Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Baby Bliss: Things I Have Learned in the First (Almost) Half of Pregnancy

Our baby is due in mid-December, so I am just a couple weeks shy of half-way there.  Here are some things I have discovered over the last few months.

1)  Tired.  So tired.
I had been warned that the first trimester would make me exhausted, but I wasn't quite prepared.  I felt like I had been drugged.  I could lay down in the floor and go to sleep at almost any time.  I napped sometimes three times a day.  As I described it to Jordan, I was too tired to stand up, too tired to sit up, and laying down was pretty exhausting.  If there was something less physically demanding than laying down, I would have done that.

I am incredibly fortunate that most of the first trimester was after spring semester ended.  I have been teaching an online class this summer, so I have been able to grade, write, email, and then nap.  One of the funniest tired moments was at about 9 weeks.  Jordan and I were vising our parents for a week, and we decided to hike in Linville Gorge.  All was well until the return trip, which involved hiking up out of the gorge.  I had to stop and rest about every 100 yards.  At one point, I sat down on a rock in the middle of the trail, put my head on my knees, and dozed off.  We finally made it out, and Jordan was very relieved that he didn't end up having to physically carry me out of the wilderness.

2)  There's a fine line.  And I have no idea where the line is.
Believe it or not, exercise actually gives you energy.  Unless you do it too much, and then you are comatose for the next 12 hours.  I tried running through the first trimester, and I actually did pretty good until the last couple of weeks.  By that time, my 30 minute trot meant  my nap time would quadruple the next day.  So I switched to just plain walking.  Last week (week 15/16), I started ramping things back up a bit.  I go to the gym three times a week and do ten minutes on the bike, ten on the treadmill (mostly running, with a bit of walking), and ten minutes on the elliptical machine.  On the easiest settings.  This seems to be working, as I don't get too exhausted, but I still feel like I am getting a workout.  I am hoping to get more running in before I get too big in the third trimester.

On the same principle of the fine line, stretching is good for you.  Everything I have read extols the wonders of yoga for pregnancy, and since I have been doing yoga for several years now, I have kept it up with a bit of light practice at home and a class once a week.  The funny thing about pregnancy is all these hormones are circulating in your body.  One of them, called Relaxin, relaxes ligaments, which is good news for when you are giving birth.  The bad news, for me anyway, is that it means I have pulled more muscles from over stretching in the last few months than I have in years.  Even doing very basic yoga moves that I have done thousands of times before can cripple me for the next few days.  Like I said, it's a fine line.

3)  I am incredibly happy.
Before I got pregnant, I was worried.  I was worried about how worried I would be once I was pregnant.  (Does that even make sense?)  I was anticipating being overwhelmed with anxiety (the sweaty-palmed, heart-racing, cold-creeping-down-your-neck kind of anxiety) once I knew that birth and parenthood were inevitable and impending.  I was worried about this future worry right up until I got pregnant.  Then what happened?  It went away.  I am not overwhelmed with anxiety.  That's not to say that I won't be closer to delivery.  I have always been rather terrified of childbirth--the anticipation of pain sends me for a loop.  But for some reason, I have been quite calm and philosophical about the whole thing.  It will hurt.  I will practice pain-relieving methods and then get an epidural. I will be fine.  I know I am being very nonchalant about the whole thing, and I don't know if it is the hormones or if it is just resignation or if God is granting my prayers that I would be strong and calm (I lean toward the latter!).  But my overwhelming emotion is just plain old happiness.

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