Pregnancy Milestones, Halfway

As of 20 weeks, I have finally:

– Stopped looking for / expecting blood every time I go to the bathroom;
– Started saying “when” instead of “if”;
– Started a registry, with actual items that we actually need;
– Started talking to Lady Jr on a regular basis;
– Started looking pregnant to my own eyes;
– Begun wearing maternity clothes almost exclusively;
– Started actually using the word “pregnant” to describe myself;
– Begun talking about and narrowing down potential names;
– Talked to bosses about what kind of maternity leave I need / expect; and
– Started planning for the inevitable outcome of this whole pregnancy thing.

I’m actually looking at prenatal yoga and birth classes and trying to construct my own labor training regime. It’s like, as soon as I really felt Lady Jr kicking and we hit 20 weeks and my bump, well, bumped, a switch was thrown in my head from Let’s Pretend Nothing is Happening to OMG WTF BABYQ.

I even felt like a boss lifting this week, because I have a bump bitches and my piddly weights (hopefully) no longer look so piddly.

It’s not quite all at once acceptance – I still have a ways to go towards realizing that this thing in me is a real, live, soon-to-be human being – but this has been a major jump forward.

I feel like I’m finally understanding a lot of things that have always perplexed me about pregnant ladies, too. Such as: why do they touch their stomach so much?? We can see it’s there! But it’s still new to them – to me – and all these body changes are happening much faster than our own mental image of ourselves can keep up.

I also get why pregnant ladies are always talking about their being pregnant. I, too, have started talking about it more (and more [and more]). But it’s the only way I know how to process this and to continue to grapple with what’s happening. When I mention my clothes getting too small or needing to nap for two, that’s my way of reminding myself this is real, this is really happening.

It’s still weird, though. I don’t know if that will ever fade.

But yeah, I wondered when I would start feeling pregnant and stop trying to distance myself from a potential disaster and the answer is apparently 20 weeks.

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Week 20: HALFWAY WOT WOT

Player One
28c795e4db4c71da104642b271964c3a
Player Two
522a9e630c6c0a25d8f921ed5b688f7f
Level 29 Human Bard/Fighter
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 164 +9
Shoe Size: 10
Bra Size: 34A 36B (barely)

Str: 18 16
Dex: 12
Con: 19 16
Int: 12
Wis: 14
Cha: 18

Highest skills: Bluff, Gather Rumors, Knowledge (Folklore) (History), Athletics

Feats: Natural Immunity, Iron WillRun, Nap, No Shits Given

Diseases/Curses: Minor Fatigue (-1 Con), Heavy Things Gettin’ Heavy (-2 Str), Stomach virus (-2 Str, -4 Con, -2 Cha), Recovering from stomach virus (-2 Con)

Level 30 Human Warlock/Ranger
Height: 5’8″
Weight: Redacted
Shoe Size: 11
Bra Size: 36B

Str: 17 15
Dex: 12 9
Con: 12
Int: 20 19
Wis: 16
Cha: 16

Highest skills: Heal, Knowledge (Science) (Arcana), Spot, Listen, Swim

Feats: Alertness, Diligent, Spell Focus

Diseases/Curses: Too Much To Do, Acute Tendonsis (-3 Dex, -1 Str), General Malaise (-1 Int, -1 Str)

Player Three

Level 0 Human NPC
Height: 6.46″ crown to rump / 10.08″ crown to heel
Weight: 10.58 oz aka 2/3rds of a pound!!

Str: 2
Dex: 5
Con: 10
Int: 1
Wis: 1
Cha: 14

Highest skills: Grow, Swim, Hide
Feats: Self-Sufficient, Stealthy, Heartbeat, Growth, Wiggle
Diseases/Curses: None

Lady Jr is halfway there! They’re practicing their breathing and kicking and are apparently nestled just beneath my belly button.

This week, Lady Jr is the size of an axolotl, or should I say axolittle, ’cause see, they’re still so little:

 

 

Overall: It took almost an another entire week of recovery, but I think I’m over the stomach virus. Now I just need to take it easy easing back into regular life. Hahahah, like I ever do that.

Holy fuck tho, are we actually halfway? What does that mean? What is this protrusion on the front of my body??

I definitely thought I’d be more obviously pregnant by now, but I’m glad I’m not, since we still got so much growing left to do. Just really underlines that every time I see a visibly pregnant lady out in the world, she’s probably at least third trimester.

We spent some time on baby names last week and are nowhere near decided. I really want to have something picked out for either sex before the 22 week appointment, so we still have some time. I just… am starting to realize the enormity that is choosing a name for another human being. As someone who chose a different name for myself than the one I was born with, I get growing up and struggling with an ill-fitting name.

… I should probably write a post about that sometime.

Anyway. I just hope that between first and middle name, they’ll find something that fits.

 

Mood: Tired? Tired. But that’s mostly leftover from the sick. Still continuing to tear up easily. Started crying at the sunrise the other day and how much I was looking forward to sharing it with Lady Jr.

 

Clothes: So I realized that one of the reasons I wasn’t noticing my bump the last two weeks was because I finally had looser, better fitting clothes. But that continues to change. The maternity skirts I got are still awesome, but the last holdouts in my other skirts are starting to get too tight. Most of my shirts are now too small; I am officially stealing my wife’s shirts. I think I’m going to have to suck it up and start wearing maternity shirts here pretty soon.

 

Fun(!) New Symptoms: It feels like there’s a baseball wedged in my abdomen, and I’m very aware of this baseball whenever I bend over or try to sit up. I’ve started rolling sideways to sit up instead of sitting straight up because otherwise it’s uncomfortable/hurts. I guess this is what they meant when they said you’d “know” when it was time to stop doing sit-ups.

 

Exercise: I ran for the first time in two weeks this morning and I went super slow and still my knees hurt after. Wtf. Otherwise I’ve been doing short walks and/or elliptical-ling near a bathroom.

This week I should be able to get back to lifting and running regularly, tho. Looking forward to picking heavy stuff up and putting it down.

 

Dr Lady: Stalled again. She started physical therapy for her foot last week and has done two sessions. She says it’s starting to hurt again, which is worrying. Thankfully she has an appointment with the doctor today and can ask about that. I’m beginning to think we should have – should still – acquire(d) a knee walker for ourselves instead of renting weekly. This is her third week using one and it’s getting a little old.

 

Progress Photo, 18w6d:

may-8

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Desert Appreciation: Bats

When we moved here, we picked an apartment on the waterless river within walking distance of a grocery store. It was perfect. We could walk along the river path to the store, crossing under a bridge for a busy road and never having to wait at lights or run across said busy road.

Because we moved here in summer, the best time to hit up the grocery store was in the evening, as the blisteringly hot sun was finally going down. So it was no surprise that we quickly found out that the bridge was harboring a secret: bats upon bats. We had inadvertently picked a home near the busiest, battiest bridge in all of Tucson.

Best luck ever, right?

And I love it. The bats are semi-migratory, so there are far fewer in winter than there are in summer, making Watching the Bats Come Out one of the few reasons to go outside when it’s 110+ degrees. I will remember many a sticky night spent swatting mosquitoes, sweat streaming down my back, leaning over a metal rail and watching the bats swarm and dart and finally flow free.

 

Two: The Splendor of a Bat Explosion

 

Campbell Bridge Bats

 

DITL May 17th

 

 

DITL May 17th

 

DITL May 17th

 

DITL May 17th

 

DITL May 17th

 

An Eruption of Bats

 

A Snake of Bats

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Week 19: Let’s Pretend That Never Happened

Player One
28c795e4db4c71da104642b271964c3a
Player Two
522a9e630c6c0a25d8f921ed5b688f7f
Level 29 Human Bard/Fighter
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 164 +9
Shoe Size: 10
Bra Size: 34A 36B (barely)

Str: 18 14
Dex: 12
Con: 19 14
Int: 12
Wis: 14
Cha: 18 16

Highest skills: Bluff, Gather Rumors, Knowledge (Folklore) (History), Athletics
Feats: Natural Immunity, Iron WillRun, Nap, No Shits Given
Diseases/Curses: Minor Fatigue (-1 Con), Heavy Things Gettin’ Heavy (-2 Str), Stomach virus (-2 Str, -4 Con, -2 Cha)

Level 30 Human Warlock/Ranger
Height: 5’8″
Weight: Redacted
Shoe Size: 11
Bra Size: 36B

Str: 17 15
Dex: 12 9
Con: 12
Int: 20 19
Wis: 16
Cha: 16

Highest skills: Heal, Knowledge (Science) (Arcana), Spot, Listen, Swim
Feats: Alertness, Diligent, Spell Focus
Diseases/Curses: Too Much To Do, Acute Tendonsis (-3 Dex, -1 Str), General Malaise (-1 Int, -1 Str)

Player Three

Level 0 Human NPC
Height: 6.02″
Weight: 240g aka 8.47oz aka HALF A FRIGGIN POUND

Str: 2
Dex: 5
Con: 10
Int: 1
Wis: 1
Cha: 14

Highest skills: Grow, Swim, Hide
Feats: Self-Sufficient, Stealthy, Heartbeat, Growth, Wiggle
Diseases/Curses: None

Lady Jr is developing a waxy coating, another step in their slow but inevitable progress towards becoming a modern grocery-store apple.

They’re half a foot and half a pound, but a whole hedgehog:

 

 

Overall: This week was really, really hard. I didn’t have much space between cramps, gas, bloating, outright stabbing pain, and diarrhea to appreciate being pregnant. I cried a lot. I broke some dishes. I spent a lot of time sleeping.

But there were good things: Lady Jr is still moving around. Lady Sr might have felt something. Lady Sr’s foot is improving. I made cupcakes for a friend and they (finally!) turned out good. I discovered the joys of egg drop soup. I continued to grow and round-out the mythology in my novel.

 

Mood: Is pregnancy causing me to burst into tears at the drop of a hat? It’s not depression – I felt true joy at the sunrise this week and lots of love for my wife. But then in the same hour, I can be bawling like my heart’s been ripped out. I feel very unstable.

 

Clothes: Now that I have maternity skirts, the world is a more comfy place. I don’t think I really realized how tight and uncomfortable my normal skirts had gotten. This week felt like relative luxury in the apparel department, which was good, because

 

Fun(!) New Symptoms: Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck stomach flu. I’m counting this as a symptom because I have never ever ever gotten a stomach bug before and my suppressed immune system is probably to blame.

Started with severe cramping Sunday/Monday of last week, progressed to diarrhea and having to stay home from work on Friday because I was afraid of the “long” car ride, then exhaustion, fatigue, more cramping, gas pains – fun fun fun. I thought it was revenge for all the nightshades I’d been eating, but after two days of abstaining and no improvement, I knew it couldn’t be that. Then I thought it was sudden-onset lactose intolerance, which can happen, but it’s been 24 hours without dairy and, while things have improved, things are not cured. So it’s not a food thing.

I finally caved and called my OB this morning and the nurse said it was probably a stomach bug, which is currently going around. Said as long as symptoms continued to improve/did not worsen, I was fine. And they are improving. Just. Slowly. Painfully, horrifically slowly. I would much rather have pneumonia, plskthx.

So it’s been a … week? … of delightful gastrointestinal distress which is why I haven’t really been appreciating the overall experience. But! I did feel Lady Jr moving quite a bit, which I know it was them because that was the only movement that wasn’t painful/nauseating. So thank you, Lady Jr.

Exercise: I managed a little bit before I got hit by the flu truck. Two runs, one lifting session, then the rest has been some very moderate walking.

Dr Lady: Time for some good news! It appears the cortisone/rest protocol may be working. I saw Dr Lady standing on her foot without pain more than once and she has also remarked that it’s starting to feel better. At this point, even not worsening is an improvement, so yay! She has physical therapy on Wednesday, so we’ll see where she’s at then. It’d be nice if she could stop using the knee walker soon. While it’s hella convenient compared to crutches, it’s still a pain to get around most places.

 

Progress Photo, 17w6d:

may-4

New clothes! Since the bump is (mostly) visible in clothes now, I figured it was time to start wearing something more comfy.

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Desert Appreciation: Spring Blooms

As we near both the bleakness of summer and our move-outta-town date, I’m going to do a series of photo posts about the desert, Arizona, and our time here. It has truly been worldview-shifting and an amazing experience that I never could have anticipated. To be honest, when we were making the choice between grad schools way back six years ago, I really wanted to move to Oregon. But I am so, so glad we came here instead.

Let me count the ways.

 

One: The Glory That is a Desert Spring

 

april-25

I grew up in Florida and never really experienced spring. Because it never quite froze during the winter, plants kept their leaves and weren’t rushed to bud and bloom as soon as it warmed up. After all, they had 11 months to do all that.

 

Spring Blooms in the Desert

Then we moved to Seattle and I watched the leaves fluoresce orange, yellow, red, before giving way to cold and dark and brittleness, and then suddenly blossoming again with bright-bright green buds come spring. My favorite part were the daffodils and crocuses that popped out of the snow, brilliant bits of color in an otherwise stark landscape.

 

may-97

But Seattle has nothing on the desert.

For about two months out of the year, the drab brown is awash in yellow and orange and pink and white. Mostly yellow: the palo verdes go to town, blanketing streets and backyards in yellow blossoms and pollen. An allergy-sufferer’s nightmare, true, but worth it.

 

Spring Flowers

The plants don’t have much time to get in as much growing/blossoming as possible before the temp spikes over a hundred and what little moisture we got over the winter is all gone. So they go all out and it’s epic.

 

Spring Flowers

 

Ocotillo Blossom

 

april-6

 

april-2

I’m definitely going to miss this time of ecstatic bloom.

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Week 18: A Deep Breath

Player One
28c795e4db4c71da104642b271964c3a
Player Two
522a9e630c6c0a25d8f921ed5b688f7f
Level 29 Human Bard/Fighter
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 164 +8
Shoe Size: 10
Bra Size: 34A 36B (barely)

Str: 18 16
Dex: 12
Con: 19 18
Int: 12
Wis: 14
Cha: 18

Highest skills: Bluff, Gather Rumors, Knowledge (Folklore) (History), Athletics
Feats: Natural Immunity, Iron WillRun, Nap, No Shits Given
Diseases/Curses: Minor Fatigue (-1 Con), Heavy Things Gettin’ Heavy (-2 Str), Overstuffed Sausage Asthetic (-1 Cha)

Level 30 Human Warlock/Ranger
Height: 5’8″
Weight: Redacted
Shoe Size: 11
Bra Size: 36B

Str: 17 15
Dex: 12 8
Con: 12
Int: 20 19
Wis: 16
Cha: 16

Highest skills: Heal, Knowledge (Science) (Arcana), Spot, Listen, Swim
Feats: Alertness, Diligent, Spell Focus
Diseases/Curses: Too Much To Do, Acute Tendinitis (-4 Dex, -1 Str), General Malaise (-1 Int, -1 Str)

Player Three

Level 0 Human NPC
Height: 5.59″
Weight: 190g (!!)

Str: 2
Dex: 4
Con: 10
Int: 1
Wis: 1
Cha: 14

Highest skills: Grow, Swim, Hide
Feats: Self-Sufficient, Stealthy, Heartbeat, Growth, Wiggle
Diseases/Curses: None

Lady Jr is supposedly developing their facial features and coating their nerves with myelin, i.e. becoming more and more like the human being they are meant to be.

They are still growing by the bucketful. This week, Lady Jr is the size of a croissant, which is dangerous because now I want a croissant:

 

 

Overall: I’m feeling more confident that there is something growing in there after our 17 week appointment. Hearing the heartbeat is always reassuring, but I also think I might have (finally?!) felt something. It was like a handful of big bubbles bursting near my pelvic bone, if they were bursting in a thick, viscous liquid. Part of me is inclined to blame the sensation on gas, but I’ve honestly never felt anything like that before.

I guess if it is Lady Jr, then it’ll get stronger in the coming weeks.

Mostly this time feels like an exhale after the suck-age that was the first trimester, but also a giant inhale before What is to Come in the third trimester. I know things are about to get Real, and sooner than I’ll know it, but it’s so quiet and easy that it’s hard to remember that.

Mood: Less nervous that something might be wrong, more okay in general. I am getting frustrated/discouraged very, very easily and have needed to hold back tears more than a handful of times. It’s like that inability to function when you’re really tired/hungry except much, much more often.

Clothes: FINALLY acquired a few stretchy, comfy, wondrous maternity skirts that aren’t just massive maxis. We tried several different places that were supposed to have maternity lines, but apparently didn’t in that particular store, then finally caved a tried a dedicated maternity shop. While I felt weird shopping there when I’m still not really obviously showing, we found exactly what I was looking for, on clearance, on sale. Woo! So now I’m wearing this deliciously soft polka-dotted swirly knee-length skirt and it fits and aaah, yes.

Shirts are still (mostly) fine. I have a handful that are beginning to clutch my pudge that I’ve been avoiding, but my shirt collection is apparently a lot more forgiving than my skirt collection.

Fun(!) New Symptoms: Movement?! As I mentioned before, I think I felt Lady Jr a handful of times since Friday.

Otherwise, omg allergies holy shit. I have been sneezing and itchy-eyed and waking up in the middle of the night filled with snot. Doc said I could take most/all allergy meds, so I’ve started with a benadryl before I go to bed and that has gone a long way towards clearing up those middle of the night symptoms.

Exercise: Still no Crossfit. I lifted twice last week and ran three times with the Zombies 5k program. I’m trying to just generally move more, too, but it’s hard to remember. This week I plan to do the same – lift twice and run thrice.

Dr Lady: 😦 Not really getting anywhere with the foot pain. Second doc visit today and she was prescribed continued rest with some physical therapy. If it’s what the doc thinks it is – tendinitis – then it could be a few weeks before we really see improvement, but it’s hard not to be discouraged with the lack of progress so far. That said, it’s not getting worse?

I got her a kneewalker last week, tho, which has really been an improvement over crutches. We went for a (short) walk together one day and she was able to scoot around the mall with me and help me find clothes on the weekend.

 

Progress Photo, 17w6d:
may-3

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17 Week Appointment

News: None.

Heartbeat: 145 bpm. Yay.

Weight accumulation: 4lbs since last visit. 1lb/week average.

Weight shaming: None.

Blood tests: Thyroid.

Other tests: None.

Fears quashed: Benadryl is okay and the burning pain in my abdomen is (probably) nothing to worry about.

Next appointment: June. 22 weeks. Ultrasound. Anatomy scan? Idk. I forgot to ask.

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