A good man

This one is a little mushy. I won’t go into detail over the silly things that managed to bring me to tears last night, but through it all, there is one constant.

For anybody that’s spent much time with Brandon and I together, it seems perfectly obvious why we exist as a couple. And while he’s been such a force in my life these past five years, I don’t want to say that I take him for granted. Sometimes, still, his understanding of my brain as well as my emotions blows me away. Or maybe it’s not so much that he understands the causes and mysteries inside my head and heart, but he sure knows how to manage me when it all starts pouring out (or becomes evident that I’m bottling it up).
There were more than a few days at the beginning of ‘us’ when he’d become frustrated or upset at not being able to find a fix for my funk. And after telling him over and over to not feel so responsible for my personal happiness every moment of every day, he began to devise a tactic to deal with me in his own way. And these days he’s seemed to have perfected it, and is quite the pro at handling all my weird dreams, obsessions, mood swings, aches and complaints, thanks in large part to my pregnancy.
(Disclosure: I’m probably prone to these things any old day, but my filter is much depleted.)
So thank you to the man who does not try to fix me, only find a way to comfort me. From making me laugh to a well timed hug, to insisting I vent about whatever is making me sigh very loudly over and over, he just defuses me. And yes, even on the rare occasions where he might actually be the problem, at least from my perspective, his quickness to apologize often makes me realize I too am to blame, and opens up the floor for a real discussion of what went wrong.
I only hope that we can share many, many more decades like the past few years. And through all the challenges we face, I pray his goodness endures and continues to bring out the best in me.

Relief

Back pain is something I take pretty seriously. Between my family history that includes chronic back pain, osteoporosis, and my own history of weight issues and injuries, I know I have to be proactive about these little annoying pains now before they become major concerns.
I’ve grown up around chiropractic care, and I’m a firm believer. But I’ve also recently learned the merits of strength conditioning both as a supplement and alternative for chiropractic care. Basically, when I lift, my back doesn’t hurt. Knowing this, and taking into consideration my limitations with being pregnant, these are some of the stretches and exercises I’ve started doing, along with visits to my chiropractor Dr. Boggs and periodic ice therapy throughout the day.
Firstly, cat pose, or cat spine.

Obviously, with my growing belly, I’m not nearly as flexible as I once was, especially in the head back position. But with a little care to not overextend myself, I get a lot of relief just from this simple stretch.

Next, while I’ve already got myself down in quadruped, the bird dog:

This is a great lower back & glute strengthening exercise that is highly recommended for relieving lower back pain. One of the main ways in which strength training supplements chiropractic care is that good muscle tone allows your body to hold corrections better. You can keep getting adjusted several times a week, but if your body can’t hold those adjustments, the pain will just keep coming back.

And one more quadruped based exercise for the upper and middle back:

Quadruped extension rotation. Harder than it looks, but you feel it  all through your back in a good way. P.S. I’m a huge fan of Eric Cressey’s training program Show and Go, so don’t be surprised if I plug a few of the exercises from the program in the future. I bought it almost a year ago for pre-wedding fitness training, and go back to it regularly.

On your feet now. Basic body weight squats.

Basic core stability training as well as balance and leg strength. One modification for pregnant women (if you’re not already doing squats as part of your regular routine) is to not dip your thighs below parallel. Softened joints are part of your body preparing to pass a child through your pelvic area, and your knees may be more susceptible to damage as a result. Also bare feet are highly recommended, or flat shoes. Soft, squishy ‘running’ shoes prop your body forward and misalign this movement. And don’t hesitate to hold gently to the back of a chair as your balance shifts.

And last one, for now: wall push-ups.

More core stability, with upper body strength. My sister quite casually mentioned how surprised she was that her arms were sore for days after delivering her baby, from pulling on various objects (including her legs) during her son’s birth. So I’m trying to be diligent with training my whole body, gently and consistently.
This is also a good exercise to work towards doing a ‘real’ pushup, as opposed to the knee pushup modification. As your upper body gets stronger, you can lower your angle until you get down on the floor.

This is a pretty massive post, so thanks for sticking with me if you’ve made it this far. Hopefully sticking to this routine of doing one or more of these exercises during regular breaks from work will make my back happier!

The last week

Today commences Brandon’s last week at his job down the street. Next week he’ll be driving to and from Huntington every day, until we at last finish renovating this house and are able to move.
This is probably one of the biggest changes we’ve faced together thus far. At least it feels that way to me, since his job, despite varying degrees of uncertainty, has afforded us a lot of comfort, both in actual income and proximity to home. Yes, there have been other ‘big changes’ like me quitting my job (and then starting to work from home), us getting a puppy (and getting an eye opener on what sleep deprivation really means), and of course, getting married (which hardly feels like a change at all, in a good way).
It’s also weird because it feels like something we’ve been waiting on is finally happening. We’ve known that a career change like this is pretty much inevitable. And we’ve definitely always known that this is not the house for us to stay in while we raise a family. For one, it’s just too small, and for two, working on it has led us to resent it through and through. And despite helping make many of the decisions about renovations and decorating, I don’t entirely feel like this house is “ours” since Brandon bought it a few months before we met.
So I’m soaking up lunch hours together while I may. It seems kind of silly, but since I don’t actually leave the house during the day, it breaks up my routine nicely, like only a smile and a kiss could.
And speaking of, it’s that time…

Ouch

This baby is seriously killing my back.
There may or may not be other contributing factors, like the chair I sit in for the better part of the day while working, or the fact that I’m still not doing my exercises as regularly as I should. But seriously. Ouch.
It feels like the bones in my pelvis are trying desperately to be separated from my lower spine and tailbone. Between the restless legs and the back pain, my sleep is interrupted at best. At least until Brandon gets up and goes to work, which leaves me free to flail about the entire bed until I’m reasonably comfortable.
Yes, I’m whining. But it’s 2 a.m.
I called the chiropractor yesterday morning but they can’t see me until next week, so I’m cranky. I have a spa gift certificate that I could use to go get myself a massage, but  honestly I don’t want to bend over to shave my legs. Actually, I’m surprised that even tying my shoes has started to become so much of a chore this early on. Between my boobs and my bump, there’s a whole lot of me to reach around. Who knew?
I will say this is the part about bringing a child into the world that I’ve thought about the least. I can hours imaging what the birth might be like, or what my ‘low point’ in sleep deprived new motherhood will be, or even trying to answer the inevitable awkward questions about sex and where babies come from. But the general discomfort of pregnancy somehow escaped my attention. From nausea to constipation to generally feeling off balance to the tightness in my abdomen from blowing up like a balloon, I am living my wake-up call. Sometimes literally.
I will say, I’m so glad we didn’t wait a couple of years to decide to get pregnant for the first time. Just thinking about the ways in which I’ve felt my body aging over the past few years puts a good amount of fear into me. I now have to work, like really work, to take care of myself, let alone another human being.
I’m sure this is the beginning of a thousand new aches and pains that I never thought possible, but with an ice pack pressed against my back, maybe my real wake up call is how I need to get even smarter about my body in the future. The near future, it seems.

Goodness

It’s a pretty good sign that something has had a deep affect on me if I’m lying in bed thinking about it while unsuccessfully falling asleep. And when it wakes me up in the middle of the night, I know for sure that this is not something to ignore.

I’m not even sure what this is exactly, but after meeting and chatting with some wonderful local ladies at a Girls Night Out (organized by the effervescent Amber Recker) I left with a feeling that these ladies know how to get involved in their community. And as a person with more than a little passion for people, something is going to happen.

Now it’s not like we don’t have plenty already going on in our lives, but in all honesty I have a few hours on my hands that I can sacrifice a couple times a month. Not to mention, it’s the kind of person I want to be. The kind of mother and example I want to be for my child(ren).

I know this is a very ambiguous and vague middle of the night kind of post, but I’m excited for the potential!

Me & the baby (weight)

Food and I are definitely friends again.
I won’t say that I’m entirely over the picky eating, but there are more things that sound delicious than make me want to turn my head and hurl. And after my ‘dinner’ last night, I knew I needed to put some more intention into my eating. (Dinner was a run to get onion rings at 8pm, that’s what I swore I had to have right now.)
I’ve still been keeping tabs on my weight, and while it’s creeping up, I think I’ve been doing good so far. But with 6 more months of pregnancy ahead of me, cravings for greasy food and sweets will add up fast. And I know exactly where my diet is lacking because I’ve found myself craving salads a few times in the past week as well. So more fruits and vegetables are making their way back into the rotation, hopefully getting back up to the 6-8 serving mark soon.
And yes, I realize a basket of onion rings does not count!

Finally

Today I went back to my CNM here in Fort Wayne. After endlessly considering the pros & cons of going to the birth center in Goshen, I came across a fun fact that made my head spin: at a birth center, I would be sent home somewhere between 5 to 8 hours after giving birth.
Now I can see why this is a huge plus for some people. Get home, get settled, keep your life as ‘unnecessary medicine’ free as you possibly can. But this is not for Brandon and me. While I’m pretty opposed to having interventions and pain killers during the delivery process, I don’t think it would be beyond me to get a tiny bit of relief after the fact. Also, I would like to get a couple hours of sleep before being tossed out into the world with just my husband and new baby. I don’t think this is selfish at all, either. If I can come home feeling that much more prepared to care for this brand new person, I will wait a day or two in the hospital.

Also, I really like Andrea. She’s funny and down to earth, caring but relate-able. I feel comfortable in that office, and I know Brandon is much relieved to be keeping things closer to home. Even though he would never say it, I know how much he worries about the ‘what if something goes wrong?’ and I can’t say that I blame him. If I had lost my mother that young, I don’t know how I would have coped. So despite all my fussing and freaking out, I think this will be where we stay. I’m planning on setting up tours of both hospitals (Parkview North and Dupont) so we can get a feel for how things will be going on that one crazy beautiful day.

And finally, in four weeks we will (maybe) know the gender of our baby. Brandon is as adamant as ever about finding out, and my repulsion has turned slowly into ambivalence. I’m secretly hoping that they just can’t tell because of the way the baby is positioned, but I won’t be disappointed if we get an obvious look into our future in parenting.

And that’s enough baby talk for now, so I’m going to find myself some lunch!