I've got a huge dilemma... one of the biggest in my life. I'm part of an amazing non-profit organization's leadership program for women. We have a trip scheduled in January that is overseas, a total of 10 hours flying from New York. Obviously, we have to fly to New York first.
It's an opportunity of a lifetime. Paid trip with group of people I know and all the arrangements handled. I have to decide by next week if I am going to go or not.
I'll be in my 23rd week of pregnancy when we go, a time when the baby is viable. The idea of a 10 hour non-stop flight with no doctor on board is not comforting. Plus, the longest flight I've taken is five hours. I'm the kind of person who lives on eight hours of sleep and doesn't adjust to time well. People have told me the trip back is very hard on the system. The schedule is pretty filled up, leaving little time to rest. Then, there's making sure I can get bottled water and snacks to get me through between meals.
No one wants to decide for me. I can't decide. The baby is using my gut, so I've no instinct.
CPSC (US Consumer Product Safety Commission) has a recall mailing list and they send the emails out every time there is a recall. This is a valuable resource for parents and even non-parents since power tools, house decorations, and much more are included in the list.
If you have a product that's questionnable, they have a search engine so you can search for the product to see if there is a recall.
The Web site is plain, but effective. It does occasionally have broken links, just play with it, if you need to.
You really want to know what it feels like to be pregnant? Or maybe you want to get the teens turned off? Try the Empathy Belly Pregnancy Simulator.
3 1/2 months is a pretty quiet and unexciting period. The news is not news anymore and most people know. The pregnant gal ain't far enough for people to really notice (I think they are all thinking I've gained weight). It's too early to feel the baby's movements, which start around 18-21 weeks for a first-timer and a few weeks earlier for a non-first-timer. I suspect little me will make noticeable movements within a couple of weeks.
Instead, the most exciting time during this period is going to the doctor and listening to the heartbeat. It turns out that instead of listening, we saw the heartbeat. The doctor thought maybe I was further along, so he wanted to measure the baby again. It may be three days ahead, but it'll come when it's ready. Click on the picture for a little help.
O. Baby! is a pregnancy blog and lists many others. Best wishes to Kerry and Joe due in March.
My son asked Paul for another good night kiss as Paul was leaving our daughter's bedroom. He went in there and bid him good night at his request. Before leaving the room, son says, You don't have a baby in your tummy.
Well, he's got the right idea! Maybe he does have some form of understanding of what's happening.
I had terrible taste during the first pregnancy or rather, I didn't want to spend too much money and some family members sent me awful clothes. When I opened the box of clothes in preparation for #2, I was horrified. Half of them went to Goodwill. At least, they can tear them up and use them for something else.
I learned my lesson and had more shopping choices than the first time. Got mostly basics and solid colors so I could mix and match. Opening the box, everything went to the laundry room or the dry cleaners. Not one item went to Goodwill. It's nice not having to do much shopping this time around.
The hard part about the start of a pregnancy through four to six months is not showing and/or have people thinking you're just gaining weight. My co-workers knew from the start when I was pregnant with #2 (I started the job while 3 months pregnant) and yet one was oblivious about it.
I have to leave for a little bit to go to the doctor, I say to Geoff.
Surprised, he responds, Are you OK?
I'm six months pregnant! What did you think I was? Getting fat?
No one wants to hazard a guess if a woman is pregnant or not. There are women out there who naturally look pregnant. My 8th grade teacher was one of them, but we knew she wasn't because she was over 65. Before you jump and tell me there are women having babies in their senior years, this one never got larger in the whole nine months of the school year.
OK, so why don't I feel better now that I'm out of the first trimester? Been having raging headaches. Nausea is less frequent. Eh, I'll give it another week or so. Actually, I had a good day yesterday and today with only a brief headache.
A pregnant woman feels like a teen-ager at times because many of us start breaking out again, the worse thing that could happen to teens outside of breaking up.
One thing kicks in to make us feel like animals. Our sensitivity to smells heightens. Oh man, when things smell bad... they smell very bad. When things smell good, they smell too strong (perfume, for example). So I skip wearing perfume and be thankful the my cube is situated in the middle of the floor, far from the kitchens on both ends.
In the first pregnancy, I didn't sit close to the coffee maker, but I could smell it anyway. Even before I was pregnant, it stunk because it was made with half caf and half decaf. Nasty stuff. I abhored the smell of hot coffee during the first two pregnancies, but not so much this time. It could be that I'm not around it as much as I was previously.
Oh yeah, the pants are ready to bust. Actually, they still fit, but they become uncomfortable after a couple of hours. Guess it's time to dig out the boxes and wash the maternity clothes.
We had our first brush with a kid emergency on Sunday night. Lane stepped on the 11-year-old beagle's tail who, in response, yelped and nipped at his face. Paul rushed him to the emergency room where he had two stitches. The next day he had a shiner like someone gave him a black eye (or pink, in this case). He's fine and animal control came by (doctors, by law, are required to report animal bites).
B. Dodger (dog) is in in-house quarantine for 10 days with a follow up in 5 days. Lane is fine and no longer in pain. Swelling has gone down a bit.
Paul was putting Shelby to bed and she put her bunny (her friend since she was a year old) in front of his face for him to kiss. Paul joking said, Ow! Bunny bit me! Call animal control!
Shelby non-challantly responds, Bunny is always nice to Grandpa. How's that for feeling old?
Paul told me the story and we heartily agreed that we don't want to think about grandparenthood when we're about to re-enter babyhood.
The First One
Before we headed to Texas for my grandmother's 90th birthday, we were suspicious that we may be on our way with #1. Alas, we took The Test and zip. Went to Texas, celebrated big birthday, came home.
On Friday, June 11, 1993, I went to the doctor for the annual check up and reported my suspicions of a possible pregnancy. How did I remember the date? It was our anniversary and we had the day off. Yeah, we spent it at a doctor's office and then going to see Jurassic Park. No, it isn't romantic. However, we don't see movies in the theaters often because we prefer to wait until they come out on video with captions. But I had read Michael Crichton's book, so I knew the story.
The doctor took a test, which was also negative. Before we left, the nurse took blood. We celebrated anniversary #4. Come Monday, I had a trip to Oklahoma City. On the way to the airport, I felt terrible. Didn't think anything of it since I had experienced it before.
I had had a miscarriage between kid 1 and 2. So, I was a bit wary of the positive test with #2. The doctor asked me to come in earlier than normal for a check. I refused to believe anything until I heard it from him. Sonogram showed all was good, but I didn't want to celebrate until the second appointment.
Pregnant women need not be embarrassed or ashamed if they don't feel as happy as they should. All those raging hormones can mess with a girl's mind. We hear more about postpartum depression, but it can happen while pregnant, too. Information on prenatal depression.
As hard as it is to admit it or seek help, getting a doctor's help really does make a difference. Snapping out of it doesn't happen. Waiting for better days won't make a difference. Just get help, get better, and enjoy precious moments.
For some women, telling co-workers and the boss about the pregnancy is a stressful event. I guess I've been lucky in all three situations except for a job interview when I was 11 weeks pregnant with #2.
The Interview with #2
I searched the Web for advice on job interviews and whether or not to tell about the pregnancy. Came up with zip, zilch, nada. What to do? Tell the manager and risk not getting the job? Don't tell the manager and risk feeling and looking like a liar (she's gonna find out eventually!)?
I played it off-the-cuff and just figured I'll decide at the interview. Didn't say anything on the phone interview, but had an in-person interview coming. The meeting went well and immediately I developed a rapport with the potential manager. After meeting the staff and wrapping up the interview, I swallowed hard and innocently said, I need to tell you something, but I didn't know what was appropriate. As a person of integrity, I believe you need to know that I'm expecting.
She laughed and congratulated me. All the stress flew out the window and I obviously got the job where I remain four years later (different building, though).
The manager who hired me is long gone. In fact, she left while I was on maternity leave. I've known my current manager since I first started with the company. We were waiting for a town hall meeting to start and she happened to sit next to me. I have news, I said with a poker face. She looked at me and waited. I held up three fingers.
You're pregnant? Gave her an affirmative and received happy wishes.
Now for the rest of the team. I brought a bag of Baby Ruth candy bars to pass out. It's only two days to Halloween, so I didn't think they'd think anything of it. Angela asked, "What's this for?"
"It's a clue." I responded mysteriously.
She asked, "What was the question?"
"No question. That's your clue." She figured it out quick while the others were standing nearby overheard. Hugs all around. Congrats all around. Yay. Yay. Back to work. They's good folks.
The fun part is keeping the secret for the first trimester especially if you're the kind who gets sick. I had my little package of crackers and did all I could to keep anyone from noticing. I guess I succeeded.
Start Spreading the News for the First Time
Since I was in Oklahoma City on a business trip when I found out, I couldn't resist sharing the news with my co-workers, boss, and boss' boss. They were all happy, happy while I was feeling green for most of the week and the rest of the first trimester.
Moms-to-be can get a weekly newsletter from several resources giving them an update on what's happening with them and their baby with links to related articles. I used Babycenter with pregnancies 2 and 3. It's probably the best one. However, the dad's version is another story:
It is a waste of time because it doesn't tell you much. The whole thing is a screen and half long. Of that, one 2 inch by 5 inch paragraph tells you a little snippit of information on what is happening. The rest is "Buy this," "This is on Sale," "Have you bought this yet? "You suck if you don't buy this." Thus, it's worthless. I would rather get the one you (Meryl) get, said Paul. Yo!? There are actually some dads who would like week-by-week information on their growing baby and know what they're in for when they go home to their pregnant wives in the evening. :)
Anyway, BabyCenter's My Pregnancy This Week begins with a summary of Mom and baby's current statuses followed by links to related articles. Of course, it includes links to the premium content that ain't free. With all the baby resources out there, the books I have, and being on #3, I have no need to pay for such reference. Usual ads (text-based, but I subscribe to the text-only newsletter) and links to deal of the week are there to entice you. As long as there is no annoying blinky stuff, I'm fine with the ads.
Amazon, believe it or not, has a newsletter as part of its partnership with Babies R Us and parenting.com. To subscribe, go to Babies R Us front page and scroll down to Are You Expecting? with the Parenting.Com logo and enter the email address. Your Pregnancy, Your Baby and You newsletter. This one has a flaw... It is off by one week. When you're at 12 weeks, it says 13. At 13 weeks, it says 14. It does not say anything like As you're entering your so and so week. It simply states that is the week you're at.
iVillage's Parents Place also has a newsletter which is has annoying animated ads on the sides and lines that are split up in the wrong place. Despite that, it's a useful and informative newsletter that includes What's happening with you? What's happening with your baby? Fact of the Week, discussion board topics (I never use these), and links to Topics of Interest for the Week.
When subscribing to two or three, you get more well-rounded information.
We're not surprised at our 3 1/2-year old son's behavior. He is oblivious to the baby discussions we have amongst ourselves with our daughter. Dad decided to start preparing him for the change. He asked him, Would you like to be a big brother?
No! son responds.
Dad tries again, Would you like a little brother or sister?
<sigh> It isn't a surprise coming from him.
Then, the next week, he started saying he did want a baby brother or sister. Wanna bet he'll change his mind especially after Mom balloons? I wouldn't be surprised if he says mean things about the baby after it arrives, but he'll get over it as most kids do. He better!
When son came along, daughter reacted as we expected it. Happy, not jealous, etc. etc. Now, she calls him her annoying little brother.
Believe it or not, with each pregnancy the book(s) of choice changes. On the first one, the ultimate book is What to Expect When You're Expecting. Each chapter takes you through each month explaining the typical symptoms for that month, a description of how the baby is growing, and covering topics that may concern the mother. Easy to read and use as a reference. However, my sister-in-law hated the book because one of the explanations scared her unnecessarily when she was experiencing the symptoms.
Second time around, I referred to the aforementioned book only to find the symptoms of pregnancy since I had the book in stock. This time, I got two funny ones and one written by my doctor. The first is a parody of the What to Expect book called Expect the Unexpected When You're Expecting!: A Hilarious Look at the Trials and Tribulations of Pregnancy. It's every bit as hilarious as the title sounds. It's not meant to offer advice, but it does ring true on some of the facts.
We girls don't talk about everything when it comes to pregnancy. Instead, I turned to the The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy: Or Everything Your Doctor Won't Tell You. The author makes you feel like you've gained a new best friend who tells you all her secrets, talks about those annoying women who bounce right back as soon as the baby pops out, and telling it like it is based on experience from a woman who had four kids.
For advice during the second pregnancy, I relied the most on my doctor's excellent 1000 Questions About Your Pregnancy: Everything Every Expecting Woman Needs to Know. The book is laid out in question and answer format sorted in groups like illness, medicine, early pregnancy, and so on. There is a fold out chart that gives you the highlights of the entire nine months. One thing I liked about Dr. Thurston is that he tells you like it is without the sugar-coating. Some may not like this, but it worked for me. Thanks to insurance, he isn't my current doctor.
Now that I am on #3? All the books are sitting on the bookshelf along with the other parenting books. I may have cracked open a book or two looking to verify pregnancy symptoms before it was time to take the test. If I have a question or can't remember something, then I'll pull them off the shelf and use them as a reference.