Second Trimester Bumpdate

How are we already at 22 1/2 weeks?! This is cuh-razy!! 

So many big important things have happened in the last couple of months. Here are some highlights! 

Pure Barre/Exercise. 

Um, wowie. So, yeah. This has been quite an adjustment. 

I work at Pure Barre Asheville as an instructor and have for almost a whole year at this point. I absolutely love my job and get to help encourage and motivate the amazing clients there to be their best selves and own their fabulous bodies. This job has been great for me for so many reasons, and one of the biggies is the sweet community of female friends that I've formed there. It is such a joy to have so many women (lots of whom are moms themselves!) keep up with this pregnancy, ask about how I'm feeling, give me tips, and even knit me a baby blanket. I mean, are you kidding?? The best. 

Working at Pure Barre has also helped me feel like my body was strong. Prior to getting pregnant, I was taking 3-4 55 minute classes as week. Pure Barre targets your arms, thighs, seat, and (probably most important for me) core - so I feel like I had a bit of a home court advantage going into the pregnancy game because it's literally my job to work out. 

And THEN, my body fell apart.  

Not really. But it has been incredible to see just how quickly my muscles started to fatigue once I hit about 3 months. The Pure Barre studio is also literally surrounded by mirrors, so whether I'm teaching class or taking class, I have a 360 degree view of my changing body. Helllloooooo, self-consciousness! 

It was really easy to be tough on myself at first about how I thought I should be a little stronger, or a little thinner, as I went along. But I hit a point where I decided that whatever weight I gain just is what it is, and that I'll lose it afterwards! I think actually having a belly that showed really made a difference in how I was perceiving my body and my fitness level. I'm really learning to love my body in all its various shapes during this period of time, because, just like Christmas, there's a "reason for the season." This weight isn't from nowhere, it's because there's a human being in there who needs support! 

All that to say, Pure Barre has been incredible. It's so low-impact and is still keeping me as fit as I can possibly be (for ME - everyone's body is different, some people barely look pregnant at all! I'm not one of those). I'm really grateful to have a safe, healthy workout option that is good for me and good for this little corn on the cob. 

Maternity Clothes. 

I want to live the rest of my life in maternity clothes. Holy cow. They are THE BEST. 

I resisted buying them for a long time, thinking that somehow if I was still in my pre-pregnancy clothes, that meant I wasn't gaining too much weight. 

Oh, Mary Catherine, you big ol' dummy. 

Pregnancy clothes are a DREAM, people. Jeans with a belly panel that holds all your tummy junk in. Maxi dresses. Shirts that tie off right under your boobs and are otherwise floaty and delicious. This is a good world we live in, y'all. And because celebrities have made being pregnant trendy, gone are the days of our mothers' maternity clothes that made them look like giant walking confections. No way. Target and GAP have the cutest options and they're so very affordable. I even went to Forever 21 and bought out a bunch of their size L tops so that I would have something cute (and cheap) to wear and then donate or store! 

Check Up.

We had our "big" ultrasound last month and it was divine. The second trimester ultrasound is typically the one where you get to really see the baby for the first time (not looking like a thumbprint/random dot). And boy, did we ever. This sweet little baby's profile, feet, hands - it was really putting on a show for us! That appointment was the first time that I broke down in tears and truly realized that there is a brand new little life that is going to COME OUT AND BE AN ACTUAL PERSON I REALLY CAN.NOT. The technician did such a great job protecting us from the sex of the baby by turning the monitor around each time she got close to what we dubbed the "danger zone," so we're delightfully still in the dark about what we're having!

We got a hilarious piece of news from our doctor, which was that this baby is in the 93rd percentile of weight for its gestational age. In short, that means it is a monster. Which is unsurprising, because I was 9 lbs 14 ounces at birth, while my brother basically walked out of the womb at 10 lbs, 9 ounces, and 22 inches long. 

My poor mother. 

So it's possible that this little guinea pig will level out and quit growing like a maniac, but it's also possible that this baby will be born smoking a cigarette and speaking in complete sentences. Who even knows?? I'm weirdly proud of how big it is because of the precedent that my own mom set - someone pointed out that this is the first thing I'm bragging on my child about. So cute and SO true. Come on, Biggie!! Do yo' thang! 

Some random questions: 

How far along? 22 weeks, 23 on Friday. So 5 1/2 months. 

Total weight gain/loss: Oh, ya know, a casual 16 pounds. Maybe more at this point since that weight was recorded at my last doctor's appointment. 

Stretch marks? Newp. But according to my doc, those are mostly genetic, so it's not terribly contingent on how big you are/what you do to prevent. 

Maternity clothes? Helllllllllll YESSSSSSS. 

Sleep: Ugh. This is probably the only true tough part of pregnancy so far. I LOVE to sleep, and sleeping is starting to get pretty uncomfortable. I bought a body pillow that I love so much, but I also run hot while I sleep, so I get down to a Sophie's Choice between sweating at night and having back pain without the pillow. Poor Jordan is gonna turn into an ice cube by the time this is all over with. #sorryboutit 

Best moment this trimester: Oh man - best moment, hands-down, was seeing the baby open and close its hands on the ultrasound. I have never felt or seen anything like that in my life. Surreal, magical, and just that little movement gave me a tiny clue of how much I'm going to love this angel. 

Movement: Only ALL OF THE TIME. *thunk* *thunk* that is exactly what it feels like. I stopped mid-sentence sitting in our church pew yesterday because I couldn't believe how intense the movement was. It felt like the baby had cannonballed into my bladder. 

Food cravings: Mostly just garbage-y food. Shouldn't shock anyone. Anything with an intense flavor profile has really been delicious to me - things that are very tart, very salty, very sweet - love Popsicles, berries, orange juice, chips, cookies...yeah. So, just "food" probably should've been my answer. 

Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope. Bring it all. 

Have you started to show yet: YEAH! Gosh I wanted it to come for so long and now it is finally HERE. Jordan has really started to see that this is a real thing that's happening, and it's been really fun to see it through his eyes. I, of course, have been feeling totally different for months, but for him, it's all starting to gel.

Leakage: Um, no? And also this is the first time I’ve considered that this is a thing and now I want to die.

Gender prediction: I am firmly convinced that this baby is a boy. I've thought that since we found out, and all the wives' tales (ring on a string test, cravings, clear skin, lack of morning sickness) point to a big ol' boy. But who the hell knows? Could be either and I will be THRILLED either way. The "boy" feeling isn't a preference at all - just my guess, for whatever reason. 

Labor signs: Nope!

Belly button in or out? In.

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy, but I'll tell ya what, the tolerance for BS in my life is at a dangerous low. I have a finite amount of patience these days and it is very particularly distributed. I don't feel mean at all, I just feel like...hyper-efficient. I suffer no fools. COME AT ME! (Just kidding, it's really not that intense, I basically just like for things to get done and get done right.) 

Weekly wisdom: Get up when you wake up. Trying to "sleep in" after tossing and turning from 5-7 AM doesn't make sense. You can always nap, girl. 

Milestones: Cleaning out the nursery and buying our crib and changing table; circling in on a few names that make me grin like an idiot (but we're keeping them all a secret!); seeing my baby shower invitation mock-up; Tom Hanks being extra cuddly because he knows a new member of The Snack Pack is quickly arriving (we've dubbed Tom Hanks as the pack leader of the small people, so his pack is now named "The Snack Pack); my parents visiting; celebrating our third anniversary with a baby on board; being at the lake with my best friends, one of whom is also pregnant; this little thang movin' and groovin' all over town! 

YEEHAW!! 

 

A Poem: Game Of Thrones, I Hate You; I Love You.

It was late in the week when a horrible scream
rang out out while my husband was watching TV.
"What the hell??" I said, panicked, expecting to find
Something awful had happened, like Tom Hanks had died. 

"Sorry!" Jordan winced, "Nothing is wrong,
I was just catching up - Game of Thrones is on." 
Rolling my eyes, I plopped down on the couch,
Hating this show and being a grouch. 

"Have you given it a chance?" he asked with sincerity,
Though watching this show is, for me, an act of charity.
"I watched Season One," I replied, unamused,
"Then I'd had my fill of torture and boobs." 

"Just see what you think. Here, this episode is ending,
give it a go. And at least we'll be spending
time together watching TV, 'cause you know
I can't watch the Housewives." "THAT'S NOT MY ONLY SHOW. 

But fine," I sneered. "I'll give it a shot. 
You've roped me into the world of GoT, 
But just for one episode." Then I proceeded
to watch dead, naked people, and good guys get cheated.  

The scene opened on a pack of mean, scary dogs
Eating a girl alive in the dense forest fog. 
I then watched two siblings have sex near a coffin - 
Not an anomaly! They do this quite often! 

An army attacked a small village and killed
A boy's mother and father, and because still
That wasn't enough, they ate them for fun. 
Ate them. As in, cannibalism. Not done! 

I grew attached to a character, then learned my lesson:
Your favorites will soon become delicatessen.
Sliced up like a sandwich tray. It's a guarantee:
You like them? They're dead now. Hooray! Whoopee! 

Some horrible child of the devil named Ramsay
Did awful things to some women, then later - WHAM! he
cut off this poor bastard's penis! For REAL! 
He did it with joy! He did it with zeal! 

I sat there in horror, mouth hanging agape,
"How many storylines on this show include rape?!" 
"I know," Jordan said. "It's awful. It's true. 
But the plot is compelling. It really stays with you." 

Leaving the room in a dignified huff, 
I swore off the show and any similar stuff. 
Jordan clicked "PLAY" on the next episode,
And I made sure my indignance apparently showed. 

And then something happened. I'm not proud to say
that I woke up, rolled over, and whispered, "Hey...
I don't want to watch it again, that's still true,
but real quick - what happened in Episode 2?" 

Sleepy Jord filled me in and I sat there enraptured
Amazed at the attention this dumpster fire had captured.
I couldn't stop thinking - consuming my thoughts
were dragons, The Hound, and whether Arya got caught. 

How had this happened?? Surely there was some cure. 
I couldn't care this much; my heart is too pure! 
"No," I thought, solemnly. "You're a person of principle.
...but what about The Mountain? IS HE invincible?!" 

After dinner, the dishes were cleaned and put up,
I casually wandered to the couch with my pup. 
"I'm not watching," I said. "I'm working on my computer." 
And secretly watched Sansa marry her suitor. 

Four episodes later, my lower back ached,
My eyeballs were dry and unblinkingly awake. 
"WHOA," I breathed out. "A hell of a season." 
"No kidding," said Jordan. "NOW you see the reason." 

Begrudgingly, I have to admit I was wrong. 
The fantasy nerds had it right all along. 
The gore and the sex and the torture and smut
Are too much, it's true, but it's not that clear-cut: 

If you turn up your nose at the thought of this series,
or hold fast to pacifist, feminist theories, 
I get it. I do. And all I can say
Is that my heart is still with you. Yet later today, 

I'll be on the couch, digesting my meal, 
Watching Jon Snow wield Valyrian steel. 
And later, I'll dream of those bone-chilling stalkers
I saw for the first time last episode: White Walkers. 

So hear this lesson, stay far away. 
Don't yield to the old "Just one episode," play. 
You'll find yourself falling in love with Khaleesi
And learn that resistance just isn't that easy. 

I have no self-respect. My dignity is gone. 
and yet, I don't care once the TV is on. 
Heed this eulogy, friends, be not deaf to its tones - 
My soul is now owned by Game of FREAKING Thrones. 

5 Things: Ways To Avoid Current Events Burnout

This has been an exhausting week in terms of keeping up with the world. Lots has happened. Lots has been really sad, disappointing, upsetting, and tough. I've felt a lot of anxiety around trying to inform myself about current events without allowing myself to become anxious or overwhelmed, which is not an easy combination. Here are some things that have helped me. 

 

1. Stay off/limiting social media. 

As much as it kills me to say, I have a Facebook problem. Many (most) of my friends have moved past this stage, but Facebook is still the website that I go to when I don't have anything else to do. Because of that, I find myself mindlessly scrolling through status after status - people's complaints, the products people are selling, photos of engagements and babies being born, etc. It's not all bad! But it is a LOT of input for one brain, especially when most of it is white noise. Reading about how the person who sat behind me in Algebra feels about the transgender ban in the military is not, in my opinion, a helpful way to process how I feel about it.

Twitter is another danger zone. This week, I found myself all spun up about John McCain's decision to vote "Yes" on the proposed healthcare legislation, only to find later that what he voted "Yes" to was to open the floor to debate the plan - not the plan itself (in fact, he voted "No" on the plan last night, so, ya know.). I am still unsupportive of this choice, but a series of fifteen angry tweets by my peers led me to believe that something more catastrophic had happened than had actually happened. This happens to me A LOT - allowing the opinions of others to work me up into a froth. Had I done my own research, I would've figured out what was really going on and saved myself the embarrassment of tweeting something dumb. 

2. Seek out credible news sources, and, even then, limit what you choose to read. 

If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you've probably heard me rave about theSkimm, which is a daily e-mail consolidating all the important sound bytes and news items of the day into a digestible, easy-to-read, ten-minute experience. 

But theSkimm is far from the only platform offering services like this: The New York Times has launched its own capsule daily news, as has NPR. Whatever news source you enjoy, it's likely that they'll start offering something similar. 

The reason this has been so effective for me is because I can't mentally and emotionally process a constant, day-long stream of opinions and updates about the world. Doing so makes me unproductive, depressed, and often keeps me from holding valuable perspective about what's going on vs. how big a deal it's being made into. Processing my information at once, every day, in the mornings, has made me able to retain more information and feel more confident, informed, and stable. I've stopped watching cable news completely and GOSH does that make a difference. 

3. Talk about it. 

Something about talking through tough issues with my peers or parents is helpful to me. I think being able to just verbally dump all my concerns on the people I love and then have them help me sort through it makes me feel like the walls aren't collapsing in on me. It's probably because I'm a verbal/written processor. I know that shocks you! 

Allowing other people into your head means you aren't alone in there. Holy hell, my head is a scary place sometimes. I bet yours is, too. Don't get trapped in there by yourself. Talk to your people. If your people are good ones, they'll help you make sense of it all. Things aren't as scary with a community around you. It's tribe mentality, and boy, does it work. 

4. Call your legislators. 

Oh, the instant joy that comes with hanging up after calling a legislator and leaving a voicemail for his or her aids to listen to later. Not impolite ones. Just normal, "Hey, this is how I feel, can ya let my boy/girl know?" sort of things. 

Y'all, people are passionate, but I'll tell you what does almost nothing: e-mails to your legislators. Facebook posts. Twitter rants. I'm not knocking these outlets on their own - often, you can get a lot of relief from either reading one or penning one of your own - but those things by themselves produce nothing but a momentary laugh, nod, or grimace from readers. It is so rare for a piece of writing to galvanize anyone to action without follow up of some sort. 

Calling your legislators and letting them know how you feel isn't just a way to blow off steam - it's actually part of our duty as citizens of this country. It digs way down to the bones of what makes America America. No march, no rant, no article, no 140 characters can do anything by itself. Keep calling, keep calling, keep calling. 

5. Remember that the 24-hour news cycle requires news. 

It wasn't so long ago that there were four channels and a hard stop to broadcasting every night that concluded with the national anthem. Since then, the monster of the 24-hour news cycle has been created. And it is HUNGRY. 

The mere fact of this neverending parade of news means that there has to be content to fill it, whether that content is meaningful or not. That might mean bringing so-and-so's ex-boyfriend's dog sitter on to offer her analysis of a situation, of bastardizing a truly tragic news story (like Charlie Gard), or reporting on content that no one is sure about yet for the sake of having something to put on TV. News media, it seems, cares less and less about credible sources and more and more about ratings. 

Fake News isn't just a thing that happens by clicking suspicious links your aunt posts on Facebook. I'd like to submit that Fake News can also mean stories about real events, but that those stories are inflamed and beaten to death to a degree that they mislead the public. It's just not responsible, and it's a product of the current need for news to be ALL THE TIME. 

 

So. Take a breath and step away from the computer if ya need to (I do). It's our job as consumers to CHOOSE what we listen to. I am terrible about having something "on" just for the sake of having noise in the background - I'm not even listening to it. Turn on some instrumental music. Sit in silence. If that's too much, flip on a white noise machine. But do SOMETHING to allow yourself a decompression every day, away from the noise of the world. Re-set. Otherwise, your brain might just become its own never ending newsfeed of anxiety-producing material that you just can't seem to get on top of.