Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pregnancy Journal: Baby Bump

By Kelly

So I’m finally hitting the 12 week mark with this pregnancy, and the first trimester fog is starting to lift, thanks in part to the miracle combo of Unisom-B6.

And I’m already showing.

Hello baby bump, hello awkward glances from strangers who wonder if I’m truly expecting another baby or just dipping into the Halloween candy reserve a little too often.

I don’t remember showing this early before. Ever.

With my last pregnancy, I didn’t wear maternity clothes until I was near 18 weeks.  Granted, my first and second trimesters were in the summer, and summer clothing is more casual and loose-fitting.

But still. Twelve weeks and I’m already pulling out the maternity shirts.

Color me surprised.

Some friends who’ve heard me puzzle over my new, ummm, shape, have pointed out, in the kindest way possible, that it’s only natural. Not only am I older (I’m even of advanced maternal age), my abdominal muscles ain’t what they used to be. So it makes sense that they took advantage of this weak moment to get in touch with their California roots and hang out.

It reminded me of the wise words I read in my favorite pregnancy manual.
Generally, the stomach of a woman who has had a baby before will pooch out about five minutes after conception, and she will look obviously pregnant in the first three months. Most of us pregnant with our second or subsequent children have never failed to comment on how big we got immediately. It must have something to do with the stomach muscles not ever being as taut again after the first pregnancy has yanked them apart.
- "The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy: Or Everything Your Doctor Won't Tell You"

So tell me. I’m not alone, right? Someone else out there must have needed maternity clothes before they’ve even had their first official OB check. (Mine is Friday.)

Kelly is currently pregnant with her fourth and final child, a journey she's chronicling here at 5 Minutes for Parenting with the Pregnancy Journal. You can read her personal blog at Love Well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pregnancy Journal - To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

By Kelly

I woke up this morning and saw Corey standing in the middle of the bedroom getting dressed for work. The kids were bouncing on some cushions on the floor, which they undoubtedly stripped off my white reading chairs in the corner. I struggled to get out of bed and join the party, but I was so groggy. My eyelids just wouldn’t stay open. I actually ended up walking around the room with my eyes closed, wondering why I couldn’t shake the woozy.

And then I woke up.

No one was in the room but me. I was laying in bed in sweat-soaked pajamas, struggling to distinguish reality from my dreams.

Such is the sleep of a pregnant woman.

I crave sleep during the first trimester, not only because I’m extra-tired, but because sleep offers the only sure respite I have from the nausea. So I sleep as often as I can. I go to bed at the earliest time possible. I nap every afternoon with my toddler. I’ve even been known to fall asleep during a showing of “Sesame Street” and/or the Vikings-Packers Monday Night Football game.

But for all the benefit of sleep, it’s the dreams that make headlines.

Last night, I dreamed I was living in a small town on the shore of Lake Superior. It was winter and everything was white and snowy and desolate. I was trying to talk Joel Flieschman, he of “Northern Exposure”: fame, into walking out on Lake Superior since it was frozen solid. “It’s what the locals do,” I assured him. He said he’d prefer to go somewhere not so windy (and it’s true, towns along the Great Lakes are boisterous in the winter) and talk “eye-to-eye.” (Like that even makes sense!) I was explaining to him that the only way to get away from the wind was to go up and over the hill when I woke up.

I had two other bizarre, Technicolor dreams last night, but I don’t want to bore you with the details – although I could, because I remember them vividly.

The point is, we pregnant women dream strange dreams.

I can’t figure out if it’s because our bodies are freaking out on us, possibly causing a tidal wave of hormones in our brains to rewire our normal REM patterns. Or maybe it’s just because we wake up all the time to pee, thus making dream recollection an easier feat.

Either way, I bet you still remember your most bizarre pregnancy dream. Hit me with it. And if it includes obscure (but beloved) TV characters from a hit show in the 90s, you get bonus points.

Kelly is currently expecting her fourth child, which means she has a lot of pregnancy dreams stored in her gray matter. She blogs at Love Well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pregnancy Journal: "Morning" Sickness

By Kelly

Welcome back to the Pregnancy Journal here at 5 Minutes for Parenting. You can find more information about this project here.

You know those medical professionals who say each pregnancy is different?

Hogwash. In my experience, it’s hogwash.

Each of my pregnancies – and this is my fifth – have been identical. I start out fine, excited and a little mystified at the reality that I’m pregnant.

A few days after I test positive, I start to feel queasy.

And two weeks later – almost to the hour – I’m laying on the couch, nauseous to the point of moaning, wishing I could just throw up already and get it over with so I could have a few minutes of relief.

But I don’t throw up. This is my particular brand of pregnancy. I’m just nauseous 24-7 from week six to week twelve.

As far as difficult pregnancies go, I know this is a small cross to bear. I have a good friend who is due in early December, and she’s still throwing up an a regular basis. Technically, she has hyperemesis gravidarum, which is the medical term for throwing up every five minutes. During her first trimester, she required an IV of fluids to keep her hydrated and an IV of Zofran to help her make it to the shower. She’s doing better now. We see each other at school, and she’s upright and smiling and able to walk her kids to class without having to rush to the bathroom.

So I know it could be worse.

But as my friend told me, that’s a small consolation when you are laying on your couch in misery, and you know dinner needs to be cooked but you’d rather die than touch raw meat at the moment, and your kids are hungry and tired of watching TV for entertainment and no one is coming to rescue you.

When my sister-in-law was pregnant last year, I sent her an e-mail asking how she was holding up.

She e-mailed back: “I’m rotting from the inside out.”

Yes. That’s it exactly.

Pregnancy. It’s not for wimps.

So how about you: Did you suffer from "morning" sickness? Or are you one of the lucky ones who escaped this pregnancy hurdle? Tell me your story. It will distract me from my misery.

Kelly is currently 10 weeks pregnant, which means she's nearing the end of the nausea fog. Once the fog has lifted, she plans to blog regularly again about her family, her faith, foibles and her favorite foodsat her personal blog, Love Well.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pregnancy Journal

By Kelly

Women, as a collective, share many things. Stories about buying our first bra, getting our first period and waiting for that high-school crush to call can unite a disparate group and cause instant camaraderie to well up.

But nothing really touches the symbiotic topics of pregnancy and childbirth. It can ignite a firestorm of conversation. "How long did you throw up? Yeah, me too." "And that heartburn! Didn't you want to call a firefighter some nights and say, 'Help me out here!'" "And then I started pushing, and I thought I was going to die from the pain."

I love that. I love that moms, no matter their ages or backgrounds, share this common theme in the story. No one understands it like us. No one has lived it like us. And while each of our chapters in the story is unique, we all share an understanding of this unique calling of motherhood.

Certainly, I am just one voice among many. But because I am also launching down this path for the fifth -- and most likely, final -- time, I thought I'd keep a journal of this pregnancy here at 5 Minutes for Parenting. It won't be a recording of my weight and the baby's development. Rather, I hope it will be a reflection on this amazing, weird journey of pregnancy. (Today's entry is actually a few weeks old, but I thought you might like to hear how we discovered I'm with child.)

Please add your voice to the conversation as we travel these next 35 weeks together. There is nothing I love more than a good pregnancy story. I can't wait to hear your experiences.


It’s one of those moments that makes you doubt your senses.

I took a pregnancy test last week, secretly hoping, but not expecting a positive result. My hands shook as I waited for the test liquid (discreet, no?) to spread down the stick. I watched as a solid line showed up (the negative line) and then the test line (so I knew I did it correctly). And then, ever so faintly, so pale I didn’t trust my eyes, I saw a plus sign appear in the result window.

Or at least I thought I did. I looked. I turned it in the light. I looked again. Faint. Oh so faint. Weak, like my breathing at that moment.

I decided to call it a negative and test again in a few days.

And that re-test day was today.

By this point, I had a stronger suspicion. There was nothing definite – no symptoms, other than a missed period. And even that is questionable, given my irregular history.

But I still wondered. Six days after a dim maybe-I-need-glasses test result. Could it really be?

It could.

It is.

I’m pregnant.


I tested first thing in the morning, to take advantage of that morning pee. I was hurrying, lest the kids – who don’t understand the concept of privacy – push through the bathroom store and see Mom putting a lid on something she just took out of the potty. My hands shook – again. But my hands shake every time I take a pregnancy test. There’s so much life-changing potential in that little plastic stick.

The plus signed showed up immediately. Immediately. No doubting, no wondering. It was definite.

Corey was in the shower, unaware that everything was about to change.

I stuck my head behind the shower curtain and held up the positive test.

He squinted.

“I’m pregnant!” I mouthed through the thunder of water.

His eyes got big. He focused more intently on the test.

“Really?” he grinned.

I grinned back.

But we didn’t have long to rejoice. It was only the third day of school for Natalie, and the all-important first day of kindergarten for Connor. I had to get ready for the day, make sure backpacks were packed, clothes were on, lunches were ready. Mom was needed.

I shoved the positive test deep into my bathroom drawer, behind the floss and under the hair shine serum. For now, it’s a secret between me and Corey and the God who sees this little one.

Kelly also blogs at Love Well.