15 Weeks

Thursday, February 28, 2013

 We took 24 pictures this week and I hated them all. Not sure what my shirt is doing here.
This one is okay enough to get the official seal of approval.

How far along? 15 weeks! Yay for month 4 and being in the second trimester. The Jellybean is the size of a naval orange. 4 inches long, and 2.5 ounces.
Total weight gain? I'm going to go weigh myself, give me a second... still 3 pounds. I don't think my body knows I'm pregnant.
Maternity clothes? With only 3 pounds of weight gain, I really don't need to worry about it too much. That, and I miss my old pants, so I've been wearing the belly band like there's no tomorrow. Thank you spandex that means I don't have to button my pants. It's awesome.
Sleep? Sleeping really well. Dreams are still weird (last night in my dreams, Thomas promised to take me shopping), but sleep is good and I usually don't have to wake up for a bathroom break until I'm ready to get up for the day. Sweet.
Movement? I haven't been able to feel anything, but the Chicklet has been moving and shaking like mad. When I went for my 16 week appointment yesterday, my midwife was having a hard time keeping up with the heartbeat as the little one wiggled around.
Miss anything? Lunch meat, a medium rare steak, not worrying about my caffeine intake, having an congestion-free nose, sushi, and I miss that time where I wasn't very picky about what I ate.
Food cravings? Always! Vinegar. I know that's weird, but I love the tang. Seafood, especially shrimp. Cantaloupe, cereal, frozen yogurt, salads, and cucumbers.
Aversions? Nothing really specific this week (other than my continuing distaste of Chinese food), but as I hinted above, I can be a very picky eater. Thomas and I rarely eat the same thing for dinner because I never seem to know what I want and I also would feel bad if his taste buds had to be subjected to my pregnancy whims.
Have you started to show? I was wrong. It is actually taking me a very long time to show. To everyone else, I probably just look like I ate a really big lunch. No worries, it will happen eventually.
Bipolar Disorder? It keeps flitting in and out of my life. No day this week has been as bad as Sunday, but I still haven't felt really great again. It's okay though, I'll just keep an eye on it- my stink eye- and hopefully it will back off.

If you ever get this look from me, you might be my husband. 

Looking forward to? Actually getting to feel movement could happen any day now, so here's to hoping it'll be sooner rather than later.
Best day this week? Grinning like a fool on Wednesday when I heard my babe's heartbeat. I know you just think I'm some loony pregnant woman, but since I can't feel movement yet, getting a little reassurance that the thing growing in me is alive and well is wonderful. That, and I am just a loony pregnant woman.
Gender? The appointment is set for April 5! Our big Fetal Anatomy Scan (the intimidating-sounding ultrasound to check out all of my little bambino's parts) will give us a heads up on how the Jellybean is growing and also, if it will be so kind as to give us a lovely view of the downstairs, clue us in to the potty training future (you know, sitting or standing).
Not my favorite: Have you ever registered for baby things? If you have and I have not adequately expressed my sympathies- I am so so sorry. I am working on my list of things we need and I'm just beat. I thought the wedding registry was tough. Well no one on your wedding registry will tell you that your unborn child will die a horrible death if you register for [insert some item here]. Thankfully, my mom is awesome. She gave me some advice that I think was meant for later in the delivery room, but has served me well since I'm not there yet. She said "trust your gut." That, and the words she said around that phrase are the best advice I've gotten. Don't let the web trolls get to you!
Favorite: You, my little Jellybean Chicklet. You are my favorite.
What do I know? A reasonable amount of research, a dose of advice, and listening to your gut is my motto for making decisions. Then move on with your life.
Sorry kid but... I can't spend $2,000 on a crib for you. I can't spend $1,000 on a stroller. I promise you will have things that are safe, and I won't buy a $10 car seat off of Craigslist, but the fact of the matter is that you will probably like playing with cardboard boxes, wooden kitchen spoons, and the dog's toys (and their tails) more than anything else.

Awwwww, Hell

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sometimes you're doing great. Yeah, I'm pregnant! Let's skip through a field of daisies and hold hands and then go for a big dinner and eat ice cream after and it'll be awesome! Sunday was not that day. It started out okay- woke up early and went to church. But Lutheran calisthenics are not for people growing babies. If you've never been to a Lutheran service- we sit, stand, and kneel repeatedly in various combinations for at least a good hour. As my baby is getting bigger, my uterus and chicklet are leaving less room for my lungs and other organs- leaving me short of breath and woozy. By the time we got to communion (more kneeling), I was getting dizzy putting Jesus/the communion wafer into my mouth. When I stood up, I totally lost it. My head felt funny, I tripped over Thomas who was in front of me, and I just didn't stop walking (even though I couldn't really see) until I reached the narthex. Not cool, little chicklet. There will be no more kneeling for the remainder of the pregnancy. Lesson learned.

I felt "off" for the rest of the day. I chalked it up to hormones and just feeling a little out of balance. It happens, right? Aren't pregnant people supposed to be a little kooky? (I've been putting my oven mitts in the freezer again.) I didn't want to hang out with Thomas or watch a movie or do anything that involved people. I cried for no reason multiple times. I wasn't sleepy when I went to bed at 2 in the morning, but I was tired. Had been all day. When I crawled into bed, I laid on Thomas's sleeping shoulder and I cried. Y'all already know where I am going with this, right? Damn straight. I was depressed. Excuse me, but I have to curse.

Well, fuck.

After 5 minutes of crying, this was going through my head: No, no, no, this cannot be happening. I don't want this. I cannot DO THIS while I'm pregnant. Hell no, I'm not going back on my meds, please please please God take this away from me, I am not strong enough to do this by myself. I don't want this. This is so not fair. Go away loser depression. Crap. Crap on a cracker. Crappity crap crap. I am so mad. I don't want to face depression without my medicine. GO AWAY you are not wanted here. This is so not fair. Damn you. I hate crying. Stupid face being wet. Now I'm so congested I can't breathe. Enter in one of those strangled, tortured breaths that makes you sound like you forgot how to use your nose (because you're congested). And that woke Thomas up. Crappity, why can't I let him sleep and cry and be miserable quietly??

Thomas immediately becomes ready for action. By immediately, I mean he needs 45 seconds to register what's going on. This is still rather quick- it normally takes him 30 minutes to wake up. After asking are you okay? once, he knows that all is not well and that I need to cry. So he holds my hand and I just blubber. Thank goodness Thomas is really good at diffusing these situations. The next thing he says to me is You're beautiful. I start laughing amidst the tears. Sweetie, I don't think I'm crying over my looks. He says, Oh, is that not it? And I laugh some more. When I settle down a little bit, we talk, and I eventually let out that I'm depressed and I'm crying because I'm scared. Depression is scary at any time, but I was freaked out because it's really terrifying when you're pregnant. Sometimes all I need to hear is logic, because that doesn't exist in my depression world. Calmly hearing "you can call Dr. C tomorrow if you need to" and "we'll make it through this. I am here for you." at 2:30 in the morning is sometimes just enough logic to make me slow down, let my brain slow down, and I fell asleep, still holding his hand.

Today seems to be going better. The rain doesn't help depression much, but the dogs are being good, contentedly chewing on their Nylabones and ready to defend my honor if a car door slams outside. I hadn't felt so depressed in a long time, and I know it's crucial that in the days following, I keep myself calm. So I'm not going to worry to much about anything. All non-essential stuff is on the back burner until I feel better. Worry about some stupid little thing could send me spiraling again- and that's really not worth it.

Today's post was going to be part 3 of "Bipolar Disorder and Pregnancy." I suppose it did turn out that way- even if it wasn't quite the same as what I had planned. Go figure.

3 years of Faith and Macaroni

In the last three years...
I have posted 237 times.

There have been 11,509 page reads.

Half of them have come in the last 8 months!

People on 6 continents and at least 55 countries have read this blog.

The most-read post has been The Best Wedding Playlist (Ever). Listening to "You & I" as I type this! Anyone remember our dance moves?

Most of y'all went nuts over the 30 Day Blog Post Challenge - the most reads per day (129) and month (1,154).

So I just want to thank you. My new readers, the ones who have been reading this crazy thing from the very beginning, and everyone I've picked up along the way. Thank you for reading as I learned to find my voice, as I'm still finding my voice. This is still a tiny little blog- so all of this growth is still huge and awesome to me. I appreciate your comments more than you know- they really do make my day. I love getting emails from you, Facebook messages, encouragement, and praise. I love writing my rambling thoughts, but I love even more when you ask me to talk about something. So, for the next three years (God willing), keep giving me feedback. More serious stuff, blog challenges, pregnancy things, craft projects, or just more tirades against people not wearing enough clothing in the grocery store? You let me know.

Malta, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the United Kingdom, Panama, Singapore, Spain, Lybia, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Hong Kong, Peru, Venezuela, Tanzania, Bahrain, Israel, Croatia, Italy, Taiwan, Ecuador, Serbia, Uruguay, the United States, Belarus, Australia, Germany, France, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, India, Denmark, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil, China, Sweden, Philippine, Ireland, Indonesia, New Zealand, Palestinian territories, the Netherlands, Jamaica, South Africa, Mongolia, South Korea, Romania, Iceland, Argentina, Turkey, Syria

Where are you reading from?

14 Weeks

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Friends, it is not easy to get a picture of me on a weekly basis. Not only do I prefer to be behind the camera, my darling nuclear/mechanical engineer is not a photographer. At all. So this week, here are some of the options I get after we have a 10 minute photo shoot. Perhaps you can be forgiving as we march through this. At the least, I'm sure a snort of laughter will escape the nose of a select few...

Decent, but fuzzy.

How far along? 14 weeks. The Jellybean is the size of a lemon!
Total weight gain? 3 pounds. Still?? Come on!
Maternity clothes? I got a few things in North Carolina. I'm not ready to wear most of them, but they were a great deal. Finding maternity clothes on sale is not easy.
Sleep? Best sleep of my pregnancy! Seriously, the last few days have been amazing. My cold is gone, I've been falling asleep seconds after I curl up, and I can actually sleep the night through without running to the bathroom at 4 am. Which means I have fewer bruises!
Movement? No dice. 

 You can't have a photo shoot with a lemon without a "pet the lemon" picture. Duh, guys.
Also, is my part really on that side of my head?

Miss anything? Stupid Arby's had a commercial... and I love their roast beef with Arby's sauce. I've got quite a list going for post-pregnancy!
Food cravings? Mummmhumm! Pasta salad and chicken salad. And oh my goodness, have you ever eaten a sliced cucumber with vinegar? It's the most awesome thing in the world. Top with fresh ground salt and pepper... and I forgot to get a cucumber at the store yesterday. Rats.
Aversions? Raw poultry- ick. Obviously problematic for grocery shopping and cooking. Raw beef just makes me hungry. In other news, pregnant people are weird.

Oh this face. A face only Thomas could love... or laugh at. Also, he refuses to count when taking pictures. Why am I posting this on the interwebs?

Have you started to show? My teeny tiny baby bump is only visible after 6 pm.
Happy or moody? Happy. Pretty much all the time.
Looking forward to? My 16 week appointment next week. (They see me a few days before my "real" 16 week mark.) At the least, I think they'll be listening to the heartbeat again, which is just the coolest thing in the world. To me. :)
Lucky Duck? This whole nesting thing is awesome. The being in the second trimester- also awesome. Still periods of being tired, but much better. It's such a relief to be past the first third.

 Meh. Doesn't even really look like me.

Gender? I still think it will be a boy- I've thought that since I found out. I will truly be shocked if we find out it's a little girl. As I said last week, I will be happy either way. I am a little antsy about prepping the nursery, but I think it's a good thing I have to wait a few more weeks.
Not my favorite: Headaches. I have them all the time. They don't appear to be subsiding.
Favorite: I still love singing and talking to the Jellybean. I love it even more when Thomas talks to it.
What do I know? Oh my, this child is loved!
Sorry kid but... You might end up with your father's hair. There's a good chance it will never lay down. This won't be too bad if you're a little boy, but if you end up being our little girl, a badger haired ginger, Momma is so so sorry.

I don't care if it's slightly fuzzy, I slapped a few filters on it and it's my favorite. 
This is the official 14 week photo. Winner!

Now don't fall off your chair or anything, and Dad, you should sit down... because I just did some math. I'm 69 inches tall (giant genes), and the baby is 3.4 inches long, so if it were standing, it would be only 1/20 of my height- roughly. At 1.5 ounces, we don't need to do a percentage of my weight. If you need one it's: [insert super tiny fraction here].

On Bipolar Disorder and Pregnancy- Part 2

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Read Part 1 here

Part 2- Or how I learned not to let WebMD scare the snot out of me

Ever gone on WebMD to see if you have a cold or the flu and end up with the same symptoms as a rare type of cancer or deadly virus? It's okay, it happens to me all the time.

WebMD and other resources will give you some really scary things to read. Most of the time I felt like these resources were telling me that Bipolar people shouldn't be mothers, or they treated the pregnancy like it was some hurdle to get through in the course of the disorder. It was "ooh Lauren, you shouldn't be doing this and it'll be a miracle if you both make it through alive." Yikes. Let's be honest though, I know that I am a prime candidate for Postpartnum Depression. I know that going off my meds is a very tricky thing and I have to be extremely careful. But I really don't want to give up on the rest of my life for the sake of my BPD. Who would that be helping?

You know what the crazy (to me) thing is? People are not conducting much, if any, research on pregnancy and Bipolar Disorder. So the information out there is based on only a handful very small trial studies. Maybe it's just me, but it seems if BPD occurs most often around late teens to twenties, you might want to do some research on all of those women who just reached childbearing age and now have a huge disorder they also have to figure out and deal with. I would sign up.

As my doctor and I talked more, both at that initial appointment and the subsequent ones during the weaning of the meds, he did such a great job in assuring me. Because the truth of the matter is that my doctor and my therapist know me. They have known me for years. WebMD and the National Alliance on Mental Illness do not know me. If my doctor and therapist think I can handle it and think I would be a great mother, I will surely trust them. From his experience, 9 out of 10 women who are pregnant and go off their meds to do so end up mostly balanced throughout the pregnancy. The hormones that rage actually end up evening most of us out [I can definitely vouch for this now- it's pretty amazing]. In his opinion, going off meds before trying to conceive, if the patient can handle it, is the best course of action. There are some medications that are safer later in pregnancy, so I should know that is an option, should I feel like I need it. But there are definitely medications that have proven themselves harmful to a developing embryo/fetus/baby/whateveryouwanttocallit.

I knew, before I even went to see Dr. C, that what I wanted was to be Bipolar medication-free for this pregnancy. That is my ultimate goal. It's not easy to make that call. Most of those WebMD, NAMI sites encourage medication for the mother. And seriously, if that's what it takes for you to be as healthy as possible, I fully believe that is your choice and the right thing to do. If you go into a manic period or get depressed and stop eating, stay on your meds. Talk with your doctor and switch to some safer ones. Everyone is different. But for me, I knew this was right. It's not that I wasn't concerned, I just felt that I was in a place to try. I wanted to give my little fetus the best possible place to dwell- and it was important to me that it not have to deal with all of the crazy side effects or massive quantities of chemicals they can push on me. So far, I am very happy that I have.

Stay tuned for Part 3 soon! Again, if you have any questions you'd like me to address specifically- in this series or anything else, leave me a comment or shoot me an email. Check out this cool infographic on Bipolar Disorder. It's super quick and will give you some basic stats and numbers.

The big disclaimer: do not self medicate or self diagnose or self impose any changes to your medications or plan of treatment if you have BPD, just because you read something here. For the same reasons that I don't give out the names of my medications, I can't advise that this plan will work for anyone else. My doctor, my body, my weird brain. Talk to your doctor about the best plan if you're Bipolar, plan on becoming pregnant or are already pregnant. I think I'll just add this to the sidebar.

On Bipolar Disorder and Pregnancy- Part 1

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I have been wanting to do this post since I started thinking about becoming pregnant. I know that I don't have to validate my decisions to this blog or to anyone, really. No one has asked me to. It's just something I want to talk about. Bipolar Disorder presents it's own unique challenges to most situations; growing a human is one of those situations. This has been a long and very difficult process. Every pregnancy or conception can have challenges, this was mine.

When Thomas and I started talking about having kids, there were what seemed like a million thoughts running through my head.

-Could I not be on my meds? Is that even possible?
-Well I certainly don't want to be on my meds while I'm pregnant.
-Is this safe? Will I be endangering myself or my fetus?
-Am I strong enough to do this?
-My child is going to send in one of those cards to PostSecret in 20 years saying how much they hated having a mother with Bipolar Disorder. (No joke, people send those in. It freaks me out whenever I read them and terrifies me.)
-How am I going to do this?
-I am insane for wanting to do this.

I was freaking the hell out.

But I also have a uterus, and it wanted a baby. I wanted a baby. A child, young adult, all of those phases. (Though to be honest, parenting around that middle school time terrifies me.) Thomas wanted a kid. So we started talking. Those conversations are super personal, but we discussed all of the good/scary things: finances, parenting styles, how the Navy affects our every thought, and so many other things. We prayed about it a lot (and still do!). There was just one other person I demanded to be brought in: my psychiatrist.

So we went to see him- yes, we. For the first time, I brought Thomas in. And the three of us talked about what this would mean. To me, the most amazing thing was having my doctor look and be completely and totally thrilled when I told him. I was expecting hesitance and caution, what I got was exuberance and joy. Which, by the way, is totally what you want to hear and feel.

I must interrupt myself to say, for the millionth time, do not self medicate or self diagnose or self impose any changes to your medications or plan of treatment if you have BPD, just because you read something here. For the same reasons that I don't give out the names of my medications, I can't advise that this plan will work for anyone else. My doctor, my body, my weird brain. Talk to your doctor about the best plan if you're Bipolar, plan on becoming pregnant or are already pregnant. 

My basic plan was go off my meds. I was on a lot of medication. Over 1000 milligrams of mood-stabilizers, anti-anxiety pills, and anti-depressants. Now making any sudden changes to my medications could freak my brain and body out, causing all kinds of scary things to happen. We didn't want that. Bad news bears. So, going down very very very very very slowly, one medication at a time, would give my body and brain the time they needed to adjust to working some things out on their own. (I should mention, this was way back in May. I've been keeping this a secret for a loooong time.) I made the call to hold off on any baby makin' attempts until all of this stuff was thoroughly out of my system. So that was the plan.

There were lots of contingencies to this plan. If anyone sensed any concern, I would come back in and we would adjust the timeline or, if need be, postpone this idea. This initially covered 3 months, but plans change, and in reality it stretched to almost 5. I knew that my health was key in trying to conceive and grow a healthy child and we knew as a couple that this was one of the most important things, so we imposed no time limit. This would take however long it needed to take and things would happen in God's time- we were just doing our best to make sure we were prepared for whatever He would bring. :)

Look for Part 2 in the coming days. Have a specific question you want me to address? Leave a comment or shoot me an email.

13 Weeks

Friday, February 15, 2013

How far along? 13 weeks. The Jellybean is the size of a peach!
Total weight gain? 3 pounds.
Maternity clothes? I've gotten a few more things- some leggings and a t-shirt with lots of extra belly room! If it's comfortable and roomy, I will wear it. Much harder to dress up now.
Sleep? Thomas and I spent most of the day in bed- nothing like a warm cabin on a cold night. I've been working very very hard on sleeping on my left side and it's been going pretty well. Only occasionally do I find myself waking up on my back.
Miss anything? After 2.5 months of dietary restrictions, I'm pretty used to what I can and can't have. Cutting out sandwiches is very hard, but if I can find chicken salad, I'm good.
Movement? I'm pretty sure my child is kicking my bladder.
Food cravings? Hamburger. Every. Single. Day. And fruit. Loving apples, peaches, strawberries, etc. Salads too- I went bonkers for the crunch of romaine the other day. Chicken nuggets, pasta salad- it all changes daily. Except for hamburgers and Mexican.
Aversions? Not really an aversion, but sweets are not that important to me. Much less interested in them. That's weird.
Have you started to show? Yes! I have a baby bump! What was flat is now round and squishy- and probably the only time I'll be happy about that. The picture above is from after our anniversary dinner Monday - I was trying to get in a "dressy" picture after dark, never a good idea, but you can see the bump of baby & she crab soup & shrimp 'n grits.
Happy or moody? Happy this week- Valentine's Day and my anniversary (11th)- both take on some special meaning with my new Valentine and one of the best things Thomas and I have yet to do. Definitely easy to worry or stress, but Thomas and my family keep me calm and happy, so I am very blessed to have them.
Looking forward to? Officially moving into the second trimester in 2 days!
Lucky Duck? I'm starting to nest! No nursery stuff yet, but I'm organizing the house and getting back into the swing of things. I think Thomas might be too- I caught him looking at tiny kids clothes online tonight. It was really cute and he might hate me for posting this for the world to see. Oops.
Gender? I think it will be a boy, but I think that's mostly because I'm a little scared of raising a boy (grew up with lots of girls, don't judge). But the closer it gets to actually finding out, I am honestly going to be thrilled with whatever gender God decides to bless us with. It is the least of my concerns.
Not my favorite: Headaches. I have them all the time.
Favorite: Looking down at my belly and realizing that there's something growing in there! Also, I know this is illogical as my baby probably can't hear yet, but I play it music all the time. Less illogical when I sing, as I read they can feel movement and vibrations, but I could play it Gungor's "Beautiful Things" all day. Right now it's jamming out to "Bossa Nova Baby" by Elvis. What can I say? I have eclectic taste.
What do I know? Oh my, this child is loved!
Sorry kid but... The nickname "Jellybean" from your father has stuck.

For Thomas

Sunday, February 10, 2013

5. I think I've decided what my perfect man is: tall. well educated. able to have conversations about baleen. and pirates. thinks I'm the most awesome person ever. loves being outside. reads and writes well. religious and not a zealot. I'm flexible on actual occupation, hair color, eye color, and whether or not he owns Chacos (a plus). If you find one of these men, just lying around, let me know.
-From Don't have much to say, so a list will do, written February 22, 2011.

A year later, I had been married to that man for 11 days.

A year after that, he and I are celebrating a year of marriage. We're expecting our first child in August.

Does he fit any of those qualifications? Let's see...

Tall? He's 5'10" which is not exceptionally tall, but an inch taller than me. Turns out it works out perfectly. Well educated? A degree in mechanical engineering and a Navy "degree" in nuclear engineering/chemistry. Pretty dang smart. He reads all the time, which is perfect. We have extensive conversations about strange things- sometime stranger than baleen and pirates. Baleen and pirates on many occasions (to be fair, pirates more than baleen). Loves being outside... I don't know that I can give him this one. While yes, he does love whitewater rafting and other hobbies, he joined the submarine force for the air conditioning... so I'm not sure. Considering the option of being outside for other branches consists of the desert, perhaps I can. He writes very well- and I saved every single email we ever wrote each other. Definitely religious, definitely not a zealot. He didn't own Chacos, but he's now addicted to them and has 2 pair.

Probably going to be my favorite picture of you- forever.

I wasn't expecting a Nuclear engineer/mechanic/chemist who operates a reactor on a submarine. I wasn't expecting a boyish face covered in porcupine-like brown hair (true fact: if he grew his hair out, he'd look exactly like a porcupine. He did it in Italy. I pray for our children). And those eyes that are sometimes brown, but unexpectedly turn green... oh, they that make me melt!

Thinks I'm the the most awesome person ever? Yes, he does think that. And he tells me every single day, about 5 times a day, just so I don't forget. We tried to track how many times we say "I love you" a day. We lost count at 37. He still literally sweeps me off my feet.

I don't deserve it- but I got exactly what I asked for.

Dearest Thomas,

We don't have the perfect marriage, but in our imperfections, God teaches us so much. We got a few things right from the beginning- talking about everything, not letting bad feelings fester, and forgiving quickly. And we get better at those things every day. I still maintain that you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I'm so glad you chose me to be your partner in crime life. Thank you for making it your life's mission to love me and make me smile- even when I don't want to. Thank you for waking up early just to snuggle with me before you go to work (even though when you wake me up early, sometimes I want to hit you). Thank you for ignoring my stink eye when you wake me up. Thank you for talking to my belly the baby, because it melts my heart every time. I love that you memorize the words to songs, just so we can sing them together in the car (one of my habits that will never die- thank goodness you think it's cute).

So we're a pair of giant dorks. And that's cool- we have already discussed the ramifications of being dorks on our parenting (sweet for little kids, we're going to have a really hard time when they get older), and we are ready to accept the challenges. I'm ready to accept anything with you. Preferably if we can make the above faces while we face the aforementioned challenges. Be it deployments on submarines for months, my Bipolar Disorder, our disdain for vacuuming, or anything else, I am sure we can handle it together. You are the coolest person I know. I am forever happy to be your champion, best friend, confidant, and wife. If you'd like other titles, let me know and we can add them to my contract. Happy first anniversary- may there be many, many more in our future!

I love you.


Photo credit for the second and third photos belong to Caroline Howard and Riverland Studios. She's awesome.

Phlegm, tea, and my uterus

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I am hacking up phlegm. I sound so lovely right now. Thomas brought home a cold over a week ago. He has since gotten better, and now I have it. I could complain for a really long time about how awful it is to have a cold, but everyone has had one. You know how I feel. Except for one, tiny, little thing: when you're 12 weeks pregnant, you can't take any medicine that would do anything for a cold. No cough syrup, NyQuil, cough drops, Sudafed, nothing. Grrrrrrrrrrr. It's been hard caramels to soothe my throat, tea, warm baths, and hot chocolate all the way.

In fact, it's time for tea now. And if anyone knows where to find Scottish breakfast tea in the States, I will pay you handsomely. Not really, but you can have my undying love and affection- and that's priceless. I also take my tea with sugar, no milk. I don't know if that's tea heresy or not, but I'm from the American South as well, where we ice our tea and rarely drink it hot, so I probably killed fine tea drinking long ago.

 12 weeks- size of a nectarine

As you can see, I still have yet to master the art of looking at the camera, smiling, and not shooting a 10,000,000 watt smile. It's kind of creepy.

I'd also love to show you a belly picture from the side, but as I lamented to my unborn child while standing in the bathroom this evening, it's just not happening. My mom told me yesterday to be happy about this fact now, but I can't button my jeans and I'd like something to show for that fact eventually. By eventually, I mean soon. Tomorrow would be good. I'm guessing that since my uterus is almost the size of a melon and the babe's officially peach-size tomorrow, it's simply pushing every other organ to places like my arms and thighs.* 'Cmon baby, grow big, stop burrowing into my organs.

Speaking of that, I'm quite sure the baby is punching my bladder. Just for kicks and giggles. It's still to soon to actually feel the kicks, even though they are moving around a good bit, but there are these little pings in my bladder occasionally. It's like the urge to go to the bathroom, but it only lasts a split second or two. (I'm so glad y'all are cool with me talking about my internal organs- bladder, uterus- on a semi-constant basis.)

*Yes, I know that's not actually the case, that they are still hanging out in my abdomen, but it would explain why I can only eat tiny meals before getting full.

The Reading List

Friday, February 8, 2013

When you're pregnant, there's nothing people tell you more than "get ready not to have any time to yourself." Or some variation of that. So I am enjoying the freedom while I can and have decided that one of my big to-do's that's not related to the nursery or pregnancy books is reading for pleasure. I made a massive list of the books I want to read (and actually own) and since people are always asking me what to read next, this is what I'm reading.

First Stack, top to bottom
The Irresistable Revolution- Shane Claiborne
Boy- Roald Dahl*
Suite Francaise- Irene Nemirovsky
The Awful End of Prince William the Silent- Lisa Jardine
The Art of Racing in the Rain- Garth Stein
Special Topics in Calamity Physics- Marisha Pessl
Love Wins- Rob Bell
Lucrezia Borgia- Sarah Bradford
The Corrections- Jonathan Franzen
The Believers- Zoe Heller
(not pictured: Bossypants- Tina Fey)

Second Stack
Mornings with Henri J. M. Nouwen- Henri J. M. Nouwen*
The Magician's Nephew- C. S. Lewis*
Summer People- Brian Groh
Black Heels to Tractor Wheels- Ree Drummond
The Book Thief- Markus Zusak
The Friday Night Knitting Club- Kate Jacobs*
A Long Way Gone- Ishmael Beah
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society- Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The Pillars of the Earth- Ken Follett
Finding Martha's Place- Martha Hawkins
Stones into Schools- Greg Mortenson
Unorthodox- Deborah Feldman

*Denotes books I have read before.

12 Weeks

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sorry I don't have a belly picture for you this week. I've got a nasty
cold, so know that the baby is the size of this nectarine.
I'll rush to get a picture before I'm officially 13 weeks.

How far along? A little over 12 weeks. I'm trying to be patient about reaching the second trimester, but it's not working!
Total weight gain? 3 pounds.
Maternity clothes? Every day I feel like I'm ready to put them on, but I keep pushing it off. Almost all of my size 2 & 4 (before pregnancy) clothes have been boxed up. I really need to hit up a few thrift stores for some new things. Mostly I've been rocking dresses and leggings. Anyone have any favorite maternity stores/brands for basic things?
Sleep? So-so this past week. Weird and realistic dreams keep waking me up if my bladder doesn't.
Miss anything? Had an odd craving for sushi the other day. It'd probably be fine if it was cooked shrimp (which is my favorite kind, incidentally), but sadly, I cannot know if someone has washed their hands after touching raw fish. Also missing the ability to order something without checking to see if the cheese is pasteurized. ;)
Movement? Not from the baby. The only thing in that area I feel are my abdominal muscles stretching out. That's been a little painful.
Food cravings? This child is loving Mexican. I could have a fish taco every day, I kid you not. Right after a hamburger. More protein and iron for me!
Aversions? No Chinese. Still. Not expecting that one to go away.
Have you started to show? I've been able to tell that I'm pregnant since about 8 or 9 weeks, and Thomas is starting to be able to notice. Still not obvious to others. (I don't think.) I can assure you that things are shifting all over!
Happy or moody? Overall, happy. I've definitely had some angry or moody moments, but definitely hormone related and not my Bipolar Disorder (praise be!).
Looking forward to? Movement and finding out the gender in a few weeks! I thought I could be strong like my parents (who chose not to find out the gender before birth for all three of us girls), but I can't help it. I gots to know!
Lucky Duck? Only two instances of morning sickness. Christmas Eve I thought I was going to die. But other than that, no throwing up. It's about the best gift (other than the little fetus) that God could have given me, since throwing up is the nastiest thing in the world to me. My stomach can still get antsy, but not bad at all.
Pregnancy Superpowers? I have so many! I think my nose is starting to rival that of my dogs. I can smell almost anything, anywhere. I sneeze all the livelong day. Now that's partially due to having a cold, but since that pregnancy test, I sneeze about 20-30 times a day. Champion sleeper. I had no idea what tired was - and then I got pregnant. I will faceplant into anything that is horizontal... the coffee table, the couch, my bed, Moby's sleeping? Curl up next to him. Time to get my energy back please!

And this is our new family car! 2013 Subaru Outback, dark grey with a black interior for black puppies. If you look in the back window, you'll see a lovely dog guard to keep the pups in the back and not up front with us. I am quite enamored with this car and all of its fancy features. But I'm not hard to please. It just needed to be insanely safe, good mpg (24/30 even with all wheel drive), enough space, and not be a giant car (no minivans, Suburbans, Excursions, or tanks, please). I got everything I need, and then some.

Things to share

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

3 links for you today. Pregnancy post coming this afternoon or tomorrow.

Dancing On the Edge
Maybe you can help. If not, at the least, it will give you something to think about.

When Mama ain't happy...
A thought-provoking and well-written read, whether you agree or not.

Hugs + Thugs
Becuase this is funny and Valentine's Day is coming... and the last thing you read here should be slightly more uplifting.