Friday, October 5, 2012

The Uterus is Half Full...Half Empty?

Twenty weeks, boys and girls.  That’s how pregnant I am.  Halfway.  I wish I could say that it feels like just yesterday that I found out I was pregnant, but I’d be lying.  A lot.  I found out I was pregnant at five weeks and it feels like every bit of fifteen weeks since then.  That’s ok.  I can’t imagine it’ll be the same from here on out, but you never know.

Before I got out of bed this morning I was trying to think of something cute to post today to commemorate the halfway mark.  The only thing that really came to mind was posting pictures of food that I could probably only eat half of.  I’m just going to say I was still asleep at that point.

It seems like over the last weekend I all of a sudden got pregnant.  Not make sense?  On Friday I felt like I always have for the past four or five months.  By Monday I felt pregnant.  Twinge in the back, hard to get up, can’t catch a breath pregnant.  WTF?  What just happened here?  I believe I am now showing.  I should be at five months, grumble grumble.   Though I did have a dream last night where my OB told me I had lost more weight.  It wouldn’t surprise me if it were true.  That seems to be how I roll.

Now when I go to get out of my chair at work the first couple steps are pretty funny to witness.  The first footfall is accompanied by a sharp pain in my lower back, the second is my other knee buckling, but by the third or fourth step I’m all right and walking normally.  The process to get to that, however, is entertaining.  Usually by lunch time my back is aching as I sit.  I have a little pillow to put behind me, but my damn chair has a gap between the back and seat cushions and usually it just gets wedged between them and does me no good whatsoever.  It gets better if I get up and walk, but too much of that starts to hurt, too.  I remember this game.  It’s called “You’re Not Going to Win, Stupid, So Quit Trying.”  I’ll lose for another few months but I will triumph in the end.

So now apparently I’m pregnant, yet still sitting pretty in my size 6 Old Navy jeans.  That’s right, homey.  Still not wearing maternity.  I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone into a pregnancy without wearing any maternity at all.  I’m all right with it.  Somewhat out of character, my husband told me a few days ago that in the next few weeks he wanted to take me shopping for maternity clothes.  He quickly added that I couldn’t go anywhere where t-shirts are, like, $50.  So I said Motherhood and he said even they were too expensive.  New flash, Ace, they’re the cheapest it’s gonna get unless you go to Wal-Mart and, sorry, but no.  Some things are fine to buy at Wal-Mart, maternity is not one of those.  Oh, well, it’s the thought that counts.

Last week at my trip to the perinatologist in Atlanta, the little doctor man told me that my placenta was low and that there was a pocket of blood beneath and on top of it.  The ultrasound tech who scanned me before he came in had asked if I had had any bleeding.  I asked her if that was a common question they ask or if there was something on the screen indicating that.  I don’t think she quite knew how to answer that as she stuttered a little.  She explained what the doctor would also tell me later on which made total sense to me.  If, when all that mess was happening, they had just given me an ultrasound like I wanted we could have all seen what was going on and that would have taken care of it.

I understand the concept of low-lying placenta.  When you start spouting off phrases like ‘blood lake’ it’s pretty obvious that you think I’m an idiot who can’t comprehend terms like subchorionic hematoma and placenta previa.  To be fair, most women have no idea what those things are, but I happen to so, yeah, I felt a little pandered to.

The guy didn’t say placenta previa exactly, just low-lying placenta, but I know that’s close.  He also said that since there’s blood beneath it that it was possible that I might bleed again before it’s all over.  OK, but the reason will be obvious this time and it won’t be nearly as alarming.  He told me no (and this is a direct quote because I would never say this) ‘hanky panky’ for the next like two months.  How hard is it to say pelvic rest?  You just have to make yourself sound as old as possible?  He went on to say no exercise or working out.  I know Dave saw the look on my face after he said that, even if the doctor didn’t notice.  It was shock mixed with “Yeah, right, I’ll try THAT.”  I will not be stopping any kind of exercise that I feel comfortable doing.  He can just get over it.  I know the risk involved, that there could be bleeding afterward, but no one led me to believe that it would be at all detrimental.  He finished up by saying I should have another ultrasound around 26 weeks to make sure it had ‘healed up.’  Uhh, is this a wound I’m not aware of?  I have my routine anatomy scan in town in two weeks.  I’ll just ask then.

So yesterday at work I looked up placenta previa and read up on it, even though no one said that I had it.  Just good to have all the information.  I tried to tell Dave about it last night and I knew I shouldn’t have, but did it anyway.  He’s always convinced that I’m going to die giving birth, so why I gave him one more pebble to add to that nest I’m just not sure.  He partially heard me as he was playing guitar with a look of utmost panic on his face.  I think the only thing he heard me say was that extreme loss of blood and death could occur.  I added that it wasn’t likely, but he was already focusing on how he was going to raise four kids on his own and plan my funeral.  Oh, well.

I also told him that this time around I wanted to see if I could do it without an epidural and he looked at me like I was the stupidest person in the world and asked me why I would want to do that.  I can’t really blame him.  In the past, I myself have talked about how pointless it is to give birth without pain meds these days.  If you don’t have to feel it, why would you want to?  I get to answer my own question on that now.  Because even after having three children, I don’t know what five centimeters and onward feels like.  I’m not saying I won’t change my mind at the time, and if I do I’m not going to feel bad or ashamed or that my birth was “stolen” from me.  Ugh.

I told him about water birth and he told me no, that the baby would drown.  Initially I thought this, too, l but then I read up on it.  I explained how it worked but he still looked skeptical, like he wanted to believe me but that there was no way that was true.  It doesn’t matter anyway because there are no facilities nearby that offer that and we don’t have the space at home, nor do I have the desire to do that at home.  Dave didn’t want to clean up after it.

I also mentioned that sometimes placenta previa makes a c-section necessary and he said something about how it’s getting harder and harder for women to have babies the normal way.  I corrected him and said that it’s no harder now than it ever was, there’s just a lot of medical intervention and impatient doctors now who want to get home to eat dinner and watch Honey Boo Boo.  I mentioned alarming c-section rates and then just changed the subject.  I don’t think he quite understood what I was saying.  Even on topics like this, he’s convinced that he’s right and there’s no point in challenging him.

So as much as I might like to do things differently this time around I probably won’t get to.  At your first OB visit now they make you sign a contract that agrees with all the things they require you let them do including constant fetal monitoring and an IV.  You are not allowed to walk around and you must lie on your back pretty much the entire time.  My only way to combat these ridiculous conditions is to labor for as long as possible at home and go to the hospital at the last possible minute.  I’ve never done that before.  My first labor started with my water breaking and I was induced for the other two.  No induction this time.  Let’s just see what we get dealt.

Oh, and Craver baby #4 is a girl.

Monday, October 1, 2012

When I Grow Up

Remember this?  When Do I Have To Grow Up By?  No?  Go back and read it then.

The main idea of the aforementioned post has not really changed in the two years since it was written.  The only thing that has changed is the number of job possibilities that have newly sprung into my head since that time.  Yes, there’s more now.  It doesn’t help me in the least.  In lots of situations limits provide us with freedom.  There are no limits here.  I wish there was somebody you could pay to pick two or three of the choices in your mind and just say “OK, these are your only choices.  Pick one and shut up.”

One of my newer job revelations is actually something I’ve been interested in for a very long time.  It just never occurred to me that it could be a career.  For years one of the things that has almost always been on my mind is physical appearance.  I do know how shallow that sounds, yes, but hear me out.  You’re lying if you say you’ve never been concerned with your own appearance.  Losing weight, diet, nutrition, cardio, weights, all that has always been a preoccupation of mine.

When I became a Zumba instructor I realized how much I enjoy helping people get into better shape.  A few months later I decided that I would buckle down and stop silently complaining to myself about the changes I wanted to make and do it.  That’s what Dave has always told me.  Any time I would say how I wanted to run a mile in ten minutes or how I wanted to lose thirty pounds, he would tell me to stop talking about it and just do it.  It seemed kind of mean at the time, but it was good advice.  Especially since I got to use it on him later on when he complained that his chest wasn’t big enough.

Not long into my Zumba classes I had a few people asking for help and advice on losing weight.  So I told them what I knew and had read and sent them on their way hoping to have helped.  However, as they thanked me and turned to leave I wondered if I should have added “but I’m not a professional!”  Why would I want to say that?  I don’t know, so that maybe if my instructions didn’t work they couldn’t quite blame me?  No, I knew that my advice was actually good and I don’t think a certified professional would have given much different gospel.  I just didn’t feel like I had earned the right to dispense it.

Around the same time as my classes started I decided to stop talking about it and do it.  My goal was to lose thirty pounds in six months, a goal I felt was reasonable.  Five pounds a month is a little more than a pound a week and that’s not considered unhealthy.  I had already prepared myself that it wasn’t going to be instantaneous.  Results were not going to be obvious but that they would come.  And they did.  I recorded my measurements each month or so and only weighed myself about as often.  Daily weight fluctuates with water and, for women, cycle and I don’t think it is mentally healthy to weigh yourself daily, nor is it safe for your scale after you fling it through the window and into the street.

I won’t get into the little details, but I used what I knew and somehow manifested some will power and I managed to lose twenty two pounds.  However, the inches lost far outweighed the weight loss.  I lost 38.5 inches total from my body.  That’s more than three feet of space.  To me that’s just astonishing.

I wanted to be able to help other people achieve that.  I looked into becoming a personal trainer and dietician.  There wasn’t really any official schooling involved.  All you really have to do is buy the books, study, and take the test through ACE or AFAA.  Yeah, it’s not cheap but it’s much more affordable than a four year degree.  So for a while that was what I wanted to do.  Then of course my mind changed because of what was going on.  I went back to writing and thought perhaps that was the path for me.  I really hate how indecisive I am.

When I got pregnant in June of this year my fitness and weight loss goals obviously had to be put on hiatus.  A lot of people might consider pregnancy and the state right after giving birth to be a huge setback in a journey of weight loss.  I am fortunate enough to see it much differently.  I see it as a fresh start, which is exactly what I needed.  Right before I got pregnant my attention and determination had waned considerably and I stopped doing what needed to be done.  I had a brief surge in my motivation and it is reflected in my June measurements as they were my smallest to date, but then I got pregnant.

If you’ve read my posts then you know when I get pregnant I start getting all kinds of ideas about doing things that I can’t while pregnant.  Running being the most prevalent.  This time around it has extended to burlesque dancing.  Definitely not something you want to see a pregnant chick doing.  I feel that this is kind of like that, but not really.  This is something that I’ve thought about before, the only different is that I want the formal education that goes with it.

Recently I read a pretty popular article on MSN and Huffington Post.  That article stated that by the year 2030 that 50% of Americans are projected to be obese.  That’s half, yo.  HALF.  That’s like one out of every married couple.  Does that scare anyone else?  That said to me that healthcare is going to be an even more stable field to work in firstly.  With the fat comes the disease; high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, all manner of debilitating health issues. 

I know I won’t be part of that 50%.  That probably sounds arrogant, but here’s why I say that:  I won’t be part of the obese 50% of Americans because I won’t allow myself to be.  That’s why I am so confident in saying that.  Moreover, I won’t allow my kids to be in that number either.

That number petrified me when I read it and it inspired me to want to help beat that number back even more.  Half the population being fat is simply unacceptable.  I told Dave all this a few nights ago and he said something to me that pushed me more, though I don’t think he meant it to.  He said “I know what your thing is now.  Your goal.  You are waging a war on fat.”  I can’t help but think he said this to make it sound a little frivolous and stupid, but he was right.  There it was.  Never able to really put it in words (Shocking, I know) Dave was able to.  Sean, our roommate, made it even better when he said that it was a good war to fight.  It’s true.  Someone is going to have to battle this.  Really, it looks like half of the country is going to have to battle it, but someone has to guide the resistance.  Why not me?

I know how to lose weight.  I can tell you how, but I can’t make you do it.  That’s the hard part.  I’m going to be reading and researching and studying all this anyway, why not do it for a living?

As for writing, I can still do that.  See?  I just proved it.