Diary of a Pregnant Woman: Week 16

After breakfast this morning I noticed that my soon to be eight month old German Shepherd Puppy was MIA. Generally, that would be cause for alarm. Someone once told me soon after we got Dexter, “silence with children is golden, but NOT with dogs!” Man, have I learned that the hard way. It means something in the house is in the process of being destroyed or already destroyed. It means my favorite flip flops have seen their last sunny day. My favorite sweatshirt will never be worn again because “Dexter the Molester” got to it. It means he has decided to eat a whole bag of glitter and transform into the Glitter Monster. It means he’s found my underwear and is off in a corner somewhere having his way with them…that “Dirty D!!!”

This morning, though, my gut told me otherwise. I took my last sip of tea and quietly made my way down the hallway. There he was, exactly where I thought I would find him. In his dog bed. I had a hunch he wasn’t feeling well this morning. So I did what any loving dog-mom would do, I got down on all fours and crawled into his hairy, stinky dog bed, taking the position of the small spoon next to him. And sure enough, two seconds later my insides felt warm as he wrapped his left paw around my shoulder and the two of us lay there listening to one another breathe. Dexter isn’t a big cuddle-er. I always wish he would be, but seeing we don’t let him in our bed or on the couch, I think his silent protest to us has been banning cuddles from us. So far he’s doing a marvelous job.

That’s why these mornings are rare and beautiful to me. In a lot of ways I assume having Dexter has been preparing me for some smaller version of what it will be like once this little avocado inside of me makes its big debut. We got Dexter when he was eight weeks old. And boy, I had NO idea what it meant to have a puppy. All I thought was, “Cool, floppy ears!” I had no clue. My parents have had a couple dogs over the years, but that doesn’t even rival what it means to have a puppy. I remember when we first got him, every night my husband and I would take shifts waking up every two to three hours to take him out until he was potty trained. I was dead tired those first two months we had him. I’ll never forget when he started losing his baby teeth all over the house, I was fascinated and disgusted all at the same time. I saved them all though!

The amount of attention that he requires has been unparalleled to anything else I have experienced up to this point. He’s constantly on ‘play-time” mode. He’s like the friggin’ energizer bunny, except his battery never gets old and stops working. Instead, it’s “Hey mom, can we play ball?? Can we play tug?? Will you chase me now?? Ooh, what’s that? Can I see?? Can I have some? Mom, come on, get up…here let me help you with my nose.”

Early mornings to myself, where I get to sit, sip my coffee, relax and read don’t exist anymore with Dexter. I give him a toy to play with, he drops it and it rolls under the couch. I get up from where I just got comfortable, get down on my hands and knees to retrieve it. I give it back to him and the whole process starts all over again. Drop, roll, retrieve. Drop, roll, retrieve. I go to the bathroom he comes with me. I take a shower he waits on the bathmat ready to lick my wet feet when I get out. I try and put my socks on he wants to help. Even now as I write this, Dexter lays right here beside me. My only reprieve at times comes at night when he’s asleep and I think: Finally, me time! The problem is, by that time, I’m too tired for me time and ready for bed myself.

Aside from all that though, he is the cutest, goofiest, fun-loving dog ever created this side of Heaven. That’s a fact! My husband says that the only reason I think that is because he’s our dog. He says all dog owners feel that way about their own dog. But I’m like, dude, have you seen the other dogs?! No seriously, I’ve seen the other dogs. With their rat faces, narly hair, and annoying barks. They ain’t got nothin’ on Dex. Aj just rolls his eyes in amusement.

All of this calms some mom-to-be anxieties within me though. It makes me realize that all moms love the crap out of their kids while at the same time being annoyed as hell with them. It’s normal. All moms think their kids are “the cutest” when in reality the other humans of the world whisper back and forth to one another, “Did you see the size of that kid’s head. What a freak. Man, I hope my kid doesn’t turn out looking like that!” That’s normal too. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing how God instills in moms and dads an undying love and loyalty to a child that other grown adults in the world can’t stand! It makes me realize that God is preparing me, even now, with 5 months left to love and protect this precious gift that He is in the midst of forming and creating inside of me.

Diary of a Pregnant Woman: Week 14

I’ve entered that awkward stage. You know, that stage where I don’t quite fit into maternity clothes but I certainly don’t fit into my own clothes anymore. It’s that stage where people who are familiar with you look at you quizzically like, ‘Is she pregnant, or…did she just eat too many cheeseburgers over the summer?’ But they’re too afraid to ask because of the sensitive nature of a woman’s weight. I’ll admit, for me, it’s a little bit of both…

Earlier this past week, as the result of a particular event, I found myself sitting in my car sobbing. And when I say sobbing I mean sobbing! Not teary-eyed or crying, but sobbing. You know, those deep heart-wrenching convulsive gasps where you can’t catch your breath.

Sitting there, hunched over, weeping so deeply my chest hurt, I had a most remarkable experience. All I could think in that moment, through my sobs was, ‘Chocolate ice cream! I need chocolate ice cream! Chocolate ice cream will make everything better! So I did what any rational pregnant woman would do in that moment. I drove myself, through tears of blurry eyes all the way to Byrne Dairy. Mascara smudged and puffy-eyed I got out of my car, sniffles and all, walked into the store and up to the counter where I ordered a small chocolate ice cream. I sat in my car and ate it, stopping every other bite to wipe the tears from eyes as I continued to cry a little. Just as I thought I might be starting to feel better, a new assault of fresh tears rolled down my cheeks as my spoon hit the bottom of an empty cup. At that moment, a tear rolled down my cheek and I literally cried out loud, ‘I should have ordered a large!’ 

Too embarrassed to go back inside and order a second chocolate ice cream from the same dopey eyed, acne faced, teenage boy behind the counter who doesn’t know how to count simple change backwards and has as much personality as this plastic keyboard in front of me (as if I’m the one who should be embarrassed), I instead decided it would be much more sensible, practical and of course rational for me to drive myself to a different Byrne Dairy and repeat my order all over again as if it were my first time. So, that’s exactly what I did.

Surprisingly, as I sat in my car for the second time, at a second Byrne Dairy, eating my second chocolate ice cream in 30 minutes, all I can say is, the tears stopped and I felt a hell of a lot better.

As I write this I have to admit that I’ve been struggling this week with the changes in my body. I bought my first pair of maternity jeans, which for some women is a joyous day for their growing baby bump. For me, it was just a reminder that physically things are changing and just going to get harder. It makes you think all of those things that as a woman you hate to think and even get made at yourself for thinking in the first place…‘Will my body ever be the same again? Will my husband still find me attractive? Am I getting too big too fast? Why is that woman 20 weeks along and is just as big as me at 14 weeks? Will I ever lose the weight I put on, especially at the age of 40?’ The thoughts can be endless.

It’s been a real challenge coming to grips with my lack of energy, which impacts my motivation for almost everything, but especially going to the gym. When I do manage to get myself there my work outs suck because running has become much more difficult and I’ve had to back down on weights. Accepting the fact that I need to (and will continue to need to) make modifications to my workouts, and accept the slowing down of my energetic rhythm in life has been really hard for me this week. It’s that constant tidal wave of guilt for not having the energy to do anything active (and eating a whole sleeve of Oreos!), and complete awe that life is growing inside of you and that is hard work! And that is what I have to remember in those moments when I have to change my run to a walk, or say goodbye to my favorite pair of jeans, or down a whole bag of potato chips in the car on the way home from work INSTEAD of going to the gym (which I am embarrassed to say was another happening this week) …there is a life that is growing inside of me, so throw off the guilt and revel instead in that privileged and gift.


Diary of a Pregnant Woman: Week 13

I’m 39 and pregnant with my first baby. For some who are reading this, please don’t find a rag doll somewhere, name it Stephanie, and stick needles in it, but the truth is…for the most part, my first trimester was a breeze. Aside from my sleep sucking and the fatigue (my god the fatigue!), it really has been a walk in the park. I feel a little guilty (just a little) saying that out loud because I have known so many whose first trimester was their Hell on Earth. I guess that just means my Hell will be found where I least expect it…great…something to look forward to.

The problem with being 39 and pregnant for the first time is well…I’m old! Do you know, when this baby is 10 years old I’ll be 50. And when it’s graduating from high school 60 will be peeking its head around the corner, taunting me. That means by the time they marry and have their own children, well… I’ll be lucky if I can even still see by then! The other problem is, the majority of my friends are either done having children, their children are already in middle school, or several others have just seen their oldest off to college this year! 

To make matters worse, do you also know that because of my age I am what is considered a geriatric pregnancy?! Did you hear that??…G.E.R.I.A.T.R.I.C…who on God’s green and beautiful Earth came up with that appalling title… and what is their home address?! I get the fact that the term is meant to highlight the increased risk of complications that can occur with women who are ‘older’ when they conceive. But, as if having a baby wasn’t scary enough, especially as an ‘older’ woman, they have to come along and throw that whammy in there? Thanks medical professionals!

To be honest, there is something a little isolating in my pregnancy when I think about all that. As a 40 year old first time mom, with an infant and eventually a toddler, where will I find my ‘community’ in this journey? And if you tell me it’s at the nearest Starbucks with those yoga pants wearing, Cardi B listening, Gen Z…iGen… Centennials… or whatever the hell they’re called, I am going to find a rag doll with your name and a whole shoe box full of pins!

The truth is, although I’ll be 45 when my little terror enters kindergarten for the first time, and all the other moms will be at least a decade younger with metabolisms that can outrun mine and skin that can out bounce it…I’m still thrilled at this little lemon that is growing everyday inside of me (even though it is stealing my sleep). Motherhood has been a private personal prayer of mine for a very long time, and just when the doctors had me convinced that infertility may be my lot in life…I feel like God was like, “Give me a high-five Steph!”