I'm 13 weeks 4 days today, which is officially the start of the 2nd trimester if you take 40 weeks divided by 3. I'm feeling better than I was a few weeks ago. Less nauseous, less irritable, a little less tired. Don't get me wrong, I'm still tired. I've been eating lots of carbs and junk the last few days so trying to up my protein again and eat whole foods, the scale has done some crazy jumping this past week that I don't even want to put in writing......ok 6lbs. That's really scary, huh???? So, back to protein and real foods and then hopefully when I weigh in Friday at 14 weeks I'll be more normal again.
I'm glad to look 'pregnant', but I mostly just feel huge.
And I love being able to use my doppler and hear the baby when I'm wondering how it's doing in there :)
I've been thinking lately how hard it is sometimes to give ourselves grace, and others, too. To realize that sometimes we're not just having a bad day, we're having a bad month and maybe even a bad year. Things we used to be able to laugh off, we can't anymore. We change in phases as we respond to our circumstances, our finances, our relationships, etc. I know at times I've felt a victim of my own body or emotions. I can say to myself, in my own head, that I'm not handling something well or to ignore someone else's behavior or hurtfulness, but then maybe my actions don't match what I'm telling myself to do. In that moment, grace seems out of reach.
There was this lady whom my family knew fairly well when I was a kid. She was miserable at that point in her life and that made her kind of miserable to be around. She was mistreated by the people in her life at the time and truly was having a hard time finding joy or being who she was meant to be. Years later she is in a totally different place and obviously so much more happy. It takes grace to realize that someone's behavior or attitude or comments might just be a reflection of their life at that particular moment in time. Maybe it's not really THEM as a person. A comment that comes off as judgmental might be a lot less about you and a lot more about how they feel about themselves or their circumstances.
There was this weird thing with one of my best friends growing up, and still a dear friend, where we'd sort of distance ourselves from each other as we faced certain challenges, only to open up and be truthful and realize we were facing the exact same challenges at the exact same time. We felt isolated and alone because we were afraid to be real and vulnerable, I think ultimately we didn't expect to find grace. But we did and facing our challenges together was so much easier!
I think when you're wired like me, and I have several friends who are, you expect a lot out of yourself and almost as much from those in your life. I expect a lot out of my husband, my kids, and people that want to be my friend. Remembering that people are in different phases of dealing with life is important and hard. And the same goes for myself. I'm pregnant and really happy to be pregnant. At the same time my dad is really, really sick with cancer. There's such polar opposite emotions in those two life experiences, I find myself toggling back and forth between peaceful and excited about the baby and really scared for my dad. I feel like I need to be a protector. Protecting myself and the baby I carry and wishing so much I could protect my dad from all that he is experiencing. That spills over into everything else. I want to protect my kids from hurt and danger and sometimes that hurt is coming from other kids/people. That complicates relationships, certainly. There are things in my control and there are things out of it. Ultimately, do I think I have the power to protect myself, the baby, my dad, every little thing that happens to the 3 kids? NO. Deep down I don't. But isn't it the human response to try? To think that something must be in our power, if only to make us not feel so useless?
GRACE: 1. a:unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b: a virtue coming from God
c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
When we take life into our own hands we don't leave room for that glorious thing called grace. We only leave room for fear, judgment, and isolation because we kind of suck at calling the shots. When we try to take control, we actually let go of freedom. I know I've written about this before, but it's been a while; when I toured with the Continental Singers a decade ago (ahhh!), I learned to let things go and not worry about the next day. I am planner, I have always been a planner. To take off on a tour bus with 25 other people for 3 months and really not have a clue where our next meal or bed was, was nerve wracking for me. Yeah, it was an adventure, but I didn't like everything feeling so out of my control. Amazingly, we always had a meal. We always had a bed to sleep in. Even though I didn't know what the next day would hold, God always did. He covered our bases better than we ever would've. Eventually I stopped thinking about it. I just let the course go as it did and trusted that the people in charge had done their work and God was going before us. That allowed me to be present in the moment and to feel peace. So I reflect on that lesson from time to time, because it's a hard lesson to live daily.
The way each of us handle situations, our ability to deal with conflict and resolution, whether we speak up or shy away, etc is often just a product of our experiences. I think we all tackle parenthood wanting the same thing; happy, successful, intelligent, conscientious children. But how we get there looks differently because we come from vastly different situations. We all want a marriage filled with love, friendship, experiences and memories; but how we get there looks differently because we have all packed our suitcases differently. How we handle joy and grief and the two at the same time varies greatly. How we communicate in friendships, how well we behave like a friend, how we handle family issues, how much we're willing to put up with or not put up with.....all depends so much on the journey our life has been. No two people will be exactly alike in how they view things. See much grace is required to make it through life???
This is where our ultimate and huge need for a Savior lives. In the realization that we tend to make poor choices. We tend to make life about ourselves. We tend to be selfish and self serving. We tend to judge and think before speaking. I want to be a person that extends grace first. Am I? Um, no. But I want to be. That's a life journey for sure. If I can surrender ME and allow God to run the show, I'll be a lot more graceful and grace-giving. I want to assume the best about people, to give people the benefit of the doubt. That probably starts with me. I'm harder on myself than anyone else, which is a scary thought at times.
I'm wired to expect perfect. That is my chemistry and I don't think I need to change that. But I do need to allow room for imperfection and grace. My highest compliment in school was when a teacher or professor wanted a copy of my paper for their example book. My entire being felt like it was glowing and I couldn't have been prouder. That became my goal; my papers had to be good enough the teachers would use me as an example. I was devastated if I got an A-. My one A- paper in Mr. Pagaard's history class still haunts me. Now as the mother of a student, I have to work in my own brain to not say something that comes off as, "well that's good but you can do better." Not everyone wants an A+++ in every subject! Someone who didn't care about their grades might've been jealous of my drive, but I didn't let myself rest. My mom told me a couple years ago that that was something about me that worried her when I was growing up. She could tell that no matter what she said, I'd push myself reaching for perfect. BUT, there is no perfect! Not in life, not in marriage, not in parenting. We just do our best and need a ton of grace.
As a parent, I have to back off and allow that maybe the Christmas tree lights will be far from perfect, but the kids will have memories of helping to string them. I failed miserably this last year and that was shameful. I wanted....yup, a perfect tree. But expecting perfect from a Christmas tree doesn't allow room for a 12, 4, and 2 year old to help :)
As we face 2013 with nearly an entire new year ahead of us, I hope you'll take this journey to grace with me. Apologize when you're wrong. Accept an apology when you're slighted. Assume the best out of people- including yourself. Remember how much Jesus loves and adores you, even when you are at your worst. He is more proud of you than any teacher asking for a copy of a paper could ever be.
I'm 12w1d today and things are moving along well. Another week and I'll be entering the 2nd trimester.
I bought a doppler this week for finding the baby's heartbeat. I read about it and asked my Ob her thoughts and it seems it's safe. I also figure that me being able to relax and know baby is ok is worth something. Www.fetaldoppler.com has great dopplers, great prices, and free shipping. I got the Sonoline B 3MHz as the baby group I'm in on FB had a ton of people recommending it.
The doppler came in the mail today and I tried it out tonight. I thought I found the baby during the first hour of messing with it but the readings were staying right around 120bpm. I knew it should be more around 150 or so. I read some online and watched a tutorial video on Youtube.com. The video explained that there are 3 different sounds; a low and slow heart rate (which is mine), a 120-ish bpm 'heart rate' (which is actually an artery/placenta), and then a fast gallop sound which is the baby. I realized that earlier I was only hearing the artery/placenta sound. So I went at it again and found the wee little one! It's a wiggly little guy/gal so it didn't stay put for long and then I'd have to adjust and find it again. Last Tuesday at my Ob it was on the left side, tonight it was on my right side. The doppler readings jumped all over the place...128, 180, 140, etc. I took the Youtube advice to just count the heartbeat for 10 seconds and multiply it by 6 and that worked much better. I could tell it was super fast and I knew the doppler wasn't reading right. By counting myself it was consistently 168 every time (28beats in 10 seconds X 6). So cool! Also such an amazing reminder of the beauty of life and how very early that life exists.
I had the much anticipated appointment with my Ob today. I'm 11 weeks and 3 days (11w3d).She pulled out the doppler, searched for 10 seconds, and there was a very strong and very fast little heart beating. It's always a little surreal in the beginning to realize, "Wow, there's a real, live baby in there!" I'm very thankful for that heartbeat and for the reassurance it brings. My Dr said I look wonderful, baby sounds wonderful, and things should go along well. At this point the rate of miscarriage dramatically drops, so that's awesome. I have friends, tragically, with losses well past this point, but generally speaking I'm in the 'safe zone'.
I really appreciated how much time my Dr took with us today. Mondays are really busy for her as all the stuff from the weekend bursts onto the scene as soon as their phone lines are open. She listened to me, answered all my questions, and shared helpful info. I meet a midwife, who I think and hope I'll love, next week. But I'm glad to have a great Ob as my back up and in case things happen in such a way that a home birth isn't wise.
I honestly feel so mixed right now because I'm really happy and relieved about hearing the baby, but yet also heard more news about my dad today and he's not doing well at all. We're still waiting on final results and answers, but his cancer appears to be quite late stage even though it was just diagnosed in December. I will be visiting him in California soon. So, the joy of this baby is bittersweet. This will be the first child my Mother in Law never gets to meet and now my dad is sick, too.
11 weeks as of yesterday, 1/11/13 (appropriate, right?)
I see my Ob for the first time on Monday and am really looking forward to hearing the baby's heartbeat again. It's been a long 5 weeks of nerves and I feel really anxious. On the one hand, yeah, I'm showing and so must be pregnant still, right? On the other hand I'm really scared I'll hear, "Um, there's no heartbeat." So, praying and waiting and hoping for wonderful sounds on Monday.
As an interesting comparison, this was me pregnant with Evangeline in 2010 and 11 1/2 weeks along. We used this photo to announce the pregnancy on Facebook while we were vacationing with family in Mexico.
I thought I looked pretty good here, but I was a good 35lbs more than I am now. So, now looking at the photo I'm like, wow! But look how little Eliana was....so sweet :)
While pregnant I like to read a new birth-y book every couple of weeks. I feel like learning and expanding my knowledge of birth does so much to open my mind and body to birth. I really believe our heads, as in thoughts and emotions, are SO hugely related to the type of birth we have that it's incredibly important to be in a good place and ready for birth. I also think that fear often comes from not knowing. No knowing what it'll be like, how much it'll hurt, if it'll be safe, etc. Knowledge and truth remove so much of that fear. I feel deeply that pregnancy is not an illness. Birth is not a disease. It's a natural physiological process and the more open we are to it emotionally and physically, chances are the better it'll go. I believe in the need for surgeons (Obstetricians) and am very thankful that our world has them. That being said, I don't want one delivering my baby, if I can help it. I want to birth my baby. Safely, comfortably, peacefully, and on my and the baby's terms. After Evangeline's amazing birth, I know that's possible.
I just read a seriously amazing book, Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy. It was mind blowing. At times very difficult to read and horrific. I was reading clinging to the blanket with my mouth open in shock. Other times I read with a questioning scowl, as in how in the world could it have taken over 60 years, even with crystal clear proof, for doctors to admit they had to wash their hands between vaginal checks????? The doctors were too prideful to admit they'd been wrong, so they continued with no hand washing. Literally tens of thousands of women died of Childbed Fever. For years it was thought that many things caused it: women being negative and making themselves sick, milk ducts being connected to the uterus and causing the illness (Leonardo Da Vinci even drew diagrams of it), etc. Want to know why they thought of the milk duct theory??? Because at the Hotel Dieu in Paris, one of the first 'lying-in' hospitals (where women stayed there and layed there for a month during childbirth), they were required to do basic autopsies on the deceased. Upon cutting the women open they found 'milk' throughout the body cavity and internal organs. Surely it was breastmilk contaminating them!!! UH, no. The white stuff was puss and infection. The other totally nasty and shocking part of this is that not only did they not wash their hands between checking the alive, pregnant vaginas....they also didn't wash their hands after touching the cadavers. And so it went for decades, doctors without gloves putting their hands in dead bodies and then in 25 different vaginas without so much as a single wash. Ironically the low class hospital that took in prostitutes had much fewer cases of Childbed Fever. Doctors at the time said they were so depraved and disgusting as it was that their bodies could resist the illness. Really it was because the doctors didn't want to waste their time doing vaginal checks on prostitutes. It meant upper class women died more often and childbirth was actually safer for prostitutes.
During all of this, midwives were fighting to still have a place in society. They knew birth, they knew how to handle it and they'd been dealing with it for centuries. Yet in came Ob's, realizing they could charge 2x what the midwife did and because they had a certificate, they were considered elite and better equipped for birth. Actually, they attended classes at universities where wooden or metal dummies were the example of birth, with vegetables and other things standing in as babies. And because it was considered so ungodly for men to see a vagina, they were not allowed to view an actual birth. What they were taught was how to use forceps (extremely crude and easily deadly metal and wooden tools), how to avoid wasting time waiting for the cervix to dilate, how to stuff a drugged hankie into the mother's mouth so she'd pass out and not realize what he was doing to her, and many other such travesties. They were taught they the tools must be used and ended up harming most of the mothers they attended. Babies were born with limbs torn off and ears missing, all because the 'highly trained obstetricians' believed they had to yank the baby out with the forceps before the body did it on it's own. I read all of this in horror. To think that this was actually our history? This stuff actually happened? And truly, much of it still does.
There was a period of time in history when rickets was all too common. The result was women who had a pelvis width of 2.5 inches and literally no ability to birth the baby she'd grown to full term. Nearly all of these babies died in the mother or were taken by craniotomy (a deadly, pre c-sect, way to remove a stuck or already deceased baby) or other such horrors. When c-sections came about they were sometimes tried but in most cases the mother and baby still died. One doctor tried something called a symphysiotomy. He cut through the clitoris, labia, internal organs and anything in the way until he got to the pelvic cartilage (and no anesthesia yet!), which he then cut. That would expand the pelvis a couple inches. He was able to get that mother's baby out safely, her first live birth out of 5 pregnancies. However, she was never able to walk again, pee normally, and had to use homemade large corks to keep her vagina inside her body. After some time he began to think that maybe the procedure wasn't a good idea because of how much long term suffering it brought to the mother. However, symphysiotomies are still being done today. Not in America, but in other countries, yes. That is shocking.
This book was a revelation to me. It made so much sense how America has arrived where it is today, currently ranked 25th in the world in terms of how many mothers die in childbirth. Countries like Qatar actually rank much better than we do. That is scary! But after reading the history of midwifery and obstetrics and even the history of fathers being around or involved with births, and breastfeeding, and anesthesia.....it all makes so much sense.
If you are at all into birthy stuff, I encourage you to read the book and learn. The author is a journalist and in that regard is not encouraging homebirth or hospital birth. She remains unbiased. There are also many, many pages in the back of the book with her documented sources. She relates the info in easily readable ways and most often recounts the true stories of real people and what happened to them. It's a fascinating read.
I borrowed the book from the library, but you can also purchase it used for less than $10 on Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/Birth-Surprising-History-How-Born/dp/0802143245/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357755391&sr=1-1&keywords=birth+the+surprising+history+of+how+we+are+born
Well, here we are, at 10 weeks already! And yeah, totally already showing. ALL of my old maternity clothes are too big. I have to tuck the belly band of the pants into my underwire bra to hold the pants up. LOL. Not super fun to have to adjust that all day long. So, I'll be getting some new pants soon. Nice to think that Larges are actually too large :)