Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Art of Taking Pregnant Selfies at 22 Weeks

I wasn't quite sure when I would get around to posting my first 'real' baby bump-date, but it looks like I will hit publish around 22 weeks. I think. It's funny, when I was pregnant with Ben, I could tell you the exact week and day in terms of how far along I was. Now, I have to go look at the calendar, or think back to a monumental date and count from there. I know, I know...it's kind of tricky because I look about 67 weeks pregnant in these photos. Did you miss the big announcement? Head back here and read up.
I've been feeling really great, although I can definitely tell my body is struggling a bit more with this pregnancy. Even though my health is better than it was a couple of years ago, I'm also 30 years old. Let's remind ourselves that biologically, the prime time for baby makin' is somewhere around the ripe age of 16. Ha! Not to say we should all be poppin' out babes in high school, but still, I'm past my prime. My body agrees. My hips ache a little more, my sciatic nerve troubles me daily, my lower back protests when I've done too much. So emotionally and mentally I feel great, but physically it has been a tad more wearing. Keeping up with exercise (which for the moment only includes walking), good food choices, and chiropractic care really helps. Traveling to France, and coming home were both ROUGH. I was stuck in the jet lag time suck for days and felt dizzy, woozy, and exhausted. Traveling while pregnant was harder than I thought it would be, for sure.

Speaking of traveling, I ate a lot of French pastries while in Paris. I thought all the walking and miles of bike riding would even out the scale, but all the scale did was go up. Three pounds to be exact. Yes, I ate three pounds worth of pastries, cheese, and pasta on our trip. Sorry, thighs. In any event, I'm trying not to be overly concerned with 'weight gain' this time around, but it was definitely time to get back to drinking my spinach pond scum breakfast smoothies and snacking on carrots and pistachios for snacks. It's hard not to compare pregnant body types, weight gains, etc, but that just isn't healthy for anyone. I'm also coming to the conclusion that I'm just one of those pregnant women who gets big in the belly. Also, I'm 5'10 and I would say larger than the average female frame. I'm just not tiny. A French woman asked me if I would be going into labor soon (insert cry here), but luckily I thought better of hitting her over the head with my baguette. So needless to say, I've accepted that I might grow big babies, and I'm okay with that. Now to endure all the endless comments for the next 3.5 to 4 months about whether or not I'm growing twins. Le sigh.

So let's talk about food. Because food is my love language (see above paragraph about the 3 pounds of pastry weight). My husband and I cut out drinking cow's milk a couple of years ago, and I was totally okay with that. Until that little pee stick showed two lines of positivity. Now, I am drinking ALL the whole cow's milk. Gallons of it. It's disgusting, but I can't stop. The body wants, what the body wants, right? This go around I also haven't been overly concerned with all the 'rules' we have about food and pregnancy here in the great United States. This means I've definitely eaten deli meats, an abundance of local seafood, a swab or two of raw cookie dough, drank unpasteurized juices, raw milk, and wine. In moderation, of course. From trusted sources, of course. No one freak out. Oh, and some coffee here and there. I also rode my horse. Oh, and a few bicycles. Pretty much many of the things you aren't 'supposed' to do. But hey, as far as we know, baby is healthy, mama is healthy, and we are all happy. Pastries and rule breaking aside, a typical day includes a lot of eggs, avocados, spinach smoothies, cheese, apples, carrots, nuts, quinoa/rice, broccoli, home raised beef or chicken, seafood, etc. You get the idea. I don't always eat chocolate eclairs and croissants. :)
Baby girl is a mover, and a shaker (and a roller, and a bumper, and...). I felt her move for the first time around 16-17 weeks, and my husband felt her move from the outside for the first time just a couple of weeks ago! It's such an insane difference from my pregnancy with Ben...I don't think I started to really feel intense movements until he was closer to 23 weeks gestation. I love lying on my back in the middle of the night and feeling her consistent movement, tight against my abdomen. A joyful reminder of the life growing inside.

We knew our girl name before we even conceived (which is a relief because we were coming to blows over a boy name). It's really special and full of meaning. We love it so much! If we are 'real life' pals I will happily share her name with you, but for the sake of online media, I will be referring to her as Baby E.

There's not much else to share at the moment. I'm sure I'll be checking back in again in a couple of weeks! In the meantime, please enjoy my self-narrated talk about the art of taking pregnant selfies in your bathroom. During my first pregnancy, I planned all sorts of cute (and regular) weekly bump-dates. Look at me here at 23 weeks with Ben! I'm outside! There are flowers! A cute dress and cardigan! This time, dirty bathroom mirror selfies. Maybe I'll get the ball rolling and have my husband take some better ones as we go along. I'm only marginally embarrassed by the toothpaste splatter. Anyway, focus on the bump.
Ooops. Banana peel in the shot. Definitely make sure when taking a pregnant selfie you don't have any garbage in the photo as well. 
It's 6:30 in the morning. Maybe not the best time to take selfies. Head tilt? No.
Definitely try out the cheesy face at least once. 
Or maybe just go for the "Mutant baby in my belly" face.
I doubt anyone is noticing the horizontal stripes accentuating the belly at this point. Just my face. My weird face.
Then it maybe just starts to get really weird. Also take note again that 6:30 a.m. is not prime time for photo taking (heyo baggy eyes).
The mouth open face usually looks good. She said with sarcasm.
Well, crap. If all else fails, just go for the Zoolander look.
I don't even know. If it gets to this point you should probably just give up and ask your husband to take all your photos for you from this point forward.
OR, just revert back to the open mouth face. 
I think I might just need to start creating an album of pregnant selfie outtakes. Most of these will be included. :) Also, send your bump photo tips my way please!

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ben, You're TWO!

My sweet, sweet, little boy. It's the biggest cliché, but where has the last year gone? It feels as though I was just writing a letter to you on your first birthday. Now, here we are, an entire 365 days later. I'm lying in bed with a cold, listening to you play with your daddy in the other room. One of your favorite things to do right now is gallop through the house and then jump onto something, yelling 'BOOM CRACK!' as loud as you can. I think the 'something' you are jumping on at the moment happens to be your daddy. Your future sibling is bumping around in my womb, and I feel caught up in this surreal moment that this can't possible be our life.
You have brought more earth-shattering joy to our lives than we ever thought possible. With each passing day you grow and change, learn, and ease your way into the person you are meant to become. You truly are going to be something incredibly special.
You are tender, you are sweet, you are affectionate. You are appreciative and thoughtful. You love snuggling, and wrestling, and reading, and helping. You've started to laugh at pictures in books, and remember what comes next on the pages. You yearn for the fresh air like your parents, so we spend a lot of our time outdoors. You run and trip your way to the blackberry bushes, plucking the fattest, juiciest berries off one by one. You stop and watch a beetle crawling across the ground, shouting at me to come join you in your discovery. You pull carrots and peas and tomatoes from the garden. You are a comedian, always seeking ways to make us laugh, and relishing in the attention it brings. Oh, and dear child, your giggles and fits of laughter fill me up in the most delightful ways. Sometimes you take off doing silly, weird dance moves and faces, and it fills me with joy! You little weirdo, you.
You are also very determined, and don't give up easily on something you want. You will grab our hands and persistently take us where you want to go, asking us to play or telling us where to sit. You also love singing 'songs' and will often sit in your chair and proclaim very loudly at the top of your lungs "MaaaamaaaaDaaadaaaaaaJeeettttJetttBEN!"
I absolutely adore your expanding knowledge of language, as it gives your daddy and I a better peek into your heart. You are becoming quite the chatter box these days, always repeating what we say, asking about things, and trying new words. My favorite things you say right now are "ice keeeem," "nutha", "luv uuu", and "down peas!" (when you actually mean you want up!) You know all the letters in the alphabet, most of your numbers and colors, and you recognize things in pairs by identifying them as "two eggs" or "two shooooes". Your memory is also astounding! You will point and relate to things that have happened months ago. I know we are bias, but Ben...you are wicked smart!
You are all about the trains, construction equipment, tractors, and trucks right now. When daddy is doing something, you want to be doing it too, and you try your hardest to 'help' with tools and building. In the past year, your relationship with your daddy has grown into something deeper; a true bond between father and son. Oh, if you could see the way your daddy looks at you. His shiny brown eyes meeting yours, the two of you delighting in something together. The word your dad uses most often to describe you is BRIGHT...you have such a shining personality. We feel overjoyed that you are ours.
You lie in bed at night with your lovey Blue Guy, seeming to tell him about your day, before closing your sweet eyes to sleep. You follow our directions, listen, and want to please us in the best ways. You are the best little helper! You happily carry your dirty laundry into your closet, get towels to help clean up messes, and throw any garbage away you find on the floor. When we ask you to lay down so we can change your diaper, you happily obey, on the spot. You are still a very cautious and introverted child, always watching and observing before diving in. You are quiet, and observant, and calm. You say 'Noooooo' quite boldly when you aren't at ease with a situation. When you find trust and comfort in a person, your shyness melts away into unabashed personality and silly antics. You've taken a new found interest obsession with our dog, Jesse. You are always asking 'where Jet Jet goooo?' You like lining cars up on his back, petting his ears, and laughing at him.
You challenge me as a parent, but when I fail, you always forgive. You force me to look deeper and higher for ways to love and nurture your soul. I am still learning, every single day what it means to raise you as my son. I hope I will always do right by you-teach you, guide you, respect you, love you.

When you took your first breaths two years ago, in that cold and sterile room, we were searching for one another. I had absolutely no idea the journey it would take us to find one another, to become the mother and son that we now are. I feel like you taught me that God's way is perfect. I can only hope that someday these words strike meaning in your heart, and that no matter what transpires between us in our lifetimes, you know without an unequivocal doubt the raw and primal love we have for you.

The happiest of TWO YEARS my precious, precious son. There are a great many things I've done and hope to do in my lifetime, but watching you bloom and grow into a person of your own has got to be the very greatest one.

All of my love, a million lifetimes worth.
Love, Mama
***
For some reason, when Ben turned one, it didn't feel quite as emotional for me on the same level as it does for many other parents. It brought up a lot of painful memories of our birth experience, and I struggled to process that more than anything else. Now, however, I'm an emotional wreck with him turning two!! It makes me want to cry every time I think about my baby becoming a boy. Two seems like the real turning point, when he is really, truly, honestly leaving infancy behind him, and while I'm overjoyed to see him growing and changing, it breaks my heart a little to watch him turn into a full blown toddler. So, since I'm a martyr to myself, I spent a good hour pouring over old photographs, staring bleary eyed at those chunky rolls, remembering the weight of his 10 pound newborn body on my chest, laughing at the videos of him walking for the first time, feeling proud at the sight of him nursing, and smiling at all the amazing memories we've made as a family in the last two years. Here's to a big ol' walk down memory lane...

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