Take Some Of The Discomforts Out Of Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a milestone experience that ends with a new life. It can also change a lot about your mind and body. The suggestions in this article are here to help make sure you have an enjoyable experience and a healthy baby.

Eat better foods so that you’re providing the best nutrients to you and your baby’s body. If you had a habit of consuming a lot of fatty foods before becoming pregnant, you need to change your lifestyle quickly. Starting today, eat more vegetables, lean meats and fresh fruits.

You need more calories when you’re pregnant. When you’re pregnant, you are consuming for two, so it is important you and your baby are both fed. Place special emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods.

Your obstetrician will likely recommend a prenatal vitamin at your first visit. You need to take your vitamin every single day to help prevent problems down the line. These give you essential vitamins that the growing fetus needs that you might not get from your diet.

If you suffer from a queasy stomach during the early stages of pregnancy, try eating more smaller meals. By eating tinier meals, you keep something in your stomach most of the time, which can help with the upset stomach. Try to eat foods that are fresh and light. Veggies, lean meat and fruits are the best things to eat.

When you first know you are pregnant, you should think about taking pregnancy classes. These classes are designed to present you with everything you need to know about the birthing process, helping to put you at ease and know what to expect. Ask any questions that you have about your pregnancy.

An excellent exercise for stimulating labor is walking. Walking is a good for you and helps to put the baby into the lower position needed for birth. Have someone accompany you on your walk. Avoid dangerous techniques, such as contact exercising.

Do not forget about your spouse or partner when you are pregnant. Your spouse with be just as anxious and excited about the baby, so be sure to include them in the planning. Spend some time with him by going walking or to the movies. Enjoy the time available to you prior to the arrival of your bundle of joy!

Take some time out for yourself. Once your baby is born, your life will dramatically change in a positive way, you will be busy caring for your newborn and not focusing on yourself. Do something you enjoy, pamper yourself, and spend time with your friends. You’ll feel better, which means your baby will too.

While odd sounding, pregnant women should avoid kitty litter. Protoplasmic from cat feces can cause health problems for your unborn baby. Let someone else tend to the cat’s mess for you.

To decrease joint swelling and inflammation while pregnant, mothers should avoid sitting down for too long. After a long day some pregnant women will experience swollen feet and legs. Pregnancy makes it more difficult for blood to circulate through the lower half of your body. For this reason, long periods of sitting can cause swelling to the ankles and feet. There are a few things you can do to fight the swelling, including soaking your feet in icy water, wearing loose socks, sleeping with your body angled to the left, and refraining from sitting with your legs crossed at the ankles.

The evolution of your pregnancy is that of dynamic growth and what better way to capture these changes than to snap a few photos of your belly during this magical process? Once the new baby is born, your attention will fully be given to care of the infant, making it easy to forget the special moments of pregnancy.

Creating a birthing plan is a good idea. This plan can map out expectations and your personal feelings about the child birthing process. Right down what would make you comfortable when giving birth. This may mean how you want the lighting or what music you want to hear. You can plan as many details as you want.

Be diligent about taking the right amount of iron while you are pregnant. If your iron levels are low, you are more likely to experience fatigue during pregnancy, and your baby may have a lower birth weight. Your prenatal vitamin should include iron, and you should supplement it with iron-rich foods.

If you seem to be too moody or emotional while you are pregnant, consider the possibilities of some form of meditation like yoga. These natural techniques are quite relaxing. Your partner can benefit from this, as well.

Now you know that there are ways you can cut down on pregnancy discomforts and let yourself be happy and excited about your baby. You are able to enjoy every aspect of pregnancy when you adhere to the following tips. You shouldn’t feel any guilt in getting the best care available to you.

40 Week Update: My natural birth story

Today is Mini Melbs’ due date. And he is already with me.

Although it’s only been 3 days since he arrived, I’ve already told this story a dozen times in my head, consulting with my husband, “Melbs” about the facts of what occurred. “Are you serious? Unbelievable!” It is still surreal and I cannot believe it happened. If there wasn’t a perfect baby boy sleeping next to me right now, I would tell you today that the events on Saturday October 4 were simply a dream.

Since there is so much detail here, I’m going to keep this post to just the facts: what happened and when. The love, the emotion, the tears, and everything that comes along with the physical aspects of childbirth will escape in later posts, I’m sure.

Cliff notes:
– Early labor – 6am to 2:30pm
– Active labor – 2:30-4:30
– Pushing – 4:30-5:51

October 4th 2014 – 6am On Saturday morning I awake to a familiar dull ache in my lower abdomen. It’s like a menstrual cramp, and I’ve had them each morning this week, hoping each day that they continue with some regularity– something that signaled real contractions– something that told me, yes, your baby will be here soon. And on this Saturday, I laid still in bed feeling the wave of this achey sensation, trying not to get my hopes up that another one will come. But it does! Just a few minutes later.

The doctors tell you not to come into the hospital until your contractions are about 4 minutes apart. Mine never started any further apart than that.

So quietly, yet filled with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning, I tip-toed into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. I wanted to wait and give Melbs the good news only after I was certain something was happening, and after he’d slept in a bit more.

6:40 am – While making coffee, I feel a thin liquid trickle down my leg and make a small puddle on the kitchen floor. This is my water breaking, I was sure. I wiped it up, noting the time, odor and color, as instructed by my OB and called it in. She told me to labor at home as long as I could and to come in to the hospital after a couple of hours once the contractions became stronger. I went to wake Melbs. “Things are happening,” I told him with a huge grin.

9 am – I’ve been tracking my contractions with an app for a couple of hours at this point. They’re consistently 3-4 minutes apart but not strong enough (in my opinion) to come in yet. I call my mom to come down and wait with us, just to be sure.

11 am – After eating a hearty bowl of oatmeal and peanut butter (perfect carb:protein ratio!) I decide we should go in. The contractions are still “mild” meaning I can sort of talk through them but they’re definitely getting stronger.

To say we were excited to go to the hospital would be an understatement.

12 noon – We check into triage on the L&D floor and after hearing that my water has already broke, they immediately want to confirm. Because only about 10% of women actually have their water break before active labor begins, they seemed a bit skeptical that the bag had really ruptured. (Many people confuse other sorts of discharge, of which there are plenty! with water). The triage nurse swabbed me and left us for almost an hour while the lab downstairs confirmed what I already knew.

In triage, hooked up with matching baby and mama monitors

1:30 pm – The triage nurse comes back to us beaming. “Congratulations. You’re staying here,” she said, and handed me a gown and the infamous mesh underwear I’d grow to rely on over the next several days. At this point the contractions were strong enough that I couldn’t talk or pay much attention to anything else while they were happening. It was literally like, la dee da, I’m okay… just a normal person making conversation and then ——— ZAAAAAAAAAAAP, aaaand back to normal! During this time many forms were explained to me and signed only after 45 seconds of pain had passed through my body. What a hoot.

2pm – We are in our delivery suite. It’s large, with a flatscreen and a couch. There is a tub and natural light. I feel so lucky to have such a nice set-up and tell Melbs that he should relax and find the Giants post-season baseball game on the TV (assuming I’ll be rather dull entertainment for the next few hours). How perfect!

At this point, my cervix is checked for dilation for the first time all day. I’m 4.5 centimeters and 90% effaced. The doctor seems pleasantly surprised and says she’ll be back in a few hours to check my progress again.

Meanwhile, the nurses are writing my birth plan on a dry erase board:
“Prefers no pain meds if possible”

To be clear, I wasn’t totally opposed to the idea of medicine if I needed it. I just wanted to be sure I needed it and I wasn’t convinced that  I did. My two primary concerns against an epidural were: I didn’t wanted to be immobile while I labored. I wanted the freedom from an IV drip to walk around, to bounce on a birthing ball, to shower if I wanted— basically anything that would help me cope with the pains of labor. I wanted to truly feel the height of my contractions, determine if I could cope with them, and if so— dare I say relish in the full birth experience. And two, I didn’t want to be numb from the waist down when it came time to push. I didn’t want doctors and nurses telling me when I was having a contraction and when to “push!”… I just knew that it would go a lot better if I could feel and work with my own body.

Despite my preference, the nurses insist that we equip my arm with a saline lock– a placeholder for an IV just in case I want an epidural later, or if there are complications during labor and they need to give me something intravenously. Ok, no big deal. Except that I have small veins or something. The nurse decides that she needs to warm me up to bring my veins to the surface and wraps me in hot towels. They feel great at first and I remember noting that I feel like I’m at a spa!

But when the waves of contractions come every couple minutes I become claustrophobic and want nothing more than these damn towels off my body—NOW! The hot towels don’t do enough to increase my vein prick-ability and I’m instructed to take a hot shower instead. The shower feels wonderful. The sensation of hot falling water distracts me from the internal pain I’m experiencing and I hang out in the shower for probably 20 minutes. Melbs, (my hunky labor coach) meanwhile is on the other side of the curtain  sweating his ass off. Poor guy had to be miserable in that sauna of a bathroom.

Once I get out of the shower, the nurses are delighted to find that I’m hot and veiny and they can get the lock in place on my arm. Hooray. Show is on the road. (The funny side note to all of this, is that I don’t end up needing an IV at all. The silver lining was that the hot shower probably sped up my labor.)

3:30 – After the hot shower, the contractions get really intense. Something has changed.They are like menstrual cramps times twenty. No, thirty. I am breathing through them, eyes closed, visualizing the yellow chrysanthemum bush in my yard blooming. Gorgeous yellow flowers opening with each exhalation… down into my baby, into my cervix. I alternated between standing and rocking back and forth on my feet while this was going on, and kneeling over the bed. I keep motivating myself to practice good breathing. I tell myself that if I fight the pain, rather than work with it, I am only prolonging the experience. Each contraction is a gift that I need to make full use of— to get this baby out of my body quickly and without too much suffering. I am in. the. zone.

This went on for about an hour. It was totally primal and I don’t remember much of anything that happened outside of low-moaning sounds, rocking myself like a baby, and wanting to labor while sitting on the toilet so that I could fully “let go” down there (If you haven’t labored before, there are all kinds of bloody things coming out of your body throughout the cervix dilating).

4:30 – A new nurse, one named Rachel no less, comes in and introduces herself. Rachel is awesome, and she will be with me through the home stretch. I immediately let her know that my contractions are becoming more intense; that something is changing. She assures me that I’m doing great and that my doctor will be back in about an hour to check my progression. I tell her I need her to check now, so she pages my doctor as asks for permission to do so. (Apparently after your water breaks, they try to minimize the amount of times they dig around in you hoo-haw, wanting to prevent infection). The doctor tells Nurse Rachel to go ahead and check. I’m almost 7 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced. “Okay,” Rachel says, “whatever you’re doing is really working. Your doctor is in another procedure and won’t be back for probably an hour but thinks you’ll be fine.” And then she gets closer to my face like a game-time coach and almost whispers, “but look— between you and me, I think you’re close. With the speed of your progression so far, I want you to remove any pre-conceived time frames from your mind and you just let me know when you feel an urge to push, okay?”

5pm – “Rachel, I need to push!” I get myself back onto the bed. My contractions hurt less now, and with each wave I feel like I’m dry-heaving from my lady parts. I hear a lot of women describe the sensation as feeling the need to poop… and I get that. But for me, it was more like a gag reflex. I needed to expel something but there was nothing ready to come out.

Rachel pages my doctor again, gets permission to check my cervix and I’m at 9.5 cm and the baby’s head station is +2… it was go time. Things start happening in warp speed, and Rachel begins paging people with her Siri-like pager. A bit of comedy I remember is that she kept paging for someone, but the damn voice dictation kept barking back, “sorry, I did not understand that command.” She finally gave up and ran to the door and gave a good old fashioned holler. Still no idea who she paged or why. Probably a back-up nurse.

Rachel rallies my mom and Melbs to come hold each of my legs. She explains how this “pushing thing” is going to work. To me, “Okay Rachel. I need you to grab under your thighs, tuck your chin towards your chest and when you feel a contraction coming on take a deep breath in, and then let it out for a count of 10… but NOT THROUGH YOUR FACE. Breathe it out, through your vagina, pushing as hard as you can. We need to do 3 of these for each contraction. Okay?” I was deeply confused about how I would breathe out of my vagina but said, “okay!”

The first contraction came along, and I took a deep breath in… aaaand blew it out right through my stupid face. I already knew I’d screwed up. Rachel told me that this time I needed to not open my mouth at all. No air shall escape my face. Okay. got it, let’s go!

In retrospect, I took this pushing advice too literally. In an effort to literally not breathe out any air from my nose or mouth, my eyeballs were almost expelled from my face. No, I am serious. My eyeballs were so swollen after pushing that I was temporarily blind and could barely see a foot in front of my face. Blind!

Anyhow, the pushing cycles continues. Although hard work, it’s actually a relief from “just” the contractions. Now I feel like all of this build up is about to pay off. For each contraction, I push 3 times as hard as I can, then rest in between. My mom and husband are each at my sides fanning me and telling me a great job I’m doing.

5:30pm – I am getting physically exhausted. I can’t imagine doing this for much longer. How do people push for hours?! I wonder aloud. No one responds. Some contractions begin to feel weaker and I refuse to push during those and instead opt to rest a longer duration. Rachel tells me that since the last two contractions weren’t as strong, I should prepare for a really major one soon. And it arrives. People start telling me that my baby has hair. I begin to feel like I’m actually doing a phenomenal job, and that this may almost in fact be over soon. Then all of the sudden, something is wrong.

Rachel shouts at me to turn over onto my side! 

“Why??” I ask—in alarm of course, and hurrying to my side despite the enormous discomfort. She says that the baby’s heart rate isn’t returning as strong after each push. Oh, god! I lay on my side and wait for whatever comes next. The heart rate returns steadily and everyone is relieved. The nurse sticks a more invasive heart rate monitor to the baby so that they can continue monitoring him more closely from here on out. Instead of a topical monitor strapped to my belly, it’s like an electric cord that they affix to the baby’s head. Yes, to his head….while he is still inside me. Despite the strangeness of all this, no one seems alarmed anymore. I roll back onto my back and everything resumes: contraction rolls in… 3 seriously long and painful pushes… nurse shouting orders, bulging eyeballs, panicked fanning of my face from my husband.

And then, a knock on the door. “Hellooo?”

It was my baby sister who had just driven up from school after hearing I was in labor.

Only 20 years old, and definitely inexperienced in child birth, I wish I could have seen her face when she walked into that delivery room. There was her decade-older sister, spread eagle with a baby coming out of her, and god knows what else. Between contractions, I told her she was “just in the knick of time!” and told her to start fanning my face. She got right to work.

I’m not sure when my doctor finally arrived but she was definitely there to catch the baby. I remember the fiery sensation of the baby’s head coming through and pushing 8-9 times in a row instead of 3 without stopping so that I wouldn’t lose my momentum when things were so close. It had to be over. No mind that I am out of oxygen and my eyeballs are literally bursting from my skull. Nope… just get that baby out. And then he was out.

Just like that. I looked down between my legs, and my doctor was pulling a body out of my body. I did it. There was my baby.

And he was perfect.

My sweet Max, born Oct 4, 2014 at 5:51pm

25 Week Update

New format this week since I only have 15 mins to spare!

What’s New? 

  • I can SEE MM moving inside me. Melbs and I were laying in bed yesterday morning with our jaws inside our coffee cups, equally horrified and delighted by my rolling belly.
  • My tail-bone is omnipresent. It hurts when I sit, when I stand, walk, or just about anything else. I feel like I’m growing a tail, for real.
  • My fingers are showing signs of swell. My wedding ring is feeling tight this weekend and slept without it last night. It’s also been hot, so I’m hoping its at least partially heart-related. :/
  • Chronic stuffy nose. Feels like allergies but could also be rhinitis of pregnancy.

What’s Improved? 

  • Only one leg cramp this week, and one weird toe cramp. Huge improvement and I’d like to think its the magnesium double-dose I’ve been downing.
  • My social life. I enjoyed FIVE lady-dates last week, including one with my own mama which really made me feel like a social butterfly again (as opposed to my tendencies to be a nesting homebody as of late).

Purchases

  • Scored a 2-for-1 maternity tankini from A Pea In The Pod this week. With a ladies trip coming up next month, I feel more secure about beaching my bod now.
  • I also re-installed the Zulilly app (flash daily sales on maternity and kids stuff) and I purchased 2 more Summer dresses as 75% off. Dang, do I love a bargain.
  • Diaper bag, wet bag, and diaper clutch set from Foxy Vida
  • An un-purchase: I removed the jogging stroller from my wish list. After talking to a lot of experts, I won’t be jogging with my baby until he is at least 6 months old so I have plenty of time for this purchase.

Looking Forward To

  • Annual baby consignment sale in Berkeley later today. Could be a bust, or could be awesome. I’ll let ya know.
  • Planning our first baby-cation for next Spring. ABP = always be planning

[re-blog] labor room bullies

Wanted to share another post from one of my favorite bloggers, Alpha Mom. Here she addresses one reader who is getting bullied by her family around her birthing decisions. Reading this absolutely makes my blood boil! Why do so many people feel entitled to another woman’s pregnancy?

I am so fortunate to have understanding and respectful family members. As if we pregnant women don’t have enough to stress out about, geewhiz!

Read here, if you dare: http://alphamom.com/pregnancy/pushy-family-in-delivery-room/

Gardening

It’s only 2pm and I’m already pooped! Melbs and I got up early this morning, ran errands, I ran 3 miles around the neighborhood and got so inspired by everybody’s Spring floral gardens that decided I must have one for myself!

We have a pretty decent sized back yard and even a nice, raised flower bed. But everything I’ve planted in the past has well, failed the thrive? The flower bed doesn’t get any sun. And every other place gets too much sun, so it’s been a futile effort to bring color into our yard. So today, I decided to pot flowers in my many clay pots. This way, I can move them around as needed.

I’ve learned that pregnant women love to nest. To make their homes more beautiful and welcoming. I think this may be a result of simply wanting to be home more. I literally want to be at home all the time these days! Even when I’m not tired… I just love my home! I want to cook all of my own meals, unclutter every corner, and apparently, now work on our outdoor spaces.

I took this photo after coming in from the yard. The whole time I was out there I was feeling VERY pregnant, whatever that means. I have always subconsciously sucked in my stomach while wearing tight clothes, even if I’m alone. But I realized this morning that I can’t do it any more. Like, at all! This is me doing my self conscious belly suck-in. It’s still probably some parts BLOAT, but I’m starting to feel like its some parts Baby Melby too!

The F Word

My husband has banned the F word from my vocabulary. And I’m not talking about the four letter explicit. I’m talking about the word “fat”. As in, “oh my god, none of my clothes fit— I’m getting so fat!”

Which is exactly how I started my day while trying to tug on my gym clothes at 5:30am. Melbs groaned at first, tired of hearing me complain about my body, which I’ve done for the entirety of our 5 years together. While its not uncommon for women to complain about their bodies, I’ve been especially hard on myself.

My mom and sister are probably reading this and cringing— remembering my awful teenage years and how self loathing I was. How self deprecating and often abusive I was to myself. It’s all true and while I’ve gotten a lot better, it wasn’t until just last year that I’ve felt truly comfortable in the skin I’m in. Preparing for wedding and learning to love exercise, running in particular, I finally shed what I’ve always called “baby fat”— the 15 lbs of blubber that I’ve been carrying around since college. I looked good, felt great, and knew I just had to maintain it! …and up until recently, it’s be quite easy to do!

So here I am this morning. Desperately trying to keep up my exercise regimen, up at the crack of dawn, ready to get a work-out in and I’m completely flustered. In complete disbelief, really. How do STRETCH PANTS not fit? And as I mutter to myself, I know full well Melbs can hear me but he doesn’t say anything until I get home from the gym an hour later.

“Rachel, I want to tell you something. And I don’t want to have to say it again, but if you need me to, I will.

You are beautiful. And your clothes don’t fit right now because you’re PREGNANT. Don’t ever use that word, ‘fat’ again. Promise me.”

And in that moment, and now as I re-type his words, I want to cry. Not only is he right, but he genuinely cares about the way I feel about myself. I realize that he has always has cared— and that they way I talk about myself affects him too. Now that we are growing this baby, my body is his body too and every bit of it needs to be cherished out of respect for myself, for my husband, and for our baby.

What I have to accept is that no matter what I do— now matter how well I eat, how hard I work to stay fit, my body is changing and it’s going to get bigger over the next seven months.

What I’m learning to embrace is that my body is going to do whatever it needs to do to grow a healthy baby. Whatever its doing is an absolute miracle and beyond my control. And for my part, I’m going to continue eating well, resting lots, exercising when I have the energy to do so, and most importantly I’m going to go buy some more comfortable clothes.

Ladies, did you struggle with your expanding bodies during your first pregnancy? How far along were you when you started wearing stretch pants?

Layered Cake

Last night I had a dream about a rainbow layered cake. It was holy, this cake. In the dream, I was in a foreign land and struggling to find something or someone familiar, almost in a panic. But then I saw it: this glorious cake— on the ground, half smashed and calling my name. It no longer mattered where I was. I just needed that cake. Particularly, the yellow layer.

I was able to isolate and extract the yellow layer from the cake and as I inspected it, I could see there was more than what met the eye. The layer of cake was actually comprised of MANY yellow foods: egg yolk, banana peel, lemon zest, golden beets. I ate the whole layer and it was delicious. And still somehow tasted like cake.

Now, I have always had vivid dreams so this one may seem like another one of my doozies. But I’m taking this one to mean that I need more yellow foods like the ingredients of that cake in my diet. Call me crazy, but I believe in the power of dreams and what they suggest.

Symptoms – First Trimester Edition

The number one question people ask after finding out that you’re pregnant is how are you feeling? Up until 10 days ago I didn’t have much to say other then, great! How are you feeling?

Enter week eight. I’m blogging this entry from bed via voice dictation on a Saturday afternoon. It’s a gorgeous spring day and I just got home from a walk and here I am trying to go to sleep. Totally not my style. I would say my most unfortunate symptom at this point is my chronic exhaustion. Go to the gym for an hour? Exhausted. Go walk the dog? Exhausted. Easy day at work standing at your desk? Exhausted.

About a month ago I started falling asleep around 8 PM for no good reason at all. This wasn’t so much unlike me given that I’ve always been an early to bed early to rise kind of gal, but 8 PM? A bit much. But I’ve also been experiencing a bit of nausea recently. Mostly in the evening. I haven’t gotten sick but sometimes it just sucks to be awake so I crawl into bed then as well.

The worst day so far was Wednesday of last week. I left the office around 530 and halfway through my commute home I just felt sick. Like I just wanted to pull over, get some fresh air, and curl up in a ball. Thankfully I was picking up Melbs from work too and he took over the driving. We sat in traffic for 20 minutes, I was miserable, questioned whether I was going to make it without actually vomiting and breathed my way through it (thank goodness because the only bag like thing we had in the car was the manila envelope containing our marriage license). When we got home just after 6 PM I dove into bed, with all of my clothes on and didn’t get up until 5 next morning. If you’re worried that I didn’t eat dinner, don’t worry! I ate three breakfasts the next day.

I would not say that I’ve been craving anything. Although, I do find myself adding highly caloric things to dishes that just don’t warrant it. Peanut butter in your rice? Sounds great! Mayo on your eggs? Sign me up! I know this is just my body’s way of getting what it needs and it hasn’t brought me any great concern so far but I do wonder if these ideas will subside in my second trimester once I’m plump enough!

I’ve been reading a lot including, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which my mother-in-law sent right over (thank you!). I’ve always been a healthy eater but am learning that nutrition and weight management are some of the most important things I can control right now and I need to eat as reasonably as possible. Many women say that the first trimester is all about survival and if that means eating a pint of ice cream then just give it to yourself… And I am sure I will have those moments too. I just hope they are far and few between!

Other symptoms are more minor. Soft, dull cramps in my abdomen. They feel just like menstrual cramps and my doctor says that’s normal. There’s a lot of work going on down there and I actually kind of like that I can feel it all happening.

And smell! Oh my God the smells! Make them stop! Melbs is being great by taking out the garbage nearly every single day and scooping the cat box as well. The moment I walk into any room I become overwhelmed with the various smells. The sensory overload makes me, guess what? Run straight to bed and curl up in a ball.

Baby Melby is Real

We thought telling our closest friends and family would make it seem “real” but nothing could convince me more than SEEING MY BABY’S TINY LITTLE HEART BEATING! Today we had our first ultrasound. Despite that disgusting blue gel (which is worse than sand I will have you know!) the whole experience was amazing. Melbs came with me to our 9am appointment this morning and I wish we had asked one of the nurses to snap our photo because I’m pretty sure we looked like the eagerist beavers you’ve ever seen. Eyes wide, anxiously thinking of all the questions we mustn’t forget to ask, wondering, worrying what was coming next!

First it was lots of paperwork. Some of the questions surprised me: Are you at all related to the baby’s father? Has the baby’s father kicked or punched you lately? Are you currently using drugs? Homeless? These are certainly not the sort of things I expected to think about today but alerted me to the fact that some people answer yes to these questions. First thought was sock, second was sadness, and finally, gratitude. Boy, do I live a wonderfully privileged life. How very fortunate I felt to be there, with my non-related, non-abusive husband on that morning.

After all of the surveys were done, the nurse wanted my weight, which is eight pounds more than my wedding day, 3 more than last month, and a lot less than I felt. Blood pressure and heart rate are normal, teeth look good. Yes, my breasts are sore, and okay yeah, I’ve been tired and grouchy. Finally on to the ultrasound!

Again, blue stuff aside, this was pure magic. The whole time I was laying there waiting for the doctor to see my baby I worried that she wouldn’t see anything. That I had fabricated this baby in my mind and over exaggerated all of my symptoms. That I had wasted everyone’s time, and boy would my mom be disappointed… The doctor kept saying things like, “it should show up any second now…” and “maybe if I try this way…” and I almost felt like crying. And then she saw it! I saw Melbs’ face before I turned to the monitor and it was confirmation enough. Baby Melby was real.

Despite what I’ve always thought when looking at those god awful ultrasound snapshots on Facebook, the large black bean thing is not the baby. That little white blur is. And inside that little blur was a tiny little sparkle— the baby’s heart beat. It has a heart beat!

After that, the rest was easy. We verbally shat on the doctor with all of our questions:
“Can I drink coffee?”
“Can she run marathons?!”
“Should we get rid of our cat?”
“What about pate? That’s old advice right? Surely I can eat pate!”

The doctor was wonderful and patient and sent us home with a goodie bag full of journals and calendars and stickers and books and belly lotions. I felt validated. I felt excited. And then I had to go back to my regular, non-mother life and respond to a bunch of emails. But I kept my baby’s first photo on my laptop all day and smiled.