It’s been about a month since I spilled the beans and let you guys know that Craig and I are expecting a little Johnston come June. I figured it was about time I owed you guys another update on my pregnancy so far. I’m actually over the halfway hump (as of today, I’m 21 weeks, 1 day—20 weeks is the halfway point), and it feels nice to be on the downhill slope toward meeting our baby girl.
Yup, that’s right! We had our big anatomy ultrasound last week, and it took about 30 minutes of poking and prodding to get Baby J to flash us the goods, but she finally did and we’re thrilled that we’re having a little baby girl. It’s funny, from day one, Craig and I have both been picturing a little boy, but the two nights right before I had the ultrasound, I had two dreams that we were having a girl. So basically, we went into the ultrasound room with no clue what we might see. We (obviously) would have been thrilled either way, but it’s nice to be able to put a pronoun onto baby discussions now. Saying “she” and “her” definitely makes the whole having a baby thing feel more real and makes us feel more connected to her.
Plus, we got the awesome news that Baby J is rockin’ it inside my belly. She’s strong, healthy, and is apparently kicking up a storm (although, I’ve yet to feel anything—or maybe I have and just didn’t realize it).
P.S. That’s not how you spell my name. I stopped correcting people sometime around the 3rd grade.
Even though we know we’re having a daughter, we don’t really plan on over-gendering any of our purchases or decorating decisions. We’d like our daughter to feel okay being a pink-loving, princess-obsessed, Easy Bake Oven kind of girl. Or a sports-playing, dirt-loving, tomboy. Or none of those things. Or all of those things. Or whatever combination of interests makes her happy. I’ve never been your stereotypical girly-girl, and Craig has never been your stereotypical manly-man, so it only makes sense to us that we’d want the same kind of freedom for our child to discover her identity as folks gave us to discover ours—and I think that can start as early as in utero.
To us, staying gender-neutral doesn’t mean avoiding things that are stereotypically gendered—it doesn’t mean we’re skipping pinks or blues or won’t deeply appreciate gifts of ruffled dresses and toy trucks—it just means were trying to keep a balance. Keep the flaps of the box open so she can figure out her own identity.
So with that in mind, we’ve officially kicked off work on the nursery! And by “we,” I mean “my amazing, hardworking husband,” because I’ve been extremely limited in my mobility (more on that later). Our house has two back bedrooms on the main floor – one is the master, and the other right next to it was our office.
But it’s becoming baby-central! Craig pulled out all the furniture, removed the popcorn ceiling (a mess that I stayed far, far away from), switched out all the outlets (something we want to do all over the house), and painted the walls, ceiling and trim (which I helped with a bit, thanks to no-VOC paint and a mask). And now we have an awesomely bright seafoam/teal color that we’re kinda obsessed with (it’s Pantone’s Beach Glass color-matched in Olympic Icon zero-VOC paint). You know that I’ve never been afraid of obnoxiously bright colors, and this room is going to be no exception. Bring on the obnoxiousness!
Now that all that work is done, it’s time for the seriously fun part—decorating! Craig and I have been on the same page with almost everything baby-related and the nursery design has been the same way. We have most aspects of the room figured out, and thanks to being the youngest in both of our families, we have a lot of hand-me-downs to repurpose and reuse in the room. In fact, I think the only new piece of furniture we’re going to spring for is a crib and maybe a daybed or loveseat to make the room even cozier. We’re even using the same rocker that my Mama used with me (we’re going to refinish it, make some comfy cushions and get an ottoman)! I love that kind of history, and if it doesn’t end up being comfy enough, we can always spring for a more plush chair or glider once baby arrives.
Of course, because I’m Photoshop-obsessed, I made us a little moodboard to help guide us along our design.
We’re hoping that this room can be a room that can grow with our daughter—so it’s not going to be overtly baby-ish. Plus, it’s on the main floor of the house (in fact, you can see right in the room when you come in the main door to the house), so we wanted it to flow with the rest of our eclectic, bright style. I know a lot of parents say they barely used a nursery (and who knows, that might end up being the case for us), but I think the ritual of designing and working on one is an important step for us emotionally. Plus, it’ll be nice to have at least one room in the house that is “finished.”
Craig and I have been having the baby name discussion since way back when we were dating long-distance and would spend all day talking on the phone with each other. We would throw around future baby names for hours! So once we found out we were having a little girl, the name discussion went pretty quickly. We had four names that were in the running, and we went through and really dissected each of them, and only one met all of our criteria (quirky, but still respectable, not common, has meaning, easy to spell, has a wide-variety of nicknames so she can decide what to go by—something I’ve always enjoyed about my Cass/Cassie/Casandra nameset). We’d settled on the name by the evening after the ultrasound!
Even though we’ve picked a name, we’re both in love with it, and are 99.9% sure it’s “the one,” we’re going to keep it to ourselves—at least for now. It’s not a common name (don’t worry, it isn’t full of apostrophes, doesn’t have a crazy weird spelling, and isn’t some made-up word), but it’s absolutely perfect for us and the personality of our family. We totally expect to get some “Oh, really?” looks when we announce it. So we’re just basking in our joint love of the name, before we hear from the peanut gallery.
How I’m Feeling
Okay, now that we got all the fun, exciting stuff out-of-the-way, how about we bring this party down a few notches? Pregnancy and I still aren’t on the best terms. I am still fighting almost-daily morning sickness—although, not nearly with the severity and frequency as it was a few weeks back—but it’s still there, hovering around a dark corner, just waiting to surprise me with a sudden trip to hug the toilet. I’ve just accepted that I’m going to be one of those women who is throwing up until the day she gives birth (oh, please, please don’t let me be one of those few women who still deals with morning sickness postpartum). It’s not pleasant, but it’s my new normal.
Other than the morning sickness, I’m still dealing with all the other classic first trimester yuckies that everyone says I should have been rid of months ago—hormonal migraines, sinus issues, dysgeusia, chronic fatigue, food aversions—but just like with the morning sickness, they’re not nearly as strong or frequent as before (so thankful for that). I’m eating somewhat normally again, although dinner is almost always a bowl of cereal and some yogurt. I can’t wait until the day that food is actually enjoyable again, and not just something I have to partake in to keep baby healthy.
But the biggest issue in my pregnant-life is something called Symphsis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). When you’re pregnant, the hormone relaxin (good name) is released to help loosen up all the joints and ligaments in your body to help you expand while the baby is growing and help your pelvis and hips let the baby come out come delivery time. Sounds like good stuff, right? And it is, except when relaxin gets a little overzealous and it causes issues—one of them being SPD. Basically, all the ligaments in my pelvis got too loosey-goosey and my joints are now spread too far apart, which means nothing is really lining up correctly, and it hurts like a mother.
A lot of women have sore pelvis and hips joints during pregnancy, but SPD is like a can’t walk, have to have your husband put your socks on for you, cry when you get out of bed in the morning kind of pain. It’s really not fun. And according to my midwives, other than modified bed rest, pelvic support, some chiropractic work, and the occasional pain-killer, there isn’t much that can be done to alleviate the problem once it arises. And it just gets worse and worse as the baby gets bigger and bigger (some women are even walking on crutches or using wheelchairs by their delivery date).
Dealing with this has absolutely been the biggest change in my life since getting pregnant. I’m not supposed to go up and down stairs (hard to do when you have a three-floor house). I’m not supposed to be on my feet for more than a few minutes (hard to do when you develop recipes for living). It’s really hard for me to get dressed by myself (hard to do when you, you know, wear clothes). It’s taken some serious adjustment and some amazing help from my incredible husband. He’s moved the TV into our bedroom, moved the office down into our living room, run down to the basement a million times to grab me things, done every speck of cooking and cleaning while I lay in bed and watch Gilmore Girls—I’m a lucky girl.
I think the hardest thing to get used to with this new issue is that fact that some days, I just can’t do what I want to do (which is probably a damn good parenting lesson to learn now). My capacity for everything has diminished a ton—I just can’t work the hours I could pre-pregnancy, I can’t run errands all day, I can’t take my dog on a long walk—no matter how much I want to mentally and emotionally. It’s no longer about what my brain wants to do, but what my body can do. And that’s a crazy feeling to get used to for an able-bodied person.
SPD also, unfortunately, means that the vast majority of exercise is off the docket for me. There are some stretches and strengthening exercises that I can do, but they certainly aren’t a sweaty, heart-pounding workout. For the most part, exercising tends to exacerbate the issue (and any exercise where my body weight is on one foot for any period of time—running, yoga, stair-climbing, hiking etc. is totally off-limits). I was really hoping to be one of those #fitpregnancy women that I see all over Twitter and Instagram, but it just isn’t in the cards for me. Man, that first trip to the gym postpartum is going to be a bitch.
Awesomely enough, I’m still in pretty good spirits, even though I’ve had a rough go of it. I’m thrilled to be over halfway done and getting crazy excited to meet my daughter. Plus, it mostly seems fruitless to do a lot of complaining about a rough pregnancy. It is what it is, and there is nothing anyone can do about it to make me feel better, so complaining does nothing but spread negativity all around (which ain’t my thing). And I know there are millions of women out there who would take a pregnancy 10 times as rough as mine just to have a chance to have a healthy pregnancy, so I’m trying to keep perspective and stay grateful through this whole puketastic, painful experience.
Plus, having a rough pregnancy has made it to where I’m not dreading labor at all (labor=the end of pregnancy, so labor=good). Although I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune when I’m in the hospital going through the most painful experience of my life. Ignorance is bliss, right?
Other Random Updates
I’m pretty jazzed about finally gaining some weight. It’s a good sign because it means I’m actually eating (and things are staying down mostly). Now that I’m pretty much glued to the couch and the bed, I’m sure I’ll continue to pack on the pounds. I’m not really stressing about weight at all. I’m eating as well as I can and moving as much as I can, and what happens, happens.
The belly hasn’t changed a whole lot from a month ago. I think I’m probably just going to hover looking like this for a while, and then turn planet-sized in my third trimester. I’m wondering when people will start asking me if I’m carrying twins?
After lots of recommendations to shop there, I have purchased a ton from the Old Navy maternity line. I usually am not the biggest Old Navy fan, but man, their maternity line is pretty boss. I also splurged a bit, because I’ve realized that I will be able to wear almost everything after Baby J is here. One of the benefits of being a plus-sized woman—maternity clothes fit well even when you aren’t pregnant—belly room is always a good thing. I also tried to stock up on some non-maternity items that will continue to work through pregnancy. In fact, many of the shirts in the Old Navy plus-size line are actually styled exactly like maternity shirts (longer, ruching along the side to accommodate a belly—like these), so I stocked up on some of those. And these fold-over skirts are one of the things I love from Old Navy, and I’m thinking they’re stretchy enough to accommodate a big belly (they fit great now, with room to spare), plus the fold-over can be unfolded to act like a panel. And I can wear them with leggings and boots now or flip-flops come spring (if spring ever comes).
Craig and I started working on our registry—holy cow, there is so much stuff out there for babies! We’re mostly just registering for the basics, plus some fun additions. But you could easily register for $300,000 worth of things if you asked for one of everything people say is a “must have.” I’ve obviously never done this parenting thing before, but I imagine what’s a “must have” for one parent isn’t necessarily for another. And there’s no way to know until baby comes and you’re in the thick of it. So we’re keeping the list light-ish for now and we’ll adjust as we go. After all, just as long as baby has a place to sleep, a clean bum, cozy clothes, a full belly and lots of love, that’s enough to make it through the first few months (although, admittedly not nearly as fun as binge-buying all the adorable clothes, toys, and baby accessories that are out there).
We have started doing some buying for baby! Mostly we’re just picking up a sleeper here or a onesie there when we see something we like (mostly when we see organic clothing on sale—we’d love to go mostly organic, but holy expensive, Batman!). But, we’re going to hold out to do major buying until after our shower in the spring. I did order some fabric to make the blackout curtains for the nursery (because I refuse to pay $150+ for curtains that I can make myself for a fraction of that cost—and get it in a fabric I love) and some fabric to make myself some nursing covers (because, again, I refuse to pay $30-$70 for what is basically a rectangle of fabric). We also hit up the fabric store with my Mama to pick out fabric for Baby J’s baby quilt! Mama has made a quilt for every one of her grandkids, and I’m so excited to see what she does with this one. We also ordered a few cloth diapers, just to test how they fit in the drawers of a changing table we currently have to see if we need to do any furniture modifications. Having a sticky drawer for a 3am diaper change sounds unfun.
Alright, I think that brings you up to speed! I’m gonna go climb back in bed now.