A little over a year ago I wrote about my skewed perception of Fathers. Now that we’re seriously counting down to the arrival of our little girl, my heart is melting as I absorb the love that J is already showing toward her. He started out feeling both nervous and happy, but I think the nerves were more prominent. Now he says he is still nervous, but his excitement clearly outweighs it. He is always saying cute things like “I love you girls”, “I can’t wait to do (insert some cute girly activity) with Lyla”, “I can’t wait to meet you”, etc. When he touches and kisses my belly, there’s such a tenderness in his touch. He has also amazed me with how understanding and patient he is with me and how helpful he has been. When I’m tired and I fail to accomplish the things I wanted to do around the house or I just spend the day being totally lazy, he is quick to point out that I am growing a human and it’s totally understandable. That means so much to me as I tend to be hard on myself or feel guilty if I’m not living up to what I think I should be doing. He’s just been so amazing, so invested, so loving, and so psyched about our little girl and myself that I often find myself with happy tears in my eyes telling Lyla how lucky she is to have a daddy like hers.
When I first started developing a bump, I loved it! Pre-pregnancy, I was packing on an extra 10-15 pounds more than I was remotely comfortable with and sometimes felt like I was sporting a bump anyway. So to be able to let it all hang out and for it to be a sign of the miraculous development that was taking place within me was glorious. Then I started getting comments from others about how “huge” I was. I was sometimes upset by these comments, but overall, I was still just reveling in my expanding belly.
With pregnancy comes recommended weight gain ranges. For someone with a normal BMI, the total recommended weight gain is 25-35 pounds, with only 3-5 pounds being gained in the first trimester. I gained 8, but I didn’t care. Since then, I have continued to gain more than the recommended weekly amount, coming close to doubling it. At 27 weeks, I had already gained 25 pounds with 13 weeks of rapid weight gain left to go. My mom gained 40 pounds with me and I have read that much of a woman’s pregnancy weight gain is hereditary. So I tried not to worry too much, but then with the gestational diabetes scare, I started realizing that I was overdoing it with the junk food. I also noticed how big my arms and face (areas I have always scrutinized) looked in pictures from our summer vacation and I was only 22 weeks then. So now, I still love my belly, but I feel more self-conscious about the rest of me. I want J to take some maternity pictures of me (he has an interest in photography and lots of great equipment, so fingers crossed we get a handful of nice ones), but I am planning out angles and outfits to reduce my almost double chin and my arms will most definitely be covered. I can’t even hide behind my hair because I made the mistake of chopping that off in the first trimester.
Another thing that makes it hard to feel sexy is that J has a love/hate relationship with the bump. He absolutely loves it in every way except when it comes to thinking about having sex with me. He loves to put his hand on it and to talk to it, and he is so clearly in love with our daughter already, but he is weirded out by the idea of seeing the bump during sex. So basically, this onesie sums up our current sex life:
I’ve actually had dreams where I beg him to have sex with me. And to make matters worse, my “mechanical helper” has decided to break. So rather than getting motivated to get it on, J encouraged me to go out and buy a new one. Kind of a funny convo to have with your husband, but we have that sort of relationship. Honestly, it’s all pretty humorous, but I would love to feel pretty, sexy, and desirable again.
Tonight, J turned to me, looked at my bump, and humorously said, “You’ve gained a little weight.” The other night he asked me if I had started wearing any “pregnant clothes” yet. I laughed and looked up at him incredulously. He was able to correctly assume from this that I was, in fact, dressed head-to-toe in maternity clothes. I informed him that I have been almost exclusively wearing maternity clothes for about a month. When we started driving, he noticed that my seat belt was under my belly (as is the correct position) and thought it was funny that my belly poked out over it.
J’s humorous response to my changing body is more giddy and amazed than teasing. It has led to talking to and about the baby more. I think by seeing my belly grow, and being told that the baby can apparently hear now, he feels that he is able to interact with the baby more. This makes me extremely happy! Although I know he was always happy about having a child, I think it was more of an abstract, removed concept and as the pregnancy progresses, it’s becoming real. I can’t wait until we can both feel the baby move (I might have felt a bit of rippling movements last night) because that will increase the reality even more!
This past weekend was a double celebration for us. Sunday was both my first (unofficial?) mother’s day and J’s 32nd birthday. Sunday was a day of mostly chores for both of us, but J got me a beautiful, touching mother’s day card that made me cry! He had some cards from family that he opened and I had him pick what I’d make for dinner. His real celebration was a dinner out on Saturday. He requested Buffalo Wild Wings. We had never been there, but he loves the Pittsburgh Penguins and wings, so a wing-oriented sports bar on the night of a Penguins game was perfect. Since he is a type 1 diabetic who is very strict with his insulin and carb intake, he said no to offers of a cake (he’s never been that into cake anyway) or lemon pie (which he does splurge on at Christmas). He said wings would be his cake :)
While we were at dinner, we started talking about the baby and making guesses about whether it’s a boy or girl (stay tuned because our ultrasound is booked for May 31st!). Everyone has been telling me that they think it’s a boy, so I have started to believe this too. J said he thinks it’s a girl. This led to a conversation about how J thinks this is likely going to be our only child. I hadn’t been thinking that way, but I agree that I don’t expect having another one will suddenly be easy or even possible. We both consider ourselves to be so blessed with this opportunity to be parents to one child, and as an only child, I know that it can be lonely, but not so bad (and there are several benefits). Because of this, we probably won’t pursue IVF to have another child. We agree that we’ll never use birth control again, because a natural pregnancy would be very welcomed. We’re are also on the same page (at least at this moment) that if we do not get pregnant again, but we want to expand our family, that adoption might be the right path for us. J used to see adoption as a last resort before we ever started TTC because he worried about his ability to love an adopted child as much as he’d love his own biological child, but something has changed. To hear him talk about how he likes the idea of adoption because there are children out there who need homes and how he would love them just as much melts my heart. Bottom line: I don’t know what the future has in store for our family, and right now I am just beyond ecstatic to be pregnant with this child, but going forward, I know that J and I will be building and nurturing our family together.
Let me start by saying that J has been really supportive, but I feel somewhat guilty. Not pathologically guilty, beating myself up for it or anything. I feel like I am just “blah” and no fun. When J comes home, he asks me how my day was or how I’m feeling and I almost always say that I’m nauseous or exhausted or both. I know this is normal and it will likely pass in a few weeks, but I feel bad because I don’t have the energy to put a huge smile on my face, joke around, and be fun. I am thrilled about the pregnancy and all the symptoms are completely worth it, especially since mine aren’t as bad as I’ve heard from others, but I do look forward to feeling better. For myself and for J. I also hope that I’m up for some “sexy time” sometime soon since it’s not exactly on my radar right now and I don’t think my constant burping, farting, and grimacing are a turn on for J.
A few weeks ago I decided to sort through old emails. I had a great time reliving some of the memories with friends, but the best was reading emails from J. The emails were from when we first started dating and the 8 months we did long distance. They were so sweet and funny! They made me feel all sentimental and loving. They also made me miss showering together! (Now we treat showers as functional rather than opportunities for intimacy.) Even though there are moments that still give me butterflies, there are few surprises after seven years together. We are fully committed partners who are very much in love, but revisiting those early days reminds me of the initial spark and I can’t help but re-experience the excitement. I made sure to keep those emails so I could return to them whenever I may need that reminder or a dash of romance.
Awhile back I was nominated for a Liebster Award. At that time, I did a little hunting and saw that it is an award for up-and-coming bloggers with less than 30 followers. In the time since my first nomination, I have almost doubled the maximum number of followers (craaazy). Considering that the Liebster Award appears to be less of a formal award and more of a nod of appreciation from fellow bloggers, I don’t care too much about the rules. So I am touched that I was nominated a second time in this post Liebster Answers | Journal of a Subfertile. I will gladly answer the questions she posed, as I loved reading her own responses.
1. What TV show, magazine, or book do you LOVE but would never tell anyone about?
Well I don’t keep much secret and I just posted about a “guilty pleasure” book series – The Righteous by Michael Wallace. Twilight would be a guilty pleasure too. I guess my real guilty pleasures that I will gladly fess up to are all the teen shows like The Lying Games, Switched At Birth, Degrassi, Vampire Diaries, and 90210 (but I am ready for it to be canceled!).
2. Do your friends or family know about your blog? Why or why not?
My mom knows I write a blog, but she doesn’t know the website. My husband has checked it out before, but he’s not an avid reader. Four of my close friends have told me that they regularly stay up-to-date with the posts (thank you girls!!!) and a few other friends have read some of it. I told the friends I did because I figured they would appreciate it for what it is and not judge me for it. I have been pleased that it has brought out their support even more. I have not told everyone because I think some people just wouldn’t understand and if too many people knew about it, I couldn’t be as open as I currently am.
3. Are you a morning person or a night person? What about your significant other?
I am an evening person. I am not a night owl and I love to sleep in. I am most productive though if I get up and get moving at a fairly early hour. J is a night owl on weekends, yet he is still up pretty early. We say he needs much less sleep than I do.
4. What’s your favorite piece of furniture?
Our zebra ottoman. We ordered it custom made because we wanted either a zebra area rug or ottoman.
5. What really gets you going in the morning?
Chatting with my coworker. I don’t drink coffee and I have cut back on diet coke, so talking is what helps wake me up.
6. Dogs, Cats, Neither, Both (Other)? Why?
I am allergic to cats and not that big a fan anyway. I like dogs, but I’ve never had one. Maybe someday. My fave would be a Boston Terrier I think. And I always said if I had a dog his name would be Hendrix.
7. All things happen for a reason. True or false? Explain.
I don’t think all things do. I don’t see the value in a child’s death or senseless crimes. Maybe they make you appreciate what you have more, but to me it’s not an acceptable reason. I remember someone telling my friend’s mom that everything happens for a reason when my friend’s brother (age 21) died. I would not be comforted by that, especially when the pain was so fresh. But I do catch myself thinking certain things may be fate, such as when I met J and the fact that he knew his career would be in Calgary, and meeting my friend Andree (who has type 1 diabetes) not too long before J was diagnosed with type 1. Sometimes I think that maybe we haven’t conceived yet because our baby isn’t ready for us yet. But that might be more of a defense mechanism than anything.
8. Best underrated movie of all time? Why?
Hmmmm . . . . I’ll just say Van Wilder since I watched it countless times during my undergrad! Also, The Little Princess with Shirley Temple. The part in the hospital makes me cry EVERY TIME!
9. What was the worst moment of your best vacation?
Well first I have to decide what my best vacation was . . . . I’ve had some great ones, both for the places seen and the people I was with. I think I’ll have to pick my honeymoon to the former Sandals Dunns River Villagio, which is now the Jewel Dunns River I believe. Even though it’s probably my 3rd favorite resort we’ve ever stayed at, it obviously holds major sentimental value. I’m going to say the worst moment was on our last night after my sunburn really set in and I think I had heat stroke. I had no energy and felt sick so I couldn’t fully enjoy our last night and putting a heavy backpack on my shoulders the next day was painful!
10. What is one thing you’ve learned about your significant other because you’re dealing (or have dealt) with infertility?
I’ve learned that he is really motivated to be a parent too, and not just driven by my desire or a sense that being a dad was inevitable someday or something he should do. I also learned that he can be my rock and that he loves me extremely deeply.
11. What do you find is the best way to destress after a tough day?
I wish I could say exercise or something healthy, but I park my butt on the couch and get lost in tv shows. It helps to veg out and get into others’ lives or story lines while putting my own issues temporarily aside.