Growing A Human: Third Trimester!

I can’t believe it but.. we’re now officially in trimester 3. Time has been a-flying! The first 20 weeks of this pregnancy felt like an absolute eternity, but now that I’ve been a lot more comfortable, time has been zooming by alarmingly fast. Almost every Friday, I wake up and say to Daniel, “Can you believe it’s the weekend again? It feels like Sunday was yesterday..??” Life feels very full, what with the extra energy it takes to do absolutely everything. Time is of the essence.

I’m 28.5 weeks along now, and today in the elevator at work, a complete stranger asked me when I was due. Safe to say I’m past the point where politeness would stop you from asking, in case the belly was just a belly ๐Ÿ˜› How am I feeling, you ask? You might well ask, since everyone has been. I’m feeling great! Eating well, sleeping well (minus getting up to pee 3-4 times a night), and doing my best to get my 10k steps in every day. I can’t do too much else than that, because I get very winded and my feet/ankles start to feel like swollen potatoes after sitting at my desk all day, but I do my best. Baby is slowly encroaching my lung space, and eating only makes that real estate smaller. After dinner I like to lie down in the fetal position for a bit to catch my breath.

This past month we moved apartments (success!), went to IKEA 4 times, and have been slowly unpacking and organizing. We’ve reduced the amount of debris in our living space to a manageable level, but we’re still working on it. Crazy how much stuff two people can accumulate in just a couple of years. Purging and downsizing feels so nice. Hopefully by the time junior comes we’ll have a teeny bit of space for him (ha ha). I’ve mentally committed to being a minimalist parent, because the thought of adding a ton of plastic toys and baby things to the pile of things to organize in our small space stresses. me. out. I keep telling myself, kids all over the world grow up without x, so my baby will be fiiiine. Just the basics – my mantra. I know nothing about parenting, so this might all go out the window once he gets here, but for now that’s what I’m sticking to.

Daniel and I also went to Portland in mid-March for our babymoon. Initially I was kind of sad that we couldn’t go do something more exciting – we’d been talking about going to London last year – but once we got there, I was glad we were somewhere so chill. Mostly because I found I couldn’t handle more than a couple hours of walking/sightseeing at a time, and I think a bigger trip would have felt like a waste. We were away for four days, and it felt just right. We did our best to just chill, eating, napping, exploring, and staying up late. It was a luxury, taking time for just the two of us. It’s exciting to have a baby, but I feel a little wistful thinking about the good times we’ve had as a family of two. I’m thankful that we’ve had the time we’ve had to grow and get to know each other.

What else.. I wanted to share some “deep thoughts” in this blog to keep you interested, but I don’t really have many deep thoughts as of late. I’m mostly practicing thankfulness for small things, and learning to rest in not being in control. As we get closer to labor and delivery and parenthood (!), I’ve been practicing giving my fears and worries to God. I’ve always been terrified of giving birth, but lately I notice that I’m not so scared anymore. I have no idea what the pain will be like, but I don’t want to be afraid. I’ve also been dealing with some of my fears about being a parent. Some things I’ve been working on in therapy lately are my negative associations with childhood in general. I was a pretty unhappy kid, and I think I’ve carried an aversion to young children and things having to do with childhood for most of my life. Weird things like the smell of crayons, the sound of baby toys, children’s tv programs, and baby paraphernalia in general have always filled me with a vague dread. Knowing that that will be my life for the next several years if we have more than one kid, I’ve been dreading those triggers. But I’m giving that to God, trusting that I will love my child enough to move past that. People say it’s different when it’s your own kid. Is it?? I’m curious to see. Do I sound like a totally inhuman unloving person, saying these things? Possibly. But that’s the truth. I know parenthood will jolt me out of a lot of my self-centeredness in a way that even marriage has not. Oddly enough, I’m looking forward to that experience.

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Taking in the sights.. Multnomah Falls ๐Ÿ˜›
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Doing nothing in our hotel and loving it
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Salt and Straw!! I want this RIGHT NOW..
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He does love me!
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See? Also: me looking very swole
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Fixing the stove light in our new apartment
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Me looking like a goober. Ignore the mess behind me, we’re still mid-unpack. I could have tried to crop but.. nah. #reallife
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Growing A Human: Six Months In

My goodness. It’s been a while!!

I’ve had several moments in the past few weeks when I have thought to myself, “I need to blog!” But always at a time when I couldn’t at that moment, and then the thought would dissipate and float down the river, as most of my thoughts do these days. My last update was midway through January. What’s happened since then..?

Oh yes – we found out we’re having a boy! I’m sure you know this already, but if not, there you go ๐Ÿ™‚ I have to say I was really surprised. For whatever reason, even though I had no indication either way, it solidified in my mind that we were having a girl. When the ultrasound technician showed us our baby’s VERY OBVIOUS little boy parts, I was so shocked. It took me a few days to wrap my mind around it, but now we’re so excited to meet him!

(And no, we don’t have a name yet. Naming a person is hard!)

I’m now at 24.5 weeks, and happy to update that I’m feeling MUCH better lately–energetic, cheerful, sleeping well, and HUNGRY. Like, fifteen pounds hungry. People have been asking if I’m having cravings. Not really.. all food is wonderful, especially after 20 straight weeks of nausea and not being able to stomach anything. I’m experiencing the sheer delight of being able to eat and not feel terrible afterward! BUT I’m now the heaviest I have ever been in my entire life, and boy, am I feeling it. The bottoms of my feet ache after standing or walking because it’s like I’m carrying around two ten pound dumbbells with me everywhere I go. It’s extra hard to get up from sitting, and sometimes I ask Daniel to push me into a sitting position when I want to get out of bed ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s a weird feeling!

Another weird feeling: the baby kicking, punching, and flipping. A few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure whether what I was feeling was the baby or just gas moving around my stomach. But now, it’s much stronger. I can feel him kicking and flopping around in there like a small slippery alien being. I feel him move most after I eat, and when I’m lying in bed at night. It’s a strangely pleasant feeling, minus when he’s kicking at my bladder, because I now need to go to the bathroom one million times a day.

I also now know why pregnant women are always touching their bellies. I always thought that was kind of weird–you don’t normally rub your stomach while walking around in public. But I find myself doing it too now. I think it’s the sheer oddness of having a part of your body become so big and round. It’s alien. It feels weird. And it’s kind of awesome. I’m now at the point where when I walk around at work, I see peoples’ eyes flick momentarily downward at my stomach before they flick back toward my face.

What else.. we’re getting ready to move this weekend, which has been kind of overwhelming. Packing up and saying goodbye to our first home as a married couple is a little bit sad. I’ve been reminiscing about all the good times and bad times we’ve had, getting to know each other, fighting over the way we live, making up, getting closer. I threw many tantrums in the beginning of our marriage, I’m sorry to say. But it’s been good times! We were at a wedding this past weekend, and someone commented that I look like I’m having a happy pregnancy. I really am–I don’t know if it’s the hormones or if it’s just that he’s been so great, but I feel incredibly and undeservingly lucky to live with Daniel. I get emotional thinking about it lately. I’m just in awe that two people as different as we are can become one unit and enjoy it as much as I (and hopefully, we ๐Ÿ˜› ) do. He puts up with a lot from me, for which I’m so grateful. Marriage is truly a God thing, no joke!

I think that’s enough for now.. hopefully I’ll be more regular about updating, since I’m sure things will be picking up more as we go into trimester three in a few weeks. I shall leave you now with some very attractive photos of me being pregnant ๐Ÿ˜€

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Eating a Valentine’s macaron from my Valentine.. also just eating all the time
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I feel like a globe

Growing a Human: A Practice in Gratitude

9:43 PM on a Sunday night. Current status: trying to find a comfortable position to lie in on the couch, as it seems my insides have been nudged from their homes by my growing uterus and are wandering about within me trying to find their new places. Daniel is next to me, knocked out. We were halfway through an episode of Planet Earth II (which I highly recommend!) when he started snoring. David Attenborough puts him to sleep. Also, I think I exhaust him–though he never complains, the sweet man.

Speaking of which, our church is going through a series on gratitude, and today’s sermon gave me pause. Am I thankful? Are there areas where I lack gratitude? On reflection, I know there are, because I’m prone to complain. Especially about work, where I sometimes feel that I’m the very worst version of myself.

But also I’ve noticed lately, to my surprise, that I’ve become more and more grateful for the life I’ve been given. With age comes perspective? I have moments of misery when I need to have a good cry. But even then, I’m thankful that I can cry and let it out, that I have a safe place to be myself, that I’m accepted in spite of the mess that I am. That is a freedom and privilege that many people don’t experience. I am incredibly grateful for my my people–my family, my friends, my church. I’m not the type of person who has many friends, but I deeply value the relationships I have; they make me a rich person. I realize too that I’ve grown up with every material need met, when others have not. I don’t get why I got that privilege and protection, it’s so unfair and undeserved. I’m thankful for bodily, mental, and emotional health. I no longer take those things for granted.

I’m thankful for the little life growing inside of me. This more than anything is a practice in gratitude for me right now. Meaning, I have no idea how this little being is forming ears and eyes and limbs despite my inability to help it. You can’t make a baby; you just host the miracle of the making. I knew that, but I didn’t know it until it started happening to me. I hear its tiny heart beating and am filled with wonder because I’m not the one making it beat so steadily, stronger every week. Its rhythm is entirely different from my own. He or she is being formed by a hand wiser and stronger and altogether more capable than mine.

Thank goodness.

Most important of all: I’m thankful that I know Whom to thank for all of these things. That I’m known, loved, redeemed, forgiven, and accepted by God. God.ย Not the anonymous universe, or good luck, or my own ability to procure good. I’m neither deserving nor lucky. Just chosen. Makes. no. sense.

Thank you, God…!

And in spite of all that, I still complain! It’s perverse, this human nature. Daniel reminded me that it’s a discipline to practice giving thanks in the moments when I’m feeling the very opposite (read: when people send irritating emails at work). I’m going to work on that; at the very least abstaining from complaining, because it’s a habit of the mouth as well as the heart, and I’ve become very good at it.

So, to the neighbors upstairs who are currently (and constantly) stomping about like a pack of rhinos and making our walls shake at all hours of the day and night… I bless you ๐Ÿ˜›

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Not tonight, but a similar occurence ๐Ÿ˜›

Growing a Human: Update 1/3/18

Passing through Target’s toy section two nights ago:

Daniel: A boy will be fun..

Me: Yeah? You think?

Daniel: ..because then I will get to play with all these toys.

-.-

Update: I’m now 15 weeks and I think officially out of the thick of the first trimester sickness woods! I don’t want to speak too soon though, because I’ve still been quite bleh at night and in the mornings. But for the most part I’ve been keeping my food down and finally gaining some weight. Never thought I’d be happy about weight gain, but it’s fascinating how my mentality toward eating and food has changed. I used to tryย  hard to eat “healthy” mostly to avoid gaining weight. Now I just eat things that will act as a buffer between me and stomach acid (aka BREAD and lots of it), and also whenever I can manage it, things with actual nutrients that will help keep this baby healthy and happy. I felt a lot of guilt over my crap diet the past couple of months (inexperienced preggo here), but my doctor told me the baby is doing a good enough job taking everything from me to survive until I can eat better. Fortunately I’m able to eat a lot more fruit lately, because I seem to crave cold sweet things when I wake up in the morning, and salads to try to keep things moving in there, if you know what I mean!

If you can’t tell by my tone, I’m a lot more upbeat these days. Mostly from being able to function more normally. This past weekend I managed to: semi- clean the apartment, clear out the fridge, go to the grocery store and breathe through my nose (except when I made the mistake of walking past the meat counter), and cook and eat breakfast twice(!) without gagging. Big steps, people.

Holidays this year were nice and low key. A lot of rest. We ambitiously planned on maybe venturing out into the world and maybe going to the city or the ocean to get some fresh air. But each morning of our two long weekends we woke up and decided to just stay put. It’s been a nice change to rest at home without the pressure of go-go-go. A lot of that pressure comes from me, internally. Being ok with not doing a whole lot is a different mindset for me, but I think a good one for a change. For now. (Gogo Girl is still there underneath). School starts again next week, and I WILL get through this semester!!

Daniel’s sister got us a heartbeat monitor for Christmas, and it’s really interesting! I was dubious as to whether it would work, but we goo-ed it up the way the doctor did, put it on my almost-bump, and were able to find baby’s heartbeat pretty easily. He/She is pumping away at a steady 160 BPM, and it’s fascinating to hear it, like an alien transmitting from underwater. Daniel put his face close to my stomach and half-shouted “are you a boy or a girl?” at it in Korean ..No answer yet.

On a more serious note, I’ve been wondering how to pray for this baby. I don’t know what to ask for, beyond mutely holding him/her up to the Lord and then asking for whatever is His best will. Everything else seems kinda self-serving and wishful, because how do you pray for someone you don’t know yet? I want advice on this one. Moms, what did you pray for when your baby was in your belly? And after your babies were born?

To end: a now-more-relevant-than-ever polaroid of my dad and mom just after I was born. I’m the squishy blob also pictured. My dad looks so fresh and happy! My mom looks like she wants to smack whoever is making her pose for a photo just after giving birth. ๐Ÿ˜›

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Growing a Human: Part 1 of Who Knows?

I thought it would be fun/interesting/helpful to document this pregnancy in some way, this being my first time at the rodeo and everything being so brand new. Initially I thought I’d vlog it, but 1. the effort of editing seems so overwhelming and 2. I filmed a clip of myself talking, and the sight of my pasty, bleary face in the viewfinder was depressing. So we’ll do this the old-fashioned way. Now that we’ve announced to the world at large that we’re growing a baby, I feel released to share these thoughts with you!

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The little stick that started it all

I’m now, according to my helpful pregnancy app, 12 weeks and 5 days along, and the baby is the size of a plum. Which means we’re just 2 days away from that second trimester mark! I have high hopes that my second trimester will be the breeze that so many people have been telling me it will be, but as I’m currently still in bed feeling queasy (it’s 11:57 AM, Saturday morning), I’m guessing mine will be the type of sickness that takes a longer while to gradually fade. But who knows. I’m still hopeful that I’ll wake up one morning soon miraculously feeling fresh and free as a daisy.

People keep asking me: are you and your husband so excited? My answer to that: of course! …but I’m thinking we’ll both be wayyyy more excited once we’re done with this part. Aka.. DUN DUN DUN… the morning sickness.

Ah yes, “morning sickness.” (Exaggerated air quotes). I’ve reached the conclusion that many women have reached before me, that the term “morning sickness” was probably invented by a man. Just kidding. I don’t know if that’s true. I know there are women out there who only feel sick right when they wake up, or who – bless their souls – don’t feel sick at all, but unfortunately that was never going to be me. I think I was just completely naive and unprepared for what I was about to go through, and perhaps that made it worse in the beginning? I don’t want to come off as a complainer, because to me (and let’s get this clear up front), carrying a baby is one of the biggest blessings and privileges I will ever have, ever. And I do understand that this is heartbreaking for so many women who can’t or struggle to get pregnant. So this isn’t a woe-is-me, but maybe rather a wow-this-is-so-weird, here’s-how-it-is-for-me type of thing. But I do want to talk about my experience, first so I can get it out of my system, but also so that if you go through or have gone through any of the below (hopefully less but maybe more), you know that you have a friend in me ๐Ÿ™‚

I woke up early one morning in mid October with the world swimming before me. On my way to drop off my mom at the airport, I had to pull over to the side of the highway to dry heave on the pavement (luckily, it was 5 AM and I had nothing in my stomach). And that was only the beginning. What started off as short bouts of slight queasiness throughout the day gradually morphed into full blown sour-stomach, suffocating nausea that lasted all day and all night, the only real relief being actual vomit. I woke up in the morning with a stomach full of acid, waiting to be thrown up, and the whole world became an oppressive, unbearable landmine of sights and smells that threatened to throw me over the edge of a gagging fit at any moment. Everything started to taste like acid and metal – even sips of water sometimes had me running to the bathroom. Daniel started diluting yellow Gatorade with water for me in a sippy cup to stave off dangerous dehydration, which worked for a while until the taste or smell of Gatorade started making me gag. I stayed home from work and school whenever I could, feeling guilty and pathetic, and most evenings found me lying in bed at 5 PM, trying desperately to figure out what to eat and hoping and praying Daniel would come home soon enough to buy it for me before I died (clearly I had also by that time devolved into a dramatic and emotional wreck). Cooking was completely out of the question, as was opening the refrigerator, looking at raw food, or going to the grocery store. By 7 PM Daniel would come home to find me sobbing in the bathroom, from sheer hunger, hormones, and misery. It sounds stupid, but after weeks of feeling relentlessly crappy, I was mad and frustrated and sick of being sick. I did not even remember what it felt like to be a normal human anymore.

Not my finest moments.

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Me: most of the time

At some point, my mom took pity on me (and my husband) and started picking me up on her way home from work in the evenings, taking me to her house and cooking me dinner. Daniel would come to her house to pick me up and take me home once he got out of work. This helped so, so much. I felt like a kid again. But being able to eat simple foods like rice and water or rice cake soup and then run into a bedroom far from any kitchen smells right afterward was a luxury I couldn’t manage at our tiny apartment, where one meal makes the whole tiny space smell unbearably like leftover food. Thanks to my mom, husband, dog, and the rest of my family nearby, who fed me and lifted my spirits, I made it through the worst few of weeks without too many more crying episodes.

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Comforter

It’s been humbling to be incapacitated to the extent of needing to receive so much care and attention from people who have their own worries and full time work. Lots of times I cried just because I was sorry to be a burden to the people around me. But I’m learning to lean when I need to lean, and I’m so grateful for the support and nearness of my husband and family. I know that’s not the case for everyone; many times I’ve thought about single moms and people far from family. How overwhelming would this be? There have been times in the past couple of months when I was so shaky that I was afraid to shower because I felt I might faint. Daniel had to sit in the bathroom with me while I showered, just so I felt safe in case I did pass out. What if I had nobody to lean on like that? I’ve come to see how blessed I am.

But I am getting better! Every day I’m more positive, more optimistic. I feel sort of human again. Yesterday we even went out and had a short but successful lunch date, during which I did not have to run to the car while Daniel finished up eating, something we haven’t been able to manage for a while. As this particular discomfort fades, every day we’re able to think more about the baby and less about my physical state, which is a RELIEF. Maybe this period of pregnancy pre-motherhood is supposed to toughen you up? If so.. hoping it’s not wasted on me.

We’re going to have a BABY! Wow. wow. Okay, enough musing for now. More later. I need food.

How we feel sometimes
How we feel most of the time.

And Just

Mulling over what it means that God is faithfulย and just to forgive my sins.

Not just faithful, because he said he would. Which is in itself enough to take to the bank.

But just. Because the consequence and cost of sin–mine and yours–has been paid in full, and God deems it unjust to charge twice.

That’s unfathomable to me. Rock solid, locked in; that’s the promise of forgiveness when we confess our sin. It seems so incredibly wrong for forgiveness to be given so freely to people so undeserving (me). But he made a promise on his own honor, and he holds himself to it. On pain of death.

Amazing grace, how distant the sound! I think I can imagine how completely transformative that truth can be to the human heart, but for me.. I’m not all there yet. I thought I was, but I’m beginning to see that there are so many layers of gravel and silt between my mind and heart, that that truth has yet to sink all the way down. I see it in the way I STILL hesitate to ask God for help, the way I STILL hide from him when I’m insecure. I should be past this by now, says the taskmaster in my head. But I continue to feel unworthy in the worst way, a Christian but a tarnished, weak, and inadequate one. My mind knows the right answers and proper positions, but my emotions and reactions betray me. Truth is first learned, but then it needs to beย had.

Lord, help me see! Help me know!

 

 

When Rest Works

An afternoon of just rest is rare to come by. Not because I can’t make the time to just stop everything and chill out (I do try, often), but because most of the time even when I do that it doesn’t really work out for me. I don’t know if any of you out there who struggle with anxiety also deal with this, but most often when my body stops, my mind just won’t. I find myself lying down at night to sleep, and that elusive feeling of “aahh…” is just that – elusive. It often manifests as an almost-physical sensation of lying on a spinning plane of nothingness, suspended by some invisible force, and hanging out in limbo. That will only make sense to you if you’re like me and find it hard to relax. So I battle that, nightly, just lying there wondering “have I done enough today?” until exhaustion inevitably takes over and knocks me out.

But today, this afternoon, we got into bed at 2 PM and slept. Daniel for quite a while (he’s still sleeping now), me just for an hour but lying immobile in the soft comforter, held down by solid gravity. Not spinning, not full of worry-adrenaline, just resting. I have a paper to read and a presentation to write, but I rebelled against my mental schedule and clung to that quiet bit of rest and refused to feel guilty about it. I walk the limbo of responsible adulthood, which often straddles the things we must do and the things we should do, with no pattern of which choices matter more. And maybe that’s the struggle?

Either way. Right now, I amย grateful.