Category Archives: Pregnancy

The Docs Say It’s Time For Modified Bed Rest

I’m eight months pregnant and so far things have been going swimmingly, though I am one of those strange women who loves all 40 weeks of the pregnancy from baby kicks to body aches. But now the landscape has changed.

Instead of poking fun at my expanding waistline, I’ve taken to cheering for every millimeter of growth. It’s because I’ve started to develop preeclampsia. That’s where, among other things, a pregnant women’s blood pressure rises to not great levels and it can be dangerous.

A Personal History. When I was pregnant with Logan, at my 34-week checkup, the doctors noticed his growth had slowed, he was still measuring at 33 weeks and my blood pressure was high. After weekly monitoring, a couple trips to the hospital, medication and bed rest, they induced me at 38 weeks. That’s full term and Logan was born a perfectly healthy, but small 5 lbs 6 oz. He’s gone on to be a normal, thriving tantrum-prone toddler.

This time around the medical staff has been watching me like a hawk. Since my blood pressure started to go up a few weeks ago, they ordered monthly ultrasounds to make sure that Bean was growing fine. I thought this was great because I got to see the little one each month, how cool is that? Bean’s actually measuring a little big (yay!) and has been passing all the tests with flying colors.

Nevertheless, because mama’s not passing all her tests, I’ve been ordered to work from home three days a week so I can lie on my left side as much as possible, increasing blood flow to the placenta.

RELAXXX! This is my least favorite part of having high blood pressure. Everyone you’ve ever met tells you to relax. I know they mean well, but the chorus of commands to “RELAX!!!” isn’t, well, relaxing. I care for my child more than any person on the planet and I want the best for Bean and I’m always trying my best, so believe me I’m trying to relax. I’ve cut back on everything and will continue to do so, but keep in mind with a 3 year old, a husband who is now working at least 70 hours a week and no family nearby, it’s no cake walk. Thank goodness I have a great cleaning lady, good neighbors and good friends. But to the chorus, I say: mile in my shoes people, mile in my shoes.

What’s Next? For now, I’ll keep working as it keeps me sane, I’m sure if things keep progressing as they did last time, I’ll have to dial back and be on more bed rest. Last time bed rest drove me bonkers as someone who’s at her happiest (and Zen) when she’s on-the-go, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. For the time being, I’ll smile at Bean’s Cha-Cha slide in my tummy, root for Bean’s growth and yes, even relax a little bit more.

Memories of A Miscarriage While Caring For My Newborn

*Guestblogger Jess is a quick-witted, stay-at-home mother-writer-friend who periodically discusses the various lenses of her life on She’sWrite. Here’s her story:

Six weeks ago, I had a beautiful baby girl named Clara. So it might seem odd to write about a previous miscarriage, but the memory of that child has come to surface now more than any time since. I often think of her as I care for my new baby.

My first child, Henry, was 18 months old when we were surprised to find I was pregnant again. Though my husband and I wanted a second child, it wasn’t planned. But after initial hesitation, we embraced the pregnancy wholeheartedly. I felt strongly, in the way many moms do, that I was carrying a girl.

My 8-week appointment went well; then I got a call that they wanted me to come back in to check the placenta again on an ultrasound. There might have been something wrong — I can’t even remember now what it was — that would have caused me to have a pregnancy in which I’d have to be extra careful. So the thought of bed rest was on my mind as I lay on the table and looked at the little jellybean on the screen, the one I had seen days earlier and whose heart had been beating away rapidly. I saw no such flutter on the screen this time. At first I was confused, maybe in denial, and then I saw the look on the technician’s face. Several days of visceral sadness followed, the kind of emotion you do not have to think about or talk yourself into. It just was. The sadness gradually receded over the next several weeks.

I sometimes feel, and felt, apologetic over my sadness about that miscarriage. I mean, it happens all the time. There must have been something wrong, it was nature’s way. And after all, it was only nine weeks. Imagine the pain of miscarrying once you feel the baby inside you.

But nine weeks.  Since my husband and I found out as early as possible, at 2 weeks, that means I had seven long weeks of imagining my child playing with her older brother; imagining the softness of her cheeks and the cooing of her little voice. She was not a bunch of cells to me. She was my child. No, I never met her, not literally. But I carried her, and many mothers will tell you that is an experience unlike any other. The bond grows fiercer the longer the pregnancy, but it is strong from the beginning.

A friend of mine had a miscarriage, too, followed by the birth of her little girl. My friend feels that the miscarried baby was who eventually became her daughter, she just wasn’t ready to come at that time. For me it is a bit different. She is sort of my ghost child, an older sister, the one who came before. She never quite became a part of the family, but she will never leave it. I feel my ghost child in Clara; she is a part of her, but not the same.

My miscarriage has given me deeper gratitude watching my beautiful baby girl sleep and even delighting in her pouty cries for milk. In some strange way I don’t understand, I feel like Clara is an honor to her, my first girl.

Lost Keys? Acting Like a Space Cadet? Blame My Preggo Brain

Preggo brain. What *is* it actually? Why is it that women who were once razor sharp become forgetful, and appear spacy when they’re pregnant? I am one of these preggo space cadets and I wanna know.

The theories abound. For amusement, I checked Google and found it’s because of elevated hormone levels or  increased blood flow. Or my favorite: it’s all a figment of my emotional imagination.

The past couple days it’s been ridiculous. On Sunday Hubby was at Panera Bread getting some work done and Logan and I visited him for lunch. When it came time to leave I could not find my keys. We retraced my steps throughout the restaurant and parking lot, scoured my purse and no keys. I had to borrow his (which were on him) so Logan and I could get home.

Now in a normal family you just switch to using the spare set of keys right? Well if you know us at all you’ll know we’re far from normal. Hubby and I both carry two sets of keys, one to the Jeep and one to the TT. We both drive both cars each day because he takes Logan to daycare and I pick him up. Whoever has Logan has the Jeep because Logan’s carseat can’t fit in the TT.

(A normal family would sell the TT and get a family car, but I love it too much to let it go.)

Then Tuesday morning in a frantic race to leave the house on time I can’t find my keys to the TT. Sooooo I borrow Hubby’s. He’s beyond reluctant to give them to me since I’ve lost two pairs in as many days.

Also  I had warned him that he needed to gas up because there wasn’t much in the Jeep.

In a revealing train ride, I am digging in my purse and see a side pocket I’d forgotten existed… Abracadabra, tucked inside are my Jeep keys. Then deep in my purse there’s my set of TT keys.

I call Hubby to share the good news: all of the keys are accounted for. He’s happy and is even happier to inform me that the Jeep’s tank is full. I’d gassed up the night before and completely forgot.

Good times, good times.

Expecting a Little One? It Must Be Time For a BabyMoon

We’re going on a babymoon. “A wha?” you may ask. A babymoon, you know kinda like a honeymoon but you do it before the baby arrives. It’s so you can have one last hurrah before life as you know it drastically changes.

On a bicycle built for two in Door County, Wis.

When I was pregnant with Logan we had one, well two actually, but those where in different economic times. We couldn’t agree on what to do, Hubby wanted to do a road trip in the two-seater. I wanted to lie on a beach, which was tricky because I also didn’t want to be the beached whale surrounded by a bunch of hot sexy bods.

We took a five-hour road trip to beautiful Door County, Wis. We had a cabin a stone’s throw from Sister Bay and it was great, the cell phone coverage was just enough to eek out a 911 call if we needed it and that was it. So very relaxing. Weeks later, we hopped on a plane to Richmond, Va., rented a car, drove down the coast to Kill Devil Hills, N.C., where we rented a condo. Now *that* was wonderful, fresh seafood, walks on the beach, quiet small town. The whole nine. I remember being excited to lie on my belly again because I dug a hole in the sand for my basketball and napped.

On the beach in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

Now that we’re preggo again, naturally we want to do another “last hurrah” before Bean arrives. Nevermind the other trips we’ve taken lately, oh no, for some reason in my Hubby and mine’s crazy minds, those didn’t count. Camping Trip No. 1 was his idea, Camping Trip No. 2 was my idea to make up for Camping Trip No. 1. And the recent visiting of family and friends in other states didn’t count either.

This trip has to be a trip just for the family for the expressed purpose of being together as a family of three. I know, I know, we get to be a family of three every day, but not someplace *else* where there’s no errands to run, phone calls and emails to return, other mind-numbing responsibilities…

What can I say? My Hubby and I have always been the work hard/play hard kind of people and I’m determined not to let my kids slow us down too much. Besides, Logan seems to love our adventures.

And honestly I’m not really sure that our next trip constitutes “playing hard” as we decided to take a swing up to the lovely, family friendly Wisconsin Dells. To the very same hotel/water park that Hubby took us after Camping Trip No. 1. But I’m excited, the place is great, the suites are awesome, I’m going to go to the spa, they deliver yummy food to your room, there’s fun activities in the area, the water park is a blast and the people who are there aren’t shaped like Hollywood starlets so I don’t mind rockin my bikini with my big ol’ belly.

You don’t hear people talking about babymoons like you used to, again, it’s the economy stupid, but the want is still there. Before, there were chats of trips to Europe, Club Med, short cruises. Now, if moms and dads take a babymoon, it’s more modest: indoor water parks, a couple nights at a nearby hotel, having grandma come over so mom and dad can spend a night away. All of this is totally fine, I’m always going to advocate that people take a break from their daily grind to simply enjoy life a bit more. It creates new memories, strengthens bonds and helps you keep focused on what’s really important: each other.

Making Bonds While Breaking A Sweat

It’s Sunday at 8:30 a.m., and guess where She’sWrite is. At the gym. About a year ago, I started meeting with my personal trainer along with three other women and we’ve had these weekly sanity-saving, butt-busting, ab-torquing classes. Admittedly when I found out I was pregnant I wondered, uh-oh what about my small group training?

We do weights, resistance training, cardio warm-ups and it’s a total body workout. With my last pregnancy I did prenatal pilates and prenatal yoga classes, it was relaxing, but it wasn’t challenging. My current training always made my tummy muscles twitch, left me walking on legs of jello and feeling the ache the following morning.

My trainer assured me, don’t worry, we’ll make modifications and instead of focusing on getting stronger, I’ll just focus on maintaining.

That was such a relief because besides the physical benefits of working out, what I really get from this group is the quality time with the women. They have a variety of life experiences, yet there’s universalities there that bond us. One woman has a zany personality much like my own, three grown children – two in college and one who just passed the bar. Another is a straight-shooting, but sweet kindergarten teacher with two teenage boys and the third is a funny successful career woman. The no-nonsense-yet-kind trainer is a mom of two boys who are tweens/teens.

While working out we talk about our lives. What’s going on at work, with our families, exciting vacations, what’s new with our friends.

I value their advice, insights and love listening about their daily lives. They have this “been there, done that” way about them, but it’s not an air, it’s honest understanding and empathy. And I love it.

Even though not everyone can be part of a small training group, the benefits of exercise can’t be overstated. I feel stronger and more centered after exercising and recommend all moms try to get in even just a little where they can.

Obviously first check with your doctor before working out, they usually advise not to start anything new and vigorous while pregnant. I’m not a personal trainer, I’m just speaking from my personal experience.

  • Check your TV listings. Many exercise channels or OnDemand options have great prenatal classes. Make the time to do them.
  • Just because you’re a preggo, don’t discount light weights, the exercise ball, resistance bands and even mat workouts. There’s still plenty of “Buns of Steel” moves that can be done while preggo. Ask my saddlebags. An expert can help walk you through safe exercises.
  • Take a walk around the neighborhood. If you can, try to leave the little ones at home, put on your sneaks and head out the door. A 20 minute walk to clear your head and get the blood pumping can do wonders.

Breaking the Camping Curse

So I had this idea, and when I get an idea, I usually don’t let it go until it reaches spectacular success or spectacular failure. This idea was to have a proper camping trip.

We went on our first family camping trip a few months ago, I posted about it here. While it was a fun adventure, it wasn’t the relaxing-in-nature kind of trip I’d envisioned. After that excursion I figured we needed to try camping again soon so that it won’t seem like an insurmountable task come next summer.

Also, I have to admit I’m going through a phase where I’m trying to eek out every minute of fun because when Bean is born in January, I know life will never be the same. But the kicker is I don’t know what that life will look like. So I might as well get to crossing items off my To Do list now, while I’ve got a good grasp on how things are.

For the past two months our weekends have been booked with out-of-state trips, parties, work-related functions and more. But I tried to keep this weekend open. When looking for a place to camp, I saw pictures of Starved Rock State Park and fell in love with it as the closest, perfect spot to camp with great hiking trails. Then last week the weather forecast made its last promise of summer, so on Thursday I decided, yes let’s camp. Hubby was all for it and we began preparing. There were new To Do lists, Googling on hiking with a toddler and being pregnant and a fun REI run. Come Friday my family was ready.

The only problem is we had no place to go. That weekend was Starved Rock’s big weekend because of some local festival and they’d been full for ages. I remembered my dentist telling me about Kettle Moraine in Wisconsin. I called them and they said they weren’t accepting reservations, but that I should “c’mon up … we’ve got tons of space … see you this weekend!”

Saturday morning, my clan headed out. About an hour from Kettle Moraine, per the state park woman’s directions, I called the place to see which of the three campgrounds I should head to. A different woman told me they were full and had already turned away well over 50 people. Nice. Now what?

I started to freak as I’d packed up my entire family, carted them to Wisconsin and we had no place to stay. Would the Camping Curse continue? My heroic hubby hopped on his phone and searched for nearby state parks. We were a mile away from one that said they had plenty of space.

As we pulled into Big Foot Beach State Park, the check-in booth was blanketed in beetles. This well-coifed park ranger came out and was unphased. They buzzed around her curly locks and one crawled on her cheek. She never swatted it away. I barely wanted to roll down my window for fear of letting the swarm inside.

Once through Bug Gate, we chose a shady spot atop a small slope. Hubby pitched the tent with minimal help from me and Logan, which was a huge upgrade from the last time when I had to put it up in the dark because he was too freaked by the abundance of monster bugs.

After we got everything settled, we just relaxed. Logan and I snuggled on a blanket and admired the yellow, burgundy and orange leaves while having an esoteric conversation about who created the trees and why. He then gave the park his seal of approval: “Mommy, this place is boootiful.”

He was right. The fall foliage was great and we got a good look at it while going on a 2ish mile hike. The trail we took was fairly well-worn, so he rode his little bike, but after about 45 minutes, I was glad it wasn’t a tougher trail as my body reminded me that I am seven months pregnant.

Many folks thought I was crazy for wanting to go camping with my 3 year old and baking my Bean. I totally see where they were coming from. But in a clichéd 3 a.m. pregnant lady run to the outhouse, I reveled in the silence. While walking back to the tent, I could only hear the rocks crunching beneath my feet and I looked up and saw Orion’s bow. It’s been years since I’ve seen that. His belt? Yes. His bow? No.

Growing up my dad and I had a hobby of studying the stars and living in the city, I don’t see constellations like you can in the country. And it was breathtaking. This, I thought, is why I’m doing it. There’s no e-mail, no phone calls, no TV, no cleaning, no laundry, no RSVPs, no work, no nothing, no expectations. Just me, my family and nature.

And it was perfect.

Coming Out Of the Pregnancy Closet: Guess Who’s Expecting No. 2?

I’ve got a bit of news for some of you. We’re pregnant! Yep, about ready to slip into the alarming land of the double-wide stroller. Part of me can’t believe that just as things were looking a little settled on the home front we’re venturing again out on the rollercoaster ride that is a newborn baby.

Even though it’s going to be nutty trying to make it all happen, Hubby and I are over-the-moon with happiness about the little one whose name (for now) is Bean.

Let me see if I can answer the usual questions: Yes, I feel fine. No, we’re not finding out whether we’re Team Pink or Team Blue. (Although I’m totally Type A, my obsessive need to color in between the lines is not as powerful as my love for surprises. And I can think of no bigger surprise than the sex of your child.) Also, I’m nearly six months along, due Jan. 6.

Obviously everyone who sees me IRL knows that I’ve got a baby on board. But there’s a whole host of folks out there, my “e-friends” if you will, who don’t know. So I’m coming out of the pregnancy closet.

Telling people that you’re pregnant can feel awkward. Many women decide to wait to spread the good word until after they’ve made it through the first three months, when the chance of a miscarriage is much lower. By then, some of her colleagues and friends may already know since she’s extra tired, always snacking, acts like the bathroom has a revolving door and is ordering weird mocktails. But the timing really needs to be about whatever you’re comfortable with.

With my first, I told anyone with ears shortly after I hit the three-month mark. It was such a relief to pass that milestone that I wanted to shout it out to the world. This time around it’s different, somehow it seemed sweeter to keep it among close friends and family for as long as we could.

Also letting your manager know can be terrifying. You hope they’re going to be cool with it, you think they’re going to be cool with it, legally they kinda have to at least pretend to be, but still. You’re never quite sure of the reaction until a few moments after you’ve uttered your news.

So since every Tom, Dick and Harry on the street knows we’re expecting, I figured it was high time I post about it. World, meet Bean. Bean, here’s the world.

A 4D shot of Bean