Pregnancy Update: 20 Weeks

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How far along: 20 weeks

Total weight gain: 14lbs, 4 more than I gained by the 20th week during my first pregnancy. Although I started this pregnancy at a slightly lower weight so I’m still under where I was at this point last pregnancy. (Not sure that really makes me feel any better).

Maternity clothes: Yes! I’ve been rocking the elastic waist bands since week 10, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. In fact, I often donned my maternity jeans in between pregnancies because they are so dang comfy. (and stylish…?)

Stretch marks: No! Although I think this one has more to do with genetics than my healthy eating and exercise habits (which have not been up to my normal standards this time around). Don’t ask me about cellulite and varicose veins. Eek!

Sleep: Much better than expected. I wake up about every 90 minutes, toss and turn for a while, but eventually fall back to sleep. And that’s with all this horrible side sleeping business that I just cannot seem to master. My pregnancy pillow and I are still on non-speaking terms after the last round.

Fetal movement: A few kicks every couple hours, and they are growing in strength. The baby kicked so hard just this morning that I could see the movement from the outside. Although Brad has yet to feel anything because the baby stops kicking the second Brad touches my stomach.

Food cravings: Soup! Panera Bread is going to bankrupt me. Normally I don’t make it at home because Brad calls soup of “waste of stomach space,” but I’ve decided to play the pregnancy card and start making it for dinner anyway. If you have a favorite soup/chili recipe, leave it in the comments! Crock-pot recipes are especially welcome!

Exercise: Thankfully I came into this pregnancy in great shape having run the Toledo Marathon in April. I’m now conducting an experiment to see how fast I can lose all that fitness. Just kidding—sort of. Morning sickness was worse this time which kept me from exercising intensely during the first trimester. I’m finally getting back into the swing of things now though, but sadly no running.

Miss anything: Yes! I want an Angry Orchard hard cider…or a nice margarita…or a glass of white wine. I think there is a theme emerging. I find this odd since when I’m not pregnant I have at most one drink per week, usually wine. I also miss back sleeping, a bladder than can hold more than a thimble’s worth of pee, and running.

Feeling sick or queasy: Only if I take my pre-natal vitamins in the morning instead of at night.

Anxious about: The future. Brad is graduating with a PhD in computational physics in December and has been applying to jobs all over the country. We don’t know when he will land a job or where it will be. Thinking about moving eight months pregnant or with a newborn is daunting.

Excited about: The future. As anxious as the uncertainty makes me, we are ready for a change. Having more to live off of than a graduate student stipend won’t be so bad either!

Belly button: Dangerously close to being an outie, and that’s saying something since before my first pregnancy I had the Mariana Trench of belly buttons.

Best moment this week: Anatomy scan. Seeing the baby again is always exciting. We did learn that he has something called fetal pyelectasis (enlargement) in one of his kidneys so we will go back for a follow-up scan at 28 weeks. I was worried at first, but after a lot of googling, I’m feeling much calmer. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time a google search for a medical condition hasn’t convinced me that I have a brain tumor.

Dad weighs in: The last 20 weeks have gone incredibly fast. “I’m buggin’ out. Does anyone want to give me a job?” (Author’s note: I don’t think he is kidding about that. Check out his Linked in profile here: Hiring Brad Hubartt will be the best decision you ever made.)

Oliver’s reactions: Oliver knows there is a baby in my stomach, and that when the baby gets big enough he will come out. We told him he will get to hold the baby after he is born so now anytime you mention the “baby” he shouts “hold, hold, me.” And then my heart melts. Although not to be outdone by his little brother just yet, this is how he chose to participate in my 20 week photo shoot. Perhaps he’s trying to tell me something…

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Want a more in depth update? Check out the video below.

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Best Pregnancy Announcement Ever!

There are few things in life that I truly dislike. Black licorice and clothes hangers sit at the top of that last. Waiting in traffic and screaming babies fall somewhere near the middle. And wearing a bikini in public rounds out the bottom. Which is why this past Monday I was able to set aside my dislike for the bikini and don one for the sake of making one memorable, and very public, pregnancy announcement.

While my dad and I were in NYC for a long weekend we went to a taping of Live with Kelly and Michael. For every show they select an audience member to be that day’s Trivia Dancer, code for the person who is most willing to dance around on live television as if they were dancing naked around their bedroom. I’m talking about no-shame, shake-your-tail-feathers kind of dancing.

Since I lack any real dancing skills, I decided my only shot at getting picked would be to dance like a crazy person. And dance like a crazy person I did. We’re talking monkey-like arm swings meshed with Broadway style leg kicks and a side of toe taps that I pulled from a 1980s Richard Simons exercise DVD. The audience loved it, and they picked me to appear on the show.

After being selected, the producer says, “Now you’re okay with wearing a bikini, right?” Okay with it? Not really. But willing? I suppose. I’m all about taking advantage of once in a lifetime type experiences so I decided to go for it, asking her to give me a more “conservative” suit since I was four months pregnant. (Code for really only 3 1/2 months but I’d rather round up because I often feel 9 months pregnant).

Unbeknownst to me, she wrote that information on the cue card that Kelly Ripa reads when introducing me, and voila, you get one of the most surprising and public pregnancy announcements ever. Oh and a free bathing suit; they also let me keep that. Although I doubt it will be fitting in the near future.

Check out the video above to see how it all went down and to marvel at my amazing dance moves. Or laugh, that’s what I do when I’m not hiding my face in embarrassment over my incorrect grammar. I blame the too-tight bikini shorts for that one. It’s hard to think clearly when you’re concerned about mooning the audience, and your dad.

Lastly, if there is any take away from the video, it’s that, even though baby #2 is due in January, Oliver is still front and center in my mind. When Kelly asked “How’s the baby?” I instantly thought of Oliver and my chance of just succinctly responding, “doing well” went out the window.

Enjoy!

What NOT to Say

You said what?!

You said what?!

I’ve been seeing a lot of parenting and pregnancy related lists showing up in my Facebook newsfeed lately. Most center on what NOT to say.

Top ten things NOT to say to a pregnant woman. Top ten things NOT to say to adoptive parents. To a woman with multiple kids. To the parents of an autistic child. To someone dealing with infertility. To the woman who pushes her Chihuahua around in a baby carrier pretending he is a human baby.

Okay, so that last one I made up. I’ve yet to see that list, but I’m sure if I search the internet hard enough, it’s out there, lurking in some obscure corner along with all the other articles that let me know just how easy it is to royally tick someone off.

After reading through many of them, I’m convinced that a master list needs to be made for those who don’t have the time to read hundreds of Dos and Don’ts. If I made that list it would look something like this.

Number One Thing Never to Say to Anyone

1. Hello

Reading all these lists, I’m starting to feel like the only way I can avoid saying something that someone won’t like, is to say nothing at all.  It’s a spin on the old advice “If you can’t say anything nice.” Now it’s, “You can’t say anything nice, so don’t bother trying to say anything at all.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about trying to be sensitive to another person’s feelings. If someone expresses to me that something I say or do makes them uncomfortable, I will stop, even if I don’t understand the discomfort. If you are one of the pregnant women who, according to the Top Ten list, hates for people to ask her how she is feeling, I will not ask you how you are feeling next time I see you, whether you look like you’re about to keel over from third trimester exhaustion or not. Or let’s say you’re one of the women with multiple kids who hates to be told “I could never do that,” I will politely pick my jaw off the ground and keep my opinions about your super-human status to myself.

But what I fear will happen, the more I see these popping up in my newsfeed, is that eventually people will be so worried about saying something offensive that they won’t bother trying to say anything at all. They’ll stop trying to make new connections with people.

As a stay-at-home mom who spends 75% of her time with a toddler, I often feel isolated from the adult world. Many days the only conversation I have with another adult before my husband gets home is the casual conversation I have with the pregnant woman in line behind me at the grocery store or the dad pushing his daughter on the swing next to me at the park. Those small connections are meaningful, even if they never move beyond small talk, beyond me asking that mom-to-be how she is feeling, when she’s due, or if she knows the sex of the baby—all of which are considered insensitive according to one list or another.

When dealing with Oliver, who is well into his terrible-two stage of tantrums , I always ask myself something before rushing to anger or frustration over a tantrum. Why is he upset? If I can uncover the source of the distress, it’s much easier to address and then accept it. I would ask you to do the same thing the next time someone says something to you about your parenting or your pregnancy that you find offensive.

Ask yourself what is the intention behind the question. Is the asker just trying to be friendly? To show she cares? Is the question stem from an experience she had herself? My guess is that 9/10 the asker does not mean to offend. If that’s the case you have two options. If it’s someone whom you don’t know very well I suggest you shrug it off and move on with your day. If it’s someone whom you care about and are close to, a friend or relative, then tell them their comment is hurtful and explain why. Those people want to know and will likely alter what they say in the future.

Better yet, why not create lists of things TO SAY? Tell people what you would like to hear. Something like this—

Top Five Things to Say to Parents

1. You’re doing a great job.

2. Your kids are such a joy to have around.

3. You should do whatever works for you and your family.

4. How can I help?

5. Your kids are so lucky to have you as a parent.

Because if you only tell me what NOT to say, I might not say anything at all. And I hope it’s not just me who thinks that’s a shame.

Taking My Body Back

While I was pregnant with Oliver I remember thinking about how strange it would seem after his birth to no longer be a party of two all the time. I became so accustomed to my plus one hanging out in my belly that being alone in my body started to feel like a foreign concept. Nonetheless, with all the aches and pains that accompany pregnancy, it was one I was looking forward to.

When Oliver was born and the doctor cut the umbilical cord, I thought our physical ties had been severed and I was once again my own person. Boy was I wrong. It turns out having a baby is a lot less like popping out an independent little being and a lot more like growing an extra appendage. Only this appendage enjoys swatting at my face, ripping out chunks of hair, and trying to pull my shirt down in public places like my boobs are a 24-hour drive-thru. With Oliver riding around on my hip all day, I was starting to feel like an amorphous mommy-baby blob.

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So what’s a mom to do?

For me, working out at a gym where I can send him off to the playroom for an hour is the best way to differentiate myself from that blob. It’s my daily dose of “me time” where my movements are not in response to my baby. I’m running, lifting, and stretching to feel my muscles strain and my heart pound, not to chase the dog that is running off with the pacifier or pick up the spoon that Oliver decided to throw on the floor for the tenth time.

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Not to mention, after having a baby, my body was feeling a bit like an amorphous blob even without the baby in tow, and the strong, active woman inside was itching to get back into shape. As Oliver approaches his eight month of life, I’m happy to report I’m stronger, faster, and more fit than I was before pregnancy. To celebrate my return to fitness I’ve decided to run the Toledo ½ Marathon on April 28 with the goal of beating my old record of  2 hours 1 minute and 37 seconds.

As a stay at home mom my goals for the day rarely extend beyond 1) don’t break the baby and 2) keep the apartment from looking like a disaster area. It feels good to have a goal that’s outside of the mommy bubble that is purely selfish in pursuit. It’s my reminder that there is life outside of motherhood, and the aspirations I had before having a baby don’t have to be sidelined forever.

And after I check this goal off my list, I’m looking forward to the summer when I can strap Oliver in a jogging stroller and run with my baby in tow. Not one big mommy-baby-stroller blob but one big mommy-baby-stroller blur, racing through the park. Because even though I could still go solo, sometimes it’s nice to share your passions with the ones you love. And hey, it’s never too early to start training my future running partner.

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9 Months: Growing Up and Growing Out

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Don’t let the smile plastered across my puffy, pregnant face fool you, being pregnant was not fun! And to anyone who says otherwise, please keep it to yourself; you’re making the rest of us look like whiney, complaining weaklings.

Toward the end of my pregnancy, every time someone asked me when I was due, I’d say “soon.” Ah, if only proclaiming that he was coming soon translated into an earlier due date; it was wishful, possibly delusional, thinking at its finest.

While my aches and pains weren’t unique to me, I certainly felt somewhat isolated when I heard how much other women LOVE being pregnant. “I love feeling the baby move, knowing that I’m carrying this life inside me,” I heard many women say. I wanted to counter with, “I love when the baby decides to stop moving for a moment; my internal organs need a break from the constant beating.” Another one I heard a lot is, “I don’t really feel all that different; I’m just so excited to be a mom I guess I don’t mind the minor discomforts.” Don’t get me wrong; I was looking forward to meeting baby Oliver, but at that moment it had as much to do with wanting to get rid of the nausea, fatigue, stomach pain and pressure, back and leg pain, and constant need to pee as it did with holding him in my arms. Does that make me a bad mother? Was I the only one who yearned for her pre-pregnancy body to come back so she could finally feel “normal” again?

Like most trying life situations, at least I can say I walked away from it with some valuable life lessons:

1) My body has limitations

Silly me, I used to think I was invincible. I believed I could do anything if I tried hard enough: overcome any obstacle, become stronger, faster, work harder, push past my limits, because heck, I don’t have limits. I was a walking, talking Nike ad on steroids. But when I traded in my workout attire and running shoes for maternity jeans and nursing bras, it was time for a reality check. Sometimes, despite my wishing and willing my body to do one thing, it had its own agenda for the day and would not cooperate. No amount of mind over matter powered me off the couch and to the gym when sharp pains were shooting down my back and legs. No amount of determination and will power enticed me to do the laundry or clean the apartment after a sleepless night and a mid-morning bought of nausea. Sometimes, I am limited. Sometimes I have to accept that instead of trying to make my body cooperate with me; I need to cooperate with my body. But that doesn’t make me weak.

2) Things don’t always have to go according to plan

When I was younger, I was fairly inflexible. I believed rules were meant to be followed, schedules adhered to, and organizational systems maintained. Tell me something was going to happen, be it a trip to the dentist or a trip to Disney World, and if it didn’t happen, I became distressed. Yes, I was that kid. And that kid’s attitude still has a way of popping up from time to time in this adult’s life. What can I say, I like when plans are made well in advance, I know what to expect, and I can adjust accordingly. Becoming pregnant set my world off balance a little. In my mind I planned to get pregnant in July, not October, and have the baby in March, not July. By the start of the third trimester I’d be an established free-lance writer with a decked out nursery, and all my little baby booties in a row. Upon Oliver’s arrival I did not yet own a single pair of baby booties. Our nursery was still strewn with shower gifts and little outfits waiting to be washed, and my career as a freelance writer is still a wish simmering on the back burner. I’m guessing like his arrival, most things surrounding our son will not happen on a set schedule, and I’m learning that I can adjust.

3) Becoming an adult isn’t about hitting some arbitrary milestone

Growing up I kept waiting for that magical moment when I would transform from a pimple-covered, pigtail wearing, lunch box toting little kid to a sophisticated adult. When I hit a certain age, say 16 with license in hand or 18 when high school ended and college was on the horizon, then certainly I’d be a grown up. Or perhaps when I land that first “big kid” job, buy a house, get married, or, like my mom always told me, become a parent, then I’m an adult. Well at 28 years old with many milestones under my belt, I’ve come to realize becoming an adult has more to do with an attitude than the number of candles on a cake. It comes from the wisdom gained through life experiences and the new perspectives those experiences offer.

4) Putting someone else’s needs ahead of my own does not mean forgetting entirely about my own needs too

Raise your hand if you’ve even been on a plane. Now raise your hand if you actually pay attention to the preflight announcements. Let me refresh your memory. If the plane cabin looses oxygen all adults are instructed to first place the oxygen mask over their own nose and mouth before assisting young children. There is an important life lesson to be learned here. I bet you didn’t realize there was free advice that went along with those peanuts. How many times have you heard a parent say, “I have no time for myself anymore?” What they’re really saying is “I forgot that I am a person too, and I have needs.” When we forget to meet our own need and focus exclusively on our children, it’s all too easy to become drained, and in my experience a drained parent is also a crabby, irritable, impatient, ready to lose her marbles parent. This isn’t in the best interest of either party. One of the best things you can do for your baby is to take some time for yourself so that you have the ability to be the best parent you can be. That is, to meet your child’s needs it is essential to also take into account your own–to put your oxygen mask on first so to speak.

5) Never underestimate the value of a support system

Toward the end of my pregnant, while I was carrying around a bunch of baby weight I relied on my family to carry much of the weight when it came to….well everything else. Their support then was invaluable, and the same holds true in parenthood. I find in trying moments, when I am at my breaking point, my husband will step up and offers the strength and support I cannot muster. When I am in desperate need of some personal time, my dad or mom will show up at my doorstep ready to take over baby duty. They weren’t lying when they said it takes a village to raise a baby. What they need to add to that though is it also takes a very large, very supportive village to keep a new mom sane.

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