Saturday, July 19, 2008

28w Pictures

My "girls" outgrew the green shirt, so I decided to switch outfits. I think this one will last until my kid shows...

Oh, and I'm officially in the 3rd trimester now! =D

Identity Shift

Lately I have been reflecting on how I have formed my identity as a bodily person. Included in that is how I feel about my body and it's ability to perform (both basic tasks and more complicated proceedings). It's kind of weird to reflect on your relationship with your own body. I think I have had a kind of love-hate relationship for much of my life. As a child I went through several periods of poor health, of varying degrees. Fortunately, these periods were separated by times of pretty good health, so I did have some experience of having a body that worked the way it was "supposed" to (at least in certain aspects).

I have been chubby for much of my life, which I hate, and have consequently not felt very attractive during certain periods. However, I have also been on the weight loss/gain yo-yo so there have been periods where I felt confident in my own skin and reasonably attractive. It was also during those "lighter" periods where I felt more confident in my body's abilities. For example, about 6 years ago I was practicing yoga on a regular basis. I lost a lot of weight and was in great shape. I was also pretty strong and flexible. This was a time during which I felt capable... of anything...

Unfortunately, that feeling didn't last. I moved jobs and states and experienced the most stressful year of my life. I gained more weight than ever and quit taking care of myself. That year was pretty rough on my self esteem too. The capable strength I had developed the previous year was erroded away. I had some health issues and was very lonely. It was a difficult time. Even though I lost (and gained) weight a few more times in the years to follow I don't think I ever fully recovered.

Fast forward to 2005 when I realized how badly my reproductive system was messed up. Even before I got married I suspected I would have fertility troubles. I have always had bad cramps. In grad school (2002-2005) I had some problems with anovulatory cycles and unusual amounts of bleeding. Add to that the stories my mom told me about the troubles conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy she and my aunt had and you can see why I started to identify with IF women, even before I started officially trying and had trouble. I tried to be proactive and get my difficulties diagnosed early so I could "combat" them before I had to experience years of trouble... After I passed the year mark ttc, I think the pipe dream I had of being the "exception" who could circumvent the "troubles" died. After my first m/c the last sliver of my pipe dream of beating the odds died. It was the final "evidence" that, even on progesterone and carefully monitored care, my body was a failure when it came to procreation... My identity as a failure as a woman was secured.

My identity as a failure stayed with me despite a BFP, despite reaching the 2nd trimester, despite seeing a healthy baby at my 18w u/s. I am tired of feeling like a failure!

The book on healing I read on retreat a couple months ago really helped me pray for healing and find some peace. There were some experiences in my past that really needed Jesus' healing. I had been walking around with the weight of that pain for many years. I now feel a good deal of peace having given over the pain and invited Jesus into those experiences. This new-found peace has lead me to slowly start to change the way I experience life in the here and now. It has also affected how I view myself and how I approach some situations.

Add to my new-found healed self the research I have been doing on labor and birthing options and you get a shift in identity. After watching the movie "The Bu.siness of Being B.orn" I figured out that there were a lot more decisions than I had realized that needed to be made about my labor. I am a nerd so, obviously, I went into major research mode. I started reading up on doulas and various natural birth methods. I especially like the books from the Sears Parenting Library. I have learned a lot about my options... MUCH more than I was told today at my all day "birthing" class at the hospital. I am still researching, but I'm feeling much more confident about knowing my options when my labor comes.

What does all my research have to do with my self-reflection? Reading all these books and talking to doulas has had an unexpected side-effect. The natural birthing culture (if you can call it a culture) is VERY supportive of a woman's ability to do what her body is made to do... to give birth. I have been inundated with a lot of positive, uplifting messages. It's starting to sink in.

Lately I have been feeling empowered and strong. I'm tired of feeling like an IF victim. I like feeling like a normal healthy pregnant woman. I like feeling empowered. I really think that my positive outlook can only be good for my baby. I know that, at the very least, too much anxiety can negatively affect my baby. So, I've decided that I'm going to continue to choose to be positive with my thoughts and behave like a "normal" and healthy pregnant woman.

There is more to blog about on this topic, but I'm tired and this post is already too long. Look for part 2 to come soon.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

26w Belly Shot

Here is the latest picture. I definitely think I have grown since my last picture. I've been trying to wear the same shirt for easier comparison. I might not be able to wear this shirt for much longer, though, because my girls are starting to fall out of it... I think I mentioned my problem with my growing "melons" (as Kathy V. calls them)? Well, let's just say it's still a problem.

Other than that, things are looking good. I think the baby has moved up a bit because I haven't had as much pressure lately. That has been nice! I did have some pain around my belly button for a few days (which I think might have been from diastasis) but I have been more careful about how I move and what positions I sit in and the pain has subsided. I have also been doing some breathing exercizes that I read about on a midwifery site. They have actually helped a lot!

I know there are more tidbits from life to update on, but I am really tired. I'm going to take advantage of the long weekend and go take a nap... =)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

GTT Results

I have been waiting for the results of my glucose tolerance test since last Friday. Finally today I got tired of waiting and called my doc's office. The nurse said that my results were normal and everything was fine. That's good! I would have been really worried if I hadn't passed because I am already taking met...

Mural Decisions

I know it's been a while since I discussed the baby's room mural. After I posted the poll with 3 options my mom heard back about the original idea of the mural I had as a kid. So, we were waiting to see if anything came of that. Apparently, the mural company contacted the artist (Stewart Moskowitz) to see if he would be interested in signing a new contract to allow his picture to be used in a mural again. I guess he agreed, but they are still (as of July 2nd) waiting for him to sign the contract. I looked at the picture on Moskowitz's website and I do like it. The colors are more vibrant than they appeared on the 25 year-old box cut out picture... However, at this point hubby and I are getting anxious about having enough time left to get the room together...

The other part of the story is that I didn't fully love any of the 3 options that I posted for the poll. I loved everything about "Noah's Ark" except the eyes on the animals, which just make them look crazed. I don't really want my baby to dream about crazed animals... I like "Noah and the Rainbow" except for the pink sky and the pastel colors in the rainbow. I wish the sky were more blue and the rainbow was made with more primary colors. I've decided that I don't really like "Two by Two" any more, although I DO like the concept of having the fish and animals visible. Hubby was never fully 100% happy with any of those 3 options either, so we went back to the drawing board (so-to-speak).

Stewart Moskowitz has some other great images (I really liked his Noah Submarine), but he doesn't offer murals through his site and I don't even know if he is actually going to sign a contract for the 1st image, let alone other images. However, I think we found another option that we both like. It doesn't show land animals, but the ocean looks really cool (like you could just dive into the picture and swim with the sea creatures) and it includes the boat, rainbow and dove parts of the Noah story so it would be good for story telling. Here is the link and picture:

Ocean Noah

What do you think? Do you like it?