Thursday, November 15, 2012


Today marks 5 months and 2 days. It is hard to believe that much time has passed in this pregnancy. Since finding out at 5 weeks 2 days my life has been measured in weeks and fruits and vegetables. I am not one to live in the future so the fact that this time has passed as quickly as it has, well it’s taken me by surprise. I had another midwife appointment today and with it brought up something I felt was blog-worthy. It pertains to the things I have thus enjoyed about this journey and the things I have not enjoyed. I am nothing if not honest so I’m putting it out there how I feel…starting with what I have enjoyed the least about being pregnant….

Gaining weight – Here is what I know: yes I’ll lose the weight after, yes it’s natural to gain weight, yes all that matters is a healthy baby, yes I know I’m in good shape, yes I’m young enough to bounce back….YES ok I know all this. And I’m telling you it doesn’t make it a damn bit easier to like the weight gain. It doesn’t. I’m sorry I cannot be happy or excited to see the scale climb in numbers. I have worked very hard to get my body to where it was before I was pregnant. I’m talking hours in the gym. Sweat in my eyes. Muscles so sore I could hardly bend down to tie my shoes. Aches which no amount of hot baths or icey hot could take away. Throughout my life I have gone in and out of spurts in working out and it wasn’t until my wedding that I had motivation to really get in shape. That’s the thing, as women we are conditioned to “slim down” or “get in shape” for events. Childbirth is the only big event in a women’s life where she is expected to do the opposite. I can’t just undo years of seeing a scale and a number and mentally thinking it’s bad or good. Being pregnant already comes with certain sacrifices but this is my body and for all my life it’s been mine. I’ve struggled with it, I’ve worked it, I’ve hated it and I’ve loved it and now it’s not mine. I have no control whatsoever. Imagine working out every single day and seeing the scale go up not down. I know it will pass, I know it will change and then change again and then again as I go through life. But I can’t help but grieve for something I worked so hard for that is now no longer what I want it to be.
And that’s my right.
This did not come easy

A lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into being in shape

But here is what I enjoy, feeling something move inside of me. I always thought I would be freaked out by something living inside me but if I can’t have my abs it’s a pretty good replacement. It’s more active when I am at rest so you can imagine that I don’t get to feel it all day as of yet. But at night I can feel it move and roll around and it’s a pretty special moment of bonding. I have no idea what it’s doing of course, maybe practicing yoga or drinking amniotic fluid and having a party. The feeling is as strange as it is wonderful and it reminds me that my body is doing what it’s supposed to be doing and it does have a purpose. I may have had to work hard to learn yoga, to do pull-ups correctly, to train my body how to hike 14ers or water ski but this my body did all on it’s own. I didn’t have to put any blood, sweat or tears into this new adventure my body is undertaking and perhaps that’s why I have yet to understand how my body knows better for me than what I know for it.

And as I sit at the halfway point I can’t help but also be joyful for all the support I’ve received and the world of becoming something new. I ran into an acquaintance of mine today who has two kids and although we’ve talked before at the gym here and there I know that now we have much more in common. By the end of our conversation she was giving me names of mothering centers to connect with other women and offering to give me clothing depending on the gender of the baby. I feel I am in the process of reinventing myself and along with it comes not only new goals and responsibilities but new friendships. Rather than feel alienated I feel empowered. Women tell me their birth stories who never would have shared that information before (and I wouldn’t have thought to care). Of course some of the advice I take with a grain of salt but I appreciate nonetheless. I feel I have more support on this journey than I did when I got married. I actually enjoy shopping for baby showers and going in to baby stores. To research and expand my knowledge of birthing, procedures, diapering, feeding; this is a whole new level of life I am experiencing.
20 weeks

I know the good outweighs (pun intended) the bad in what I have loved about pregnancy and what I have hated. But when you live with your self for so long and then you see that self change into something you don’t recognize…that can be scary. It can be intimidating. Gaining weight isn’t just about the numbers on a scale. It’s a reminder that every day I am one step closer to a life that I never dreamed about. Every pound is an adventure into the unknown and the uncertainty. It’s a reminder of how I’m stepping away from my old life, the Natalie I once knew and beginning a metamorphosis into someone completely transformed.

I’m sure the caterpillar is scared too when it begins it’s journey...even though it has no idea just how lovely it’s about to become….

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pleased to meet you....

I had a chance to meet the sweet potato today. Of all the appointments this is the one I was looking forward to the most. My mom flew in town for the weekend so she could come to the ultrasound with us. Living in Birmingham she may only be a two hour flight away but she feels miles apart in distance and I think, somewhat sad she cannot be here for me day to day. We spent the weekend going to brunch and shopping for my first (of what I’m sure will be many) baby items. I’ll admit all the “gear” is a little overwhelming and it’s difficult to shop for someone you’ve never even met. Life has also come full circle because I want to cloth diaper and my mom cloth diaper so she was full of helpful advice as we looked through the many brands and “systems.” I know things have changed over the years and I love and appreciate all my friends input but in all due respect my mom raised four kids so I default to her for a lot of help in these manners.

I did not want to know the gender. I have friends that tell me, “Oh I couldn’t stand not knowing,” and that’s all fine for them but as for me I don’t care. Knowing won’t change anything or how I feel. I just want to get to know the baby for what it is – a little person shaping and molding and growing each day in the space I provide. I don’t need to plan a themed nursery, I don’t need to pick a specific name, I don’t need that information to bond. I will say I’ve had three dreams on what the gender is and in the last dream I was spelling out the name to register it for pre-school. So maybe I’ll go with that name or maybe it will be that gender. Maybe not. I try to take these things as they come.

So to the sweet potato growing inside me - I must tell you that I feel like we know each other a little bit better now. Of course you can’t see me you can only hear me so I have an unfair advantage. Sitting in the dark ultrasound room it was like we were watching a movie on the television not looking at a beating heart and kidneys and a spine. The ultrasound techs commented on how photogenic you are which means you’ll fit in here perfectly. And like me, you were an active one. I could see you open and close your fists. Watched you turn your head and cross your legs. You let them take some gorgeous pictures of you then would turn this way and that teasing the Intern tech who was just getting his bearings of what he needed to look at before you’d shy away. Everyone comments on how small I am and how I don’t look pregnant for almost five months but you are in the 54 percentile meaning that yes, at 10oz you are two days bigger than most babies your size. 
week 19 about to kick some people's ass in spin class

I guess all that healthy eating has paid off because you sure are enjoying and that’s what matters. Your spine looks ok, you have 4 chambers in your heart, a whole brain, fingers, toes, kidneys, a nose, lips and everything looks to be in place. I really cannot believe that 4 months ago you didn’t exist. And now here you are. You blow my mind and celebrating this month of gratitude I am grateful for you.

I have said before that I never really knew if I wanted kids or not. And I’m still not sure what kind of world I am brining someone into. Life is tough, messy, beautiful and scary all at once and sometimes seems hardly the place for innocent children. But I am grateful to experience pregnancy to see just how life begins. My ego wanted to deny myself of this experience but so far it’s been awe inspiring. To see what started as just two pink lines on a pregnancy test an a blip on a screen evolve into a little being that can open and close it’s mouth and fists and move is surreal. To feel something move around inside you and watch it move on the screen is as bizarre as it is natural. I’m glad I could share this with both my mom and Chad – two people who probably wanted children for me even more than I wanted them for myself. I feel even more of a responsibility and duty now to protect and love.

On Wednesday I’ll be officially halfway there. I’m in no hurry. I am not anxious. I’ll meet the sweet potato soon enough and so will everyone else. But for now here’s a look at the curious wonder that is….

head is on the right in case you can't tell it's a profile shot.

another profile shot with the mouth open, maybe saying hi? laughing at us?

that's a shot of the hand the fingers are on the far right and you can see the arm bones and elbow

both arms or maybe practicing boxing

the legs with the heels on the left. It's got knobby knees and chicken legs like chad