Once the doctor saw me, she had a different tone of voice where she sounded very concerned and highly alert of the situation that has presented itself.  She told me I have to go to the hospital immediately for further monitoring of the baby where I could be experiencing contractions that I’m unaware of.  She also said I will receive additional medicine to prevent the baby from coming early.  Since I do have a history of premature delivery, she wants to make sure that this baby stays in me as long as possible.

I texted my husband a “911” message in which he went straight into “labor mode” and packed items that I would need in case I had to stay the night.  Once I arrived to the Antenatal Unit at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, I changed into a hospital gown and was hooked up to a baby monitor while filling out registration forms.  The Labor & Delivery doctor was expecting me and also practices at the OBGYN group I go to, so it was nice to see a familiar face.  He checked the baby monitor and could tell I wasn’t having contractions (that’s good news).  Bad news was that he prescribed more medication for me as if the baby was going to arrive in the upcoming days.  He administered a steroid which would help develop the baby’s lungs at a faster pace (meaning, when the baby comes, his/her lungs will be developed 2 weeks in advance).  In addition to my hydroxyprogesterone shots, I would also take the suppository version which has shown positive effects to preventing early deliveries.  Also, I’ve been given direct orders to start working from home.  The doctor doesn’t want me to be active at all and just take it easy at home.  It’s not necessarily bed ridden, but limit my activity to a minimum as much as possible.

I’m home now and am still in shock with what occurred last night.  The idea of being a mom who’s medical history includes multiple premature deliveries scares me.  Not only the steps to prevent the early deliveries scare me, but everything that comes after the birth is just a roller coaster ride that I’m not sure I’m ready for physically, emotionally and psychologically.  I find myself crying with such a heavy heart.  It’s draining to think that my body can’t handle pregnancy.  I sometimes ask myself, “Should my husband and I have just stopped after having one kid?”; “If I do delivery prematurely, is this punishment or a cruel joke that the Universe has bestowed upon me?”; “Am I worthy to bring a child into the world if complications come along with it?”  These are such harsh thoughts that have become my reality.  I honestly don’t know of anyone who has gone through this.  I think I need more than just my blog to share my emotional turmoil.  And, I’m not even speaking on my behalf; I can’t imagine what my husband is going through.

Our first premature delivery tested our relationship as friends and parents before we became husband and wife.  If I go into an early delivery the second time around, I think this pregnancy will test our strength and trust in each other knowing we’ve been through this before.  But we already have a child to worry about this time around.  My daughter is still shaken after seeing me at the hospital.  She was very concerned, but reminded her sibling to stay in mommy’s belly forever.  I’m hoping this little shake will pass so we can enjoy the joys of a third trimester pregnancy.  For now, all I can do is rest and take it easy.

Hello Third Trimester!

I made it 28 weeks pregnant: hello third trimester!  This may not sound like an important accomplishment, but this small milestone takes a special place in my heart.

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When I was pregnant with my daughter, my due date was February 11, 2009.  On the eve of November 20, 2008, I was experiencing cramps that were consistent (pretty much contractions).  My husband (then boyfriend at the time) was living in Florida and we would talk every night aimlessly about anything when really we just missed each others presence.  That night was no different except for the cramps which kept me up all night while on the phone with him.  I went to the bathroom and found blood in my urine.  He suggested I take an aspirin and call the doctor in the morning.  It wasn’t the best advice and thank goodness I didn’t listen to him.  I decided to call 911 and 30 minutes later, I was picked up by an ambulance and taken to the hospital that was a short 3 blocks away from my apartment.  I was taken into the emergency room and then quickly admitted into the hospital at 3 inches dialated.

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Between 2-7 AM, it was such a blur of frantic activity where multiple doctors and nurses talked to me about attempting to prevent an early delivery and the risks that could potentially occur if things don’t go smoothly.  I was all alone, by myself, throughout the night and had no one with me during this very emotional time.  I remember calling my parents telling them I was in the hospital and the doctors anticipated I would deliver my little angel within 24-48 hours.  I was hoping they’d be by my side within an hour because I was such a hot mess.  It wasn’t until 9AM they strolled into my room with big smiles knowing that they would be grandparents soon.  I was in constant communication with my husband and was relieved to find out he was on the next flight out of Florida to New Jersey.  I was slowly calming down from my nerves as the news spread among my family and friends and they started sending me their well wishes.  My husband landed at Newark Airport before 3PM and made it by my bedside as I was prompted for my first push around 4:30PM.  Less than 30 minutes later, I delivered a very tiny, but healthy, baby girl weighing 2 lbs 13 ounces and 15 inches in length.  She had her own medical team who took her vitals and prepped her for the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).

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The hours and days after my delivery were filled with a lot of emotion and uncertainty.  It was tough to leave the hospital and head home to an empty apartment without my baby girl.  It took a while for me to accept what I couldn’t control which was leaving my daughter behind in the hospital.  But I was assured that she was being taken care of by the best nurses and doctors who wanted her to grow a little longer before heading home.  She stayed in the hospital for 2 months where my husband and I were constantly by her side in the NICU.  We shared stories, laughter and our concerns as she laid in her incubator hooked up to multiple life monitors.  She came home in January 2009 where parenting really began for my husband and me.  Our frequent trips to see doctors, specialists and therapists became a routine in which we became good friends with secretaries and security guards at hospitals and offices.  She achieved her developmental milestones with no worries, but at her own pace.  Once she started preschool, parenting became a bit tougher in helping her adjust to her new social environment and teach her the social norms of being with her piers and teachers.  As of today, my daughter is in first grade and loves school.  She excels in reading and math (just like her mommy) and has a mind of her own.

So how is this all relevant to me entering my third trimester?  When I found out I was pregnant with baby #2, my biggest worry was that I wouldn’t be able to carry  to full term.  I know that I’m being taken care of by my doctor in which I’ve been following his strict orders.  But, I can’t control what my body wants to do and I can’t control what baby wants to do too.  I’m happy to say that my little nugget is still growing in my belly.  I haven’t felt different (body wise) and the baby’s activities haven’t changed much.  There are days when the baby is constantly kicking for attention (or maybe his/her way of saying “get me out of here”), but nothing out of the ordinary.  The next 12 weeks will be my biggest adventure as a mom.  Since I didn’t go through this stage of pregnancy with my daughter, I really don’t know what to expect.  Besides the doctor’s visits, baby registry/shower planning, hospital registration and so forth, I’m very excited to continue this pregnancy journey knowing that baby is still inside of me.  Whether or not he/she decides to come tomorrow or 12 weeks from now, at least I can say I made it to my third trimester.