33 weeks: Gotta get on top of … all this stuff

bump-33-weeks

How far along: 33 weeks

Baby’s Size: BabyCenter says Bird is a little over 4 pounds and 17 inches. I definitely feel more aggressive kicks these days … strong baby!

Weight Gain: My scale ran out of batteries! I’ll let this be a mystery for now.

Sleep: Ugh. I made a discovery: If I sleep on this little two-seater couch we have, I sleep great. I think it’s a combination of the firmness of the couch, the recline of the seat, and the support of the couch-back. So my sleep has been great, if a little lonely. Once I had a few good nights in a row on the couch I tried to get back in bed, and I just could NOT stay comfortable. I think it doesn’t offer enough support, and I ended up tossing and turning for hours.

Clothes: I bought maternity leggings and they are THE BEST THING I EVER BOUGHT. Seriously, I might buy some in a smaller size once this baby is birthed so I can keep feeling all cozy.

Cravings: Nothing, though my attempts to keep sugar and flour low in my diet have made me want to eat sugar and flour. That’s definitely not pregnancy related, though. That’s just my-life related.

Food Aversions: Thankfully, nothing.

Symptoms: I’ve been relieved of nighttime backaches, but I still experience plenty of backache when I stand throughout the day. Also a little occasional heartburn. Small potatoes.

Movement: It’s getting really fun! The baby’s been moving all the dang time for a couple of months now, but lately I feel my organs getting slightly squished around. At this point it’s still like a tickle; I even laugh out loud with some of them. I’m so curious to see what happens over the next month-and-a-half.

Baby’s Sex: Still just excited to meet this little man or lady.

Highlight of the Week: Tickly movements. I was walking around the house yesterday and swore that a foot must be poking through my right side. I didn’t catch it in time, but it was extreme. So cool.

What I miss: These days, this is exactly where I want to be.

Get on the ball, Lindsay!

I have been stuck in a lazy loop. I’ve had a little internal dialogue that basically says, “you only have a few weeks left of being Just Lindsay, so go ahead: eat! nap! take your time with everything!”

Part of me actually thinks this is an entirely good attitude. I really do only have a few weeks before my time belongs to someone else. I really do only have a few weeks before solid sleep becomes a memory. I really do only have a few weeks before my life changes forever in ways I can imagine and in ways that I can’t.

But there is another part of me that’s completely unsatisfied by choosing to honor this dwindling time by doing as little as possible. And indulging as much as I think I can afford.

Case in point: All my good blood glucose numbers from last week got me thinking “oh, I’ll just throw in some sweets here and there; eat more bread and pasta, because really I’m doing great and that’s what I want to eat and damnit I will!”

But as I’ve been tracking my blood sugar over the past week, I saw a few numbers that weren’t great. After at least three meals my glucose was higher than the suggested maximum. Not so much to send me into a panic, but enough to remind me that healthy food choices (and exercise) are really a must.

Yesterday was my most recent poor showing (after a lunch that included bread and an apple … and a morning full of sitting down). And that was the last straw. I felt sorry for myself for about a half-day and then checked in with Patrick. “That sucks. But luckily you have the tools to manage it.”

He was right, and that’s exactly why I wanted to talk to him about it. It’s so logical, and so simple. I mean, I don’t have to take insulin. That’s wonderful. All I have to do is eat healthfully and get in a walk a day. And if the indulgent part of me wants to whine about it, so be it.

Small. Potatoes.

There are other good things to be done: house cleaning, sewing projects, finishing up the nursery, a hometown to walk around. This is the way to enjoy my last few weeks of being Just Lindsay.

Next up: checking in with The List.

32 weeks: Maybe I DON’T have gestational diabetes

bump-32-weeks

How far along: 32 weeks

Baby’s Size: BabyCenter says Bird is almost 4 lbs. and 17 inches long. So big!

Weight Gain: Up 25 lbs. since before I was pregnant and 20 lbs. of baby-gain (according to the nurse practitioner who suggested I not include my 5-lb. gain from our vacation to San Francisco). That means I haven’t gained weight in a month! Of course that worried me — at, like, three in the morning — but when I looked it up it seems as though many women gain weight at an irregular pace. Considering I spent several weeks packing on pounds, I’m up for a little plateau.

Sleep: I wake up several times a night, usually with slight back pain or general discomfort. I’ve tried to stop looking at the clock to see what time it is, as that seems to get me anxious and wide awake. If I just let the wakefulness come, it seems to go on its own without too much effort.

Clothes: Do you know that I still haven’t bought proper maternity clothes? At this point, I’m thinking I can do as little as invest in a few pairs of maternity leggings and stretch my current wardrobe to meet my needs.

Cravings: Nothing! I think I might miss out on this whole craving thing.

Food Aversions: Ditto.

Symptoms: Lower back pain! If I’m moving around or laying down, my back is bound to hurt. Also, during meals I feel full a little more quickly — though that hasn’t stopped me from wanting to eat all the time. But that’s just typical Lindsay.

Movement: ALL DAY EVERY DAY! This is by far my favorite part of being pregnant. And while I haven’t gained weight in the past month, the baby has definitely gotten bigger — all the pushing around in there is getting slightly uncomfortable, but like, tickle-y.

Baby’s Sex: I’m not even tempted to find out.

Highlight of the Week: All the baby moves, always.

What I miss: Nothing! The back pain, I could do without. But it’s not so great that I wish it away … I’d rather be pregnant!

I had gestational diabetes?

I mean, it’s not really something you have and then don’t have. But when I took my test a couple of weeks ago, my blood sugar numbers came back super high. And when I retested a week later, super high again.

So my doctor referred me to the diabetes self-management department of the hospital system. I signed up for a four-hour course with one of their nutritionists, and the visit earned me a free starter kit for checking my blood sugar.

And you know what? That day of the class my blood sugar was good … even great. And the next two days of self-monitoring, my numbers stayed good — even when I threw a big ol’ chocolate chip cookie into my low-sugar, low-carb diet.

So why? If I’m allowed to self-diagnose, I think my initial high numbers might have been skewed because the first high test was taken on the day I was getting a cold; and the second high number was taken just as I was getting over that cold. I’ve read that illness can affect your body’s insulin production, spiking your blood sugar.

I AM NOT A DOCTOR. But I really can’t think of any other reason my numbers would eventually end up being so good.

Silver linings

I spent a few days being really bummed out at the prospect of having gestational diabetes. I knew that I’d do what I needed to be healthy. (A risk for leaving the high blood sugar untreated could be a baby who gains too much weight, possibly complicating labor.) I just didn’t want to, you know, be sick.

The class was really great, though. I spent four hours with two other moms-to-be and a nutritionist talking about a solid diet and habits to help control blood glucose levels. One point the nutritionist made was that a good diet for a diabetic is a good diet for anyone, and it centers around observing your carbohydrate intake:

» Keep your carbohydrates limited at each meal. Apparently pregnant women should have at least 175 grams of carbohydrates on a daily basis. The upper limits should be something like: 30-35 grams for breakfast; 60-65 for lunch and dinner (each); and 20-25 for each snack. Carbs include fiber and sugars (simple sugars, like cane; fruit sugars; even the sugar naturally present in dairy, lactose).

» Be consistent about carb intake. According to the nutritionist (and broad guidelines), consistency helps your body regulate blood sugar.

» Exercise lowers blood sugar. In fact, going on a ten- to twenty-minute walk after a meal can be a good strategy for maintaining good numbers.

» Higher-fiber foods are a better carbohydrate option. Fiber helps slow your body’s absorption of sugar, so it’s a great partner.

So now I have all this great information (some of it just confirmation of things I already knew), and how can I not want to use it to keep myself healthy?

I’ll have the tools to monitor my blood sugar for, I’m guessing, the next few weeks at least. I’m really interested to see how my numbers fall. I’m not gonna lie: they’ll probably be a spreadsheet.

I made my new favorite tote bag

I don’t know about where you are, but Winston-Salem, NC, is having a beautiful day. Blue sky, cool air, warm sun. I’ve opened the windows in my sewing room and plan to spend the day gazing out into our backyard between sewing projects.

Last week I spent an entire day in the sewing room, constructing what is officially my favorite make: a linen and cotton-twill tote bag with blue ticking liner. Linen interior pockets. Simple woven straps.

tote-exterior

I made this twice, and I still love it (no angst over the hours I spent ripping out almost every stitch and carefully picking away loose threads).

The first time around, my interfacing (fused to the linen exterior fabric) was too delicate. And I realized that my mini-pockets — which I’d sewn to the outside of a larger interior pocket — were going to cause a big floppy mess once they actually had things in them. Those little pockets would have been much more stable and easy to reach into if I’d sewn them onto an interior wall of the bag.

tote-bottom

There were so many things I loved about this bag — the colors, the textures; the bag bottom was cut from an old pair of Patrick’s shorts! — it wasn’t going to be good enough to let it stay undermade. Seam ripping was the only proper answer.

bag-before

See the way the mini pockets are sewn in the bag’s original construction? That big interior pocket became incredibly floppy once I put anything in the mini pockets. It’s been so much easier to use now that I’ve moved those pockets to the interior wall of the bag:

tote-pockets

tote-handle

Oh, and I also gave the bag handles a little reinforcement on the second sew. This is my first time doing that boxy stitch, so every single one looks different and has at least one stitch creeping outside the box. Seriously, every project I’ve worked on has taught me lessons. I think that means I’m headed in the right direction.

tote-interior

I think interiors should always be interesting. And what is it about ticking? I find it really … soothing. I made a little table runner out of it, and a couple of napkins. I’m certain I’ll keep it in my fabric stash for the foreseeable future, because I’m nearly certain it’ll always seem like a good option for projects.

My second-favorite thing about this bag: having undone it to redo it

Seam ripping with a thread snipper is actually kind of fun ...

Seam ripping with a thread snipper is actually kind of fun …

Of course I’ve had failed sewing projects before. And what have I done with them? Tossed them in the trash, mostly. I’m not so good with obstacles; I prefer easy paths.

I love that I saw the mistakes of this bag as opportunities to improve and learn, as opposed to failures. I love that I spent two hours picking out stitches, cleaning off the fabric, and going back to do construction I had already done before … and that I still felt like I was moving forward.

I even spent the time taking apart that cute skirt I made a few weeks ago but that was too big. Another project to be undone only to be redone, and I’m really looking forward to what I might learn in the process.

28 weeks: Hello third trimester … & baby predictions!

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How far along: 28 weeks

Baby’s Size: BabyCenter says Bird is 14 inches long and more than 2 lbs. I can’t even. I’ve started feeling movement on my sides, now … crowded baby!

Weight Gain: Ahem. 25 lbs. since before I was pregnant; 20 lbs. of baby-gain (according to the nurse practitioner who suggested I not include my 5-lb. gain from our vacation to San Francisco). That puts me at a 5-lb. increase since two weeks ago.

Sleep: Off and on. In the past few days I’ve been able to sleep most of an eight-hour night, though I always have to get up at some point to pee.

Clothes: Wow. I’m still squeezing into my pre-baby clothes. I wonder if once baby comes I’ll have to buy new ones … surely I’m stretching everything to its limits.

Cravings: Nada!

Food Aversions: Nada, ditto!

Symptoms: Whoa, the back. My back has been so sore that Patrick suggested I call his dad, the family-practice doctor (who’s attended births!). He asked me a few questions, to which I said “yes, yes, yes.” (THe questions: Is the pain in your lower back? On one side or the other? A couple of inches from your spine? Does it make you a little wobbly?)

His guess? That this is just the beginning of my joints loosening up as I get closer to labor. It seems so early to me! He said to bring it up with my doctor just to be safe, but I’m putting my faith in “this is normal, no need to worry.” I so prefer that attitude.

And what I’ve found specifically: I’m OK if I’m moving all the time. My back hurts the most when I move from standing or sitting. Like maybe my bones/joints/muscles have gotten all settled in and then I shock them back to work. But once they get back in the groove, I’m fine.

Other symptom: GAS. That is all.

Movement: All the live-long day. I see fewer kicks (I think the baby knows when I’m watching!), so I’m trying to focus on the joy of just feeling them.

Baby’s Sex: It’s anybody’s guess … and almost everybody is guessing boy!

Highlight of the Week: Anytime I pass my reflection and see this big ol’ belly staring at me!

What I miss: I can’t lie: I miss having a healthy back. I don’t know how people live with chronic back pain! I’ve had it for two weeks and I’m DONE.

I’m ready to make some big predictions

This is maybe just a factor of time … of having all this time to wait for the baby to get here … but I’m starting to collect a pile of predictions about who and how this little one is gonna be. Wanna know?

» Boy! I’ve thought almost from the beginning that this is a little boy. And people who guess it’s a boy give me all kinds of reasons. “You’re getting so big! It must be a boy.” “You’re carrying so low! Boy.” And then my favorite, which is my own: “I don’t know. I just think it’s a boy.” To be clear, the closer I get to the birth day, the more I realize I’ll be incredibly happy just to meet this little person. If it’s a girl, what a wonderful surprise. If it’s a boy, how neat that I knew!

» Patrick clone. This little one — boy or girl — is gonna look just like Patrick. I mean, look at these noses:

babybird-20-weeks

He always looks so serene after a race.

Patrick had the biggest blue eyes and fat cheeks as a baby. Worth a repeat, for sure.

» Red hair. OK, so this is a strong hope that is starting to be willed into a prediction. Patrick has a ton of redheads in his family (I even have one or two sprinkled on my dad’s Colombian side, of all things). Patrick’s mom, two brothers, late great-grandmother, and I’m sure other relatives are redheads.

I think I willed this hope into a prediction when I heard his mom tell a story: Recently she was going through her late mother’s belongings (her late mother, the brown-eyed, dark-haired woman named Ruby). Among a chest of keepsakes was a plastic bag that contained two locks of hair: one lock from Ruby’s mom; one lock from Ruby’s daughter, my mother-in-law. Both of them: the same shade of red. Grandmother and granddaughter managed to both be redheads despite a big patch of black hair between them. I took it as a sign. It’s really, really fun to take things as signs.

» My temperament. This pregnancy has been so easy! The worst things that have happened: I was really tired for a couple of months; I felt nauseated (but never got sick); my back hurts. I mean, this is all small potatoes, right? This baby is easygoing.

Now, I may be a big-time planner and list-maker and I think a little too much a little too often, but one thing I definitely am is cool under pressure. Things are falling apart? I do not fall apart. Disaster is striking? There is a way out … let’s just take a minute to think about it. I feel like this little one has a little bit of that. Also, a little bit of my sit-back-and-watch-the-worldness.

Thing is, if this baby is a Sagittarius … s/he’s due right in the middle of that astrological sign … s/he’ll be a wild thing. And a wild card. And thank you very much I think I’d love it if the first thing this baby did was bust all of my predictions.

Truth: I spent my birthday being totally depressed

… and I found that entirely annoying. And also a little extra depressing.

It was a coincidence. I’ve always been more comfortable with the idea of a very low-key birthday celebration — dinner at home with my husband and a special dessert — so my birthdays don’t come loaded with expectations that get dashed. That wasn’t it.

I simply woke up yesterday with sour thoughts in my head.

I’d had big plans (all week!) to indulge in a sticky bun for breakfast. I was even talking it up to friends the night before. Thing is, I woke up on my birthday, caught a glimpse of myself, and all I saw was this girl that did not need to be eating a sticky bun. Obviously those negative thoughts had already dug themselves in and this was just the first sign of them. But that moment was also what helped set off a long day of me moving around in the soup of whatever.

Things that are real

» By the end of the day I felt truly warmed by all the people who wished me a happy birthday. But as I saw those wishes coming in, I felt overwhelmed by them. “But I’m depressed! Why are you being so nice to me?!”

» I had to force myself to treat myself to a take-out lunch (fish sandwich and fries — I never order stuff like that, but it always looks delicious). I had to overcome my glop-induced urge to just eat toast, and instead recognize that I could muster the fifteen minutes it would take to call in the order and pick it up.

» I still made myself an afternoon coffee, with no doubt that that was exactly what I would do. Coffee must be genuinely magical.

Things that are really good

Happy ending No. 1: I didn’t just sit back and take it. I’ve dealt with sad days for, oh gosh, almost twenty years now. Used to be I didn’t know what to do with them, so they would last days. I slowly moved toward what has become a tried-and-true solution: sleeping them away. And actually, detaching my awareness in that way would help me pass the time that it naturally took for those thoughts to evaporate — which they always have.

Yesterday though — maybe because it was my birthday and I’d had plans, damnit — I didn’t want to sleep. I wanted to sew my new tote bag. So I spent ten hours (for the record, probably about eight hours longer than necessary, on a good day) slowly constructing myself a tote bag for my birthday.

I watched some mediocre-to-good television: Under the Dome. Between occasional cliche, shallow lines, it has somewhat interesting characters involved in a mysterious plot and also emotional drama and I was depressed so OF COURSE I CRIED … while I was sewing. Safety first: I put down the shears when I got blurry-eyed.

Thing is, I worked all the damn day. I even saw mistakes I’d made and wasn’t undone by them. I just picked out the stitches and started over.

By the end, I had a finished bag that looks pretty good. Oh, except I will be picking it entirely apart to reconstruct it (as an aside, it’s amazing that every single sewing project I’ve ever done makes me better but also never fails to teach me something else I should know — like that pocket placement can affect how a bag hangs once those pockets are full; or that interfacing weight is highly important, especially if you start with a light fabric.)

Happy ending No. 2: I woke up today full of ideas. Really, these terrible thoughts go away almost by themselves.

And this morning — at four in the morning, to be precise — I woke up with wide eyes and determined. There are things on my life list and, as opposed to yesterday, I felt empowered to do them.

The most sparking thought that crossed my mind was “These are things I want in my life, and they’re going to take work.”

There’s no getting away from the true fact that things worth doing are worth working for. Not just hoping for or doing when the mood is just right and the weather cooperates. But worth carving out space for and practicing over and over again and drafting, redrafting, editing, starting all over.

These are the things I want in my life, and these are all things I will have to work at:

» Writing. I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve been dealing with sad days (coincidence?!??). Almost twenty years. Writing — even on a keyboard and into a white screen — is visceral for me and it always has been. I can dig into it; it digs into me. My life has recently become more busy for all the right reasons — baby on the way, design projects, home projects — and writing to this space has fallen to the bottom of the list. Maybe the purpose of this space has to change, or maybe it’ll just take more story-planning.

Regardless, I’d like to spend more time back here. I like it, and I like you.

» Making. Yesterday’s sewing, as tedious as it became, was satisfying in the end. It’s the same satisfaction I got when I had my little baking business and I went into the kitchen with experiments on my mind and a reason to work with my hands. Making, for me, seems to be about starting with a plan and questions, with a hope for discovery. I’ve started a little wishlist of courses on Craftsy. I still have plenty of baby things to make from The List. I’m actually looking forward to picking apart my new tote and seeing if the way I put it back together makes it better-constructed.

I have a shelf full of fabrics that need to be used. I wonder if I can find a use for every single one …

» Making a home. I love to organize, but that’s about as much of homemaking as I naturally enjoy. The cleaning? The meal-planning? The cooking, even? That’s a little more work for me. But truth be told, I want to be the one doing that work. Why? I don’t quite understand it. I just do.

It means I’ll have to figure out how to incorporate all those things into today that I’d rather put off until later.

» Fit, strong, healthy. Does every woman carry around an image of some other version of herself that seems better? Or maybe this is every human person? There’s something to be said for accepting the shapes and ways you are. There is also something to be said for building a healthy life that makes you the strongest version of yourself there is. More than anything, that has become the focus of my alternate-Lindsay-daydreams. So far, I’ve been trapped in knowing the things to do but not knowing how to consistently wrap them into my daily life.

What else can I say but that I’ll try harder? … I’ll try harder.

» Lovely, lovely people. Patrick ran into the bakery last night to grab us birthday treats. I watched from the car as he chatted with one of my regular customers (I introduce Patrick to all my regulars when I get the chance). In the pitch black of night, looking into that bright warm scene and seeing that lovely woman make friendly conversation with my husband, it was one of the moments that turned me back onto happy thinking. I realized how lucky I am to work the job I do, meeting good people and getting to catch up with them every day. And this little town is full of good men and women that I want to know better, have at my home, bake for, sew for, even.

Introvert, meet your future. Meet a lifetime of saying yes when it feels so much easier to say no, thank you.

Happy birthday to me

Thirty-two is going to be amazing. Little baby coming. Family getting started on its next phase. House-fixing and homemaking. Who knows what else. Except I do know — all of these things that I will work for.