Thursday, November 29, 2012

27 weeks: jet lagged, anxious, but happy

I've been feeling like a zombie since I got back home last week. The 13-hour difference has been brutal. My attempt to adjust to the new time zone by eating at 'right' meal times was not matching up with my sleep schedule, messing me up in pretty much every way. Obviously, being pregnant doesn't help... And I don't know what made me think eating Indian was a good idea, three days into readjusting, especially after not touching it since I got pregnant. I regretted immediately as I spent a good chunk of time and energy in the bathroom, hugging the toilet. It was... a violent night.

The thing about being jet lagged is that I get up really early in the mornings. In the beginning, it was at 2am, but now it's trickled down to almost 6am, which is a pretty normal time to get up for a lot of people. I've always been more of a night owl, but I do really love being up early in the mornings, when things are quiet, and air feels crisp. After waking up at 3am, I was able to put in another couple hours before I was up at 5:30 this morning, thinking about carrot juice. When my husband woke up soon after, we made an early morning trip to the grocery store to get some carrots. The fresh squeezed carrot juice made by my husband with our new juicer was heavenly, except I realize it may be too sugary to gulp down on an empty stomach. Next time, I'm having it with my breakfast. Oh, and I also came back with these: chocolate cravings, anyone?

Being pregnant for me has been such a crazy experience so far, where I feel the worst and the best of all emotions. The worst comes from the bodily discomforts and pain, and the best comes from this amazingly joyful anticipation. The sensation of this baby girl's movements and growth is the most exciting thing I've ever felt in my daily existence but also the reason for my physical misery. It's conflicting sometimes, but they seem to balance each other out in the end. I'm not actually so much cranky as I am groggy. I started sleeping at nights since two nights ago, so maybe I'll be more clearheaded by this weekend. I'd better be because I'm traveling again in less than a week.

Speaking of sleeping, my anxiety seems to manifest itself in my dreams these days. I'm always fighting some kind of a battle, sometimes as a swords(wo)man, and sometimes as a superhero. In a way, it's great because it always plays out in this grand, cinematic background, and I'm awesome. But of course, I'm also always trying to protect either my baby or my pregnant belly, which is not so fun. I think part of the anxiety comes from the fact that I feel like I've let go of my independence for the time being. Because I've been so sick on and off throughout this pregnancy, my husband has taken over a lot of what I do, which is necessary and great. But what happens when circumstances change, and he no longer does everything for me? Gasp. I have to keep reminding myself that certain symptoms will go away once the baby is out, and I will be back to being myself again. It's just hard to imagine because I've been in this constant state of something different for half a year now.  

I stopped being surprised at the size of my belly. I kind of love how big it's getting. My sister says I'm still 'tiny.' I'm sure I'm not actually 'tiny,' and I also know I'm going to grow a lot more in the next few months. And the bigger I get, I realize my belly looks different, depending on the time of day, as you can see in the photo. This morning, she was sitting really low. It's fun to think about where she is and what she's doing. Sometimes, I imagine she's taking a swim; I feel her little hands and feet poking as she tries to maneuver in the little space she has. And when I rub my Earth Mama Oil over my belly after showers, I feel a weird sense of pride. Despite feeling fat and clumsy at times, I am starting to love my pregnant body.

Friday, November 23, 2012

26 weeks: growing and growing and growing...

My 2nd trimester is coming to an end soon, and it shows. Whatever discomfort I thought I was feeling in terms of the belly growth has doubled in the past week. I'm moisturizing diligently, but the stretching skin is itchy, and I feel sore around my sides.

I'm mostly exhausted, but it could also be that I was on a 14 hour flight two days ago, and I'm very much jet lagged. For the past few days, I've been sleeping and eating at weird hours, feeling groggy all the time. My husband and I spent most of our Thanksgiving day napping on the couch. But we did get to eat our Thanksgiving feast, complete with pies and ice cream. I had leftovers, including dessert, for breakfast this morning at 6:30.

The flight itself was not too bad. I was feeling pretty awful in the morning of the flight, but I was able to get over it with a little vomiting and a short nap - so gross... I can't believe I haven't stopped throwing up. Of course, it's not the same as what it was in the beginning of the pregnancy, when the act wasn't helpful in any capacity and was just another part of the long, torturous, never-ending state of being. At least now, it brings me some relief. It's also no longer a guaranteed daily occurrence.

Now that we're back home, we really need to clear out the place and get ready for the baby. With a growing body that makes me feel like an oaf, cleaning/reorganizing the house feels overwhelming. I've always been a very physical person, moving furniture pieces around like it's nothing when I felt like it for example. But now, everything is different. My husband has been great in taking over everything, but I do get frustrated sometimes that I can't just get up and do the things I used to.

Another thing to consider is taking a birthing class. But I have another travel coming up soon. Sometimes, I wonder why I think I can handle all these plans. I don't think this jet lag is helping. All I want to do is sleep. Maybe it's time for another nap...

PHOTOS: 26 weeks & 1 day, with my pregnancy body pillow in the background - again, a life saver.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

25 weeks: fat or bloated?

I've been away from home for a few weeks now, and things have been busy. After two weeks of concentrated activity, I've spent this week trying to recover. I'm still feeling pretty lousy, which I'm trying to get over. This trip is coming to an end very soon, and there is another long plane ride ahead of me...

In the midst of all the madness, I kept forgetting to weigh myself. According to my record, 19 weeks and 4 days was the last time, which is more than a month ago. Then this week, I finally remembered. Knowing my baby has grown quite a bit in the past few weeks, I was simultaneously excited and scared to step on the scale. I kind of wanted to see a shockingly high number. But of course, that wouldn't actually be a good thing. After getting over that momentary stupidity, I found myself being reflective in front of the scale, asking questions like... Have I been taking care of myself well enough? Am I eating enough or too much? Do I need to exercise more?

Then I was finally standing on the scale. Immediately, I was puzzled. It was nothing like I expected. According to these numbers, I had lost weight since week 19. It didn't make any sense because I clearly do not look any thinner, and I've been eating way more than before. Also, the rate at which my belly has been growing cannot possibly spell weight loss. Suspicious, I reset the scale and went back on. As expected, it was a fluke - just a calibration issue. I think this may be the first time I was alarmed about a low number on a scale. Fortunately, I've been gaining the 'right amount' (0.5-1lb/week since 2nd trimester).

The thing is tho, I've been feeling really fat. Or maybe the more accurate description is 'bloated.' It doesn't help that I've been eating a lot of salty foods lately, tho my father thinks I did actually gain some fat - thanks dad! Of course, I'm obviously carrying around more weight than usual, and I guess dad could be right too. I do seem to get hungry all the time, if not sick. I have 15 more weeks to get bigger, but I already feel so heavy. My butt hurts when I sit. I need to start doing some squats or something. Or perhaps I'll feel well enough soon to finally go to a prenatal yoga class!

PHOTO: My upper belly is starting come out a lot more. The baby seems to have come up higher. I feel her movements above my belly button now. And I'm starting to sit funny.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

24 weeks (& 3 days): baby & me

I had a rough week. Just as I thought I was starting to feel my '2nd trimester bliss,' I began vomiting again at nights. But I think it's because I overextended myself. I was suddenly working longer hours and meeting people in the evenings, staying out all day and coming home late. My legs and feet would puff up more than I've ever experienced before - tho not enough to buy new shoes. I'd fall asleep in that uncomfortable, nauseated state, remembering all the awful things I felt in my earlier months of pregnancy.

Realizing I'm probably doing this to myself, I made it a point to clear my schedule for this weekend to rest, postponing a highly anticipated family dinner. I was determined to sleep in this morning.

My baby had other ideas. At 5:30am, I woke up to a strong kick in my stomach. I didn't mind because I find her movements adorable, and I had to go to the lady's room anyway. When walking back to bed from the bathroom, I felt a hunger pang. But being so exhausted, I thought it'd be better to sleep through it. So I got back in bed and lied down on my left side as recommended, wrapping myself with the cozy pregnancy pillow my sister sent over as soon as she knew I was pregnant (it's a must-have!), then tucking myself in under my mom's soft and fuzzy purple blanket. Warm and comfortable, I was ready for some serious resting, and sweet slumber was falling on me when I felt another kick that abruptly brought me back to reality. And she wouldn't stop. Her kicks were strong and frequent enough to keep me in that half-awake-and-not-quite-asleep state for two hours straight! In my sleepy delirium, I was excited because it was the first time I felt her move so much for such an extended period of time. It felt like she was dancing around in my belly. How cute is that? But by 7:30, I began to feel too famished to stay still. I finally got myself up to grab some food.

In hindsight, I wonder if the baby was 'dancing' because she was hungry. I've read if the mother feels hunger, so does the baby. I've also heard other women talk about their hungry, kicking babies. To further support this theory, my girl's kicks stopped as soon as I scarfed down some bread and milk.

I had a moment of feeling like a terrible mother, but I also felt an overwhelming sense of joy from the idea of communicating with her. The bigger I get, and the stronger she kicks and punches, I feel like we're getting to know each other better. I find myself cradling my belly a lot these days, especially when I sleep. I used to think it's funny when my husband rubs my stomach and talks to our baby, but I've started doing it myself. Sometimes, her pushes feel like responses to what we say to her.

She's such an active little one. I wonder what she's going to be like.

PHOTO: According to, my uterus is about the size of a soccer ball by now.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

23 wks & 5 days: HUNGER

For the past couple of days, I noticed I felt really hungry during my late night bathroom runs. The first night, I got myself up and drank some chocolate milk. By the way, the fact that I got myself up to get something in the middle of the night is a HUGE improvement in itself. And the fact that I feel hunger instead of nausea is another great sign. But the hunger is becoming another source to disrupt my sleep. I woke up several times last night, a few to go to the bathroom, and once, famished.

This is a new phenomenon. It's exciting and a bit alarming. As I write this, it's after 11pm where I am, and I just ate what could be a meal after having dinner at 6. 

Also, any kind of junk food used to make me vomit, but some things are beginning to appeal to me again: namely, pastries. Ice cream seems to be still off limits, but cake, pastries, cookies, and bread are becoming a regular craving. Uh oh.

I had my first 'ouch' moment today from the baby's movement. It didn't actually hurt, but I was startled by the force and location of her kick. I just lifted my shirt and observed with my husband to see if the belly actually moves from the outside. And it does! 

I'm sure she's gonna start waking me up in the middle of the night with her kicks and punches pretty soon.

Friday, November 2, 2012

23 weeks: hurricane Sandy & getting huge

My husband and I escaped hurricane Sandy before it hit our neighborhood. Our building is apparently still without power, tho the flooding in the first couple of levels has subsided. Talking to family and friends back in NYC area about what they're going through, I can't believe how close to home this disaster hit. There were no fatalities in my circle, but I know many are dealing with devastating situations. (Here's a link with info on how you can help.) And being mostly a mess these days anyway, I can't imagine how I would have handled the stress if I were home. I know there are some damages I'll have to deal with when I get back, but I can't describe how grateful I am for being where I am, warm and with power, surrounded by people I love...

Life is so precarious and fragile that I used to ponder extensively about what it means to bring another life into this world. I've always wanted to be a mother, but I was also aware of the weight of responsibilities that comes with starting a family, including the overwhelming need to protect and the inevitability of reality.

When I was going through the worst of the 'morning sickness' in bed for three months straight, I couldn't fathom the idea of going through this again. But perhaps because of my current, better physical condition, or maybe the hurricane, I am beginning to think about a second child again. Mostly, I want this baby girl to have someone in her generation to call family. Cousins are great - I've grown up with a bunch. But a sibling is irreplaceable. I'm sure everyone's different, but I know I feel a kind of security I can't quite explain just from having the two siblings I have. Going through some deaths plus serious illnesses in the family recently, I've come to appreciate my siblings on another level. I want this baby to have that when she's older. I won't be around forever, and I don't want her to be alone.

But of course... I should focus on getting through this pregnancy first.

On a lighter note, I'm getting huge. I thought I had my growth spurt two weeks ago, but that was only the beginning... I know there's a lot more to go, but I'm already starting to feel enormous. I can't slouch the way I used to (maybe it's a good thing) - my big round belly is in the way. The extra weight is starting to affect my mobility, and I can't stay in one position for a long time. My extremities get swollen if I'm not careful. I find myself massaging my hands and feet a lot. 

Looking back at pictures from previous weeks, I realize how small I was. This process is just going to repeat itself until the baby comes, I'm sure. The fact that my body has the capacity to grow in the way it's growing is fascinating in itself, and to think that there's another alien life in there seems crazy. All these things I took for granted are now somehow endlessly miraculous and awe-inspiring. 

This is me at 23 weeks, earlier today. I had to lift the shirt to show the 'real belly,' but it still doesn't really capture how huge I feel. I think I'm carrying her pretty low, which I think is apparent in the photo. But I'm noticing my upper stomach area is starting to 'pop' as well.