Third Trimester, Weeklies

Twenty-nine Weeks Pregnant

This was less of a good week, at least at the start. It started out great, with a trip on Sunday to the Maryland Renaissance Faire, where I was a bit tired (and soggy, since it rained), but generally felt good. And I got to eat lots of my favorite foods, like Scotch eggs and funnel cake. But a few hours after we got home, I majorly crashed, and kind of didn’t fully recover for a couple days. It came to a head on Wednesday, but I managed to wake up Thursday feeling better.

…just in time for my gestational diabetes glucose screening, yay! I had my one-hour test this week, along with my TDaP shot and blood draw for iron levels, plus another appointment with the doctor. I was surprised that the glucose test drink wasn’t actually that bad. I actually finished it five minutes early (I was supposed to finish it 30 minutes before my appointment) because I found it easier to drink quickly than I expected. I did put it in the freezer for 15 minutes before we left for the doctor (I had to drink it about halfway between my house and the doctor because of how far away we live in rush hour traffic), so it was very cold, and I brought a straw. But it wasn’t so bad. I did get a little sleepy right around the time they came to take blood, and then I wanted some carbs afterwards because I had a low-carb breakfast (eggs, duh).

I also started my Hypnobabies home study program this week, which I talked a little about earlier this week. I’ll give a full recap of the first week in a couple days, but I definitely found the meditations and affirmations relaxing. I think I missed the structured relaxation that I had when I was doing the Circle + Bloom program before I conceived.

How I Feel:

So, like I said, this week was not a great week. When I got up Sunday to make dinner after Renn Faire, I realized I was feeling really dizzy. I didn’t think it was possible that I could be hungry, after all I ate at Faire, but a little soda and a cookie helped a bit. I think I mostly needed to rest, although I was a bit draggy on Monday and Tuesday as well. Wednesday I opted to skip morning barre, and then, that afternoon, I had my first extended bout of Braxton Hicks contractions. These were a lot more crampy than I’ve experienced before, and were starting to get a little more rhythmic, which freaked me out.

But I was pretty sure I wasn’t actually in labor, and I didn’t want to go to the hospital for a false alarm. So I tried to time them while I was metroing home, and later when I was making dinner. But every time I got out my phone, they calmed down. Eventually, I finished making dinner and sat down with a cup of herbal tea, and they went away entirely. I woke up Thursday feeling better than I had all week, actually. And when I talked to the doctor, she seemed relatively unconcerned.

Other than that, I’ve mostly just felt tired, but still motivated enough to cook most nights, at least with Dan’s help. Which is good because he’s gone gluten-free for a few weeks to see if it helps his stomach issues, and that makes it harder for us to rely on takeout for dinner. And, hey, it can’t be bad for me to be eating a bit healthier as we cook more of our own dinners!

Current Cravings: Eggs and avocado, sauerkraut and pickles, French toast

Exercise: X miles/day average walking, barre once

Fruit/Vegetable Comparison: Acorn squash

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Maternity Wear, pregnancy

Maternity Wear: Definitively Bumpin’

Well, my bump has definitively popped (for a couple months now) and I’m at the point where most of my non-maternity clothes really don’t fit. So I thought it was time for a maternity wear update! First of all, I was very lucky to have friends who had lots of maternity wear to share. One friend even gave me the traveling box of maternity wear that is shared among her coworkers, so I have a big stash of things to try. Unfortunately, most of it seemed geared towards cooler weather, so I hadn’t really broken into the box much, especially while regular t-shirts and tank tops would stretch to accommodate me. But since I started feeling uncomfortable in regular shirts, I’ve been really happy to find some maternity tanks and tees. And another friend gifted me some nursing bras and maternity tank tops.

So I think first of all, I should bring up my personal maternity style, as it’s evolved. Because I’ve had body-image issues in the past, I was really unsure how I would react to my growing body and belly. I assumed that I would want figure-hiding, flowing styles, like the tunics I talked about last time, or the empire-waist maxi dresses I bought in the second trimester. Surprisingly enough, I found that I started gravitating towards clinger styles, like bodycon dresses and ruched t-shirts. It turns out, I really like the way my body looks now that I’m obviously pregnant, so I like showing off my belly.

To that end, I’ve been loving the maternity t-shirts and tank tops from Old Navy and Liz Lange Maternity for Target that I got from friends. I wear one of my black maxi skirts with a maternity tank top or t-shirt and I feel like a pregnant goddess. I’ve also found two dress styles from Daily Ritual on Amazon that are very flattering. This one has sleeves and this one is sleeveless (although, heads-up, it is not really a bra-top dress and just has an extra panel of fabric in the top). They’re a slightly thinner material, but they’re not see-thru, miraculously don’t seem to show pantie lines, and are really comfortable during the late-summer-early-fall weather we’ve been having. I’ll probably add a heavier cardigan or pullover for later in fall, and maybe some leggings.

So those are my main updates to my maternity wardrobe. It’s not much, because I bought plenty of versatile pieces earlier on, but it’s been nice to get a few more things as I learn my personal pregnancy style.

Hypnobabies, pregnancy

Hypnobabies Self-Study: Starting the Program

So first of all, I wanted to start this by saying that I am not a die-hard “natural” (i.e., unmedicated) birth advocate. In fact, I went into my pregnancy fully accepting that I would probably end up getting medical pain relief. Now, as I learn some more stuff about options for pain relief, I’m starting to realize that I actually want to make more of an effort to avoid an epidural, but that’s neither here nor there. The main reason I started looking into unmedicated birth techniques was because, if everything goes as planned, I will certainly not have the option of having pain relief at the beginning of labor (I have heard that you can get an epidural before starting pitocin if you get induced, but for the most part, everyone starts labor unmedicated) and I don’t really want to be floundering because I just assumed that “epidural, please” was sufficient thought to give to pain in labor.

Second, if you’re familiar with Hypnobabies, you’ll notice I’m using “unapproved” language to refer to labor. That’s mostly because it’s the words that my general audience will be most familiar with. But more on that later.

I was given the suggestion of Hypnobabies from my doulas. They suggest it over other self-hypnosis techniques because they consider it a more complete course on childbirth. I found the technique of self-hypnosis intriguing because of my past experience with meditation and deep relaxation. I’m already familiar with a lot of the breathing and relaxation techniques used in hypnosis, so I figured it would be a pretty natural progression, plus I know I’m personally willing to accept that I can effect changes in my body through a mind-body connection. I chose to purchase the Hypnobabies self-study course because my doulas’ recommended class is pretty far away from me, and I know my husband tends to giggle when he hears the term “hypnobabies,” so I can’t really take him anywhere.

I purchased the class around 26 weeks pregnant, and recently started downloading parts of the course. I went ahead and went through the Introduction last week, and spent the weekend downloading the first week’s audio files, and started going through the course material this week. Starting at 28 weeks means that I will finish the six-week course around 34 weeks, giving me 3-6 weeks to maintain my progress. This week, I’m going to give my general impressions, mostly from the outside, after having read the introductory material and listened to a few audio tracks. Then, each week, I’ll do a recap of how I found the previous week’s work.

So the introduction is mostly an introduction to the structure of the course and the concepts behind self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis involves putting yourself into a deeply relaxed state, where your subconscious mind is more suggestible to changes in your thinking about a specific topic, in this case childbirth. So Hypnobabies training ultimately aims to reset how your brain thinks labor will go. The idea is that you can change your thinking from assuming childbirth is a scary, painful thing, to thinking that it will be more manageable. From there, you also learn specific techniques to put yourself into a self-hypnotized state to help you cope with any parts of childbirth that are less than completely pleasant (i.e., painful). So when you go into labor, you can use self-hypnosis to get through specific contractions, while still being present mentally and able to interact with others between contractions.

The structure of the class is a bit more intensive than I expected. By way of comparison, if Circle + Bloom was a “get fit in 30 minutes a day” kind of program, Hypnobabies is a little more like meditative P90X. You will spend an hour or so each day listening to specific audio tracks, one that trains you in a specific self-hypnosis technique, and one track of birth affirmations. At least the birth affirmations don’t involve deep relaxation, so you can kind of listen to them any time (I like to listen to them at lunchtime at work). You also get a slideshow of each week’s lesson, which probably takes at least an hour to get through, if you do it all in one sitting. Personally, I’m going through one or two chapters per day of the weekly course slides right now. There is also a downloadable booklet that has an overview of the Hypnobabies techniques, plus a supplement specifically for the birth partner, which you can print out and take with you to the hospital (or wherever you give birth). It’s a lot of material, but you take at least six weeks to get through it.

One final note: Those of you who remember my post from last week about complaining about pregnancy might wonder how the positive thinking message of Hypnobabies meshes with my personal belief that you shouldn’t be afraid to complain about your pregnancy. Well, even the Hypnobabies material says that you should never consider that self-hypnosis requires you to ignore or overcome what you are currently experiencing. Yes, they want you to focus on positive feelings and thinking, but first you should accept where you are. Then, the self-hypnosis techniques can help you train your brain to help you move past fears and complaints, similarly to how cognitive behavioral therapy helps you move beyond anxiety. I actually find the techniques and affirmations pretty compatible with how I feel, given that they’re up front about the fact that you’re not actually expected to completely believe all the affirmations from the get-go. That’s the point of training for six week!

So that’s my first impression of starting Hypnobabies. Join me next week to see how my first week of the course went!

Third Trimester, Weeklies

Twenty-eight Weeks Pregnant

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I’m officially in the third trimester! It’s the home stretch and I’m still feeling pretty good. This week was relatively uneventful. The weather thankfully cleared up a bit later in the week, but on Monday, I actually bit the bullet and took a Lyft from my office to the Metro instead of walking in pouring rain. By Tuesday, the weather had cleared up and I was able to get in lots of walking this week. I even did my yoga sequence outside on Thursday morning.

Since I’m moving into the third trimester, I spent this week preparing to think more seriously about the actual birth. We went to our community prenatal class with our doula this Saturday, and I downloaded a home study course for unmedicated birth. I’ll talk a little bit more about this later next week, but it’s a program called Hypnobabies that uses self-hypnosis and deep relaxation to help cope with childbirth. It appeals to my meditation background, and I’m excited to start. My plan is to give weekly updates on my progress through the course and how I find it.

How I’m Feeling:

I continue to feel pretty good, although I’m starting to feel bigger. I might need to consider getting a support belt to help manage the weight of my belly while I walk because, while I have the energy to keep walking, the strain on my back and hips is starting to become noticeable. Oddly enough, my energy level is at a point where I’ve actually been missing running, but as soon as I get out on a walk, I realize that I’d probably never be able to jump back into running this late in my pregnancy after not having gone for a run in several months.

I’m still having trouble with indigestion and a little mild nausea. I’ve also started eating a bit more variety, though, because I feel worlds better than I did during the first half of my pregnancy. Dan decided to try going gluten-free for a while to see if it helps some issues he’s having, so I’ve been trying to get back into cooking more often, which helps. I’ve also been experimenting with more variety of flavor, adding back in some more vegetables that I used to love, like broccoli and kale. And I made some cardamom-roasted sweet potatoes on Friday that were amazing. Plus, I tried eating mushrooms again (in the form of a maitake mushroom cream sauce with gluten-free pasta) after having disliked them during my early pregnancy, and it was pretty delicious. Finally, I’ve started including more probiotic foods in my diet to try to combat the digestive issues of pregnancy. I think I’m still acclimating to the probiotics, but I’m feeling pretty good.

Unfortunately, I’ve been having some trouble sleeping. I definitely notice that I cannot stay in the same position all night, as eventually I wake up with sore hips again and have to roll over. And I’ve been having weird, vivid dreams again. I’ve been using my guided meditation app to help me fall asleep, and I’m hoping that the relaxation from my hypnosis training will also help me get to mental place where it’s easier to fall and stay asleep. But I haven’t even averaged 7 hours of sleep per night this week, and that’s including weekends when I slept in.

I’ve also noticed my appetite picking up, especially earlier in the day. This makes it even more noticeable that I don’t eat as much as the day goes on because I’ll wake up ravenous and eat several meals before noon, only to forget to eat a snack and not want to finish my dinner. Because I know I’ll want to eat as much as I can at dinner so I don’t wake up in the middle of the night, I’ve taken to splitting my dinner up more, and sometimes eating a dessert later, right before I go to bed.

Current Cravings: Avocados and eggs, pickles, kombucha

Exercise: 3.2 average miles/day walking, barre twice, yoga twice

Fruit/Vegetable Comparison: Eggplant

[Image source]

pregnancy

On Not Enjoying Pregnancy

NB: In this post, I’m going to complain about being pregnant. If you’re currently healing from loss or dealing with infertility, this is probably not something you want to hear about. If that’s the case, please enjoy an adorable picture of my cat and don’t worry about reading further.

In addition to having friends who are currently pregnant, or who have shared their own past pregnancy experiences with me, I also post on a couple of Reddit communities for pregnant women, and one thing that seems to come up a lot is the idea that women who are pregnant are supposed to be enjoying it. Especially among those of us who have experienced loss or difficulties getting pregnant, there seems to be a lot of pressure to not only appreciate that we are (perhaps finally) pregnant, but to enjoy this time because we know how hard it can be to not get pregnant month after month, or to get pregnant and lose it.

But the reality is that sometimes, pregnancy sucks.

Image from page 24 of "Queen Victoria, her grand life and glorious reign; a complete story of the career of the marvelous queen and empress, and a life of the new king, Edward VII, with a brief history of England" (1901)

I like to point out to people who feel guilty about not enjoying pregnancy that they’re in good company because apparently, Queen Victoria also famously hated being pregnant, though she loved her children. So I think part of the problem is the mindset that women need to enjoy their pregnancies. I mean, it’s a beautiful miracle where a woman carries a new life and introduces it into the world. But it’s also a source of physical pain, emotional turmoil, and all sorts of anxieties.

Personally, I think that in days past, there was probably a more nuanced attitude towards pregnancy, not least because it was incredibly dangerous. In the 19th century, when Victoria was bearing her children, the maternal mortality rate was around 40%. Now it’s low enough that rates are usually expressed as the number out of 1,000 births, rather than percent. So without the looming threat of maternal mortality as deeply entrenched in our public consciousness, there’s a feeling that we should be focusing on the joy of the impending newborn. Of course, maternal mortality has been in the news quite a bit, and plenty of women still think about it. It’s hard not to. But even without worrying about that, pregnancy isn’t all a bowl of cherries.

I mean, food aversions, nausea, and digestive issues are well-known side effects of pregnancy, although plenty of people think they’re either exaggerated or solely due to some sort of failing on the mother’s part. You’re always going to find someone who says “Well, my wife/mother/sister/whoever didn’t have any morning sickness, so I’m pretty sure it’s not that bad.” Not to mention the pressure on women to push through any kind of pregnancy sickness because (in the case of wanted pregnancies) “you wanted this” or a desire to avoid subtle discrimination for being a pregnant woman. But even mild cases of pregnancy nausea can be completely miserable. I had a pretty middle-of-the-road experience, with a bit of throwing up, near-constant nausea, a few really annoying food aversions, and enough difficulty eating solid food for a while that I did resort to prescription medication. But I didn’t end up hospitalized and I barely had to use any extra time off work. And it was not fun. I firmly did not enjoy my first trimester.

But even after that passed for me (and it doesn’t pass for everyone), I still feel a low level of nausea almost all the time. Part of it is indigestion from my rearranging organs putting pressure on my stomach. Eating is sometimes not as fun. Some of the food aversions remain. And, yes, varying degrees of sickness (the term “morning sickness” is laughable; mine was worse between about 2-9pm) are very, very real, from just constantly feeling a little hungover to being hospitalized for being unable to drink water without throwing up, and everything in between. If a woman in your life feels comfortable enough to complain about pregnancy nausea, never, ever tell her it can’t be that bad. It is.

Okay, so we’ve covered tummy troubles. Then there are the external changes to the body: the growing belly and shifting posture. The main thing I worried about when I got pregnant was how it would mesh with my history of disordered eating and body image issues. I was really worried I would hate the way my growing body looked. Now, I’ve been fortunate that, for some reason, my brain likes the way my belly looks as I get bigger. But plenty of people aren’t so lucky. And even if you’re not unsettled by your appearance, your body is changing in ways that can be physically painful. My back now arches to counterbalance the growing belly and causes back pain if I walk or stand too much. My ligaments in my lower abdomen periodically get tight from sitting and are painful when I stand up again. And don’t even get me started on finding a comfortable position in which to sleep. I started having trouble lying on my back around 20 weeks, and side-sleeping is not a natural thing for me. And sleeping is important because hauling around an extra 20-30 lbs. of body is tiring.

Then, there are the emotional issues. It’s pretty stereotypical to paint pregnant women as weepy, overly-emotional wrecks, but the reality is, of course, more nuanced than that. I’m lucky that, for the most part, I’ve avoided the stereotypical weepiness attributed to pregnant women, but I have found myself dealing with irritability and a much shorter fuse than previously. And, even though I’m not weepy on a regular basis, I have bad days. Even though I’m not going through the ups and downs of a menstrual cycle, my hormones shift, which can mean that on any given day I might be more or less emotional, angry, hungry, tired, or even breaking out. It’s not fun to not know how you’re going to feel on any given day.

Finally, I wanted to admit to something that might be an unpopular thing to express: I don’t actually like the feeling of the baby moving around inside me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful that I can feel them moving and have that daily reminder that things are probably okay, especially given my history with loss. I love that I can check in on my own pregnancy without waiting for a doctor’s appointment. And I especially love the unmitigated joy on my husband’s face when he can feel the baby moving. But the actual sensation of this thing inside you, moving on its own is really freaking weird. And I haven’t even really gotten to the point of it being physically painful yet. Yes, I’m glad you’re still active in there, kid, but I really don’t need to be surprised by a full-body somersault, or a random prod of my bladder while I’m sitting in a meeting.

And I think that final complaint touches most explicitly on the biggest issue with pregnancy: the fact that it’s not popular to admit that you don’t like being pregnant. I have a deep amount of love for the Reddit communities of pregnant women in which I participate on a regular basis because they get it. We support each other, and let each other vent when other people might think we’re heartless harpies for not glowingly loving every second of our magical goddess pregnancies. It’s important to find support from people who are currently going through this because, even those who have done it before might romanticize their past pregnancies. Heck, even I find myself looking back at my truly dismal first trimester with rose-colored glasses, thinking “Well, was it really so bad?” Honestly, I probably should have started some private blog posts while I was in the first trimester so I could look back at what I was feeling in the moment, but honestly, I was too sick and tired and anxious to even consider it. That should probably tell me something.

So if you’re pregnant and you hate it, clap your hands. You’re not alone.

[Queen Victoria Image Source]

(You may have noticed that I didn’t even touch on the unwanted comments and touching pregnant ladies get. That’s because I’ve mostly been fortunate to avoid that, probably because I have what my husband calls “resting death face.” I will bite. But please, feel free to add that complaint in the comments!)

 

Health, pregnancy, Trying to Conceive

Acupuncture Before and During Pregnancy

The month I ended up getting pregnant, I was four month past my miscarriage, and about nine months into trying to conceive a child. I’d already gotten pregnant once, though it didn’t stick, so my doctors weren’t worried, and I knew that it would be at least a few months before I could take any concrete steps towards investigating my fertility, but I was starting to feel powerless. So I wanted to try something. So I started looking to some alternative options. I’ve already talked about my experience trying the Circle + Bloom fertility meditation program, but today I wanted to talk a little bit about the other step I took to try to take a little more control of my fertility journey: acupuncture.

20100928 AlphaCityAcupunks-5

Of course, the scientific jury is out when it comes to the efficacy of things like acupuncture. On one hand, there is some evidence that it does something, but on the other hand, there is also evidence that it might be the placebo effect. So I realize that opinions of this might vary. Personally, I chose to hope that it could at least improve my general health and quality of life, even if it didn’t “make me get pregnant.” And I will state up front that I really don’t think it had much to do with the fact that I happened to get pregnant the first month of treatment. I also went because I was interested in seeing it might have some positive effect on my chronic migraines, which were proving difficult to manage as I avoided NSAIDs while trying to conceive.

So first a little bit about my acupuncturist: He’s trained in a style of acupuncture known as the Five-Elements Tradition of acupuncture, which differs somewhat from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) style of acupuncture. Basically, the main difference is that instead of putting needles in a whole bunch of points at once and then leaving you to relax for a while, the acupuncturist generally needles one point at a time by placing the needle, pushing it in until it “connects” with the acupuncture point, and then removing the needle. He will occasionally do a couple points where he places a couple or a few needles at a time and leaves them for a bit, but he’s in the room interacting with me the entire time. We actively discuss how I’m feeling and what reaction I had to each point. This turned out to be particularly helpful the first time I went because some of the points he needled on my spine ended up making me feel really dizzy! He also uses moxa, which is a processed form of mugwort. There are different ways to apply moxa, but his technique is to place a small ball of mugwort directly on the skin, set it smoldering (he says he “lights” it, but nothing is actively flaming on my skin!), and then removing it when I say I can feel the heat.

One of my concerns with this style of acupuncture and moxa was that it seemed like it would be more likely to leave a mark on my skin, since the needles go a little deeper, and the moxa is placed directly on my skin. So I wanted to say that I have never had any marks leftover after my appointments. Occasionally, I will have a small amount of pinkness to my skin from the increased bloodflow or warmth, but it has always faded before I even get home (it’s about a 15-20 minute walk). Anyway, other than that, I thought I’d talk a bit about the specific things I’ve found have been helped by the acupuncture.

Migraines/Headaches: I’ve suffered from migraine headaches from about the time I was in college, although I’ve never found a medication that I like to relieve them. I’ve found some level of relief by changing my diet and determining what food triggers I have, but I’ve since realized that another major trigger is the weather. So I know that I will likely continue to have them at least sometimes. Not only have I not found a medication that works for me without unreasonable side effects, but I also knew, going into trying to conceive, that I wouldn’t be able to take most migraine medications if I got pregnant anyway. So one of the main reasons I looked into acupuncture was to see if it helped my headaches and migraines.

I have to say that, yes, it has definitely helped. I have headaches way less frequently, and when I do, they’re less severe. Even my migraines are often just a little aura and nausea and not a full-blown, skull-pounding headache, which is much more manageable. It’s particularly nice because severe headaches and aura can be a sign of worrying pregnancy complications, so keeping my migraines at bay has also kept me from worrying that a headache is something more.

Nausea/Digestive Issues: When I was just shy of five weeks, I was having some nausea, bloating, and other digestive issues. I also had an acupuncture appointment. I left the appointment feeling completely better. Seriously, all my early pregnancy symptoms were just gone. For like 2-3 days. I actually freaked out that it meant I was going to have another loss, until they came back later the next week. But it was amazing to me that sticking a few needles in my body could have that strong an effect. Since then, I’ve gone from having appointments every week, to every other week, and now about once a month, but my acupuncture always feels like a kind of reset of my digestive system. I always feel less bloated after my appointment, and early on in pregnancy, when I was dealing with nausea, after acupuncture was often when my appetite was the strongest. No, it’s not always perfect, and I’ve also puked right after an acupuncture appointment (though it still helped my digestion in other ways and I always felt ultimately better), but it’s been a real help in making me feel more like myself, physically.

Joint/Muscle Pain and Cramping: This is a relatively recent one, but since I’ve found that I definitely need to sleep on my side, I’ve found that I have pain my hips from the pressure of my body on my hip joint while I’m sleeping. But since mentioning it to my acupuncturist, he makes sure to treat the hip joint, and I’ve found that my hips are less achy. Even though they still get sore in the middle of the night, they recover faster and I no longer hobble around half the day while my aching hips work out their kinks.

Additionally, I started getting Charley horses in my calves around 20 weeks, sometimes really painfully. I’ve started eating a banana every day to help, but I still sometimes have some mild cramping. At my last appointment, the acupuncturist placed a needle in my leg and while connecting with the acupuncture point, I felt the sensation go straight through my leg, to my calf, and then release completely, relaxing my calf muscle after the needle was pulled out. Since then, my calves are much less crampy.

Congestion: This one is somewhat related to headaches, since most of my non-migraine headaches are due to congestion, but I thought I’d mention it separately. It’s really, really disconcerting to have needles placed in your face, but the effect is undeniable. Especially in the aftermath of my summer cold, acupuncture along with the neti pot really helped work out some of the deep-seated congestion, plus it helps keep my general, pregnancy-related congestion at bay. Totally worth needles in my face.

Trying to Conceive: I’ve saved this for last because it was really something that I can say with any certainty was helped. But one thing my acupuncturist talked with me a lot about was my miscarriage and my lingering feelings of grief. He specifically asked about where in my body I felt like I was holding emotions around my miscarriage, and I do feel that the relaxation and care that I get from the appointments helped ease my anxiety and helped me release lingering feelings of grief. Plus, the somewhat-medical aspect of the treatment helped me feel like I was doing something to increase my chances of conceiving, despite the fact that I had no reason to believe I had an actual medical problem. Plus, it couldn’t have been a bad thing that it helped me relax during the times when I might obsess about whether or not I was going to conceive. In fact, I was so accepting and not obsessive that I hadn’t even convinced myself I was pregnant the month I ended up conceiving.

I know that acupuncture is one of those controversial things, with some people swearing by them for everything and others considering it complete snake oil. I will say, my experiences have led me to believe that there’s something to it, but I don’t expect it to work miracles, and of course I consult my doctor for acute medical problems. And, like any other body-related service, whether it’s a yoga teacher or an OB/Gyn, it’s important to find someone whose practice and personality work well with you (for example, in addition to helping my migraines, my acupuncturist is a devoted tea-drinker and we frequently end up swapping tea recommendations!). Also, make sure you find someone who has experience working with pregnant women, since there are points that are contraindicated in pregnancy (some of which you might not expect).

NB: This post is intending to share my personal experiences and shouldn’t be considered medical or health advice. Definitely ask your doctor and do your own research before getting any kind of treatment.

[Image Source]

Second Trimester, Weeklies

Twenty-seven Weeks Pregnant

Romaine Lettuce

I’m rapidly approaching the third trimester! This week, I had the joy of serving jury duty while pregnant (spoiler: no one cared, other than the lovely women who kept offering to let me cut the line for the bathroom). I didn’t end up getting selected, and now I’m off the hook for a few years. I thought about seeing if I could get a delay because of pregnancy, but I didn’t want to deal with potentially getting called again during maternity leave, and I was feeling okay, so I figured I’d just show up. And it was pretty quick and painless. The baby did start kicking while I was sitting in the court room during the selection process, and I must have been making faces or something because I got a couple weird looks from the bailiff. But mostly, I just made sure I brought lots of snacks.

It continues to be miserably rainy, so again, the walking was a bit reduced, although I did manage to walk around a local street festival in the pouring rain on Sunday. That was… fun. I was glad to get home, get into dry clothes, and curl up under a blanket with some tea and warm cookies (chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, for the curious). Monday was jury duty, followed by working from home in the afternoon. The rest of the week has pretty much gone as usual. I had my acupuncture appointment this week on Thursday. I’ve been going just once a month, although he does a really good job of helping my general body soreness and bloating, so I might pick up the frequency a little later on. I think I’ll write a more detailed post about why I’ve appreciated my acupuncturist before and during this pregnancy, later on. Finally, I ended my week by attending a wedding with my husband and his family. Not only did I feel pretty good, but the bride and groom decided to spend most of their budget on the nicest set of portable toilets I’ve ever seen. Pregnant lady salutes them!

Other than that, I really feel like this is kind of the best I’ve felt all pregnancy. I’m big, but not too big, and I have almost no nausea anymore. My only concern is that I’m definitively at the point where most of my non-maternity clothing that isn’t specifically loose/flowy doesn’t really fit right anymore. I think I might need to pick up a pack of maternity t-shirts because a lot of my t-shirts are now tight over my belly, or else they hike up. I’m basically living in wide-waistband, jersey skirts, which isn’t a bad thing. But I went ahead and ordered a couple of basic black maternity dresses on Amazon the other day so that I have a pseudo-nice basic I can wear. They might even work for work, depending on the fabric when they arrive, which would be nice.

How I’m Feeling:

Like I said, this is kind of the best I’ve felt all pregnancy. I’ve found the energy to cook most nights this week, other than the night I had a theatre Board meeting, and one night when I really, really wanted a fish sandwich and figured that it was probably actually a good idea to eat some salmon, since I still can’t take my omega-3 supplement. One thing I’ve noticed is that I keep forgetting to take my vitamins in the evening this week for some reason. I guess I need to set a reminder or something.

I’m starting to get used to the feeling of the baby moving in my belly. I will say, it’s still a weird feeling. While I appreciate the reassurance, I’m not thrilled with the alien sensation of kicks and wiggles inside my own body. But I’m getting more used to it, which is good because apparently the kid is taking a Zumba class that I wasn’t invited to.

Current Cravings: Brownies, avocados and eggs, pasta aglio e olio

Exercise: 2.7 average miles/day walking, barre twice, yoga once

Fruit/Vegetable Comparison: Lettuce

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