This week your baby weighs a little over 4 pounds (heft a pineapple) and has passed the 17-inch mark. He's rapidly losing that wrinkled, alien look and his skeleton is hardening. The bones in his skull aren't fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap, thus making it easier for him to fit through the birth canal. These bones don't entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as his brain and other tissue expands during infancy and childhood. (www.babycenter.com)
My insurance provider sent me a workbook at the beginning of my pregnancy. I really like it a lot, but I realized I haven't really answered any of the questions in it and thought it would be fun to do on my blog so I can look back on it as well...maybe in my second pregnancy and see how much I've changed (and have grown)! Here are some of the questions in no particular order...
What does balance look like to you? How do you define healthy? Where are you in balance? Where do you see opportunities for personal growth?
Ahh, balance. Bottom line, to me balance is feeling happy where I'm at in the present moment - almost a calm state where life feels weightless - where I'm surrounded by joy. I tend to teeter back and forth between feeling carefree and happy to feeling like I'm carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I have a lot of people pulling me in many directions, asking me to be places or to do things for them. I'm involved in a lot. I have realized if I say "no" when I want to, I should! I don't need to feel guilty and I shouldn't for saying "no" to someone. It's OK.
However, I tend to ignore that inner voice and take on a lot, not to mention acquire the emotions that go with it all. I'm a people pleaser. I then feel like a chicken with my head cut off because I'm pushing my own stuff aside to do things for others. But I feel like that's what I should be doing, otherwise I'm viewed as selfish. If that makes sense? When I have more time for myself and do the things I really want to do, I'm happiest and healthiest. I have more time to exercise, relax, cook healthy meals, spend time with loved ones. And then I feel like my life is on track - I feel balance! I feel energized! I need to put myself first to really feel happy. Took me until my thirties to figure that one out.
What does it mean to have a healthy pregnancy?
A healthy weight gain, a good amount of energy, good mental attitude and a healthy baby growing inside. If I'm happy, I feel healthy! If I'm healthy, I'm happy.
What special concerns do you have about your pregnancy?
Sometimes I worry about the food I consume. Such as, am I getting enough fish and nutrients? Am I eating too many pesticides, hormones or mercury?? Did I microwave too much plastic and cause chemicals to leak to baby? I also think about the pain associated with baby coming out. I really don't know what to expect either after baby comes out. How will I do with little sleep? And breast feeding. Will I have the patience? Can I do it?
How do you feel about this pregnancy?
Honestly, I've been scared for most of it. Yes, of course I want to be a mother and I was SO excited when we found out, but at the same time I have loved my carefree life so much. I think this is why it took us longer to start trying. We just really wanted to live our life up as much as we could. I've had so much fun doing my own thing on my own time and seeing the world and spending all this time with Karl. Just the two of us. Yet, I know life is about to change in a BIG way. And in a REALLY good way. The closer we get to "birth" day, I get very excited for this change because deep down I know it's for the better and I need it...and I WANT it. Who wants to keep doing the same thing forever - life would get awfully boring that way! This baby is going to change our world in a way I'm pretty sure no words or advice can prepare us for. And I already have this crazy love for the baby I can't quite describe. It keeps getting stronger and stronger. Like I can't believe this is ours... Blows my mind.
What are your thoughts surrounding being pregnant, your health or your future?
The gaining weight part has been difficult because I've worked so hard most of my life to stay fit and in shape. As I gain weight, I feel like I'm becoming unhealthier... But according to my doctor and nurses and everyone who weighs me and takes my blood pressure, I'm on track and uber healthy. I worry it's going to take a lot of work to get it all off. And I won't get to enjoy ice cream as much. Darn! I do notice I allow myself that second or third cookie. Naughty!
What emotions are you experiencing at this time? Do your emotions change from day to day? What do you think about these changes?
There's worry. Lots of worry. Some fear. For example, I don't know how I'm going to be good at both parenting and working. People do it all the time though. Then there's excitement. Then anxiety again. All sorts of emotions. Yes, the emotions do change. For example, I was sitting in church last Wednesday and this calm washed over me and I thought to myself, "I'm ready. I can do this! This is going to be awesome!"
Knowing how your body works and knowing your limitations, how are you going to design your exercise routine while pregnant?
I've been fortunate to have had a personal trainer throughout my entire pregnancy. I played volleyball through 22 weeks. Exercise is my happy pill. I need it. My doctor says since I've been active most of my life, I can continue to do whatever I want. So I do. And it's been great! Yes, I've had to slow down some, but I swear it feels so good to sweat.
What changes have you noticed in your pregnancy? What challenges are you facing?
Weeks 6-9 were pretty tough (the up and down emotions and feeling nauseous in the morning), but after those few weeks I have felt pretty great. The heavier I get, I'm more out of breath and slower than normal. I don't like that. I can't imagine having this weight on me all the time. I've noticed things that I used to fret over or things I used to worry about really aren't THAT big of a deal. Material things don't seem to matter. Drinking isn't the fun thing to look forward to on the weekends. I have a hard time relating to people who are still caught up in all that stuff. And I've realized I need to let things go more. Challenges: Trying to do it all and also knowing I can't do it all. Who cares if there is dust and weird rims of whatever in the toilet bowl.
How familiar are you with signs and symptoms of preterm labor?
Not really familiar at all. I have no idea what to expect... Really.
Are you getting a hospital tour?
Yes! The second week in March! Taking a labor class too. I'm pretty excited about this class.
Where do you feel tension in your body?
I get crazy leg cramps and my bladder area always feel tight and heavy! I notice I can do stair climber and elliptical fine, but when I walk fast, my bladder area hurts! It's harder to get up out of my chair at work. My behind hurts more...like my tailbone. I think it's just because it's not used to holding up this much weight.
What gives you energy? What takes you away from your energy?
Working out!! Being outside! Eating super healthy. Laughing. Sometimes just relaxing on the couch helps! Reading a book. Blogging my thoughts. Writing. Being on a beach somewhere fabulous. And then stress takes me away from it all. And there is stress. I wish I was better at controlling it.
How are you getting to know your baby? What have you noticed about his or her movement, habits, preferences and cycles?
I talk to the baby a lot at night. I rub my belly and ask him/her questions. I wonder who he/she is going to become and how he/she is going to be. Baby moves a lot between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Also, when I eat chocolate, ice cream and spicier foods. Karl says he can feel the baby move during the night, but I don't because I'm knocked out! I've been pretty lucky that I've been able to sleep so well. I also feel connected to the baby during church services. I feel extra grateful and fortunate during this time. The music plays and baby moves and I feel like something close to a miracle is happening inside me...and I get to experience it. I'll never take that for granted.
Do you have any anxiety or fear surrounding the birth process?
Ummmmm...yes. But I can't say I dwell on it. I know it's going to hurt. I've accepted the fact it's going to be tough. But, I'm also excited for the story - our story - and I can't wait to share it (leaving out all the juicy parts of course). Women give birth all the time! If they can do it, so can I. My body was designed for this.
How do you envision yourself as a parent?
I want to mirror my mom in many ways. She was/is an amazing mom. All she did was love us to the point where it was so obvious I knew it and felt it. I never had to question that, and that really is a comforting feeling. I feel so sad when I realize not everyone had this. My mom was so attentive and gave us so much attention...and was consistent. She was so involved. Yet, she never was our best friend. I believe you need to know who the parent is. I worry because I have to work full-time so that means I won't be as good because she had a lot of time to devote to us every day. I have to trust everything will work out though.
What values do you want to share with child or children?
Good manners. Believe in and love God and yourself. Have a strong faith. Always be nice to those around you (because more than likely you'll run into them again in your lifetime). I want our child to have a strong sense of self-worth, a positive attitude, a great personality and confidence in himself/herself and his/her decisions. And the ability to dream and chase them. The sky is the limit. And I want him or her to know our love will never ever run out, no matter who he/she wants to be or become. Oh, and to laugh at himself/herself too. Life isn't meant to be taken so seriously. Be happy. Life is so precious. I also want baby to see how much Karl and I love each other. I think that's important. I remember my mom and dad having those loving moments and how warm I felt. My dad would chase my mom around the house until she kissed him. It was great. Yes, they'd fight and we were also able to see how they resolved issues - they didn't shut us out. I think anxiety in kids stems from a tense, stressful household...or the type of household where everyone pretends everything is OK when it's not. Kids are smarter than we think.
If you could share anything from your experience of pregnancy, what would you tell him or her?
I may have been scared out of my mind, but love trumps all that. Truly you are a miracle in my eyes. Our miracle. Oh, and I can't WAIT to meet YOU!!!! Just don't cry a lot...okay? :) Though, I'm pretty sure I'm going to bawl my eyes out when I meet you.
What steps do you need to take order to live your vision of yourself as a parent? Is there anything you need to heal? Is there anything you want more of in your life?
A flexible work schedule. More freedom. Less stress. For Karl and I to work together as a team and to love each other forever and ever so baby can feel it and see it! Get-away vacations to tropical destinations:) Date nights with Karl. My parents and Karl's parents to be involved. I frickin' LOVE my grandparents.
How do you envision your labor and delivery?
I envision working out on the stair climber and my water breaking. I get to the hospital and baby is born...pain free. And Karl is crying. And then I'm crying and the whole moment is amazing. For real. See, this is how twisted my brain is.
What fears do you have about giving birth? About becoming a parent?
Birth: Something going wrong. Parent: Something horrible happening to our child...the unthinkable. I can't even allow myself to go there because it makes me shiver.
Soooo what do you think? Am I cray-cray?