Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pregnancy Journal: Behold a Miracle

From 5 Minutes for Parenting

By Kelly

Lately, my body groans.

It doesn’t matter if I’m sitting or standing or walking or lying down.

My muscles stretch. My back sways. My hips twist. My lungs fight.

I move with the grace of an elephant, the speed of a turtle.

My body groans.

So, if bedtime allows it and I have the energy to complete the task, I fill the bathtub with the hottest water I can stand and I sink in.


I settle deep into the water and watch my swollen abdomen rise majestically out of the waves, like a newly formed island.

I stare, transfixed, as the skin heaves with the movement of the baby inside. A large section of the island rises while another falls. A pointy peninsula appears and then, gradually, is absorbed back to whence it came.

I push gently on one side and see a jerk and a twist.

I pat what I believe is a tiny bottom, that fits perfectly into the cup of my hand.

I cannot believe another human is living inside of me.

It’s beyond comprehension.

My body may groan.

But it groans with miracle.

Kelly is 33 weeks pregnant with her fourth baby. You can find her blogging at Love Well.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pregnancy Journal: Opening a Can of (Gummy) Worms

From 5 Minutes for Parenting

By Kelly

If you read between the lines of last week’s Pregnancy Journal post about MILK, ALL THE MILK, I CAN’T GET ENOUGH MOO-JUICE, you might have deduced: Kelly might be drinking a lot of milk, but I bet her sweet tooth is triggering a lot of that milk consumption.

If you came to that conclusion (and a few of you hinted in the comments that you had similar pregnancy issues), then you get a gold star. Go directly to psychology school.

Truth in advertising: It’s not just the milk. It’s the sweets.

This leads me down a rather treacherous road, but in the interest of authenticity, I’m going to explore it anyway.

Is it safe to say I’ve gained a lot of weight this pregnancy?


Is it safe to say that right now, at 32 weeks, I weigh as much as I did when I gave birth to all my other children?


Is it safe to say that rich winter foods and all those darn Christmas cookies and celebrating two birthdays in January with buttercream-frosted cupcakes had anything to do with it?


But understanding does not equal contentment. Intellectually, I can reason away the fact that I gained 20 pounds between the end of December and the end of February. I can make excuses by pointing to my “advanced maternal age” and remembering that this is my fourth pregnancy.

But bottom line? I’m not happy about it. And my body isn’t crazy about it either. My frame isn’t designed to carry this much weight.

On Monday, when I had to take my two-year-old to the doctor for a possible broken wrist, I got winded just standing upright while holding her. I can’t walk a flight of stairs in my house without sounding like I’ve just completed a 45-minute aerobic workout. (And did I mention we live in a 3.5 level townhouse? I pretty much pant like a dog all day.) My back hurts. My gait is slow. I miss phone calls because I can’t move fast enough to answer before voice mail picks up.

I’m pitiful, basically. Pity me.

And I have anywhere between six and eight weeks to go.

This past month, I’ve tried to be more careful about what I eat. I’ve severely limited my access to sweets. I’ve watched my portions. I’ve even started drinking water in place of milk. (I KNOW! I’m going to unbelievable lengths here.)

But I still feel HUGE, and this baby inside of me feels HUGE. He’s incredibly strong. I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. It will be interesting to see how much weight I’ve gained in the last four weeks.

If it’s another eight to ten pounds, I might have to throw out my remaining dark chocolate almonds with turbinado and sea salt.

On the upside, our milk bill could drop dramatically.

Kelly is pregnant with her fourth child, a boy who apparently enjoys pushing on the interior wall of her hip bone. She blogs at Love Well, and she is thankful she can do that without moving.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pregnancy Journal: Got Milk?

From 5 Minutes for Parenting

By Kelly

A wave of faux shame washed over me as I reached into the milk cooler at Target yesterday. No one around me knew it, but I needed that gallon of 1% the same way an alcoholic needs her vodka. I was almost drooling as I tucked the jug into my big red cart, behind the toilet bowl cleaner and the bananas.

Turns out, I’ve developed quite the milk addiction.

Want proof? That gallon I bought at Target? It was the fourth gallon of milk I bought in the last six days. The previous three gallons are already empty and accusing and lying squished in the bottom of the recycling bin.

It’s common for pregnant women to field the “So what are you craving?” question. Normally, I don’t have much exciting to report.

I did eat approximately 384 cherry Popsicles when I was pregnant with Natalie, my firstborn, but that could be attributed to the hot California summer and a lack of air conditioning as much as hormones. I also develop an abnormal and potentially lethal lust for the McChicken during the first trimester of each pregnancy. But that only lasts as long as the nausea.

So this sudden craving – no, make that passion – for milk caught me by surprise.

I know I can chalk up some of my milk-lust to my love for cereal. I have a bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch, topped with berries, every morning for breakfast. (No. Seriously. Every morning.) And it’s not uncommon for me to grab a bowl of Raisin Bran and strawberries or Cheerios with bananas before bed.

But here at 31 weeks, I’m also gulping glasses of milk in-between meals and during my mid-morning slab of peanut butter on toast. Most damning is the fact that each sweet I eat – a chocolate chip cookie, a fun-sized Snickers bar, a Pioneer Woman cinnamon roll – demands that I drink at least 10 ounces of milk to quench the raging thirst. It’s not uncommon for me to need three glasses of moo juice to wash down one slice of pie.

I tell myself it’s not a horrible habit. At least it’s somewhat healthy. (Although I will admit – when I passed the three-gallons-a-week mark, I stopped buying from the local dairy with grass-fed cows. At $3.50 a half gallon, I couldn’t afford my habit.)

I guess my real problem is, I’m not sure which came first: My milk addiction or the sweet tooth fueling it?

So how about you? What’s your most notable pregnancy craving?

Kelly drank two glasses of milk and ate a French breakfast puff while writing this post. You can also find her blogging at Love Well.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pregnancy Journal: Move Baby Move

From 5 Minutes for Parenting

By Kelly

My OB laughs at me when I tell her this, but I’m pretty confident I’m gestating a baby octopus.

It’s true that the ultrasound technician back in December saw only the normal two arms and two legs of a growing human. But I see no other explanation for all the thrashing, crazy movement inside of me except he has grown an extra appendage or three.

Since this is my fourth pregnancy, I have indentified at least five distinct movements of the babe-in-utero.

The Jab: This is exactly what you’d expect. It’s a fast, hard poke of a foot or a hand or elbow or knee. If directed outward towards my abdomen, it’s possible that other people will see the quick jump of my skin. If directed inwards toward my vital organs, other people will see me react as if someone just punched me in the gut – which they just did, essentially. This is especially fun when the jab scores a direct hit on my bladder.

The Hiccup: This rhythmic movement is usually attributed to actual hiccups, and just like it’s namesake, it is a small tic-tic-tic that is more annoying than painful. But they happen so often that I wonder if some babies don’t just make repetitive small movements that feel like the spasms of hiccups. Hence, the title covers all small movements that are recur regularly.

The Twinkle-Toes: This is a sweet, gentle stretching that feels like tiny bubbles popping against my abdominal wall. I suspect it could be nothing more than the baby curling his toes next to my skin or maybe opening and closing a tiny fist. It’s unnoticeable to the outsider, and it makes me giggle.

The Roll: The most entertaining of movements, this is when the baby performs a bit from Cirque de Soileil in my uterus. It’s a turn, a twist, an acrobatic move. Unlike the jab, the roll is a drawn-out motion, which makes my abdomen heave and swell like the ocean’s surf after a storm. Also great for bouncing off the crumbs that accumlate on the shelf of my belly during a meal.

The Jumping Jack: This is the strangest and most violent of all moves. I have no idea what the baby is actually doing in there, but it feels like Neo is battling Mr. Smith in my uterus. (Or maybe I've just watched "The Matrix" too many times.) The movement begins with a sudden jab of all four (eight?) limbs and then builds to a ferocious punch-kick-roll routine that easily makes my stomach look like something from “Aliens” is about to emerge. As you might expect, I feel this everywhere at once – internally, externally, up and down, side to side. It can literally take my breath away.

I know from experience that these movements will grow less distinct as time passes, simply because the baby octopus will run out of room. But right now, at 30 weeks, he still has lots of space in there. And he’s using it to get grow bigger and stronger and get ready for life with three older siblings. (Good luck, buddy.)

Of course, there are times when gestating an octopus is annoying. It never fails that the baby is most active at night, right when I lay down to go to sleep. ("Must someone ALWAYS be touching Mom?!?" I sigh under my breath.)

But since this is my last baby, I'm trying to store up the visceral memory of each kick, jab and roll. It seems almost impossible now, but having walked this road before, I know -- I will miss this.

Kelly is journaling her fourth and final pregnancy here at 5 Minutes for Parenting. She blogs about her daily life at Love Well.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pregnancy Journal: The Ultrasound Conundrum

From 5 Minutes for Parenting

By Kelly

Can you help me with a scenario?

See, I have this really good friend who’s pregnant with her fourth baby. For all her other babies, she’s paid to have a second ultrasound, in addition to the ultrasound in the hospital paid for by her insurance.

It was a trend that started with her first baby, when she wanted confirmation that she was truly growing a baby girl. The results were so positive – the paid ultrasound doctor spent 90 minutes answering questions, going over every inch of the baby, taking countless pictures and even making a video of the whole thing – that she determined to do a second ultrasound for every baby forthwith.

Two years later, pregnant with her second baby, she returned to the same clinic to have a second ultrasound. She took home a baby boy – and another 45-minute video tape.

Her third child was born about four years later. By that time, ultrasound technology had advanced to the 3D/4D stage. Curious, she signed up for the new program, and was thrilled to watch baby number three – a girl – smile and brush her face and get the hiccups and yawn in full 3D glory. Once again, she took home countless pictures and a video DVD.

Now, she’s pregnant with her fourth. And to be honest, she’s doesn’t want to shell out $150 for yet another ultrasound video. She and her husband enjoyed the ultrasound at the hospital. They have faith they are having a boy.

But she’s concerned this will necessitate therapy for her fourth child someday, once he realizes his parents didn’t love him enough to make a in-womb video of his uniqueness.

What do you think she should do?

  1. She should focus on the child’s feelings, not her own, and spend the money to have one last ultrasound video made. After all, all the other kids have one. Don’t make the last child be a classic last child who only gets hand-me-downs and leftovers.

  2. She should forgo the video. After all, these things are done mostly for the sake of the parents, not the child. Do you know any child who’s ever pulled out their ultrasound video and said, “Mom, fast-forward to the part where they show you that bubble that’s my developing bladder. I really want to it show my friends.” No. I don't think so.

  3. She should make a copy of one of her other children’s ultrasound tapes and pass it off as the fourth baby in-utero. After all, all ultrasound videos look alike. Who would ever know?

Kelly is 29 weeks pregnant with fourth baby. Amazingly, her "friend is also 29 weeks pregnant with her fourth baby. Kelly blogs at Love Well. Her friend claims she doesn't have a blog, which is why we are sharing her conundrum for her on this forum.