April 20, 2017

Knitted Blocks

This may by my last project before our baby arrives. I started this in January and became indecisive about the yarns to use, so it sat until recently. Knitted blocks are actually very easy to make and should have taken less than a couple of weeks to complete all three. I still want to make another one in pink, but I’m waiting to find the right yarn. It’s funny, I have an entire shelf of pink yarns and nothing to use. Baby is going to love feeling these blocks and playing with them. I made them so that each block has a bright color, feel soft and squeezable, and have some varied textures. I think I made a good choice for their first toy.

My first block - the yellow one - is a little misshapen from being my practice block. I learned that my gauge was too loose so each knitted square was more rectangular than square. That caused this yellow one to be longer and bigger than I wanted. I thought it was real ugly after I finished it and I was discouraged from making the others. James likes it though. My blue block was second and much improved, though a little flat. Getting the right amount of filling in the blocks was harder than it needed to be. I didn’t want overstuffed blocks, just happy little simple ones. My green one, the last one, came out best. I measured the squares to be of similar sizes, and, even though I had to use different multi-color yarn (I don’t think anyone will notice), this block looks most uniform of the three. I filled it with more stuffing than I thought it needed but there was always a little dip somewhere that could use a nudge. All together they look nice and well matched. No two are actually assembled the same but that’s okay. Baby isn’t going to mind the little imperfections.

Pattern inspired by Nursery Building Blocks by Val Pierce. I omitted the star and knitted three different cables instead. Knitted garter stitch on two sides to break up the stockinette.

Yarns used are Knit Picks Brava Worsted in Custard, Mint, Blue, and Cream. Multi-colored yarn was a thrifted find.

April 15, 2017

Week 35

Baby is coming soon. Early labor could begin in the next few weeks and I could be delivering our baby soon after. 37 weeks is the earliest I can safely deliver my baby without having to be transferred to a hospital for intervention. That’s two weeks away. My actual due date (or as close as we could pin it) is five weeks away. Five weeks isn’t so scary as a two. If Baby hangs on, I could be pregnant for another seven weeks. Seven gives me more time, but I don’t know that I want to keep this up for another seven weeks. Late pregnancy is different, for sure.

The changes I notice in the past few weeks are right on cue. I am swelling in my feet and hands. I drink even more fluids than I was before - about four liters. I use the bathroom at least three or four times during the night and constantly throughout the day. I can’t go anywhere without knowing where the bathroom is. I am tired. I am actually taking naps or resting in bed every day. Something I never liked much but now need to include in my routine. I think I have finally learned how to relax.

This nesting period of pregnancy is just that. I spend my free time planning out the nursery, gathering remaining supplies needed, supervising the home improvements (and doing what I can), and resting. Do I feel prepared to bring the baby home? No. I’m hoping for another five weeks to finish all of these tasks. Do I feel ready for the baby to come? Yes. I want to see and hold my baby and start our life as a family. Just give me five weeks to get the house ready, okay?

April 14, 2017

Pregnancy Symptoms I Didn't Ask For

       At nearly nine months pregnant, I have learned that I knew nothing about this. I expected the usual impressions like weight gain, stretch marks, clinic visits, and occasional morning sickness. Got all of those. I’ve also got so many additional symptoms and happenings that I was not prepared for. Each trimester, every week even, has been a new experience for me.

When we found out our good news we were in such a state of unreal happiness that we kind of sailed through the first six weeks. I was all smiles until my first bought of nausea came on in the second month. The discomfort became an every day occurrence that neither of us knew how to combat. Like clockwork I would seek safety on the couch from 10:00am until James could take care of me after work. I didn’t throw up, I didn’t have that typical part of morning sickness. I just felt crummy, nauseated, weak. That really beat me down and created stress for James, who had no idea what was happening to me. Trouble is, I was ready for the daily bathroom trips after breakfast. I could have handled throwing up. I wasn’t ready for what I got.
This lasted for six weeks, into my twelfth week. Then it just went away. Nurses told me that if I consumed some decent protein in the morning and snacked frequently that I could avoid more sickness. So far it seems that has held true for I haven’t felt nauseated since week twelve.

Food Aversions
I was looking forward to having an appetite and eating some yummy foods. I anticipated having a variety of snacks to munch on and hearty meals of every food group. Instead I found a distaste for almost everything. I couldn’t eat anything without upsetting my stomach and feeling repulsed. My plans to eat healthy organic meals didn’t last long. I couldn’t handle simple foods. We tried some frozen meals and unhealthy options, like taquitos, anything that I could stomach. Nothing satisfied me. I was living on apples, carrots, and fruit smoothies. Eggs were out of the question. The only time I threw up was from eating an egg. I was brought to tears most of the time because I knew I had to eat something substantial for the baby, but I just couldn’t do it. My weight was up and down because of my odd diet. Exercise was on hold because of my nausea. This was not a good time. I remember going to a steak house, and I was so excited for my steak dinner but could barely touch it. I felt disappointed, like that wasn’t my idea of a pregnant woman’s night out.
I think this subsided during my fourth month. At some point in late November / early December I was able to eat normally again.

Mood Swings
My emotions are all over the place. First trimester and third trimester have been equally emotional yet in different ways. Second trimester I felt pretty normal. In the first several weeks I could be driven to tears over a Hallmark commercial, or a cute dog walking by, or James being nice to me. Anything that gave me some feeling would set me off. I had to keep reassuring James that I wasn’t crying because of him or something wrong. I was crying because it just happened. These last couple months of pregnancy get me going in another way. I no longer cry because something beautiful caught my attention. I cry a lot because of a lack of control. I am tired so I cry. My feet hurt so I cry. I feel lonely and I cry. The slightest thing gone wrong makes me cry. Knowing how much more we need to accomplish before our baby comes - that makes me cry all the time. All James can do is hug me or hold my hand. Having him with me really helps balance my moods.

Physical Changes
I knew I would gain weight. I knew my body would change in areas. I didn’t know just how. My tummy started showing around week sixteen, which is probably normal. I was waiting for it since, like, week eight. I just wanted to see my baby growing from the start. Now I watch my tummy get bigger every week and it astonishes me. I think I can’t possible grow any more but I keep going. I haven’t gotten thicker much elsewhere. My weight is really in my tummy. That’s one surprise that I am happy for. I thought for sure I would gain weight all over. The amount of gain is a conflicting thing. I can not figure out where all of this weight goes. I look at the mirror and I don’t see an extra 35/40 pounds. It makes no sense.
Some things I was not expecting were the appearance of freckles on my tummy and chest. There they are showing up from time to time. I don’t like them but I have to live with them. I wonder if the freckles will go away after baby comes?
Linea Negra. Black line. Some hormonal disruption that makes itself apparent in a vertical line crossing my entire tummy. It is so unattractive but not uncommon. I complained about this one more than any other bodily change because I don’t want to see it.
My belly button has slowly transitioned to an outie. Not a fully obvious one but I noticed it. What I thought would be a nuisance has actually been a nice surprise. For one, I can clean it out very thoroughly. And two, I like that my little belly button pokes through some of my clothing. It seems like an essential pregnant lady thing to have. I may not care if it goes back to normal. I kind of like this one.   

Round Ligament Pain
This was terrible! It began around week nineteen and lasted several days. I didn’t understand what was happening, and I had to read into a few books before I could relate my symptoms. It felt like my muscles, my stomach muscles, were stretching apart. The pain was a constant but only an annoying type of pain. I would have moments of moderate pain if I moved at a certain angle or tried to use my abdominal muscles more than I could handle. Sitting in hot bath or using a hot water bottle helped ease the discomfort. But I wasn’t able to move quickly or far during this transition. I’m kind of expecting to go through it one more time, but maybe I was lucky to deal with this problem only once.

Baby Movements
These feel so weird! The first time I felt a movement I couldn’t figure out what happened. It almost felt like indigestion and was light enough to have been so. This went on for a few weeks, then the movements became heavier and more “limb” like. By that time we knew it was our baby. Their hands and feet pushing against me isn’t so bad. It feels just like that. I didn’t know what their turning and flipping and kicking would feel like, and I wasn’t exactly ready for those sensations. Still am not. Describing a roll or a turn is difficult. It’s so alien that I would jump sometimes if the movement came suddenly. James can feel this happening, when our baby allows him. Most of the time it’s a subtle push against me but there have been a few moments that James got to experience a heavy kick or likewise. He gets taken aback too!

I need so much help now. If I drew a chart of my independence beginning from the start of pregnancy to now, the graph line would show a steady decline. When I was feeling sick I still had my ability to get up and out and do some errands, even drive. Now I have some fear about going out by myself. I get so tired from simple every day activity. I do my best to wash dishes, sweep, prepare breakfast and lunch, and do laundry once or twice a week. I would be grateful to have someone else take on these tasks for me. All I want to do is rest. James takes over for me soon as he comes home. He knows I can’t do much for myself and he helps where he can. My mom, too, tries to take me out with her and help me with shopping. I’m just so worn from any of it though that I sometimes ask to sit in the car while she goes in the store.
It’s not just losing my will to do things. I can’t easily move without assistance. James follows me to bed to make sure I got myself up safely. My mom put in a handle for me to prop myself up during the night when I need to use the bathroom. Rolling over has been a problem. I need to wedge myself between pillows to allow back support and rest my tummy in the correct position. But I get stuck. Using steps is a fearsome task. I need someone’s hand to stable me and push me up, not every time but I do. Dressing myself can be a challenge depending on how I feel. James helps me out of my pants at night when I can’t bend far. My energy and range of motion can be depleted before bedtime. I’m most helpless around dinner time and after. I wish I could do everything normally that I was. I don’t exactly want to rely on others to get me through this.