Hello, Third Trimester!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Oh, you guys. I spent hours writing a post on all things pregnancy last weekend. Poured my heart and soul into what these past 28 weeks have meant to me, how I've felt, what I've learned. I was so happy to have it all written down — my rawest emotions to look back on one day as I'm holding our little babe. And, suddenly, delete. One Ctrl+Z in Blogger too many, and the Internet has confirmed — it's not coming back. Where it went, I'll never know, but here we are. Woof.

There were so many words on that page, and suddenly I'm remembering none of them. But I do remember it started with a story.

I'm guessing seven or so years ago, I was at the Lincoln Park Conservatory with my friend Jen on a chilly Sunday in January. She told me she was going to finally say something more than "half a pound of oven-roasted turkey, please" to the deli guy at our corner grocery store she had been crushing on for months (sometimes she'd get turkey even if she didn't need or want it — other times she'd walk past the deli counter if he wasn't there, figuring she'd come back another day for her sandwich fixings). Her new year's resolution was to overcome her fear of rejection and put herself out there more often. I was inspired! "I want to overcome my fears, too!" I remember telling her. She laughed and said that wasn't an easy task — "You have so many." It's true: rats, needles, public elevators (sometimes escalators, usually moving walkways), tight spaces, open spaces, a stranger robbing us and murdering me while I'm in the shower, death, wind (ha, jk), the list is long. I came home and told Brian about our conversation, and he agreed, a lot of things make my hands sweaty and my heart beat fast. "OK, but what am I scared of most?" I asked. "Pregnancy," he said. It was true. If there was one thing I was confident I didn't want to do, it was to be in the position I am today. Less than 12 weeks from having a child.

Sitting here (very uncomfortably, mind you), writing this, I'm terrified of labor and delivery. Every bit of it. But, in that moment, seven years ago, it wasn't even about that, it was about everything else. Never one to have maternal desires, I was fairly certain having children wouldn't be a priority for me, and the permanency of the relationship terrified me. Fast-forward a few years, and I started to soften up. A few more, and I was pining for a child. It seems strange, but my body was suddenly trying to tell me something. I had such a strong desire to hold my own.

And, now, here we are. I've been extremely lucky with an easy journey so far, and I've really enjoyed being pregnant. In many ways, Chicago feels like a scene from Sesame Street these days. A free baklava with my pita wrap, a stranger on his bike enthusiastically yelling "It's a boy! I know it!" as Brian and I walk down the street to dinner. I'm surprisingly here for it every day, and no one is more shocked than me. I've been told I'll change my mind in weeks to come, but right now, I don't want this moment to end. There will hopefully be another pregnancy in the future, but this one, this first one, for two parents who don't have a clue what they're doing, is so special.

Since this blog is one big trip down memory lane, let's talk about this journey so far with some lessons learned.

Everything you're feeling, doing and thinking is OK. Better than OK: As I mentioned, I've been very lucky to have an easy pregnancy. But my first trimester, I wanted nothing more than to feel something. I begged the universe for nausea, tiredness, anything, and I regret it. Instead of enjoying that early time, I ruminated in my worries.

I fluctuated between feeling guilty for being pregnant when we have close friends and family who are struggling, fear that my nerves were going to damage the babe inside of me and sadness for feeling so many negative emotions when I am so blessed to be on this journey. On top of that, as soon as word got out that I was pregnant, I was bombarded with advice — Sleep! Eat this! Not that! Keep working out! Stop working out! Take maternity photos! Don't be one of those people that takes maternity photos! Buy maternity clothes ASAP! Don't spend money on maternity clothes! This is what you need on your registry... My head was spinning.

I had heard it countless times, but I forgot it when in the thick of it. You know what's right for you and your body. So, you do you. This is a wild ride, and whatever feels right to you, is right (even if it's a deli sandwich during a lunch meeting on week nine... stop beating yourself up).

I also can't recommend assembling your own little tribe enough. I read over and over again when I first got pregnant that having mom friends is important, and I panicked. My best friend has a baby, but other than that, I don't know many moms. But as I thought about it, I realized there are a handful of young moms I know and admire so much. I've hit them up countless times the past six months for advice, and they've all been so, so kind and generous. Maybe you only know one person, or maybe you have to seek someone out. Either way, find that sounding board because it has been a lifesaver to me in many ways already.

The night we found out I was pregnant. For a long time, I'd planned exactly how I'd tell Brian and had bought the materials in advance for when the time would come. But when the moment arrived, I was too emotional and just blurted it out. Once we finally got ourselves together, we realized we were starving and B made egg sandwiches. 

I say I had no symptoms, but this picture was taken at 2:32am, when I had to get out of bed to eat an English muffin with about half a stick of butter. There wasn't enough food in this city to keep me full during the first trimester, and I was constantly hungry. I went from intermittent fasting every day for a year to eating everything in sight all hours of the day. 

Also, likely more symptoms...!

Give yourself a break: Because I didn't have severe symptoms during the first trimester, I assumed I didn't have any symptoms. But, I was wrong. For weeks, my hormones were completely wacky... I cried, hard, every single time I showered. Brian joked that I had to start using Axe body spray, that this wasn't sustainable. TMI, but my chest was also growing at a rapid rate and hurt so bad, making it hard to sleep and thus making me even more anxious and grouchy. As soon as I acknowledged these changes and did something about them, I felt so much better. I assumed that because I wasn't experiencing morning sickness, I wasn't experiencing anything at all. And because I was lucky to be in the position I was in, I deserved to punish myself. Both thoughts seem so silly now, and looking back, I would have spent the $100 on bras at Motherhood Maternity so much sooner.

I also would have done more to make myself feel good in my changing body. When we went to Arizona, I squeezed myself into a J.Crew one piece I had bought for our trip to Australia last year but never wore. It was terribly unflattering this April, and I wish I had something like this Hermoza swimsuit and cover up for the trip. Hermoza gifted it to me a few weeks ago, and I'll be wearing nothing else for the rest of my pregnancy and after. I love the modest cut and high-quality, stretchy material. I've decided this is my "cool mom" print, but there are so many more to love (LOVE this color block one).

The aversions you develop are legitimate: Almost instantly, the sight of chicken or asparagus started to repulse me (two things we used to eat weekly). A few weeks ago, at a family party, I assumed that was behind me and grabbed a drumstick. As soon as I sat down to eat, I wanted nothing to do with it and had to put it on Brian's plate. I assume I'll get over these things eventually, but I still find it surprising that these aversions are so acute.

A few weekends ago we went out for pizza and discussed our anxieties, of which there are many. I'm so curious as to what this time next year will look like (DID WE GET INTO ANY OF THE DAY CARES WE'RE ON THE WAIT LIST FOR?), though I'm sure it'll be nothing like we think it will be. 

Changes are gradual: I assumed that changes to my body would happen suddenly, to the point where it would be difficult to shave my legs or get out of bed. While both of those tasks have become increasingly challenging, the changes were much more gradual than I imagined.

I was 10 weeks pregnant here and convinced I was showing, which I now realize is absolutely ridiculous. 


I'm glad I've taken the occasional snap of my growing belly because it's wild to see the progress. Some days I feel like it's incredibly heavy and ginormous and other days I tell Brian it's like it's not even there (and he's like "girl....";)

Weird new pains: There are times I've lost all feeling in my hands and feet, my legs have seized up and my lower stomach has felt so cramped that I am convinced something is seriously wrong. Nope. Just fun little parts of pregnancy I wasn't aware could happen.

Dinner after our 8-week doctor's appointment. We were so relieved to finally talk to someone about the news!

And three things I want in writing so I don't forget them:

How we told our families: A few years ago Brian's cousin gave us a bunch of pregnancy books she was throwing away, so we already had the book What to Expect When You're Expecting. To tell our parents we're expecting, we borrowed a stroller from our friends, taped our first ultrasound to the book, put the book in the stroller and ding-dong-ditched them at their houses, with the stroller right outside their front doors. We parked far away so they wouldn't see our car, and we got them all so good. We have it all on camera, and I'm so glad we do. They were in total shock, and those two moments will forever be two of the best of my life.

We surprised each of our siblings in variations of the same way, with personalized items that caught them off guard. For example, for Brian's sisters, we sneakily asked the waitress at the restaurant to bring their wine in wine glasses we provided — they said "Auntie Lauren" and "Auntie Kelly." They ordered their drinks as usual but were shocked when they showed up in wine glasses that said that :)

Names: We found out I was pregnant early, and we brainstormed a few names shortly thereafter. We instantly liked a boy name and a girl name, and we've stuck to them since. It seems strange that we spent very little time on the process, but they came to us naturally and our hearts soar when we say them out loud. Maybe we'll change our minds once we're holding the baby in our arms, but for now, we feel we've checked that box (and are keeping both names a secret ;)

In the meantime, we've been calling the babe Mooshi. As I mentioned, I'm terrified of rats, and years ago Brian started calling me Mooshi, which means little mouse in Farsi. He said it was a term of endearment, and I disagreed, but it turns out it is. He's called me variations of it over the years, on top of a slew of other original nicknames. The night I found out I was pregnant, I was downloading every app in the App Store to find out what was going on — when is this thing coming?!?! Each app requires you to "name" the baby (something like Baby Hayes). I turned to Brian and frantically asked, "WHAT DO I CALL THIS THING?!" to which he said "Mooshi." And it has stuck. Hard. I love that our friends and family have committed to it, and I especially love hearing Brian's cousins and my coworkers say it, I think it's so funny.

On not finding out the sex: B and I are both one of three kids, and our parents didn't find out the sex for any of us. We decided to follow suit — with so much up in the air, what's one more bit? Besides, B thinks the idea of finding out in the delivery room is so exhilarating, I was on board. But now, with less than a dozen weeks left, I want to know so badly. It's driving me nuts! Of course it doesn't matter either way, but what's in there?!?!?!?! I'm going to hold strong, but I can see myself demanding to know as soon as we get to the hospital.

Practicing :) Sidenote, have Chicago hospitals changed their blankets? I was so excited to wrap the baby in a stripe one, such a classic! But it looks like they've changed them. Of all things labor and delivery to consider, this one seems silly, but I'm bummed! 

12 weeks! Or more! Or less! Who knows. I really want to enjoy the last leg of this journey because it's my favorite time of year, because who knows what kind of chaos the future will hold and because I'm just really lucky to be able to <3 And while I do, I'd love any advice. Don't be shy :)

P.S. My dress in the photo above is a Hermoza swimsuit coverup (because that's where we're at these days — also a coverup), and it'll be in heavy rotation the next few weeks. Oprah gushed about Hermoza recently, so trust that I'm right on this one :)

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