Pretending Like This Won’t be So Hard

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Stop Acting Like “Bouncing Back” From Labor is Even Possible from Jezebel.com:

But here in the U.S. of Cray, most of us don’t have the luxury of taking it easy for more than a few days after having a baby. If we do manage to pull off a few weeks or months of actual maternity leave, chances are, it won’t be used for relaxing. It will be used for immediately jumping into caring for your baby with zero help. So unless we can pay someone to hold our hand through it, it’s a race against time to magically become a totally self-sufficient supermom and return to our old selves again, pronto.

Here is the original article that inspired the Jezebel blog post: Why Are America’s Postpartum Practices So Rough on New Mothers? from the Daily Beast.

“The cost of pregnancy in America is f*cking obscene”

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Bringing a child to term costs more in America than anywhere else on Earth, according to today’s New York Times.

According to a survey conducted by Truven Health Analytics on behalf of the NYT, charges for delivery have about tripled in the U.S. since 1996.

-Continue reading at io9.com

Reading some of the stories in the comments of this article is heartbreaking but then reading the comments of any article about the United States’ current healthcare system is heartbreaking. My own pregnancy came at an inopportune time as I am not currently working full time. Medicaid is the only reason I am receiving any prenatal care at all. It’s scary to think that even if I was gainfully employed with “good” insurance, this pregnancy would still leave me in dire financial straits.

From NPR: Why Morning-After Pill Won’t Stop All Unintended Pregnancies

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Women of all ages will soon be able to buy emergency contraceptives over the counter without a prescription, now that the Obama administration has decided to stop fighting a judge’s order to make the drugs more easily available.

Click here to read the rest of the article

21 Weeks

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Every week, I get an e-mail update (or read an online update) of the Pipsqueak’s likely progression. Most weeks I find it fascinating to discover that some of the aches, pains, and other adventures I’m experiencing are normal issues that pop up at that time. I am now 21 weeks and here is what Baby Center had to say:

You’re probably feeling pretty comfortable these days. You’re not too big yet, and the usual discomforts associated with early pregnancy are, for the most part, gone.

Noooooo! Hahaha. For the most part I am feeling a lot better than I did. I still have aches in my pelvis when I am lying down but it is not nearly as bad as it was. Nausea is infrequent. My fatigue seems to have come back, although I am still only getting 9-10 hours of sleep a day and not the 13 I was averaging during the first trimester.

BUT. I now have dizzy spells, I get more muscle aches from doing work, and I feel HUGE. A few days ago I realized that my belly would be getting bigger and I nearly panicked. I’m not concerned about how I look but it already feels as if my insides are all squashed up and the Pipsqueak is already finding it fun to plop down on my bladder. The fact that these feelings are going to get worse just make my mind reel.

But then I hear horror stories about other pregnancies and realize I’m still not doing that badly. As I mentioned on Facebook, however, I still look forward to that future when our babies are born in artificial wombs. I would love the kid just as much.

Movie and a Baby: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

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I did not have high expectations for What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It has the sort of ensemble cast that generally guarantees a formulaic script, non-existent directing, mediocre acting, and very few genuine laughs. Wellll…a lot of the movie feels like every other lackluster ensemble comedy from the past 15 years but there are a few moments of genuine insights and really, Joe Manganiello makes anything better.

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What I found most valuable about the movie was the honest (at heart) portrayal of how every journey to parenthood is different. It displayed a pregnancy from a one-night-stand, a celebrity pregnancy, a general crappy pregnancy, a perfect pregnancy, and an adoption. We saw excited parents, reluctant parents, young parents, an older parent, and even a miscarriage. It was real.

In one of the first baby books I read, Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, mentioned that you seem to see pregnant women everywhere once you become pregnant. It’s just like when you buy a new car and it suddenly seems like everyone has the same car. I swear I see 10 pregnant women a day, and they are all super thin and super glowy. But pregnancy isn’t all roses for everyone (though it is for some) and though this scene close to the climax of the film didn’t make me laugh-out-loud as much as the writers’ may have hoped it would, I did appreciate it’s honesty. Obviously this is a spoiler:

Parenting Tips from Rob Delaney

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Bed Dread

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Every night it’s a battle to go to bed. I knew that sleeping would be uncomfortable late in the pregnancy but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of pain I experience this early (mostly from those softening pelvic muscles that hurt worse when I’m sitting or lying down). I dread going to sleep some nights because I know I will wake up multiple times in the middle of the night and need to turn over. Turning over takes forever because it hurts. Yes, it is painful to go from lying on my left side to lying on my right.

Argh.

Frequently Asked Questions About My Pregnancy Part II

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Here I am in week 17. Some of the questions have changed. Some have stayed the same.

Do you get morning sickness? I feel nauseous every now and then but it’s mostly been on the decline in the past few weeks. It’s usually more of a first trimester thing, though during my last appointment, I overheard one of the nurses on the phone telling a patient that it’s not abnormal to experience sickness throughout the entire pregnancy and that she herself had to pull over to throw up when she was on the way to the hospital to deliver.

Do you know the gender yet? No, but my ultrasound is in just a couple of weeks!

Do you have any names picked out? Yes.

Are you showing yet? (From friends and family who live out of town) Yes, I am. This is not the first time my belly has been this size but this is the first time my belly has been this size and I haven’t been able to suck it in. It’s liberating to no longer care whether or not something I put on makes my tummy look big, though.

Do you get any weird cravings? Not yet. I pretty much wanted Taco Bell all of the time during my first trimester but I’ve been eating like a normal person lately. (Ok, maybe french fries and Japanese food was weird, but not weird weird.)

How do you feel? I feel great! All of those happy hormones have kicked in and my energy has returned – just like all of the sources said it would around now. This is mostly true. I get dizzy spells every once in a while and am usually ridiculously sore and tired when I get home from work/other adventures and still have to take at least one nap a day. I also still cry at the drop of a hat.

The Biggest Fear

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On Mother’s Day, PostSecret appropriately posted a number of mother related secrets. Here are my thoughts on one of them.

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We all saw Pretty in Pink and we know the more extreme stories: mothers who abandon their families, mothers who leave crying babies on doorsteps, mothers who abuse their children. We don’t talk about the less extreme, the mothers who tough it out but don’t really like it.

For years, I’ve heard the whispers of these mothers on the internet. They quietly wonder why no one talks about the days when they wish someone would take their baby or child away. They reluctantly admit that they sometimes wonder what their lives would have been like if they had remained unencumbered and free. And how quickly they are condemned by those mothers who maybe didn’t want kids but whose entire lives were changed for the better once they did.

This is one of my fears: resenting my child. I don’t think I will suffer the way this mother suffers but I wonder what moments will arise, what moments of selfishness. How many times will I break down in tears because I won’t be able to get the baby to stop crying? How many nights out with my friends will I have to pass up? How many dreams will I have to finally pull the life support plug on?

The movie Riding in Cars with Boys is a movie based on the memoir of Beverly D’Onofrio, the story of how she went from being a teenage mother in the ’60s to a successful editor and writer. Watching the movie, which has quite a few major differences from the book, I always felt a kinship with the Beverly character as played by Drew Barrymore. She was headstrong, creative, ambitious, and selfish. The mistakes she made were mistakes that I could see myself making.

*SPOILER ALERT* Throughout the film, we see the negative impacts that Beverly’s ambition and selfishness have on her son’s life. At the climax of the film, he, now a young college aged-man says to his mother:

… it’s my fault. I’m what went wrong in your life. You know, you wrote a book about it.

A bit later, she responds with:

I want to make something clear. I don’t think I would’ve been better off without you. You are not what went wrong with anything. You were what saved me. I want to thank you for that. Okay?

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life that have torpedoed any dreams I once may have had of what my life would look like. Any problems and failures in my life are my own fault. I don’t want to treat my Pipsqueak as my saviour (I already have one of those) but I don’t want to make the same mistake Beverly did. I hope my self-awareness is enough to protect us both from that urge.

Not a Baby Bump or What They Don’t Tell You About Being Pregnant

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Nobody’s More Bitter Than Ex-Gymnasts

Young girl: How old are you?
22 year-old girl: I’m 22.
Young girl: And you’re pregnant!
22 year-old girl: No I’m not.
Young girl: Why do you have a big belly then?
22 year-old girl: Well you know, when you’re my age, hormonal and stuff, you’ll get fat. People will think you’re pregnant when you’re not, and you’ll cry. So you’ll eat tons of salads to make the belly disappear but it won’t work and you’ll be sad. That’s all life’s about. Don’t grow up.

–A Train

Overheard by: Violette

So…I look pregnant. Considering the fact that I tend to gain weight in my belly, this is not the first time that I have looked pregnant. But this is the first time that I’ve looked pregnant while actually being pregnant because this is the first time I’ve been pregnant. The problem is that you’re still not seeing my baby bump; that’s still just fat.

While my adult life has pretty much consisted of me trying to not ever get pregnant, I slipped up. (Who knew that highly effective ≠ 100% effective?! Thanks morning after pill!) But I’m trying to keep a positive attitude. People keep telling me that having kids is a lot of fun. We shall see!

What I’m here to do right now, though, is to tell you what’s not fun: sex. Just kidding. Totally fun, but don’t do it. Pregnancy isn’t fun. At least my first trimester has been pretty much the opposite of fun. Now that I am transitioning into my second trimester, things have gotten a little better but not much.

I consider myself to be a pretty informed/educated person but there are a number of things that no one has ever told me about pregnancy and I am going to share them with you now although the majority of people who are reading this have probably been through this whole pregnancy thing already. This is mostly for the rest of you. Consider this my cautionary tale.

However, I think it’s important to note (as all of the helpful books and internet articles do) that every pregnancy is different. Pregnancy is different for different women and each pregnancy is different even within the same woman. So this is just my experience. Take it with a grain of salt and your birth control pills.

  1. Even if you do not throw up, nausea will rule your life. I am considered lucky because I have not vomited once. But do you know how often I felt nauseated? All of the time. It is a terrible feeling to constantly feel on the verge of throwing up. A lot of women lose weight during their first trimester because of nausea. Not me. I gained a bunch of weight. You know what happened when I got hungry? I felt more nauseous. The only way to keep the nausea at bay was to eat all of the time. But not too much or I would get indigestion which was sometimes worse than the nausea.
  2. You will want to sleep all of the time. I averaged around 14 hours of sleep. I know, it sounds like heaven! But it’s actually hell when you’re supposed to be job hunting or taking care of other responsibilities or, you know, spending time with your friends, and instead you’re sitting on your couch, drooling onto your laptop.
  3. You will be angry. All of the time. The job I do currently have requires that I be friendly to people. This is difficult to do when all I wanted to do was rip off the head of any and every person standing in between me and food and/or sleep. Worse than the fake smiling was the fake laughing. Someone would make a really witty comment or a really funny joke and I would not feel inclined to laugh. I would laugh so as to not appear as a cold, humorless you-know-what. There will be no laughter in your heart. NONE.
  4. When I was a freshman in high school, I liked to don this weird accent and ask people, “Are you constipated?” For someone reason I found this hilarious. If you asked me today, “Are you constipated?” I would punch you in the face. Punching someone in the face is pregnant for “yes.”
  5. There will be pain. Cramps are one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. If you’re used to period cramps, this will be a familiar pain. If you’re used to having period cramps for a month straight, congratulations! This will be a cake walk for you. For me? It was awful. Fortunately, the cramps eventually went away but were kindly replaced by a different pelvic pain! Basically, every one of my pelvic muscles feels like it ran a marathon without any training or even stretching beforehand. This is common. For some women it’s just a mild throb. For some women it’s a sharp stabbing. It’s a result of all of those muscles softening to make room for the little vagina-burster that’s growing in my womb. The pain is most intense when getting up from the seated position, standing up, walking, sleeping, or sitting down. So it pretty much hurts all of the time.
  6. You will poop while delivering your baby. No, this has nothing to do with the first trimester. I had not heard of this pooping during delivery thing until last year…but now that I’m pregnant, every person, book, and internet article seems to want me to be sure that I know that a room full of strangers is going to see me unintentionally poop. So I want to make sure you too will not be caught unawares.

So, yeah. I’m knocked up.