127 pounds. That's my goal for Wednesday's weigh in. According to my research (and supported by my doctor), it's reasonable to add up to 5 pounds in the first trimester and then one additional pound per week in the second trimester.
I started this journey at 118, so at week 20, 127 is right on. It will mean that I gained 3 pounds in the first trimester and am progressing on schedule for 6 weeks. If you didn't know, the first trimester is slightly "longer" because it's calculated from the date of a missed period.
In my real world, I don't weigh myself. I have a long history of disordered eating and have learned that the number on the scale is always too high or too low. Plus, with all the variables that effect the scale (its accuracy, my muscle mass and hydration/hormone status) it's not worth my time. If the number is too high, the lie is that I am on track to become Shrek. If it's too low, the lie is that I am not taking care of myself.
But, I am nervous. I hope that I am fueling myself for a healthy baby. I think I am. I've added about 300 calories every day and reduced my exercise intensity.
Gaining weight doesn't bother me. I am happy to put on the recommended 25 pounds (okay, the actual recco is 25 to 35, I am "happy" with the low end) in exchange for the experience of growing a baby and I am getting used to the idea of being a mother.
What does bother me is a fear of hunger and the resulting feeling that my eating is out of control.
When I was 15, I learned how to make myself vomit. My friend taught me after we ate a bunch of junk food. It was gross, but I liked the attention of losing weight and the high that resulted from thinking I was in control of my body and what it looked like.
After a few weeks, I shifted my diet to Jolly Ranchers, Vivarin, Diet Coke and steamed vegetables. I lost weight quickly and earned a bed in an eating disorder unit. To be honest, it was a drastic measure. But, my mom did not know what to do with me. I was a spirited teen on a destructive path. The hospital was useless. I was discharged after a month and started a progressive love affair with exercise.
“Some” was never enough. What started as a daily Step class evolved in to a 10-mile roundtrip bike ride to the gym for 60-minutes on the Stairmaster, Step class and then weights. Obviously, this was not sustainable—especially when I left for college. My pattern shifted to a new cluster F that included alcohol, drugs and sex (in addition to food and purging) to try to control the world and the people around me.
An addict in their disease is delusional. It took 13 more years to find a solution that worked for me. In the simplest of terms, I have a daily reprieve based on a fit, spiritual condition. I am commited to fueling my body appropriately and to moving every day.
My healthy size has an athletic ratio of muscle mass--which makes my weight higher than others my size. I don't care. I can move through life strong and I like that.
I don't weigh myself. I don’t restrict what I eat. I avoid junk because it makes me feel crappy. I avoid overeating since it triggers the desire to eat more (which makes complete sense if you’ve ever had an addiction) that then triggers the need to "get rid of it" by vomiting.
None of this is driven by vanity. My body is not perfect and won't be. In fact, I don't even have a standard for physical perfection. It's driven by a desire for control and to compensate for uncontrolled behavior. It's driven by a desire to reward and to punish. It's driven by the idea that I don't have to commit to anything -- even food.
And now, it's all different. It's not "my body," it's Baby T's house. She's going to need more space and it's my job to grow that for her. There is no choice, my body will do it. She's also going to get hungry and it's my job to use my experience proactively so that my monkey mind doesn't freak out and want to ignore her hunger.
Yes. This is outside my comfort zone of eating and I'm not worried that I'll blow it. I am surprised how quickly the selfishness of old behaviors has shifted to keep Baby T healthy.
Some days are tougher than others. My spirits are good but my stress level is through the roof! It started when my landlord called to let me know that he had to tent our home for termites and replace the deck. I live on the second floor and won’t have access for a week or so. I don’t care—it has to get done and it’s easy for me to stay with a friend. But, it launched me into a spiral.
My solution is to call my landlord and ask what his plans are.
He is not going to raise the rent much—maybe $100 which is no big deal, I’ll lease a cheaper car. He has no issues with a newborn. However, he does tell me that once she’s up and about, I will have to move or figure out how to prevent her from falling through the deck railing or down the stairs. Good point. I never even thought of that.
Back to work. I am showing now which means people choose to touch my stomach at their whim. I really don’t care about this either. I leave at 4:30 to go to Pilates.
It's a little humiliating. I have been going since December but today, I am stiff and can’t move how I did just yesterday. The instructor provides prenatal modifications and instead of feeling like a pregnant goddess, I feel like a walrus with bad skin. I want to be alone and I want to be with people. I don’t know what to do.
I call Caroline. Her 8-year old answers and let’s me know that the Indian Ocean is actually the third largest ocean—and that she has never seen any ocean. I hear it as a sign that I should NOT move. I am 2 blocks from the Pacific.
We decide I will take myself to dinner. That way, I can be alone, around people and choose my favorite, hippy drippy place that is raw and vegan. I need some serious veggies after a week of "salads" made of iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges and "chicken." I turn off my phone and order a raw, vegan pizza. I feel better, but, still overwhelmed.
What are we going to do with a baby?
Trade show two means five days in Los Angeles. My partner this week is our “soccer guy,” Brian, and we decide to head up Tuesday. This way, we can be sure that all our gear arrived and that our union labor is, well, laboring.
I leave early to meet a friend, Sam, who is in LA from Austin for a WOD at my friend’s CrossFit Box. We planned this in early October and I am not going to let Baby T make me bail. The warm-up is easy and the strength portion is doable (deadlifts, rows and one-armed snatches). The WOD is not. It’s a ladder of double-unders and pull-ups. I don’t jump (no need to break the baby for a workout) so trade each rep for a calorie on the Assault Bike.
It’s going to be a long one so I keep my mind busy watching other athletes watch themselves. It’s painful to see the body consciousness and I am glad I’ve shifted my relationship with exercise in the last 8 years. What used to be punishment or repentance for eating/sitting too much is now how I de-stress, socialize and have fun.
I won’t lie, I am beat. After lunch, I drop Sam off at his hotel and head to mine. The next four days are going to be busy. I need to be rested to do my job and we agreed to meet at 6:45 am for an Ashtanga class at Equinox, I want to be clear for that.
Baby T loves yoga! We are one on the mat and have no issues with postures or energy. I am nervous to lie on my belly and remember there is skin, fascia, fat, muscle, bone and an expanding uterus to protect her. It feels funny, but not in a bad way. I’ve also done my research. The only contraindicated poses are on the back since they can compress the uterus.
After class, I shower and get ready to set-up a giant booth. Brian and I are meeting at 9:30 and he brought his wife and daughter to help. As I am getting dressed, I notice my belly has popped and I can’t suck it in anymore. I wasn’t planning on telling all my co-workers yet--we'll see.
Set-up is long and boring. Although I graduated from unpacking boxes when I was 30, I am out of retirement since our company is on financial lock-down and my team of 4 is now just me. It’s actually easier than directing people and we are done in under 3 hours.
Instead of pushing myself and meeting another friend for dinner, I get a massage (my EQ employee discount works in LA) and have an overpriced dinner at Whole Foods. I love being anonymous in this city and cruising around in sweats while everyone else is playing their part in LA. We have a “fancy” dinner tomorrow and I’ll save my energy for that.
What did I do? S’s parents are meeting me for dinner tonight and I am ner-vous! It will be fine. I have a very full day which is good to keep my mind occupied and I will sort myself out in a few hours.
I head to the gym for a quick workout before the trade show and run into one of my favorite people from Texas—I manage a partnership between our companies and I dig working with him. He’s super excited that I am pregnant and shares his journey into fatherhood that includes “how-to” raise a non-biological child when the dad’s a deadbeat. More proof that “normal” does not exist. I love his honesty.
The rest of the day is productive. In between talking to baseball coaches, I wrap up some lingering projects and connect with a few cool companies that will be fun to work with. The show closes at 5 and I have 90-minutes before I have to be ready to go.
Hmmmm. . I need to chill. I turn on the TV and settle on “The Big Bang Theory,” roll out my feet (rehab for my foot surgery) and do a 10-minute meditation (I meditate during trade show season or else I am bitchy) and it helps me to get clear on my intentions for dinner.
As I am switching dresses, I get a text that they are close to my hotel and will pick me up. Cool.
The lobby is swarmed with baseball coaches and I am clearly the only thing in a dress for miles. It feels good to be “checked out,” and somewhat f’d up. I’m pregnant, I didn’t just guzzle a gallon of milk. I wait outside and chat with a few co-workers until they arrive.
The restaurant is a quick drive (even faster since we are in a Porsche) and really lovely. It’s a historic house converted into an Italian restaurant with over-the-top décor including frescos, fabric-covered walls and lots of gold. It’s quaint and quiet.
My nervousness is gone. It melted the moment his mom hugged me “hello.” The conversation is easy and I feel comfortable with them. We’re seated promptly and I lead with my intent for dinner. No motives. No agenda. Just an authentic interest to get to know each other.
They are clear that they will support us, me, S and Baby T however we need it and whatever it looks like. From there, the conversation splinters. We talk about our respective careers, our families, quirky people, their other son and his dissertation, S’s love of hats.
We marvel at pregnancy in “general” terms and the pressure to choose a birth plan, a sleep plan, a vaccination plan and then compare it to what is was like to have kids 40 + years ago. I tell them more about my first trimester and what’s coming up in the next few weeks (blood test and ultrasound). Time flies. It’s already 9:30. I have an early morning and they have a bit of a drive (it’s 30 miles, not 30-minutes—ooops—I am even more touched they made time for me).
I am returned to the hotel by 10 and greeted by my drunk, 24-year old co-workers. They are a mess. I'm not. I'm happy.
January kicks off trade show season. It starts with 2, 5-day events in So-Cal and scales to Seattle by March. I needed my 3rd appointment before hitting the road and the only option was 4:15 pm at the OB-GYN's second location in Oceanside. It's not far from my work, so I went with it.
I called at 4:10 because I was lost and thought I would be a few minutes late. I wasn't. But, when I arrived, they alerted me that I had to be rescheduled because the doctor was very behind.
Quick soap box...The medical "industry" forgets who the customer is. They could have called me when they realized that she was behind and saved me 45-minutes in the car plus the time out of the office.
I teach at a cycling studio that charges per class. If a participant shows up and there are less than 2 other riders (making it "less fun") we give them their next class for free. If I don't like my coffee at Peet's, my next one is free.
I wonder if they know that I pay them? Maybe my reschedule will be at no charge...End soap box
They had an opening (same office) today at 9:30 so I took it. The alternate office is not friendly or efficient. They were already behind at 9:30. But, I waited. I was in no rush and wanted to be sure everything was okay.
Baby T is strong. Her heartbeat is 140 and I love the sound of it.
As for momma, physically, I've gained 4 pounds which is reasonable. For the next 10 weeks, I will add a pound a week and ten to fifteen more by June. Exercise is fine as long as it feels okay and I don't do anything new. I should stop "heavy" squats (defined as 30 pounds) which is dumb. That's heavy if you're 6. Fortunately, a friend is head of programming and research for Fit4Mom and I will reach out to her for more recent data.
Emotionally, my mood has been low and a little dark. I stopped taking Celexa in October to be ready for an Auyasca ceremony (which I cancelled when I learned I was pregnant.) My doctor recommended Zoloft. In her experience, it's one of the best anti-depressants to take during pregnancy-- and the Mayo Clinic agrees--so, I accept a prescription. I'm not sure if I will fill it. She's also clear that Auyasca is not approved and I get the feeling she wants more details. I think I'll hold it for a post-partum cocktail.
I leave with an order for another blood test and an ultrasound at week 20. I schedule my next appointment (at my home office) and then do my part to keep S informed. I text--which is lazy but it's the best I can do right now.
Being pregnant is hard. I have so much uncertainty and so little control over my body, mind and emotions. I know I am not alone. At any given time, there are 6.5 M women that are pregnant in the US – 41% of them are unmarried.
This doesn’t make it easier.
I have no idea how the next few months will be for me, Baby T, S, my job or Drew. I don’t know how she will actually get out or what will happen once she does. I know what I’d like to happen. 5 smooth months of pregnancy, a 3-hour natural birth, a healthy baby, a speedy recovery and blissful sleep for all of us until 2025. It could happen.
I also can’t control anything. My body is off its rocker. It’s hungry, nauseous, strong, exhausted, bloated and “shifting,” all at the same time. My mind is running in circles and my emotions are trying to keep pace. I sleep less than 5 hours each night and the thoughts that wake me up are not healthy or productive.
However, as an optimist, my job is to let go of what I can’t control and to focus on what I can effect. I need support. I can effect that. All I need to do is to ask for help.
Step one. S. Remember all those things that wake me up at night? I decide to share the list with him. All of it. I have a naïve idea that I should spoon feed him one thing at a time. Why? He’s an adult, he needs to know what’s going on that is effecting me, Baby T and have ample time to consider and plan.
I try to read it to him. What a mess. I start crying (again) and hand him the list while I cower on his chest pretending I am invisible. He takes it all in stride. He has early thoughts and we both know this will be an ongoing conversation with a lot of compromise.
I'll have to keep driving it since it's my body on deadline. He'll think I am a nag. I'll deal.
Step two. Sarah. She’s my closest friend in San Diego. We went to High School and College together. Since 2000, we’ve both lived in San Diego (with me leaving for a few years and always coming back.)
She had twin boys 12 years ago and lived to tell about it. I have such fond memories of her on her couch surrounded by mounds of onesies (and yes, of course I helped her fold them!) She’s seen me through all of my significant relationships and whatever this is—there is no judgment coming from her.
It’s good to feel safe being vulnerable and to have an adult exchange about responsibility. It’s not about me and it’s not as simple as a new job or a new boyfriend. I have to make choices that are best for Baby T now.
Step three. S’s Parents. I got a nice text from his mom a few days after Christmas. They live near Anaheim where I would be for 4-days of trade shows next week. I go for it.
“I’ll be working from Anaheim next week. It would be nice to get together if you have time and it’s convenient for you.”
“We’d love to see you. How is dinner on Friday night?”
My angle is simple. I want to get to know them and understand how they’d like to be involved with Baby T. Since I don’t have parents or family that is close or reliable, I need to take some risks so that she has people.
I am proud of myself for doing this and feel comforted that they are interested in getting to know me.