Archive for the 'On how it feels' Category

You know you’re pregnant when…

Since we’re in the home stretch of being pregnant (due this month? Wa wa what?), it’s time to play a game called, you know you’re pregnant when…

I’m sure my experiences don’t speak for all pregnant women, but I would be surprised if I couldn’t find someone who agrees with a few of these! Here goes. You know you’re pregnant when:

  • You hear “You’re huge!” and “You’re so small!” within hours of each other. Rarely, although it happens, “You’re just right!”
  • You have answered all the basic questions so many times, you have every detail of how you tell the answer down pat. October 30! Boy! My husband is Walter Ben Ottenhoff the Fourth, so this is Walter Ben Ottenhoff the Fifth! No. Yes! Yes. Uh huh! (Just kidding, I don’t know what those last 4 questions were.)
  • Your belly becomes fodder for metaphors: basketball, bowling ball, balloon, torpedo. Actually, not just your belly…your entire ensemble for clothes you can still manage to wear. I wore a dress to work and was compared to a lampshade. All of these metaphors are okay, though, and actually extremely funny to you as well, because you have caught your reflection in a window when you weren’t expecting it and you thought, Man, that girl is so pregnant! It’s like your body is so foreign that it’s not even a part of who you are anymore.
  • You consider sometimes being pregnant forever, just because you have become so liked by strangers. As soon as your bump is obviously more than a few too many late-night gallons of ice cream and looks like a baby, everyone smiles at you, chats you up, and holds doors for you. Cashiers give you discounts you don’t have coupons for. Servers keep your drinks extra-full. And people whose parking spot you steal (it was an accident, I swear!) make mean faces at you until you get out of the car and they see your irresistible belly. Then they smile, wave, and move on.

You know you’re REALLY pregnant when:

  • You vaccuum a floor of your house and are sweating like you just completed your first marathon.
  • You are used to your belly being pushed and stretched from the inside. You look forward to it. When you are in a room full of people and it happens, you enjoy it as your secret between the baby and you. His reminder that he’s there, and your life is about to change.
  • You have to pee every time you stand up. In fact, sometimes you sneeze or laugh to hard, and a little bit just comes out. You would like to think your water just broke, but no. You and your baby have something in common: you are an excellent candidate for newborn diapers as well.
  • Rolling over at night has become a great feat. You are laying on one side and wake up because your arm is numb. You actually consider how much longer it may take before your arm is asleep so long that it falls off. If that timing is “any minute now,” you consider how valuable said arm is to you vs. having to huff, puff, and heave your big belly around so you are laying on your other side. (Note, I’ve always chosen to keep the arm, but I still have one more month of baby growth to go.)

Confronting a pregnant woman’s worst enemy

I had a vision. I was ready, so ready, for the day I would be pregnant. Because I’d be happy about the baby, of course, but also because I couldn’t wait to eat whatever I wanted. Whenever I wanted. For 9 months. You see, Wally’s Bops (read: Grandpa) once said the truest thing I’d ever heard: “Love of food is one of the greatest gifts God gave us.” I heavily subscribe to that philosophy. Even not pregnant, I wake up thinking about what I will be eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that day. I remember—in detail—what I ate during each dinner of our wedding week last summer. And don’t even get me started on the best holiday ever invented known to man: Thanksgiving.

Then I got pregnant. My dream of guilt-free eating had finally arrived! And for the first 10 weeks or so, eating was very difficult, since every tasty delicatessen I’d loved and enjoyed just the week before transformed into a smelly, disgusting morsel of badness. Thankfully, that faded. And I loved food again.

I was told by the doc I should gain 30-35 pounds throughout the pregnancy. I got a quick start with 5 pounds in the first month after the nausea passed. Then, in my studying of everything baby, I read that a few pounds might be gained in the first trimester, but most of the weight should come on the second and third mesters. My measly five pounds was just a good head start, I thought. And I ate.

Then, for reasons unknown, I decided to weigh in weekly. I’ve never been a big “scale” person, since my weight has always hovered around the same number as long as I work out. Little did I know I had just made a weekly appointment with my arch enemy.

Every week, the numbers rise. Every week, it makes me cringe, just a little. As odd as it is, I know I should be gaining weight. I know I have a little baby that’s gone from a nugget of a thing to a rutabega, and he needs to eat also. But I just can’t switch that part of my brain off that says reaching a new scale decade is a little bit painful. (I think of Lord of the Rings, where Samwise and Frodo are about to leave the Shire, and Sam says, “If I take one more step, it will be the furthest away from home I’ve ever been.” I think that every time I step on the scale: If I gain one more pound, it will be the heaviest I’ve ever been. And as a side note, I’ve always thought it would be funny if Samwise had continued saying that the rest of their journey, every step, since it would have remained true to the pits of Mordor.)

I don’t know which was the hardest: when I passed up my brother-in-law’s current weight, or when I gained 3 pounds two weeks in a row. For a total of 6 pounds. In 2 weeks. Weightwatchers, help me!

I’ve gained 20 pounds to date. And the baby currently only weighs 2. That fact is very hard to stomach! Ah, but I do know, and will keep reminding myself, it’s okay. It’s healthy. It’s right. I’ll lose some (I hope) the day the baby’s born. And I have heard 9 months up, 9 months down. So a year from now, my original weight may be restored. In the meantime, on to Mordor!

P.S. No telling me I look great in the comments field. I know, I know, it’s good, it’s healthy, blah blah. Wally asked me if I swallowed a basketball the other day. When the jokes stop coming, I’ll know I’m in trouble! Comments field is for fat jokes only, please!

Kicking metaphors

Wally V has proven to be quite the kicker so far. We haven’t gotten on a regular kicking schedule yet, but we’re getting there. And if what my doctor says is true—that babies establish their sleeping patterns before birth—I am going to be up with the paper boy, birds, and my grandma and grandpa while the rest of you jamokes are in your peaceful slumbers. Wally V loves to wake up around 4 or 5. I’ll roll over, get comfortable, and without fail he starts his morning Tai Bo. It lasts about an hour, and these are big, arms in the air, balance on one leg, Karate Kid style whacks. Good morning!

People who haven’t been pregnant have asked me what the kicking feels like. So I’ve given it a lot of thought, since, “It feels like there’s a little guy in there and he’s kicking” doesn’t quite describe it.

So far, I’ve experienced kicks of 3 varieties:

  1. The little, 16 weeks along kicks. I’ve described before that at this point I’d been waiting. People had told me it feels like gas, so I never knew if what I was feeling was gas or my little guy. Until one day, out of the blue, I felt it. And knew. These three little feelings were kicks. These cute little tiny little movements felt like a muscle twitch. Like when you’ve just been for a long walk or run and your thighs start popping when you’re resting. Distinct, pops at the bottom of your belly.
  2. The medium, I’m-in-here-dude kicks. These feel like a 6 inch tall Gumby is hanging out in your belly. Between him and your belly button is a 3 inch foam pad made out of the stuff a Tempur-pedic mattress is made out of. Extremely durable. And he’s decided to have a little boxing workout on the foam pad. He punches it pretty hard, for Gumby, but because of the foam pad there’s no pain. It can be anywhere in the belly area, but usually this is in the same spot over and again, at least a few times.
  3. The hardest, I-mean-business kicks. These can come on their own, or they can be a grand finale to the medium kicks. These kicks are so hard, they are visible to the naked eye from miles away*. (*Untested theory. The furthest distance seen to date is across the couch. But still. They are huge.) They are so hard, they have been known to wake one deep-sleeping mommy up from a midnight slumber. These kicks feel like Gumby got bored with using the foam pad as a punching bag and instead decided to get out his catapult and launch unripe apples at it from a short distance away to see what happens. He’s quite the little warrior!

I love the kicks. I hate, though, when you want to feel the kick, so I let you know he’s started up, and he shies away as soon as your hand is there. I feel like the mom who’s kid has a great voice and sings to himself all the time, but when asked to perform for an audience he runs into the other room. I want to explain, he really can kick, I swear! But I know that you already know, so all we can do is sit, and wait, with your hand on my belly. And hope little Gumby starts up again.

Halfway update: My kicking basketball belly

I’m at 22 weeks, so I’m now more than halfway through the pregnancy. Before I was pregnant, I was certain I would love every moment of it, and that it would be one of the best times of my life. The first few months, with the strange get-that-tuna-away-from-me, mmm-cantaloupe-ew-gross-cantaloupe mental stomach monster proved that theory wrong. But we were so excited, so full of hope, so ready to share our joy with people that it was worth it. Although thank you for not asking me if it was worth it in the moment I was gagging at the sight of thai chicken leftovers that had tasted so good the day before, as I may have had a more selfish answer.

And I have to say now, since food aversion is a distant memory, I have really been loving being pregnant. I love hearing the heartbeat at the doctor. I loved waiting for the baby to kick. I loved the anticipation of whether we were having a boy or girl. And I currently love feeling him kick every day, and sharing it with other people now that he’s kicking hard enough on occassion for them to feel, too. In fact, if you want to feel the baby kick, just let me know. If you’re an arms-length away and he starts up, I’m more than happy to introduce the two of you!

I’m finally at the point of pregnancy where people know that I’m pregnant. In the last month people who didn’t know went from glancing at my belly casually during conversation and ignoring what might be a baby but what might also be a very unfortunate centralized weight-gaining experience, to congratulating me and asking when I’m due. I’ve switched to almost all maternity clothes. And I’ve caught my reflection accidentally in a window here and there and stopped myself in my tracks. Man, that girl’s really pregnant!

Also, I’m slightly fascinated and slightly appalled at some of the things that are happening to my body:

  • I’m steadily gaining an average of a pound a week. One week I went down a pound, and the following week went up 3. Yowsa! (But Small Wall loves icecream and really really really wanted it, and how could I say no? He is just so cute.)
  • My belly button is slowly disappearing. I’ve got a shallow indent about now…enough to hold only a raindrop or two.
  • Just today I noticed the beginnings of that faint black line that runs in a straight line down through some pregnant ladies’ belly buttons. (It’s called “linea negra” and it’s from hormones. As a side note, I just looked that up in Google, and other moms amuse me. “I got black line on my belly” and “Does every pregnant woman get black lines on ‘there’ belly?” were two forum questions that came up. Grammar much, future moms? Did you ask your unborn baby what to type? My favorite was, “I have a black line, don’t tell me it’s linea negra because that’s just black line in Spanish.” A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, lady. Sorry, that’s just what it’s called.)

As a side note, Wally V is kicking so hard at the moment that I can see my whole belly moving. I think he’s telling me to wrap it up! Here’s a current comparison, since we’re halfway, of 1 week pregnant vs. halfway.


Baby Wally’s Birthday Present for Mommy

I read a few weeks ago that I’d start to feel kicks anytime, so I’ve been waiting. I felt little flutters here and there, little pops, light taps. I was never sure if I was feeling kicks, as it always felt a little familiar, like something I’ve felt before. Different moms described it to me as butterflies, popcorn, and a feeling like gas. (Sometimes, when I thought I felt it, I’d burp and it would stop. So much for feeling the first kick!)

So I was never certain. Until last weekend. Suddenly during a meeting I felt 3 sweet little taps to the belly. The best way to describe it is to say it felt like I have a little tiny human being inside me that decided to give me a nice little kick.

But seriously, it feels how you would expect it to feel. Like a muscle twitch from the inside. It feels sudden. Like maybe it even surprised the baby that he did it. And it feels nice, a little reminder (as if I need it), saying, I’m here! I’m growing so fast! I have hair and finger nails. I like to suck my thumb already! (This is true. We have an ultrasound picture to prove it.)


And since then I’ve felt him kicking every day, here and there. The doctor said on Tuesday it would be another few weeks until I felt kicking all the time, and that Wally would be able to feel it in about 4-5 weeks.

My birthday was Thursday. I joked that the baby was giving me 28 kicks for my birthday, as he was pretty kicky that day. Then at night we were watching “So You Think You Can Dance,” and the baby decided to get into it. I was laying with my hand on my stomach, and I felt a good kick—so good I felt it from the outside! I told Wally to put his hand in that spot, and the baby gave us 4 more for Wally to feel. Wal was so surprised, and insists we have another little soccer player in the making.

About 10 minutes later the baby kicked me so hard my hand flew off my stomach and it startled me! Maybe Wally’s onto something with this soccer baby thing. Or football kicker. Or ninja. Yes, I like the idea of my little ninja baby.

Am I, though? Am I really? Oh, yes I am.

At my last doctor’s appointment (when I got to hear the little guy’s heartbeat for the first time), my doctor warned me that the time between that and the next appointment would be very odd for me: with food aversion/nausea fading and eventually going away altogether (yay, gone!), and some of the other future discomforts still in the future, I wouldn’t quite feel pregnant.

And it’s true. There are a lot of moments where I don’t remember…forget even. I’ll be doing some planning at work for something in December, and only after a conversation is over will I think, “Oh, yeah, I’ll be on maternity leave in December.”

But then I have a few constant reminders.

1. My expanding waistline. I’m not showing much yet, but there’s a definite bulge. Enough that last night, when I was sitting by my dad on the couch, he reached over and gave the side of my belly a poke. Of course, as my friend Molly says of her second pregnancy (when she didn’t even realize she was pregnant until around this far along), it could have just been all those donuts I’ve been eating. But no, Molly, it was your second daughter. (Thank goodness, right?) And my own little bulge is my little guy.

2. I am a teenager again. I find myself thinking of Twitter/Facebook status updates that are mean. But the people I want to write about deserve it! For example, “Who is more annoying at the workout place, the two guys who banter loudly swearing back and forth on machines, or the ladies in the workout room who turn the volume up on 2 separate stations.” I assure you, it’s the hormones talking, people! The other night, I tried tilting the seat in a stroller we just got to see how it worked, and 15 minutes later found myself still unable to work it, but perfectlly willing to yell at it, kick it, or rip it to shreds with my bare hands and teeth. (Luckily, I was able to pull myself away before any of these next steps happened. But it was close. Oh, so dangerously close.) When I feel like this, I just want someone to show me to the nearest door so I can slam it. Repeatedly. It wouldn’t solve the problem, but it would feel so good!

3. I am sleepy. At a one-on-one meeting the other night (as in, me with one other person), I did not pay attention to much of what we were talking about, as I had to concentrate my focus on keeping my eyes open. I likely had a constant look of startle on my face, eyebrows raised, eyes popped open, as I was taking no chances. (Wally had a meeting with a client once at work where this happened. Mid-conversation, the dude just took a brief nap. Wally could have offered him a pillow, shook him awake, clapped in his face, or threw a pen at him, but he’s too polite and so he just kept talking as if it wasn’t happening. I didn’t want to be that dude.)

So yes, I’m pregnant. Quite pregnant. Yay!

3 observations: 2 canine, 1 celebration

1. We brought home our first baby toy. Both dogs saw it, and did their, I’m-a-good-girl-and-being-patient-for-what-you-brought-me tail wag. It’s clear we’ll have to set some strong baby/doggie boundaries.bctoy

2. I woke up this morning and told Wally, “I know what it’s like to feel normal again.” I do! No more mental stomach monster! The doc was right, yet again, that it would fade.

3. I believe Ellie knows I’m pregnant. Up until the last month, she worshiped Wally, and otherwise her toys. I never got any attention. But she’s been following me around the past month. If I’m out of the room for more than a minute, she shows up. If it looks like I’m staying where I am, she parks herself nearby. Perhaps she feels protective. Buttercup, of course, doesn’t notice yet. It will be intersting to see how they react to the little baby when he comes!

July 2018
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