Pregnancy Hormones are Real!

After this weekend, I have no doubt that this idea of pregnancy hormones are a real thing.

I don’t know why I thought I was immune to it but this weekend is a prime example of how crazy I can be in my head.

If I were honest, I didn’t want hormones to be a reality for me.

I wanted to be immune to the changes because there is still a small (or large) part of my thought process that doesn’t want to succumb to emotions.

I fear negative emotions and how my reaction to having a negative emotion reflects on me as a person.

Admitting that I had a weekend of mood swings feels like I’m a weak victim, lumped into the ‘pregnant woman’ excuse that I thought I could ‘fight’.

I am humbled, which makes me want to cry.Image result for pregnancy hormones

Actually, as I’m writing this (on the airplane) I am holding back tears over how sad I feel for how powerless I am over all these things that I’m experiencing in my head.

The worst feeling of all is that I feel so alone in this rollercoaster ride of emotions and I don’t really want to bring anyone along for the ride because I know rationally that this is all just a ball of emotion full of extreme feelings rebounding in my head.

Once I am back in my comfort zone of home, in my regular routine, my nerves will settle down and I will see how ‘off’ my thinking was this past weekend (and even right now).

 

We traveled to be with my in-laws for some major life celebrations- graduation, wedding, 65th birthday… a weekend I didn’t want to miss.

Although sitting here traveling home, I am filled with frustration that I couldn’t control myself better.

I’m embarrassed.

Going into this weekend, I felt ‘off’.

Knowing I have felt the shift in my emotions this past week, I began talking about my fears of this weekend being ‘out of my comfort zone’ and praying about how I was going to make it through.

How do I be around extended family and be pleasant when I feel such disconnect within?

I chose to stay quiet.

Listen as much as I could.

Go with the flow.

Not have too many thoughts.

It seemed to work for the most part.

Unfortunately, this guarded approach wore me out.

Feeling tired from the back and forth of chatter in my head.

I cried when I felt my heart fall heavy.

I laughed during an enjoyable conversation.

I became angry when I didn’t feel supported.

I threw a temper tantrum when I felt challenged.

I got short with my conversation when I felt threatened.

My body grew hot when I noticed I was thinking thoughts that were rooted in fear.

I woke up tired after a full day of activity the day before.

It’s really uncomfortable and difficult to feel so out of control and living in a vulnerable space on my inside when I am in a situation like this and yet, I knew I needed to show up.

I don’t feel I handled a few situations well and sit here with regret for what I could have done differently.

Why did I say that? Was it really that important that I jumped into the conversation in that way? How could I have said it differently? Why am I giving in to the fear that surrounds me when we talk about this topic (having a newborn)?

There are so many different ways I could have approached this weekend and yet, I succumbed.

 

What I have learned though is that I:

  • am hormonal.
  • am tired.
  • feel uncomfortable at times in my body.
  • need my own space.
  • become overwhelmed easily.
  • need to learn how to take care of myself on a different level now that I am pregnant.

Feelings of regret and embarrassment sit within me today. Simply because I couldn’t control what I was feeling and wasn’t more attentive to the space I needed to give myself when I felt this wave coming on.

I am pregnant. I am hormonal. There is not much I can do to stop the emotions from whipping all around me.

What can I do?

I can slow down.

Take care of myself by getting rest, journaling, going for walks, keeping my life simple.

Mother protector is taking over my thoughts and certain decisions on how we are going to do things are laced with fear.

I want to be a good mom and I don’t want to mess up my child.

This overwhelming sense of responsibility has washed over me and I wish someone else would just tell me what to do because I’m scared of making a mistake.

There have been a few topics of conversation between Hubby and me that haven’t gone so well.

I am noticing a pattern within these conversations that string together irrational thoughts, beliefs, and emotions which only intensify the issue.

Mainly these comments are around parenting.

I have NO idea what I’m in for with having a newborn.

I am trying to learn from those around me and I really want to try to do things with Maxee that are for the best for her.

Am I putting too much pressure on myself though?

Am I letting the ideal overtake the rational?

 

As much as I want to hear people’s experiences of what worked (and didn’t work) for them, I notice myself becoming more clingy to certain approaches and standoffish towards others.

 

When I am liking an idea or approach then I seem to throw my stake in the sand and claim that for how “I” want to do things.

Then I become anxious about talking to Hubby about it because I don’t think he will understand or be on board.

I do my research by talking with friends, reading books, writing, and spending time in prayer. Not much of an evidence-based approach, while Hubby is more factual with his decision making and wants to see the data and research.

 

Clearly, I have no idea what I’m doing. I have never done this before.

I’m looking for some security in the unknown that is up ahead. I’m trying to get as comfortable as I can with the big “?” of what our life is going to be like and how will we approach an infant?

I want to know and choose the approach that will be best for our baby to confirm that I’m a good mother and ultimately, that I can, in fact, do this thing called parenting.

Looking for certainty… where there is none.

So I spend time talking with friends and thinking through how I’d like to approach motherhood and parenting. I come to my conclusion and then I have to remember that there are two of us in this parenting relationship.

 

First, he has his own views on topics, and I find it challenging to live in a healthy partnership while navigating these unknown waters.

Why do I get so set on a certain plan (knowing it will most likely change) and then upset when Hubby is not on the same page as me?

For one, I feel scared. I want so much to have a good experience of motherhood and don’t want to regret doing (or not doing) something.

What if this is my only baby? I don’t want to mess it up.

Second, I feel unsupported. Selfishly, I want him to jump on board with anything I want to do- just be along for the ride. In reality, though, this is his ride too. This is his child too. I need to respect his process as much as he is respecting mine.

Third, I don’t feel trusted. Because my decision-making process is different than his, I don’t feel as though he trusts me to make a decision for us.

What this does to me, it makes me want to shut down.

I want to throw up my hands and stop trying and instead give him all the control and just do what he says.

Either I’m in control and he just comes along… or he’s in control and I don’t concern myself with any of this.

Not the most healthy, or rational, way of thinking.

Thankfully, Hubby is very much of the approach of wanting to discuss and be on the same page before we move forward with a decision. He likes the process of bringing ideas and facts to the table and talking options through.

So how do I engage with him IN the process as opposed to hearing something that sounds good, deciding on it for myself and then claiming it to be what I want to Hubby?

Slowly.

Allowing the process to unravel.

Recognizing these aren’t decisions that are made quickly

Giving myself space for the discomfort of the conversations to take place and know that I can always table something I don’t feel comfortable with until another day.

What gets me riled up?

Talking about this with other people when I’m feeling defensive or uncomfortable. Feeling as though I have to prove or protect something in a conversation.

What am I learning?

  • How to have adult, healthy conversations
  • How to engage with a partner in making decisions
  • Letting go of ‘my way or the highway’ thinking
  • Not shuttering with inferiority to a one-sided approach

Hubby and I adjusted from our single lives to being married.

Now we are adjusting from making decisions together about ourselves to making decisions about another human.

I am uncomfortable. I do not like feeling stretched and challenged to change.

Yet, this is where I will grow.

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Naming Maxee

I feel the pressure. Since we found out Maxee is a girl, I think this subject is one that I am trying to avoid.

Naming our baby girl.

We are currently 22 weeks pregnant with our sweet baby girl, Maxee. The nickname has grown on me and I am scared I won’t like choosing her actual name. download.jpg

The task of choosing her name has been an exciting, playful, and daunting journey and I’m not sure I have grown used to this task.

Growing up, I worked as a lifeguard during the summer. I got to know plenty of children’s names and began a list while I was in college of my top names.

Over the years, I have revisited the list, refining it, adding, deleting.

I thought this process would be much more fun and creative but I forgot that my Hubby would have his own opinions, likes, and dislikes.

I brought my list of over 30 of my FAVORITE girl names to the discussion and Hubby vetoed almost all of them.

To be fair, Hubby has his absolute favorite girl name and it just doesn’t sit well with me for this baby girl growing inside of me.

I vetoed his top choice for this pregnancy. Maybe next one?

He is a simple, practical guy and brought a list of 6 and asked me to do the same.

None of them matched up.

We want to give her a name with meaning and that is not already in our circle of friends and family.

Although we want it to be uncommon, we don’t want it to be too “out there” that would become a problem for her.

The actual name is one big project and then the spelling of it is the next.

Balancing what would be phonetically easy and what makes sense. I always feel bad for people with abstract spelling that they continuously have to correct. I have enough trouble with people spelling my name with 2- “L”s!

  • I personally like a little more abstract names and Hubby is more conservative.
  • I like more gender-neutral names and Hubby wants one that sounds feminine.
  • I would like a name with sentimental value and Hubby doesn’t like any of our genealogical female names.
  • Hubby seems to prefer names that are classic yet unique and I am not as drawn.

Most of the names we discuss, I have horrible facial connections to. (It hasn’t helped that I have been in education for over 8 years and met my fair share of teenagers that destroy the hope of names for me.)

This is a big deal and I feel the pressure of naming this child.

This will be the name she carries with her throughout her entire life. It is how people will know her.

I also can’t help but feel the pressure of choosing THE ONE as it might be our ONLY girl, or child, to name.

If I knew we were having more, then I would be able to relax a little more knowing we have another opportunity.

But this is all we have right now, so we can be grateful, and focus on her.

We won’t be sharing the name before she arrives.

It’s special to have something just between us during this time.

Plus, I don’t want the added pressure of hearing people’s opinions on the name we have chosen.

So, our search continues.

  • We sit in prayer, asking for a name to become clear.
  • We look up the meanings of different names.
  • We scroll the credits of every TV program and movie we watch, seeing if there is a name that jumps off the screen.
  • We think through our favorite books and decipher any characters that really made an impact.
  • We contemplate different meanings and look up names associated.
  • We go through meaningful events and travels that have helped build our marriage and scoured our heritage to find names that reflect who we are and where we come from.

Knowing we have 2 names to decide (first and middle), we keep our options open.

I am grateful to know that I want this name to be from the both of us. I have heard people say, the final say comes down to the women since she carried the child for the past 9+ months, but for me, I want to gift Maxee with a name that both Hubby and I want for her.

I want her to know that her name is especially given to her by us.

Thankfully we have 5 months to work this one out!

 

 

Making Herself Known

Maxee is making herself known to me and the world.

I thought I felt her little flutter kicks starting around week 7.

Seemed a bit early, but when I sat quietly in the morning with my hand on my stomach, before having breakfast, it was as though she was right there next to my hand.

I would pray for and over her and I would feel these slight pitter-patter of ‘kicks’ on my palm.

As the weeks have gone on, these little precious morning moments have turned into delightful reminders throughout the day of how much she is growing.

Now, my stomach actually moves from the inside!

I can feel these big movements and watch them pop out of my stomach.

Hubby is now able to feel her and at times, she flips and flops on both sides.

There is no way of hiding my stomach and I have moved into maternity clothes.

She is here and making herself present to be known to the world.

I am loving growing this girl.

In my past, weight gain and a less than slender figure would spin me into an unhealthy mental state.

With help over the years, I have been able to arrest these shameful/condemning feelings and thoughts and instead now see my body as a gift that is to be nurtured.

Today, I love my growing belly and praise God for the pound/week weight gain.

Thus far I have gained between 10-15lbs, wahoo!!

Keep this girl growing healthy.


We went in for our half-way-point (20-week) check-up which is also known as the Anatomy Scan.

How incredible was this ultrasound!

We haven’t seen Maxee since week 9 so it was such a surprise to see how much she has grown and how much of a human she has developed into.

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Fascinated by the little nose, bones, ribs, toes, fingers… I cried.

That is our beautiful baby girl.

I was overtaken with emotion.

She was flipping all over the place and putting herself into some funky yoga positions.

How flexible she is in there!

The ultrasound tech was measuring the different parts of her body.

Her stomach, her heart, and the 4 chambers of her heart, her brain, her leg length.

It’s all there.

Between the kicking and now the visual of her inside of me, a tiny human, I am attaching myself to her more each day.

Knowing that these next 5 months will fly by and she will be in my arms before I know it, I hold true to the motto of living for this day to stay fully present and aware of the gift of being 5 months pregnant.

Morning, All-day & Night Sickness

The first trimester was a rough go for me. I loved knowing that I was pregnant and couldn’t believe I was actually able to carry a child.

The gratitude has been overwhelming!

After it was confirmed with the ultrasound and heartbeat that our little one is alive and healthy, it hit me.

At 6 weeks, 4 days, I was slammed with an overwhelming wave of nausea.

The thought of eating made me want to gag.

No weird cravings, just full on food aversion. The thought of a food item made me want to gag.

If I could stick a line straight into my body to get the nutrients I needed to grow this sweet baby, I would.

I don’t want to shop, cook, smell, or think about food and what ‘sounds good’ to eat, ick!

I was able to stomach dairy (cottage cheese in particular) and berries.

Everything else was choked down for the sake of my health and this growing baby.

Going to the grocery store was a chore and something I had to gear up for.

I have read many people’s recommendations on saltine crackers and eating small meals throughout the day.

This wasn’t going to work for me.

Instead, I continued with my regular routine of having healthy, balanced meals and listened to my body and supportive friends who have gone through this before.

Even though the thought of food made me want to gag, when I sat down to eat, it wasn’t too bad.

Therefore, I just shut out my thoughts that were racing in my mind leading up to my meals.

What’s helped?

  • I start off my morning with 18oz of water
  • Breakfast is balance and simple with another 18oz of water
  • I don’t eat snacks
  • Boosted my intake of vitamin B6
  • Healthy lunches and dinners that are well-rounded.
  • Drinking at least 80-90oz of water a day
  • Eating every 4-5 hours
  • Going to bed early and getting a full-nights rest

Weeks 6-7- Berries and dairy were my saving grace, as was rice, tomatoes & cooked vegetables

Week 8– Banana a day, acupuncture, it’s getting worst though, the foods I could eat these last few weeks are non-starters now, don’t even bring them into sight.Image result for stinky food

Week 9- It’s really getting worse, I don’t know how much more of this I can handle. I can’t move without thinking I’m heading for the bathroom. Any smell or thought of food in my mouth makes me want to be sick and I end up choking down food that will give my body good nourishment. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries (notice a theme), rice, protein. I lay on the couch as much as I can. Sleeping is the best state for me.

Week 10*- I think it’s starting to get a tad better. I’m scared to get my hopes up. I think of the blandest, healthy food I can have. Spaghetti squash, ground turkey, rice, berries, frozen okra, yogurt. I have to lay down after every meal and if I’m sitting up for too long, I need to go lay down. How in the world do people function like this? I am wanting a medal for making it through this period of pregnancy, but have to remind myself that the majority of women experience this same thing… I’m not unique! My dad reminds me that although I’m not unique, this is unique to me and to let myself feel this experience and embrace it as my own.

The second half of the week is back to being pretty miserable. Horizontal on the couch as much as I can. Hubby got me a painter’s mask from the garage to help with the smells that come from our kitchen when I absolutely have to cook something. I don’t know how much longer I can stand this. Every minute of the day, I am reminded of how sick I feel and feel I’m on the verge of running to the bathroom.

The constant churning and unsettled stomach. It’s the stomach flu that won’t go away… for weeks.

God help me!

Week 11*- I thought I was getting out of the worst of it, and might still be. The nausea is so strong and I have limited food options left. White rice with scrambled eggs and a dash of salt. Blocks of cheese, yogurt, blueberries, oranges also seem to satisfy my stomach.

Trying to get as bland as possible without a major reaction to anything too flavorful otherwise, I end up with an upset stomach and the beginnings of acid reflex.

Back to acupuncture, 2 times this week. Hoping it will help my hormones calm down and become a bit more regulated.

The progesterone oil shots conclude this week too, thank you God! That has been a long, committed effort that I am grateful to have ended.

Now, I thank God for the fact that I’m pregnant and that this pregnancy appears to be healthy by the result of my nausea.

Week 12*- White rice, scrambled eggs, frozen cut okra. Thankfully I feel the all-day nausea is subsiding and now it is just back to smells and food aversions only. I’m praying this means that it will be only getting better from here and I’m able to start eating my regular foods again.

I am looking forward to getting back to a workout routine of sorts as well. Praying my body holds up for me to enjoy some activity throughout the week. I can’t believe it’s been over 6 weeks since I saw the inside of a gym or even sweated a tad. Grateful I know how to slow down and be ok not being at the gym (that’s healing for me!)

*It was helpful that during weeks 10-12 we began telling our dear friends and family that we are pregnant. This helped make it seem more real and exciting and the sickness (which lasted pretty much all day), seems less.

Week 13-14- I have found the glorious already-cooked section at Whole Foods to be a lifesaver. Although I am not able to smell the cooked items without feeling sick, I can eat it! Beef roast, pork, chicken, and turkey! Protein is my friend again. Veggies are still touch-and-go as they do have a few cooked items but my stomach is not able to handle larger quantities.

I continue to feel nausea and have actually gotten sick a couple mornings these past few weeks, but overall, I feel it’s getting better.

My prayer is that by week 15 (starts today) and into week 16, I will have my appetite back!

The Little Pea

The little white blur on the screen moves.

Hubby and I get the opportunity to see our little one for the first time.

Everything looks healthy!

She scans in and we can see the solid white line down the center of the white oval looking blob on the screen- the spinal cord.

Every second the blob pushes out a blimp from the oval shape and there we have the heart.

It is beating 145bps and we have a healthy, viable embryo growing inside of me.

I can’t believe what I am looking at on the screen.

More than that, I can’t believe that this little thing that has a heartbeat, that is beating without me having to do anything to make it do so, is inside of me.

This heartbeat, this life, is inside of me, right now.

How in the world?!

I can’t feel it and yet it is the size of a blueberry.

Little baby Maxee is measuring 6 weeks, 5 days (due date Aug 29, 2019).

Everything is right with the world.

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