Category: pregnancy

So close, yet so far! Late pregnancy musings.

This post was originally drafted on Thursday the 3rd November, 2011. It was scheduled to be published at a later date, so as to maintain privacy for my family and I around the time of birth (which came 3 days later to my surprise!). It documents the lead up to labour and my feelings and experiences (with a bit of sparkly vampire pop culture thrown in). It’s kind of funny reading it back. Labour and aftermath to be blogged soon x

Pic

If you know me well, it would be common knowledge that I really can’t stand sparkly vampire type movies or television shows about blood sucking non-people people. I just can’t get on board with that stuff. Each to their own, but I am much more a fan of zombies: brain eating non-people people. Yes, there is a distinctive difference.

Anyhow, each time a new Twilight movie is on the horizon one of my dear friends will invite “the girls” around to catch up on the previous movies before heading to the cinema for a night out to enjoy the latest one. I usually “um” and “aah” about whether to get over myself and just go – for the awesome company of course – or to refuse the invitation on principle. The last few times I’ve been busy anyhow so it hasn’t been an issue.

This time, upon viewing the Twilight: Breaking Dawn trailer, I am decidedly against attending the movie.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hrCkkilRDM]

I think it might be quotes about the pregnant character Bella.

You know, things like “The foetus is not compatible with your body. It’s too strong and fast growing.”

And…”It’s crushing you from the inside out…”

I have since concluded that I must be pregnant with some kind of vampire/werewolf thingy (I don’t actually know what’s going on there other than what I see on gossip/entertainment websites).

My body is reacting a lot to having a whole new crazy bunch of baby boy hormones inside it. Gestational diabetes, two types of rashes (the second one is worse because my trusty treatment from last time is no longer working effectively – trust me), blood tests on my uric acids (kidney function) and bile salts (enough to make me feel like I’ve been attacked by very hungry vampires – my arms look like that of a junkie). The list just feels like it keeps growing and growing! It’s like my body has decided it’s had enough of being pregnant, but the message hasn’t quite transmitted to our Little Mister who seems kind of comfy (maybe too comfy) inside me!

I’ve been in and out of hospital for a week now, with no signs of the constant appointments and monitoring ceasing anytime soon. It’s been very tiring and stressful. The baby is fine but like the crazy foetus in the Twilight trailer, he seems quite strong and he is quite fast growing!! I bawled my eyes out after my 36 week ultrasound because I was told his estimated weight was that of a fully cooked baby already. I may or may not have disturbed the waitstaff at the cafe my husband took me out for lunch at afterwards. It’s all been a little overwhelming. OK, so a lot!!

Tomorrow marks the end of the 37th week of pregnancy and the beginning of the 38th. I am hoping and praying that someone will induce me – SOON. I’ve been told (after a confronting internal examination in which I was a teensy bit traumatised) that my body is preparing in all the right ways for labour but none of it means it will naturally begin for me any time soon. It could be days or weeks.

INDUCE ME!!!!! Right now I feel that I could probably give birth to our baby naturally while he is of an OK size, but in a couple of weeks? Hell no. Because of all my itching and discomfort, I admit to being afraid to have a C-section. Not so much because of the whole being-cut-open thing, but the worry about recovery and healing afterwards. I’m much better with pain than I am with itching, which might seem strange but I seriously can’t handle the itches. I go kind of nuts. The idea of a possibly itchy scar has me wanting to join my bubba in the foetal position!!

On the bright side, being in hospital so much lately has made me less afraid of going into labour. The familiarity I am gaining with the maternity ward and the different midwives on shift each time I visit helps a lot. I recommend to other pregnant lovelies out there that you take a tour of your maternity ward before birth and ask lots of questions if possible. It really does ease your mind knowing where to go and what your room might look like. Even how the staff interact with you. I don’t recommend finding out the hard way like I have been, but sometimes sh*t happens!

I’ve kept this stuff fairly quiet with friends because they are already so excited for me and I am receiving text messages and facebook wall posts quite regularly now, asking when the hell I’m going to have the baby! I’ve stayed vague, not because they’re people I can’t confide in, but because my latest experiences are very raw and can change any moment. I plan on telling all after the birth. I have no doubt my friends would be so loving and caring if they knew everything, but right now I just want to be quiet and private so as to stay calm and focused. I know they won’t hold it against me. Sometimes I just need some time and space to process things for myself before sharing with the world.

I’ve been quite emotional and run down lately. I can joke about this stuff in blog form, but it can be really challenging. The Husband Guy has been so supportive and helpful and my parents (and inlaws) have been great. I know most women get to that “so over it” phase during late pregnancy, but I think that for me there is much more to it than that. I’ve had one helluva ride over the last few months and I’m ready for the next exciting chapter of my life. The part where the pregnancy conditions (hopefully) ease or disappear and I have a beautiful baby boy in my arms.

At times I’ve felt like I’m just crap at being pregnant (when I started this blog I had no idea just where the journey would take me), but I have to remind myself that I’m not. I am lucky. I have a healthy baby inside me that my partner and I were able to conceive in the first place. My own body may be shot to hell, but I’m successfully carrying this precious cargo safely to term and I could not be luckier.

I guess I just never planned on being one of those “problem pregnancy” bloggers. I feel like I’ve mentioned the words “rash” and “diabetes” almost every single post and I have never wanted to be pigeonholed as a poster girl for any of these issues. I have just tried to document my experiences honestly. Maybe all this sh*t has happened for a reason. Maybe I can bring comfort to someone else going through similar experiences.

I hope that the next news I have to share will be the announcement of the birth!

Getting reflective before giving out some unsolicited advice.

As I reach the pointy (stretchy, bumpy, achey) end of my first pregnancy, I am feeling a little bit reflective. It has been one big journey both physically and mentally. When talking to friends who are in the earlier stages of gestation, I realise that I have come a long way. It feels like only yesterday I too was overwhelmed and felt entirely clueless about the whole situation and now I am doling out advice (hopefully the useful and welcome kind) and trying to reassure others about the process – not that I’m some big ol’ expert know it all or anything. I guess I’ve just learnt a lot along the way.

Now, during and after childbirth? That’s a whole other matter!! Stay tuned!!!

Here are some reflections on some of the feelings and symptoms I’ve experienced so far.

Pre-conception

I was trying to play it cool. My pill prescription was due for a refill and I was going to head to the pharmacy for it when my husband said, “Are you sure you need to do that? That’s a whole four months more of the pill. Maybe we could start trying for a baby. It might take a while for your body to adjust so why not just leave it?”

Eek! I couldn’t believe we were having this conversation! I mean, we had always talked about it in an abstract kind of way and we knew we both dreamed of a family of our own, but this was REAL! Holy crap! I looked at him with wide eyes, he looked back at me and I felt a dangerous thrill.

I bought a couple of books online (OK so about four) for us to read. A couple for dads-to-be and a couple about pregnancy itself. I started having an excited browse of them, but soon realised I didn’t want to read far ahead because it was too overwhelming and I needed to stay cool. Conception might take a while and I didn’t want to pressure myself or become crazy about baby making. I wanted to be relaxed and peaceful about the process, not impatient or anxious.

I had occasions where I would have a “moment” and would need reassurance from my husband. I knew people (including my own parents) who had struggled with different fertility and pregnancy issues and while I tried to tell myself that it’s more common than people realise and that I was just being realistic, I realised just how important the dream of falling pregnant really was to me. Being adopted made me feel like I needed someone who comes from me. From my biological family tree. That is hard to admit because so much of my life is about knowing that love is thicker than water, not blood or genetics.

I stopped reading the books completely and the hubby and I booked a Contiki tour of Europe (something to look forward to if things weren’t happening on the baby front), which took the pressure off. Turns out we never went on that tour! 😉

Pic Oh crap! What now?!

First Trimester

I was nervous from the moment we found out we were expecting. The first trimester is when you’re at the highest risk of miscarriage and I was scared that I would have one. Reading statistics about 1 in 5 pregnancies failing doesn’t help! I almost expected that my first pregnancy would fail just because it was my first pregnancy (don’t ask me how that logic works). I just hoped that a second attempt would be successful (luckily this was not to be an issue).

I felt tired and overwhelmed. Suddenly I had a tiny being (or bean) on board. I’d heard the heartbeat early on (about 7 weeks in) and seen a scan of something that looked like a jelly bean attached to another jelly bean (the embryo and its little sac), but it still didn’t feel entirely real. I was excited but I didn’t want to let myself get carried away. I had a few weeks before I would feel safe to tell the world.

I was googling everything I felt. I was reading about all the foods I suddenly had to avoid (if you followed every tiny bit of written advice there is out there you wouldn’t be able to eat anything). I lost my appetite and I was losing a bit of (admittedly excess) weight. I felt so…dumb!

I started reading Up the Duff and What to Expect When You’re Expecting but nothing really sank in. I wasn’t quite ready for it all. Later these books would become my bibles (I highly recommend you keep them for when you’re ready to take their advice).

We told immediate family almost straight away. We figured we’d have support from them if things went wrong but everyone was sworn to secrecy. Their lives would not be worth living if they told even a soul!!!

We had a scare at 12 weeks (right before our ultrasound was due), with a bleed in the middle of the night. I had been stressed and that moment was confusing and scary. It was a long night for us as we waited to have an appointment with our doctor the next morning (it seemed a better option than sitting in ED with the drunk casualties at the hospital on a weekend night). We got our scan booking moved a few days early as we were quite anxious. We were so relieved when there was our little foetus looking more baby shaped, the technician telling us there was no bad reason for my bleeding (perhaps it was the placenta implanting nice and strong in my uterine wall) and that everything was looking great. There appeared to be no abnormalities and there was no likeliness of Down Syndrome too. We were in shock, but this time it was the happy kind. It was a wake up call for me to avoid lots of stress and for my husband to help out with that rather than hyping me up when I felt a bit overwhelmed. It was a big adjustment for the both of us.

I told a couple of very close friends earlier in the piece but it was hard. I never knew how to announce it! It felt embarrassing and weird! Eventually my mum told me it was getting a bit crazy (I started showing at 10 weeks) and that I really just needed to be brave and share the news. I realised she was right. Bottling it up and keeping things secret has never been my style and I just wanted to feel real and honest with those I care about.

It felt like such a relief and I felt ready to embrace the experience.

Second Trimester

This was a wonderful time. I could finally show off my bump and I was starting to gain confidence in what I could eat. My appetite and energy levels came back with a vengeance and although I stupidly started comparing myself to other pregnant people (bad idea) I was feeling excited and happy. I started running around like a madwoman – my version of nesting. I was making the most of my energy boost and I was really enjoying everything I felt in my body. Even the not always awesome symptoms – they meant I was pregnant and that was enough for me!

I was baking up a storm almost daily in the kitchen. I was organising things for people and getting my creative juices flowing. I had started this blog you’re reading right now and I was finally able to read my pregnancy books without freaking out. I made a rule that I would just take it all a week at a time. I would only read about the week of pregnancy I was in and would not dare to flick forwards to those scary parts about labour or breastfeeding! This strategy has been a fantastic one.

Our 20 week ultrasound was very exciting. We paid an extra $15 for a DVD and we delighted in showing our families. We were on top of the world. We now knew we were having a boy! Everyone expected a girl (including me) but it was yet another boy to add to ALL the males on both sides of our families. I was admittedly a teeny tiny bit disappointed but knowing the baby was healthy and he was all ours overshadowed that feeling. I guess the rebel in me had wanted to even up the scoreboard with a bit more oestrogen. Never mind! Maybe next time!

Right after the scan I developed a PUPPP rash. They believe about 1% of women will get this hormonal pregnancy rash. It was unbearable and it started in all the uncomfortable, undignified places you can think of. It itched and it made me crazy. It took 2 weeks to get a diagnosis and I felt so helpless and depressed (I don’t use that term lightly). Until I got a great treatment for it from a dermatologist, I had nothing that worked besides lukewarm baths. Let me tell you, living in the bath sounds like a great idea, but it really gets bad when you can’t cope without it. It would soothe my skin for maybe a couple of hours before I was scratching, crying and having the darkest, most saddest thoughts about my pregnancy (and then feeling more awful that my mind could go there). I wouldn’t wish that time on anyone.

My skin started to scar badly and I felt unattractive, no longer the glowing pregnant lady. I had no clothes to wear (it was winter and leggings or cheap fabrics were out of the question) and I was a shut in for weeks as I was constantly soaked in greasy steroid ointment or had no clothes to wear. Luckily my mum saved the day with a whole bunch of beautiful maxi dresses. Phew. I could leave the house again! Albeit wearing scarves and god knows what else in an attempt to hide my scars.

The itching died down with the ointment and I only needed to use it occasionally. I started living my life again and I felt quite good, although the fear of a flare up was always in the back of my mind.

This is a time where I’d like to point out that I realised there is no perfect pregnancy. I couldn’t control everything and I had to accept that this was my experience. It was OK to have some bad thoughts or experiences. It didn’t make me a bad person or a failure of a pregnant woman. I did feel misunderstood because not many people knew what the condition was, but eventually I was able to re-embrace my pregnancy and focus on the positives with a lot of love and support from family and my husband (who was AMAZING during this time). By being open about my condition, I felt liberated and I hope I educated people on what the condition is about. Even the fact that pregnancies are not always perfect and that’s just the way life is. I became determined to not feel ashamed. The rash was/is not my fault.

Pic

Third Trimester

Sh*t gets real in this trimester. It’s like my focus went from “being pregnant” to “going to have an actual real live baby”. I finally felt ready to buy baby things and think about the end result of my pregnancy! It had been too overwhelming before but now I started to realise what all of this truly means (well I knew a baby is going to be born but there’s a difference between knowing it and feeling it).

I wasn’t just thinking or reading about pregnancy symptoms. I was finally ready to hear advice about actual babies and labour and all the rest of it!

The nursery slowly filled up with furniture and clothing and goodness knows what other supplies! A pram was purchased (something that had scared the bejeezus out of me a trimester or two earlier – who the hell knows what a baby needs?!) and a cot was assembled! I finally had a handle on what all these baby products are, what features I wanted and what the teeny tiny clothing sizes mean!

I had my glucose tolerance test at 28 weeks. What a downer that was! I had a gut feeling all along that I would test positive for gestational diabetes, despite everyone being optimistic.
“What are the odds? You’ve already been through hell with the rash. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

They meant well, but I just KNEW.

I got a bit grumpy having to see a dietician and test my blood four times a day. I felt horrible knowing that the condition was genetic (although relieved it wasn’t caused by my behaviour) because now I’ll be one of those people who have to watch out for Type 2 Diabetes for the rest of my damn life. That’s a lot to take in!!! Before this pregnancy I have always been healthy and taken for granted my smooth, tanned skin. Damn, reality can bite!

I felt hard done by. My diet would now be even more limited. I was having a pity party. 1% get the rash. 3-5% get Gestational Diabetes. I lost hope in all statistics. I no longer believe that if there is an extremely low risk of something happening that it means I’ll be right, mate. My body has proved that I can quite easily be in that minority.

I adjusted my diet over a week or so and finally feel confident in what I can eat or not eat. The hardest thing has been people in my life not understanding the limitations on my diet. Eating out can be difficult and people think that as long as I don’t eat cookies, cake or lollies then I’m fine. There is much more to it than that. I have to watch my carbs, the hidden sugars in almost everything we buy off supermarket shelves, even the natural sugars in fruit. All the condiments, sauces, salt content, proportioning of a meal, the timing of when I eat etc can have an effect on my blood sugar and at times I felt like I was repeating myself over and over and over. I don’t expect people to cater for me (I eat at home first or just watch them eat cake) but it did get frustrating trying to explain. I know everyone means well and I truly don’t blame them for not having the information (after all it’s not their problem). I think I just reached a level of annoyance about having the condition in the first place. Everything was getting to me. I withdrew socially for a few weeks so I could regroup and toughen up a bit. Perhaps, had I not had the rash, I might have handled it better psychologically.

This trimester we went to ante-natal class. I felt so much more relaxed afterwards. I now know more about the process at the hospital and about birth itself. How it all works, what the midwives are likely to do and different birthing positions and stories about natural births and C-sections. Taking some of the unknown out of the whole labour experience proved oddly reassuring, even though I’m sure to be in a whole world of pain and unexpected events when the time comes! The class made me realise I’m so ready for this baby.

One thing that really cheered me up socially was my baby shower! It was the first time I would see my friends in maybe a month. I was nervous about entertaining so many people at my house (I was getting to the really tired phase of pregnancy) but it was fantastic. There was SO much love in my house that day and I was on a high for days afterwards. The gifts were all gorgeous and useful. People were raving about the dessert buffet by Finn + Evie (which was planned before I found out I had diabetes) for days and I felt so spoilt. I felt overwhelmed by love and all warm and fuzzy that our baby is going to know this love soon!

Now I’m in the 36th week of pregnancy and my rash is trying to come back with a vengeance. It really loves my legs and my newly acquired stretch marks (please don’t give me advice on my skin unless you’ve had the condition – I know you mean really well and I love you for it but I can’t just whack on some bio oil or paw paw ointment yet – it’s going to be a long process and my skin is very sensitive at the moment – it’s not always that straight forward). This is difficult as I am already finding it hard to sleep. I thank my lucky stars I have my ointment this time. The weather isn’t helping at 94% humidity!!

I still have to pack my hospital bag (and one for the baby and one for the husband) but I feel ready. Once I know our little one is fully cooked, I can’t wait to get him out of me and into my arms! I want to meet him and love him and nurture him and show him off, but admittedly I am also SO over being pregnant! I want to eat what I like, wear high heels (or even nice wedges will do) and stop itching!

Pic

My Two Cents Worth

I’ve had a big reality check with my first pregnancy. Life isn’t always smooth sailing and pregnancy is no different! I don’t want to scare any newly pregnant people with my tales of woe! It really is a lovely experience despite everything else. I just don’t believe in sugar coating it or making others feel inadequate by not being honest about my feelings and experiences. One thing that hasn’t changed through this whole process is my love for our baby. Love really can conquer all. I would tell anyone who is newly expecting that if you go with the flow and know it’s OK to not be in control, you’ll be able to get through anything. You might have dark thoughts, scary moments or feel particularly frumpy or spotty or clueless, but I promise you that you’re not alone. It’s a scary time as much as it is exciting. You just never know what will get thrown at you along the way! Just don’t beat yourself up if it’s not perfect or your thoughts aren’t all unicorns and rainbows. Everyone’s experiences are different. That woman you feel daunted by because she’s one of those seemingly perfect pregnant ladies might be hiding a multitude of conditions. She may have suffered miscarriages previously, she may be dressing so nicely to hide scars from a rash, she may not be able to eat what she likes (that might be why she seems so perfectly slim everywhere but the bump). She might just be paralysed by anxiety when she goes home at night. She might be able to keep up her paid day job forever while you feel like you can’t cope, but she may be throwing herself into work to avoid the inevitable list of baby related preparations that are seriously freaking her out.

You just don’t know, so don’t compare yourself. You’re good enough and you’ll be amazing even if there are some (big or small) bumps in the road.

I truly believe that if we’re all honest and we don’t buy into the bullsh*t that pregnancy is all glowy and blissful 100% of the time for everyone, if we take the time to listen to someone who is feeling confused or scared (or itchy!), then perhaps it won’t be so difficult and some of us might not feel so alone. Unconditional love and support has been what has got me through darker days/nights. We need to let people know they don’t have to be perfect just because it makes us feel better.

And, hey. If you have a terrifically blissful 9 months – good for you! I cannot express enough how much I am happy for you! You’re so lucky and so is your baby 🙂

Wish me luck for the next few weeks, lovely readers – we’re approaching crunch time!!

Beware: Pregnant Zombie.

Pic

Wanna hear something scary? I only just realised that my baby is due NEXT MONTH. It’s different when you say 6 weeks – it sounds further away. But NEXT MONTH seems so immediate! Also, I’ve come to the very shocking realisation that I may never sleep again.

I spend my nights turning (very slowly and gingerly) from side to side like some kind of broken baby rotisserie (I hope he still cooks evenly haha). I have a spare pillow to support The Bump which has to move with me each time, making each turn very time consuming. I dream of having two pillows – one on each side – to save time and energy but I fear that my husband would fall out of the bed (actually no matter how much I love him that doesn’t sound so bad at this point – that’s how crazy I’m getting)!

Last night I even caught myself pushing my husband in the face, just smushing his nose a bit with my hand, because he got too close and I couldn’t roll over to my left side properly. He never said a word, the beautiful man.

I can no longer sleep on my back – the snoring wakes me up. Also, I can’t sleep on my stomach (for obvious reasons like the fact that it is now the size and shape of a large basketball). So, it’s all sides for me. My hips ache if I stay on one side for too long and my pelvis aches when I do have to shift my weight. Getting up to go to the toilet is like an episode of that show Monster Moves. Or the movie Frankenstein. In fact, perhaps I’m more like a zombie. Slow moving and slightly brain dead.

I am SO sexy right now.

On the bright side, I could power nap any of you under the table. Seriously, probably under a table would do just fine. I’d just need help getting up afterwards. It’s like the most blissful mini coma ever when you just close your eyes in the middle of the day and let go. Aah, ZzzZzzzZzz…

*snort*

Oops, where was I?

Yes, power naps. I’m allowed to have them. It helps to kill time when no-one will let you do anything anymore.

“Don’t lift that!”
“Don’t bend down!”
“Sit down! NOW! Not in that chair, the comfy one!”

People actually laugh at me when I offer to help with something. Soon I don’t think anyone will even allow me to drive. My bump almost touches the steering wheel. I say, just let the bump learn how to drive 17 years early. Can’t ever be too prepared in life. If he can reach the steering wheel already, why not?

You would think all this pampering would be really nice (well it is sometimes), but it gets a bit boring! I suppose I should do what people say and milk it for all it’s worth. Soon I’ll be so busy that my head will spin off and the world as I know it will forever be different. WHOA. Blowing. My. Mind.

What life changing experiences have you been through lately?

I have become what I always feared.

Pic

In my 33rd week of pregnancy, I am certainly not the same person I was before I got knocked up (sorry Mum – I know you hate that expression – I use it entirely in jest)! I am sure I will return to being that pre-pregnant Kez (but hopefully with a little more experience and wisdom) at some point…maybe in 18 years…but for now I’ve had to accept that some things just aren’t as simple as they were before! Honestly, sometimes I feel a bit like a Douche-Bag these days!

I am late to everything ALL THE TIME. This (yes – this person right here who you’re reading about) is usually the most punctual person you’ve ever met. I used to rock up at events half an hour before they even started and have to wait awkwardly in the car or make weird small talk with the people who were setting up (if I knew the host well enough to just wander on in a bit early) while I offered to assist them with anything only to have them refuse my offer…wait that sounds like I was annoying…Well, you know what I mean. I always had it drummed into me that turning up late is not indeed fashionable or polite! That being early is better than being tardy! I feel really bad about it. I know plenty of pregnant women are able to get their arses in gear and turn up somewhere at the right moment, but I’ve just become one of those hopeless zombies I swore I would never be! I even struggle to get out of the shower…which brings me to another point:

I am not environmentally friendly. I use a hell of a lot of water. Sure, I was never super keen on getting out of the shower in a very small amount of time, but I did have my limits. Now I just stand in the shower staring gormlessly into… nothing. I don’t see the shower curtain or the soapdish. I see…nothing. My brain becomes blank and the water feels soothing. At the very least, before I was pregnant I was at least solving the problems of the world in there.

At least I’m using “organic” shampoo and cleaning products for the house? And when I say I’m using those cleaning products, I just mean I have them stored in the cupboard and one day I’ll get back to that whole nesting thing…you know, probably on the day I go into labour or something…

I have lost my ability to plan ahead. I get as far as around-about-ish my due date (a little bit before it and a little bit after it) and then I get stuck. People send out invitations and I’m like, “Um I don’t know. I might have an extra little person in my life or I may not by then. I may have a C-section to recover from or I may not. I might feel ready to attend major social events but I may not. This might disrupt the baby’s routine or he may be super cruisy and almost anything will go. Can I get back to you later and be a total turd and ignore your RSVP requirements?”

“Um, sure Kez. You douche-bag.”

Seriously, most people (if not all) are really accommodating to my situation but it makes me feel horrible. I am an RSVP ogre at the best of times and here I am disregarding everything I’ve ever believed about being an excellent RSVPer. Who am I?!

I’m an annoying diva at restaurants/social events too. Ever since my diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes, I’ve had to watch every single thing I eat. When I’ve had to dine out, I’ve had to become really picky. I can look at entire restaurant menus and not see a single meal I am allowed to eat without asking the waitstaff/kitchenstaff to change something for me. This is really hard for a person like me because I will always say, “Oh yeah. This is really delicious!” when a waiter/waitress comes around to check we’re satisfied with our meals, even if what I’m chewing on tastes like someone’s dirty old socks dipped in garlic.

Having to ask someone, “Can I have the sauce/dressing on the side and can I replace the fries with seasonable vegetables and can I have the steak well done and can my bread please be multigrain or wholemeal and can I basically change your entire menu to suit my needs?” is very challenging for me! I always explain that I’m not just a diva or an allergy faker. I always smile a lot and say I appreciate everything they’re doing for little old me and if I have a few extra coins, I’ll hope I can tip the staff…but I still feel bad!!

I just can’t risk high blood sugar readings or I’ll be forced to take insulin and deliver at a hospital an hour and a half’s drive away from my house! SCARY! Not to mention the baby could become unfathomably big – that’s gotta come out of somewhere, people!!!

Worst of all, I am one big Flakey McFlakerson. I can never predict which days I will feel well and which days I will feel under the weather. I can have a day where I have amazing bursts of energy and I can travel far, have the productivity levels of Superwoman, but then suddenly I can spend a day feeling like I’m fighting off a coma while aching and suffering like a sad little invalid (you know – as opposed to all the tough invalids out there who have things worse than me – the shame).

This means that I can RSVP to an event (formal or casual) and then on the day have to change plans completely…yep. Douche-Bag. I was able to soldier on earlier in my pregnancy but now I just know my physical limitations. It kills me when I have to send a stupid apology text or make an apology phone call. Especially if it has to be at the last minute, despite the fact that I’ve actually showered myself in record time and I’m wearing “OK for public viewing” clothing. That takes effort and you know I’m serious about pushing on through like a little trooper if I’m wearing earrings and lipstick!! It’s just that sometimes it’s not enough to want to be somewhere. I’ve got to be confident that I won’t feel like passing out or throwing up. Not that I have actually gotten to the throwing up stage, but my body has threatened me many a time and it is kind of…distracting when you’re trying to have a conversation.

I feel like I am not doing this pregnancy thing as gracefully (or efficiently or as competently) as some of the other yummy mummies I know, but things haven’t been as easy for me as I had once naively dreamed. I could have it much worse (just knowing my baby is OK says I’m lucky), but I think I’ve had to sacrifice exercise earlier on in the piece due to my rash and now I’m feeling the effects of being not-as-fit-as-I-could-be combined with the shortness of breath and the lack of stamina any woman feels when they’re carrying a baby the size of a large jicama (which I had to google because I had no idea what it was – it’s some kind of massive fake potato if you really want to know). I’ve also had to change my lifestyle (ie restrict it more) with the diabetes and sometimes with all the finger pricking, recording of food, and preparation of special meals, I wonder how I’ll fit anything else in a damn day!

It’s funny because by the time I get a handle on it all, I’ll probably have the baby!! Ah, pregnancy. What are you doing to me?

So please bear with me, real life buddies. I’m working on all of this! I haven’t been abducted by some kind of alien that steals your usual personality…or maybe I have…it’s the probing I’m worried about…

Either way, it’s a bit disconcerting having to accept that you no longer have control over your life and that your decision making habits sometimes get disrupted. And parenthood hasn’t even “officially” started yet!!!

I’m adjusting as best I can. Promise!

PS. I know I’m being a big wuss bag, but I’m trying to be as honest about my personal experience as I can. Maybe I’m not the only one out there? x

It’s not all horror and gore.

I want to thank the lovely Liv Bambola for suggesting this blog topic <3

So lately you’ve heard a lot about the trials and tribulations of pregnancy from me. I’ve been a little bit knocked about with the diagnosis of both PUPPP rash and gestational diabetes (what are the odds of getting BOTH?!), so that’s what you’ve been inundated with. However, there’s more to pregnancy than just horror stories. There are some genuinely awesome things about being pregnant that you just don’t anticipate until it happens for the first time and I totally believe in counting my blessings and living in the moment (even if it’s easier said than done sometimes)!

So in the spirit of celebrating a new week of pregnancy (yep – we’re into the 32nd week!), I shall list some of the things I’ve really enjoyed 🙂

Pic

Support Networks – Feeling the Love

Throughout this journey I’ve really learnt that there are so many more people there for me, thinking of me and cheering me on than I could ever have imagined. Through the good times and the not so glamourous times, I have learnt that all I have to do is be honest about how I’m feeling and people really do pull through for you. Text messages on down days, lunch dates with people I haven’t seen in ages and thoughtful gestures really show me that not only should I not be afraid to reach out when things feel really difficult, but that I am so lucky my baby is coming into this world where he will be so loved.

I’ve had enormous family support, have been sent thoughtful gifts (you know who you are, ladies and I love you so much for it) and have had my ego absolutely caressed with compliments on how beautiful I look pregnant, even when I’m waddling about, have bad skin and strange improvised maternity outfits. It is just mindblowing.

I have also been blessed with good advice from friends who are new mums (not unsolicited – very welcome and realistic!) and I have been considered in so many social situations where I didn’t expect any special treatment.

Letting the Creative Juices Flow

I have really loved organising the nursery. Thinking of colours and themes. Getting furniture ideas and being able to put it all together. I have loved choosing little baby outfits (cluck cluck cluck) that are unusual, adorable and colourful! It’s not often I give myself an excuse to just do what I feel and make things pretty around the house. Usually, there are excuses holding me back like lack of funds or not enough time. During this pregnancy, I feel like I don’t need an excuse! In fact, I am pretty much obligated to do all this stuff and I LOVE it! It’s inspired me to try to beautify the rest of my house also. I want this place to feel as much like a sanctuary as possible, so it keeps me sane and peaceful when there’s chaos and lack of sleep in a couple of months! If I can’t do those nice things around the place now, when will I feel like I deserve to do them? 🙂

No time like the present!

Kicks, Stretches and Impromptu Dance Parties

Pic: This photo looks freaky but it’s also kind of amazing

There’s nothing more reassuring and smile-inducing than feeling the baby move inside me! Sure, there are times when it’s not so comfortable (a baby limb in the ribs, pressure on the bladder or crazy movements when you’re trying to sleep), but on the whole I wouldn’t trade feeling him conducting impromptu dance parties for the world! THERE’S A TINY, LOVEABLE HUMAN IN THERE!!!

Sometimes the best moments are sitting on the couch watching TV after dinner. My stomach will lurch all over the place (yes – you can totally see all the amusing movements from the outside – even through multiple layers of clothing) like the baby is having a little bit of a party in there. It’s hilarious and I love when my husband gets to see it happen! Sometimes he (the baby – not my husband) sticks what I can only imagine is a hand or foot or elbow or knee out. I can actually feel it hard against my skin! It makes me feel like we’re playing some kind of silly game with each other and it has me grinning from ear to ear 😀

Kind Looks from Strangers and Better Customer Service

It’s amazing how nice people are to a pregnant lady. I’ve always heard horror stories about unsolicited advice from strangers, being groped inappropriately everywhere from the boobs to the belly button and being asked over the top personal questions.

None of these things have happened to me. I could count on less than one hand the amount of times someone has completely disregarded the fact that I am pregnant and in need of consideration:

1. The time a horrible lady pushed in front of me at the newsagents’ and pushed her trolley into my bump without noticing or apologising.
2. The time we were leaving an AFL football game and people were smoking in my face and pushing up against me in the crowd, causing me to almost fall forwards. I don’t get crowds sometimes. They weren’t going to get anywhere any faster!

Other than that, I have been offered a seat when I have looked tired. I have been given knowing, empathic smiles by kind strangers when I waddle about and men have really surprised me. The older types of guys who would either have ogled at me and made me feel slimy and uncomfortable in the past, or who I would have expected grief from just look at me gooey eyed in a completely innocuous way. I guess the possibility of a new life softens people! Also, I’m not really a sex object at the moment on account of the bump which says “TAKEN AND COMMITTED” (not such a bad thing)! Well, unless you read the dodgy ads in the local trading post…

Not Worrying About Looking Skinny in my Clothes

I love that I can wear things I wouldn’t have had the courage to wear when I wasn’t pregnant. Fitted maxi dresses that would have shown off my belly pudge? Can wear now, albeit a couple sizes bigger to accommodate the bump! Any worries I had about my stomach showing through clothing is now not an issue! In fact, it’s nicer to emphasise the bump so people don’t just think I ate a few too many burgers!

I have learnt to stop stressing about how “fat” I look. It just seems silly now, doesn’t it? I just like that my body is doing what it is supposed to. Doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to working out properly once the baby is here (and once the doctors give the go ahead etc), but for now I just feel like this is all for a reason and it’s kind of cool seeing a bump. I like my bump! Although I will be anxious to get back in shape later in the piece, I don’t think I will look at my body so negatively again (famous last words but that’s how I feel right now and I hope I’m right).

Also, on another note I have started to get stretchmarks at the base of my bump. I was preventing them really well with oils and natural creams at the beginning of my pregnancy, but the rash interrupted my ability to use a lot of the really good products for that kind of thing. I love that I look at those marks and don’t even care. So bloody what? A few weeks ago I was covered neck to knee in a terrible rash and I have seen my skin at its worst. Those marks are nothing and although it will take time, I am confident that after my pregnancy they will fade with a bit of TLC. I would say to all the girls out there who are terrified of them: it’s not that bad. It really isn’t. There is so much worse stuff that can happen to you, your skin or the baby. Be thankful if that’s the worst you get. Genuinely thankful. I don’t say that bitterly at all. I think this experience has made me wiser and certainly less vain!

Life is Never Boring Anymore

Sure, this can mean taking the good with the bad, but I kind of like that I have new symptoms each week. Just when you think you’ve experienced them all, something new is going on with the baby. I love reading up on what he’s doing inside me each week and it makes me feel connected to him. While it can be hard for the control freak in me, when I can just let go and appreciate each new crazy moment, I feel like life is really interesting! I can be outwardly appear to be doing jack sh*t but the baby is so busy in there all the time growing up a storm!

I can sometimes worry that I am so totally consumed by the whole ‘being pregnant’ experience, both mentally and physically, but I guess I just want to feel everything. Sure, I get impatient and I do look forward to not having worries about a rash flare up or a blood sugar level spike, but I like the actual “there’s a freakin’ baby in there” feelings 🙂

There’s always something new to prepare for, buy, plan, feel. It’s crazy!

Overcoming Fears

Pic

I used to be scared to go to the doctor. I used to feel like I was going to be treated by some patronising, smug a**hole (usually was) so I would dread it, even when I knew I should get something checked out. I avoided routine tests I probably should have had and I would agonise over it all.

Now I am at the doctor’s all the frickin’ time! It gets tedious but I am no longer scared about what it would feel like to have my blood taken. I’ve had so much blood taken and tested for scary things now that I just face it and get on with it. I am also amazing at peeing in a cup and not being embarrassed. Much. I am supposed to bring a “sample” every time I see the doc (which is now fortnightly). I never know when to pull it out of my bag…do I present it to him before we even say hello or do I wait until he asks if I brought one? I usually wait…awkward.

All of this stuff is about so much more than me now that I am forced to get over myself. I am even thinking about becoming a blood donor after all this stuff is finished. I am no longer afraid to have a needle stuck in my arm and I also know that I won’t necessarily pass out or get sick if they take a lot of my red stuff, which I always feared. I like this whole ‘becoming a better person’ thing. I feel less selfish and more proactive about my health.

A Stronger Appreciation for Life

Pic

I have always considered myself to be quite a positive person. I may have suffered a few blows to my upbeat demeanour in recent times, but I have always taken to counting my blessings when things have challenged me (even if I did it while feeling p*ssed off and not quite believing myself)! However, now I realise more than ever that every moment is precious. I reminisce about my own pretty awesome and fortunate childhood and those memories feel like gifts I was given each day. I want my own child/ren to know these gifts. To look back and have these memories. I want to look back on my pregnancies and first days/months/years with my baby and feel like I did something positive whenever I could. Something that would help create those kinds of memories.

My biggest motto these days is “LIVE IN THE MOMENT”. Don’t just let things pass me by. It would be easy to get tunnel vision, to block out the scenery. To not feel a special moment or give it the celebration it deserves. I am determined to appreciate everything I have in my life. I don’t want to be lost in failings of the past or be so obsessed with planning the future that I realise I haven’t stopped to smell the roses and actually lived.

Everything I do now will influence my new little family. I want to be really present and I want to be an inspiration.

So, that’s what I like about being pregnant.

xo

Gestational Diabetes. I has it.

Pic

Pregnancy is a little freaky (well, it is). Especially the first one, I’m guessing. It’s all the unknown. It’s not like you’ve ever done it before. You have no idea what to expect. Well, other than the basic stuff – maybe getting morning sickness, eventually forgetting what your feet look like and having a baby at some point. Oh and the waddle. It will get ya.

You can read lots of books and you can do all that is within your control to prepare for every possible symptom or outcome, but at the end of the day you can’t help but feel awesomely unprepared for it all. Each person is different and each pregnancy is different!

I am adopted and this makes life more interesting. I am learning stuff about me (and evidently those before me) for the first time during this experience! Now I finally know my blood type. And soon I will know what my biological relatives will look like (oh please let them be pretty)! Oh, and there’s the small matter of discovering the hard way that my genes carry a history of gestational diabetes.

Yes, gestational diabetes. I has it.

Despite the (usually misinformed) stigma attached to all forms of diabetes, there is nothing I did wrong or nothing I did to cause it (the dietician said this about five million times so I believe her). I just have to manage it as best I can and hope it goes away when the baby is born. I am not obese and although my rash (yeah that other thing I’ve had to deal with) got in the way of more regular exercise for a while, I am not living an entirely sedentary life! Have I fallen victim to a sweet tooth during this pregnancy? You betcha. But apparently that’s not the cause. It just exacerbates an already existing condition.

I now have to prick my finger four times a day (to test my blood sugar levels), keep an entirely honest food diary (EEK!) and attend class/meeting thingys on healthy eating and gestational diabetes weekly…for the rest of my pregnancy (and maybe even beyond because now *sarcastic hip hip hooray* I’m more prone to developing Type 2 diabetes later in life!

Not to mention the fact that I have to give up any cake, biscuits, icecream, chocolate and all the little treats that can sometimes make pregnancy seem so much sweeter (literally)! I’m a bit bummed that my family history is no longer a clean slate. I can no longer pretend I am 100% healthily awesome – the pioneer of a new superhuman legacy. Turns out, some bugger of an ancestor started this and I can’t even tell them off because I do not know who the hell they are. DAMN YOU, ANCESTOR!!!

At the end of the day, knowledge is power and I will do everything I can to make sure the baby and I stay safe and sound. I will shake off the fear of  judgement surrounding pregnant people and their habits (it’s amazing how much people watch you like a hawk if you let them) and stick to what the professionals tell me. I will make the most of being healthier (can’t be a bad thing right?) and I will just have to put on my big girl pants and get on with it.

So, here’s to a new challenge along the pregnancy journey. I am awesomely unprepared (understatement of the decade) but I am gonna face this and I’m gonna make it my bitch.

That’s the spirit, ‘eh?

What genetic quirks/conditions run in your family? Or are you adopted like me?

 

For more information on gestational diabetes, you can click here.

FAQ: Entering the Third Trimester. Holy crap.

Pic

So, it’s all getting a bit serious now. I’m entering my third trimester. That means that at some point I have to think about that whole “going into labour” thing. Which quite frankly freaks me out. Of course it will all take its course (whatever, wherever, whenever that shall be) and hopefully everything will be alright in the end…it’s just getting a little bit real!

Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked lately:

How are you feeling?

I find this question to be so broad. I know people are referring to my pregnancy symptoms but I never quite know how to answer! Do they want the short answer? “Fine – a little bit squishy!”
Or the long answer where I list every single physical or psychological symptom I am experiencing that very moment?

Probably the first one haha.

In general I am feeling fine. I am definitely getting bigger and it’s harder to get off the couch or to bend down to get things off the floor, but I’m feeling good otherwise. I just have to know when I’ve pushed myself and need a rest. I also have to work on my fitness (pre-natal yoga is surprisingly nice to do) and remember my kegels! I missed out on a fair bit of exercise time when my rash took a hold a few weeks ago and I’m only now getting back on track.

Speaking of the PUPPP rash, how is that going?

I’m doing fairly well. I have a fantastic ointment from the dermatologist that has made a world of difference. When he first prescribed it, I was skeptical as I had tried so many things already to no avail. However, I followed his instructions that very day and by the next day I felt 100 times better. The itching had calmed itself considerably and the angry redness of the all over body rash had become a lot calmer. I kept using the ointment every day as prescribed and it is now so manageable that I only need to apply it on little outbreaks and itchy spots that arise occasionally.

My new challenge is getting past the scarring from those two weeks I went without proper treatment and the pimples the greasy ointment gave me. However, those things mean nothing to me in the big scheme of things – I’m just glad to be comfortable. Pregnancy is sooo not glamourous!

I just have to be careful of heat because it does tend to set things off again. I am so lucky to have been pregnant mostly over winter. I am a bit nervous with spring coming but I just stick to my maxi dresses and flowy clothing for now – hopefully that will help.

When is your next ultrasound scan?

To be honest, I’m not sure exactly but I’m having regular check ups with my doctor and I am sure he can tell me at my next appointment (this week). I have to admit, I’m hanging out for another one. I love seeing how the baby grows – it’s so mindblowing! The pictures give me such a boost 🙂

It’s also fantastic for your peace of mind when the technician tells you everything is going well.

Have you thought of a name yet?

We’re asked this a lot (click the link above for the last FAQ answer). We are NOT going to reveal this, you sneaky people! I usually just say, “No.” or “We have a shortlist but we won’t know which one to go with until we meet the little fella.”

I see people look at us with this, “Come on – spill!!!! What’s on the shortlist?!” expression, but seriously. We’re not going to let the cat out of the bag! Stop asking as refusal may offend!

Has your innie belly button become an outtie yet??

Nope! But each day I look at it and it’s getting more and more strained! It’s really funny. I think that my husband is going to lose the plot (in a hilarious way) when it does happen. He keeps checking every day, which cracks me up.

Can you tell me when the baby is kicking so I can feel?

I really don’t have a problem with this, especially as those who have asked are close to me (and not icky strangers). It’s really sweet of them to want to share in the experience. Problem is, the baby never performs in front of my mum or my best friends because usually we’re moving about a bit and I’m probably rocking the baby to sleep!

I hope no-one thinks I’m just lying to them. I really would love them to feel it. I just think that unless they hang out with me when I’m really hungry or when I’m falling asleep or when I’m first waking up, they aren’t going to get much of a chance! Perhaps as the end of my pregnancy draws near (and the baby’s movements are so much more pronounced) they’ll get a good opportunity.

I love sharing these moments with the Husband Man though. It’s awesome seeing his face light up when he sees my belly lurch around or when he feels a kick or a stretch!

How’s your nursery going?

Everything’s coming along quite nicely. We still have a lot of things to get, but we have a gorgeous cot and a change table. We need a chest of drawers and other storage stuff, but we’ve got gorgeous curtains (made lovingly by my mum) and wall decals in place, so it’s starting to look like a really cute room to be in. I love just walking in there – it feels so nice knowing our baby is going to live in there one day 🙂

We’ve also got some little jumpsuits hanging up and a few other practical bits and pieces.

I don’t want to sound like a hippie but that room has good vibes!

So, do you have any more questions? I’d be happy to answer them x

Reporting from a fresh produce aisle near you.

"Don't eat me, Mummy!"

Pic

I don’t know why, but one day some time in the past some lady, man or lady man decided that the perfect way to describe a growing foetus would be to compare the size or weight of all future human babies with fruit and vege.

I personally have found it quite odd. Is there anyone else out there who questions this? Or am I just an annoying question asking punk? Perhaps it’s all designed to make us pregnant ladies (and our unlucky partners, friends and relatives) feel like it must be something healthy and nutritious(?) we’re cooking away in our biological ovens. You know, it’s all so pure and organic and naaaaturrrraaaaalll, darling.

I have never read in a pregnancy book that my baby is the weight of a sponge cake from Woolworths. Or that he is the size of a large serving of hot chips. Or that he is the length of a hotdog bun.

See, that’s something I could relate to.

This week (entering the 28th), my baby is supposed to be the weight of a cauliflower. Which is about 2 pounds (roughly 1kg for those who don’t use American iPhone apps to track their pregnancies). I just hope he doesn’t look like a cauliflower. I also hope this doesn’t affect the way I feel about him. I don’t want to be mean, but I kind of prefer broccoli better. Although, they say that he’s covered in some kind of grease that looks like cheese right now so that’s kind of yummy (actually it’s supposed to be gross).

Each week is a wonderful surprise as I learn about new fruits and vegetables. Before being pregnant I had never heard of a spaghetti squash or a rutabaga. It’s all very educational, being up the duff.

I’m just nervous about the point where they start describing the foetus in terms of “watermelons” or “award winning giant freak pumpkins that you read about in country newspapers”…

My Pregnant Kitchen.

So I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but there’s this hilarious youtube series called My Drunk Kitchen. It’s a simple principle really. A really funny chick gets absolutely smashed on booze, then cooks something – all on video! Now, I don’t normally condone binge drinking or the use of kitchen appliances (that are sharp or hot) while intoxicated, but seriously. That sh*t makes me laugh out loud. Like total LOL.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT46FV64dr8]

My favourite My Drunk Kitchen vid.

Which gets me thinking – what if you were a fly on the wall in my kitchen? Maybe I should start a series called My Pregnant Kitchen.

Today as I buzzed around trying to make about three things at once, I realised just how ridiculous I am.

Imagine making cupcakes, fresh bread rolls (for the first time ever) and a savoury mince all at once.

Timers going off everywhere. Flour on everything. Dishes stacked upon dishes. A crazy woman (that’s me) in a caftan while the heater is on (hey – it’s PUPPP rash friendly clothing) in the middle of winter.

At some point in the middle of all of it, I was tweeting. I was doing internet banking. I was watching Oprah (from another room – that takes skill). I was getting ingredients ALL over my bump (which sticks out a bit now that I’m in the 23rd week), because I realised I couldn’t get up as close to the kitchen bench as I usually would. Turns out there’s this extra spillage space created now. Every now and then I would stop, stare at the offending food particles, dust them off or sneak a taste because hey, no-one was looking.

I was kneading dough like a madwoman. I was that into it that it took me half the time the recipe specified to make it “smooth and elastic”. I was chopping vegetables frantically while browning minced beef on the stove. I was frosting cupcakes while baking bread rolls. I was a machine. I was washing dirty dishes so I could use them straight away again for something else. I was mentally planning out the week’s budget. I was mumbling to myself (but very quietly because the Husband Man was sleeping off a night shift) in a demented manner.

How the hell do I know if the milk is too warm or not warm enough? And when the hell is the yeast/milk concoction considered frothy? Is that frothy? It kind of bubbles when I tip it. This is so frickin’ weird. Is this going to turn out? I’m expecting an epic fail on the bread roll situation.

I was fielding emails and social invitations. I was reading recipes and then forgetting what they said and reading them again less than a minute later to remind myself (baby brain). At some point I wandered off and started folding towels from the pile of clean washing in the spare room.

While finely chopping onions I started to cry. And then I couldn’t figure out if it was really the onions or my crazy hormones. I really am elegant as f*ck.

You would have seen me remove the flour from the pantry. Use it in a recipe. Put it back in the pantry. Realise I needed it again for something else. Take it out of the pantry. Put it back in the pantry. Find out I wasn’t done with it. Pull it back out and use it. Put it back in the pantry. All in the space of about five minutes. I am a space case.

I swear I was even thinking about the meaning of life during this whole time. That happens sometimes. It’s called multi tasking, bitches.

And no, after all that I can’t actually tell you the meaning of life. I was too busy hoping my bread rolls would turn out OK and that my cupcakes weren’t going to end up like little rocks to pay attention to silly things like the meaning of life. Who knows? Maybe I even figured it out at some point, but forgot it again. Now we’ll never know what it is. I wonder how much wisdom is lost this way? I might be a spiritual guru and not even know it.

You know those pictures of ladies who look so serene, wearing their 50s pin up style immaculate hair and pristine dresses with the full skirts? The ones you see gently stirring a cupcake batter, while calmly keeping an eye on the stove?

Yeah, I’m nothing like that.

I’m more like a kitchen tornado. The anti Master Chef if you will.

I managed to serve up a lovely feed of fresh, hot rolls with savoury mince to Husband Features. His dessert was a set of cupcakes with I <3 U written on them (yeah how adorably corny and spew worthy). The dishes looked superb (while the kitchen did not), but I collapsed on the couch looking like I’d been dragged through a nightclub at 3am backwards. By a really big bouncer.

It’s hard work being a housewife. I think I’m doing it wrong. Maybe I’m too sober?

Either way, I’m kind of glad my nesting fever has come back 🙂

What’s your kitchen style?

Sh*t Happens.

Pic

Wow, things can really change in a week! Not long after I posted about becoming a sudden domestic goddess in the making, my nesting habits got a bit interrupted…

Sometimes there are things in life that you just can’t control. Things that you are Awesomely Unprepared for, despite your best intentions.

I am learning that I may be a little bit more of a control freak than I really like to admit. Me? A control freak? You must be talking about someone else

I hold myself to high standards, even though I know I shouldn’t. I compare myself to others, even though I know I shouldn’t. I blame myself for things that aren’t my fault when I know I shouldn’t. I expect that everything I do will turn out how I’ve predicted when really nothing ever goes perfectly to plan. It’s so much fun such a drag.

I guess I’m just human.

Now if there’s anything in life you can’t control, it’s pregnancy. Symptoms keep popping up and they have very little to do with you. Sure, you can stop doing hard drugs or chugging alcohol. You can try to stay fit and healthy and adjust your nutritional intake so it benefits the baby the best. But you aren’t going to be perfect at it (well I hope you stop taking hard drugs and drinking whiskey at the very least) and there are so many other things going on in your body that you really have no say in/control over! There’s something strangely liberating and exciting about that, but it can also be a little unsettling for a control freak.

We can’t stop stretch marks if we’re destined to have them. We can’t help if some pregnancy related medical condition pops up out of nowhere and needs dealing with. We can’t control the way our bump sits or how big it will get. We can’t help it if our skin doesn’t look like it’s glowing (even if everyone else’s seems to be) or if morning sickness decides to strike. We can only do the best we can to minimise any risks and leave the rest up to nature.

This “Aha” moment (thanks, Oprah – miss you already) came to me when I started breaking out in rashes all over my body lately. Itchy, unsightly and unbearably uncomfortable. I have never had a history of allergies, eczema or any other skin condition in my life. I have been using very natural (and pregnancy safe) products on my skin (and around the house) since I got pregnant and I have not changed my diet (other than a few stray cupcakes finding their way into my stomach – hey how did they get in there??) or anything else about my lifestyle. Yet, here I’ve been with these damn rashes and sleepless, itchy nights. At times I’ve felt like a leper. I keep hearing about/noticing how my pregnant friends (past and present) had/have perfect skin and look so great. I keep seeing those paparazzi pics of damn celebrities with their damn yoga mats looking radiant while up the duff. In my weak moments (aplenty) I’ve felt like a spotty, unattractive failure (even though my amazing husband – who values his life – keeps reminding me that he still finds me so beautiful).

I didn’t want to tell anyone about what I was feeling so I hid it inside for a little while. When people asked how I was feeling, I would say, “Oh awesome – so great – no sickness – tons of energy”. Sure, that answer was kind of true, but on the inside I’ve feeling down about my skin and worried about it. Stupid but true story.

It got to a point where it got too intense. I was sobbing in a cold shower (despite it being the coldest winter ever) in the middle of the night and scratching when I knew I shouldn’t. I told my family and I made the first doctor’s appointment of many. Finally, my discomfort overruled my shame/embarrassment.

I’ve got the ball rolling on some attempts at controlling my skin problems and while I haven’t got a solution (or even a way to keep things manageable) yet, I should have done this ages ago. I also realise I am not afraid to speak up about it anymore. So what if I have this ugly rash? I have a healthy baby boy inside me and everyone is different. It’s not my fault. I can’t control everything. It’s not even contagious. Therefore there is nothing I could have done differently other than not get pregnant (which I wouldn’t trade for the world). I AM NOT TO BLAME. I AM NOT A BAD PREGNANT PERSON. OK, so I won’t be having any glamour belly shots for the family album. I probably will cover up reaaallly well if I give AquaBump Aerobics a try (so as not to scare anyone). I will probably take a while to get rid of the marks the itching has given me. So what? I have other things to be grateful for (family, friends and the most supportive husband). And on a shallow note, I have a glowing complexion (my face has thankfully been spared) and I haven’t sprouted 15 chins yet. From the outside I look perfectly pregnant – which is kind of why I wanted to speak up in this blog post (and be all vulnerable and sh*t). I want other people out there to realise we never know what’s going on under the surface. Things aren’t always what they seem. Don’t beat yourself up or feel inferior over a mere perception of other people’s supposed perfection (that kind of rhymes – I should write lyrics for Panic! At The Disco or something).

I’ve got to step up and become less about my insecurities (and worrying about the things I can’t control) and more about the safety and happiness of my baby. I’ve got to get mentally strong even though this skin condition (whatever the hell it is) has a way of making me into the craziest lady. And I mean CRAYYY-ZEEEEE.

When’s the last time you had to be mentally strong? How did you find a way to cope? Seriously, I’m going to be taking notes…

Edited Update: I have been diagnosed with PUPPP or Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy (feel free to google it). I am now using an ointment which seems to give some relief, although it won’t actually cure it. Thanks for your comments and support x