34 Weeks and… Sex Dreams?

34 Weeks Pregnant!

34 Weeks Pregnant!

I took this picture on Saturday, when I was officially 34 weeks pregnant! I am thankful that this pregnancy has been smooth, healthy and uneventful, but I am still looking forward to finishing with the whole pregnancy thing! My tailbone kills me every day at work, I am tired most of the time, and I am full of random aches and pains… enough with the complaining though!

I know the baby is getting cramped in there, but Shim sure doesn’t act like it… He/she moves around constantly! I’ll be interested to see how much that slows down in the next few weeks- Maybe no slower, but smaller movements since there won’t be as much room? The baby regularly has its butt jammed into the front of my belly- I think it may just like getting butt and back massages. Just like mommy!

WARNING: TMI!

I’ve also had a lot of dreams recently. Most I don’t remember too well, but what seems odd to me is that I’ve been having a lot of sex dreams…? Maybe it’s just the knowledge that once the baby is born, there will be a long period of recovery period and sex won’t be an option. That, and I’ve started perineal stretching/massage to hopefully prevent or minimize tearing during birth, so I am a lot more, ahem, in touch with my lady bits than before.

I also had a dream a few days ago that I remember pretty well… I was in labor, but it was not painful at all and only lasted a short while. I didn’t have my midwife or doula with me, but I suddenly realized that it really was time, and gave birth easily and peacefully alone. I think I know where this dream stemmed from:

When I first started the perineal massages, I started to get more worried than before… how could the tissue possibly stretch out enough to let a whole baby through?! I feel good and confident about most aspects of childbirth and my body’s ability to do them just fine, but I guess my biggest fear is tearing. I know it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever- it happens to women all the time, but it just makes me nervous… I think the dream was trying to let me know that I should just relax, everything will be okay and I can do it!

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30 Weeks and Disaster

Today I hit 30 weeks of pregnancy, and shit is starting to get real! For my whole life it has been, Yeah, one day I’ll probably have kids. Since Luke and I chose each other, so-to-say, it has been We’ll definitely have kids eventually. The last 7 months it has been, Okay, we’re doing this for real… make a baby, grow a baby…

Now, this baby that I am growing is constantly moving around to remind me that there is actually a tiny person in there- one that I am fully responsible for. As involved as a man can be, in the end it is the pleasure and the burden of the woman to carry and nurture the child during this critical time. In less than three months I will actually be holding this infant in my arms.

It’s actually pretty nerve wracking… life is about to change completely. My life will (and already does in many ways) revolve around a tiny little person. The funny thing is I am not nervous at all for birthing and actually look forward to the experience, but I am a bit terrified to take on the responsibility of being a mother.

I know that I have a stable job, a husband, home, lots of pets and responsibilities, but I still feel like a child. I never felt really ready to take this step, and I am coming to realize that I still don’t. Intellectually I am ready- I have read up and continue to read about and discuss babies and motherhood with others. On paper, I have a pretty good idea of what we are going to do. On the other hand, I don’t know that there’s a way to make myself emotionally prepared for all the changes ahead.

It’s hard for me to sort out and articulate my feelings on this. I am definitely excited about and feel a connection with this baby, but I’m not sure that I feel emotionally ready to meet him or her. Does that make sense?

This might all be churned up because of a stressful week though. A week ago today made 29 weeks, and we hosted a Halloween shindig at our place. It was a fun time, and the baby bump was even out to play!

It was exhausting though, and I somehow managed to stay up until about 3am. The next day, we cleaned up the mess from the party and started preparations for Sandy. A big hurricane was predicted to hit New Jersey, and since we always lose power because we have all kinds of huge trees in our neighborhood, we just expected to lose it again. I got all the laundry done, ran the dishwasher, and cooked up some easy-to-reheat food while Luke wired up the generator and cleaned up the outside stuff so it wouldn’t fly around.

My work got cancelled and the wind picked up throughout the day on Monday. The worst part was supposed to be Monday evening, and nasty it was. We lost power at about 7:30pm, and watched out the window as a huge tree fell down in our yard, taking out the fence. During the course of the storm, two other trees came down in our yard (one taking out some power lines) and the hot tub cover flew across the deck. Our neighborhood suffered from so many trees coming down… they were on top of power lines on every block. A huge tree fell by our neighbor’s house and totaled their car.

By Wednesday I was back to work, but we were without internet- pretty tough to do my job! I ended up being able to create a hotspot with my phone to go the online things I needed to do, but the whole office was pretty empty and there was a lot of work to be done.

On top of all that, there seems to be a bit of a gas crisis in New Jersey. Tons of gas stations are without power, so their pumps are useless. The ones that do have power have cars lined up for miles to fill up their cars and gas tanks, and a lot of these stations have run out of gas because they haven’t been able to get a shipment. Between driving to work and powering generators, a lot of gas is needed and there is just not enough supply to fill the demand. Luckily I filled my car before the storm and don’t drive too much, so my car is okay for now. We are limiting the time that we run the generator to save fuel, and just trying to get more when possible.

It’s just been a stressful week and we don’t expect to get our power back for a while yet, but it could be much worse. This baby is going to come out a trooper, for sure!

Freaky Baby Dream

I’ve been having a lot of dreams, but I don’t remember many. I woke up this morning and only remembered the very end of the last dream I was having- something about my brother packing up coolers for a party or a trip, nothing weird. After laying there for a little bit longer though, another whole dream popped back into my head.

I was babysitting my friend’s baby Lily at some sort of a pool, but the pool was not like real water, it was dense and I couldn’t see through it. My niece was there, and I got distracted by her for a minute. When I turned around, Lily was nowhere to be seen, and I knew she was under “water.”

I started searching, feeling the surface for an area that was softer, until I found a toy. I lifted it and Lily was holding onto the other end, but I didn’t know how long she had been under or if she had inhaled water. I started trying to get her to breathe while I brought her to the ER. I wondered if I should try to get in touch with her mom or wait to see what happened first, and before I knew it, they brought Lily back out.

Strangely though, the baby was completely flat and in a plastic bag sort of thing. I freaked out, saying “She needs air!!! Why is she in a bag?!” I ripped the bag open and Lily re-inflated and was all healthy again… I thought there’s no way they’ll ever let me babysit again!

What could a dream like this possibly mean???

Chat With Mom

Yesterday I went on a house cleaning spree. I took the lazy day approach and did a few things at a time, broken up by a phone call or an episode of 30 Rock. During one of these breaks, I called my mom- after trying to reach my parents a few times this week and just getting voicemail, I was pleased to actually get through. We talked about a bunch of different things, but obviously the most relevant here was that we talked about her birth experiences.

I’ve had some weird dreams lately and I told my mom about a dream I had the other day. In the dream I was heavily pregnant and instead of contractions I had gas, and I gave birth in about 20 minutes and it barely hurt at all… I just kind of pooped the baby out 😉

My mom responded, “That’s like how you were born!” Of course I was intrigued and asked for more details. She said that she woke up in the middle of the night with some contractions and thought, I guess I better wake up Tedd! (my dad). She said I was lucky I wasn’t born in the car, because they got to the hospital, she hopped up on the bed, a couple pushes and I was out. I am wondering if she just progressed through a bunch of her labor while she was still asleep!

With all three of us kids (I have an older sister and a younger brother) my mom gave birth vaginally without the use of any drugs or interventions. She was attended by a doctor for both my sister and my birth, then midwives with my brother.

My brother was a big baby- he was 9 1/2 lbs. when he was born. On top of that, he was in a posterior position, making the birth more difficult. The midwives had my mom walk around a lot to keep the labor progressing, and when it came time to give birth, she did so in a squatting position. With his size and fetal position, birthing my brother was likened to giving birth to a 12.5 lb. baby! My mother was able to birth without complications, probably thanks to caring and knowledgable midwives helping her along.

It makes me wonder how a similar difficult birth would be handled in a hospital nowadays? My friend had a normal, albeit long labor, her baby was small, and it was in the anterior position. It should have been a straight-forward birth, but in the hospital she was strapped down, poked and prodded, and consequently her labor progression slowed down. The doctor told her that the baby’s head was slightly to the side, and no matter how hard she pushed, she would never be able to get the baby out… she was then basically forced to give birth by Caesarean.

It makes me wonder what would have happened if the doctor had allowed her to move around during labor, maybe sit on a ball or get in water? If the baby truly was off to the side a little bit like they said, it could have easily slipped back to the correct position for birthing if she was allowed to move around and let gravity do its job of moving the baby down the birth canal. Oh, and she was already 8cm dilated when they told her she would need a c-section.

I’ve read all these stories about how simple and beautiful birth can be and how medicalization has destroyed the natural process, but there’s nothing like hearing the experiences of people close to you.

FEARS: Ceasarean Birth

I have two friends who have given birth in the past few months. They both planned natural births, but in a hospital. Both were induced, and both ended up giving birth by Ceasarean. Why?

It seems that at the slightest complication, hospitals tell women that they have no choice but surgery. Of course I don’t know all the details, and perhaps it was really medically necessary in both cases, but I find that hard to believe. Obstetricians are surgeons, and to deliver a baby by Ceasarean is easier and more straight forward for them than dealing with a difficult labor and birth. Apparently there are legal troubles doctors can get into as well when there are complications. Not really sure what that’s all about, but I am just under the impression that in hospitals, OBs jump at the chance to recommend a C-section.

It’s so sad to me that so many women are robbed of the chance to have a natural birth experience. I have heard that after giving birth by Ceasarean, many hospitals don’t allow a woman to give birth vaginally for their next child, so they may never be able to.

Both of my friends went to the same hospital, one that has a beautiful maternity ward and good reputation- they even allow water births. It is the hospital that through my midwife, I will be transferred to if I suffer complications during labor. I know that I need to accept all possibilities because labor and birth are not predictable, but am afraid of going to the hospital. I am afraid that if I were transferred there, then I would lose my voice. That they would tell me that I am incapable of birthing my child, and for my baby’s safety, I would need drugs and surgery.

I want to cry for all the women this has happened to. I know that what is most important is that mother and baby are safe and healthy, and in some cases a Ceasarean is necessary, but in so many cases it really is not…

FEARS: TV Influence on Teens

I am saying all of this as a generation x/y-er. I was a teenager less than ten years ago… I get it. I get being young, and having people think that you are too young to understand love and sex and feelings, and everything that seems so overwhelming to you when you are in high school. I went through college, through my first relationship, my first kiss, drinking, (light innocent) drugs, college, stress, relationships, sex, frienemies, breaking and entering… been there, done that. I have also graduated from that phase. I have a great job with benefits, a husband, pets, a nutrition and cooking hobby, a mortgage, and within a year from now, a baby. I can really understand both sides.

I never watched much TV. When I was younger I watched Saved by the Bell, Dawson’s Creek, Charmed, the X-Files… things seemed pretty innocent when I was young. Are those shows so old already?! How times have changed… I just watched the first seven minutes of the first episode of the Vampire Diaries, and there was already both sex and drugs. Yes, those are both things that exist and that teenagers are aware of, but my problem is this… pop media makes it seem as if these things are the norm and passé for ninth graders. Are kids who haven’t even had relationships yet really that jaded?!

I am only 26 years old right now, and I remember my teen years vividly. I had my first kiss (that wasn’t in a game of truth-or-dare) when I was 16. I know that I had classmates who started all this stuff much earlier than I did, but did they really follow adult scripts in middle school? I hate to be that awful old grown-up, but the idea that these kinds of shows represent the average kid nowadays frightens me. What will it be like in 15 years, when my children are in high school? It’s almost enough to make me want to home school…

I don’t want schools promoting religion or weird morals, anything like that… I just don’t want kids to feel pressured to act like adults. The amazing thing about being young is that you have time to explore your own personality and figure out who you are… and to entertain crushes. To have the joy and anticipation that you only get when you like someone, and are afraid to do anything about it. It doesn’t have to turn into a relationship- kids can move from one crush to another without a qualm.

When you grow up and turn it into something real – make it about sex – then you lose the freedom to explore and enjoy all those hormones and feelings. I never thought about this until I looked through the eyes of a parent. I hate the idea that my kids would see these things and think that they have to be studs or sluts to get along. Not that they have to be prudes either, but the media and social pressure seems to dictate that people be straight, normal, followers, loose (but not too loose, lest ye be called a slut), or whatever role the particular society you live in thinks is the coolest.

I fear that my kids will be followers.

Most parents hope that their kids end up like them in a way, and I hope that my kids will be like me! In no way followers, but hopefully more confident than I was when I was their age.

Come to think of it, it’s amazing how insecure we all are when we are young. Well, maybe not everyone, but I certainly was. As an adult I still have some insecurities, but I am probably one of the most confident women that I know. I probably sound completely arrogant, I know. It’s not because I think I am awesome, though.

The summer before I left for college that I heard the phrase, “Fake it ’til you make it.” I lived by that for a while. I pretended like I was a popular girl during Freshman orientation. Hey! Nobody knew me- they had no idea that I was a completely average, forgettable, slightly nerdy girl. I just smiled and acted outgoing and friendly towards everyone. At the end of the weekend I had forgotten most names because I had met so many people, but everyone seemed to remember my name and think I was pretty cool.

I learned the key. My goal from then on was to find a balance. Be nice and friendly, and don’t care what people think! But also, listen and form a bond with people, so that you can actually remember who people are and the details about them, that make them unique. I have not mastered this – maybe it is a lack of Omega-3 or a slight case of ADHD – but my memory is not the best when it comes to names and facts about people I meet. The thing that I definitely have mastered, though, is the ability to be me. Honest and real, no matter who I am around. It can actually be a flaw in certain situations (“Brutally honest,” as I have been told from friends, and “You can’t be so open with the way you feel!” in job reviews).

There are many adults who strive for popularity still, when they may be happier if they could just relax into their skin and let themselves shine through. We all know someone who is awesome… but when they are in a group, around their co-workers, around their crush, perhaps- they try to be something else. It’s like being a teenager all over again. You don’t know who you are, so you try to be what you think other people expect or want you to be.

Followers, pretenders, fakers, lambs, lemmings, wannabes… so many words, and so many actions that kids will do in an attempt to fit in. I am afraid of the culture, and hope I can give my children the confidence they need to conquer it.

Motherhood ~ Past, Present, and Future

I have gone through a religious and spiritual journey in my life so far, and my beliefs are always evolving. I enjoy reading about different religions, taking all that I’ve learned and combining it with my own experience to form a personal belief system. I don’t believe that I have to follow any one particular religion, because I feel that I would be closing myself off to so many possibilities.

A couple years ago my mother-in-law gave me a deck of Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards- basically they are tarot cards with a Goddess theme. There are goddesses from many cultures and religions across the world, there to guide the lost when it comes to any open-ended question. Supposedly they work best during a full moon, and so I regularly bring them out when I notice that the moon is full. They are surprisingly accurate considering the possibility of responses… there are so many cards that would not be relevant for many questions but 95% of the time the cards pulled answer the questions well.

We had some friends over this evening and when they took off, Luke pointed through the skylights and showed me the gorgeous full moon. With all these fears and questions running through my head, I ran to the bedroom and grabbed the cards. I answered a couple of Luke’s questions before he got bored and left to play video games, then asked my own open-ended question… how can I be a good mother?

For most questions, I pull three cards representing past, present, and future. Here is what I got for my question, and my interpretations…

  1. PAST: Kuan Yin, Compassion
    • “Release judgements about yourself and others, and focus on the love and light that is within everyone.”
    • I have mentioned before that I can be quite selfish, but I have another flaw that I’ve kicked for the most part… that’s being judgmental. I used to be very self-conscious, and would judge others as a defense mechanism. As I have gained actual self-confidence and world awareness, I have opened my eyes to the fact that everybody comes from somewhere, everyone has a story.You can’t judge a person when you see them for the first time, or even when you’ve known them for a while and they are acting up, because you don’t know the real cause of their behavior. Most of the time it’s not you, so there’s no reason to defend yourself- that can even make things worse. The best course of action is to treat people with compassion and respect, and maybe they (and you) will feel better. Everyone has some goodness inside themselves, even when they are driving you crazy. And even when you are in a self-loathing mood, you may be better off treating yourself with the kindness you would give your BFF.

      I think this concept is the definition of maturity… being understanding and respectful of yourself and others even in the face of adversity. Learning this lesson helped make me the person I am today… someone loving and lovable in my own way, and hopefully prepared for the journey ahead.
  2. PRESENT: Kali, Endings and Beginnings
    • “The old must be released so that the new can enter.”
    • This card signifies that although you may be losing something, you are also gaining much more. Change is just a part of life and I need to stop being afraid of it. It’s time to let my party days go, leave my youth behind, and embrace all the possibilities that lie in my future.I said in my last post that I was afraid that I would resent my life and my child because of the change it brought to my life, but that would not be an issue if I can leave this part of my life in the past. Becoming pregnant will be an ending to this phase of my life… youth, partying, irresponsibility, selfishness… but it will be a beginning as well.

      A beginning of a new family, of motherhood, and altruism. Once I let go of the freedom I am losing, I can embrace the joys and love of a family and children that I will be giving and receiving.

  3. FUTURE: Sekhmet, Be Strong
    • “You are stronger than you think you are, and your strength assures a happy outcome.”
    • This card really speaks to me, and what it means to be a mother in my future. It says don’t complain, or make yourself out to be a victim. I occasionally have a tendency to play victim, but in this case I am making the decisions and going in with knowledge. I knew in marrying Luke that we would have a family and that my life would change, and that it would happen soon. Complaining won’t help one bit!The more important message of this card is obviously strength, both physical and emotional. The physical is simple… I will need a bit of physical strength and stamina to keep up with my children, carry them around, have energy, and be the kind of mother I desire to be. The emotional strength is more complex.

      There is a section in the card descriptions that points out various meanings of the card, and all seem to be relevant to my future as a mother.

      • Don’t underestimate yourself – I obviously question myself and my capabilities as a mother… thus this whole “FEARS” category of the blog. Maybe I need a little more confidence that my motherly instincts will kick in!
      • Don’t yield to pressure or temptation – I think of this one more in the line of diet… there are always bagels, junk food, cakes, and crappy foods laying around and I regularly feel tempted. I indulge occasionally, and always feel like crap after. That’s not good when I am pregnant or breastfeeding, because if I feel like crap, my baby probably feels like crap too. There will inevitably be a lot of pressure as well when I am pregnant… thank goodness I found a midwife who supports my paleo eating plan and doesn’t ask stupid things like, “Well, where are you going to get your fiber without whole grains?” There will be many people that try to get me to eat things I don’t want or I know are no good, because I have seen it so much… Many people think of pregnancy as an excuse to eat anything you “want” because you are expected to gain a ton of weight anyway.
      • Avoid complaining or indulging in negative thinking – I already discussed the complaining, but it would be great to avoid most negative thoughts as well… negative thinking causes stress which is bad for the body and the attitude. If I am thinking negative thoughts, my body won’t be functioning optimally, and after I have given birth, my baby will be able to sense my negative energy and will have it’s own stress. I believe that everything is interconnected, and so if I can personally stay positive, then my energy will have a positive effect on myself and the people around me.
      • Engage in weight-training exercises to make your body stronger – doing my best on this one! Like I said before, I firmly believe that physical strength can help a mother do the things she needs to do. This will help with pregnancy, birthing, and motherhood, when I actually have others depending on my strength to take care of them.

In a strange way, pulling a few tarot cards gave me a little confidence that I can be a good mother… as long as I retain my compassionate nature, I let go of my past lifestyle and embrace this new future, and grow the physical and mental/emotional strength I need to care for others.

FEARS: Parenthood

With my “deadline” drawing near, I am trying to figure out what I am the most afraid of because after all, once I am pregnant there’s nothing I can do and I can’t have my wine to relax anymore!

I sat down with Luke and we discussed it a bit… Like I mentioned before, I am afraid of certain life changes and not being able to do what I want anymore. I think it might come down to a fear of parenthood… of being responsible for another life. I am a fairly responsible person, but if I screw up then I am the only person that is hurt. When I become a mother, I have a whole new host of responsibilities, and they all influence the way my child grows up. Like any other parent, I will want the best life possible for my child… a loving family, a good education, good food, etcetera, but I also want to instill in them a sense of humility, thankfulness and respect. I want them to appreciate what a good life they have and want to make the world a better place. To be all the best things that make up Luke and me- without our worst flaws.

I am in no way a perfectionist, but I think that when it comes to parenthood, I am putting pressure on myself to be the perfect parent. I realize right now that it has already started and I’m not even pregnant yet. I’ve already read books and watched videos about pregnancy and birthing to be prepared. I am planning my pregnancy diet to be as healthy as possible for my growing fetus. I am planning a natural drug-free birth because it can benefit a baby in so many ways. I’ve even started researching co-sleeper cribs and planning in my head what we will do when the baby arrives.

All this planning, and I am still scared that I am too selfish to be a good mother, and that I will resent my child because of the change it brings to my life. What if I don’t feel connected to my baby? I have no idea how I will change throughout pregnancy. I know there are all kinds of hormones and that mothers react in all different ways when they first meet their baby… what if I am a bad mom?

FEARS: Complications During Labor

I have complete faith in my body, that it can do what I need it to do. I had never even considered that I wouldn’t be able to have a natural childbirth or that complications could arise… That is, until I found out tat not everyone feels that way and the way hospitals work nowadays.

I know I need to be relaxed to all possibilities so I can go with the flow when I am in labor and giving birth, but I am afraid of what would happen if I am transferred to a hospital. I’ve heard horror stories, not just from books but even from people close to me… Women may be determined to have a natural childbirth, but it seems like as soon as they step inside the maternity ward there are nurses trying to “ease their suffering” with an epidural, and doctors trying to speed their labor up with pitocin. When the cocktail messes up the woman’s natural process and labor is slowed down or halted, the staff is happy to suggest a Cesarean.

I am terrified of succumbing to this fate. More than anything, I would love to give birth naturally in my home, staffed by my midwives, perhaps a doula, and my dear husband.

FEARS: Life Changing

I am reading the book Birthing from Within which was on my midwife’s reading list. The book encourages mothers-to-be to think about their worries and fears related to pregnancy and motherhood. I’m sure I will have many more as time goes on, but I want to start with a particularly relevant one now.

The many ways life will change after becoming pregnant

I have always been pretty independent- I loved living by myself when I was single, and traveling the world alone. I liked not having to check in with or answer to anyone, being completely selfish and doing whatever I wanted to do. A lot of that changed when I moved out to New Jersey and in with Luke. I was suddenly in a very serious relationship… partnership, really. There was someone who cared where I was and what I was up to, our animals needed attention, and the big house needed cleaning.

That still wasn’t a big deal- I enjoyed my life change and was fine with the responsibility. We still party and drink, I have girls nights, attend CrossFit classes, do photo shoots with friends, have impromptu barbecues, and plenty of other things. We just have to make sure we take care of the animals, feed ourselves, and keep the house relatively tidy.

My lifestyle is about to change dramatically. I will have to stop drinking and doing crazy CrossFit classes. I will spend time researching baby stuff and preparing for the arrival of the little one. Once our baby is born, I will have to keep the house much cleaner and spend a lot more time doing laundry. I won’t be free to come and go as I please- any time I go anywhere I’ll have to plan a bunch of extra time to get the baby and its stuff ready. I’ll never travel with one small purse again!

When you have a baby, you suddenly have a LOT more responsibility, and quite honestly that makes me nervous! As cute as they are when they’re little, I might just be looking forward to the time when the baby is not so utterly dependent… old enough to run around and play, entertain themselves, and maybe even help with the chores!