Category Archives: belly

39 weeks and belly shots

Today is vastly improved over yesterday. I’m feeling proactive and informed and strong again. Yesterday, though, yesterday I was a mess. I cried on and off the entire day until I went to sleep. It sucked. I felt like the end of this pregnancy had somehow become tainted, as though I had done something wrong. It was the worst feeling, and I’m so glad to be rid of it today.

Ultimately, the doctors and midwives have given me no reason beyond “big baby” for induction. They haven’t told me I’m too small or that he’s too big or that my health is in danger or that his health is in danger. None of this has been the case, and according to most reliable, peer-reviewed sources on the matter, a large baby isn’t a medical reason for induction. It’s almost always in the best interest of the mother and the baby to let labor begin on its own. I’m happy with this, and I’m happy to remember that I come from a long line of moms who deliver big babies. I’m built for this. These hips that have made shopping for jeans so impossible my whole life were made to do this. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

I have begun some measures to move Egghead down. Today I insisted on accompanying my wife to the home improvement store and the grocery store so that I could walk around in the comfort of air conditioning for a couple of hours, and it was great. I’m now fastidiously taking my evening primrose oil, drinking my raspberry leaf tea, and indulging in some nice intimate time with my wife as well (not surprisingly, this is my favorite activity of them all). Today, I’ve had some good contractions and have felt Egghead a bit lower (although he likes to go back up still), and I feel good about it all. I’m not rushing anything (there will be no castor oil in this house), but I’m happy to help him move along a little at a time without pressure or stress or the feeling that I’ve done anything wrong.

And so, today, we hit 39 weeks. It’s been a great day, and we’ve been able to stay close to one another and enjoy each other’s company. This is such a special time in our lives, and I’m grateful that we’ve got the opportunity to spend it together.

Now for what everyone’s truly been waiting for: the 39 week belly shots. J has vowed to take a photo of me every day until delivery now, for she says any day could be the day. Here are a few for your viewing pleasure. And for the first time, I reveal the bare belly. I can’t believe it, but I have no stretch marks.

 

39w0d

39w0d

Yes, this is the belly with the enormous baby that my OB practice is so afraid of. It’s big, but I’ve seen bigger! Here are a couple more, including today’s “just in case shot.”

Yes, I do have a face.

Yes, I do have a face.

Off to the hardware store.

Off to the home improvement store like the good lesbian I am.

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Big Boy

Eight years ago today, my wife and I recited vows to one another and jumped over a broom in front of our dearest friends and family at our commitment ceremony (this is now one of three anniversaries we have). Today, we celebrated by taking a peak at our son.

This afternoon was our ultrasound to check on Egghead’s growth. Now, remember that the OB was worried that since I haven’t yet gained any weight that Egghead may not be growing enough. I believe that Egghead has been having a big laugh since the ultrasound order was written because he is, in fact, a very big boy.

Egghead’s estimated weight at this time is 7 pounds 1 ounce. He is measuring full term and in the 85th percentile. His feet are over seven centimeters long.

BigFoot34weeks

I don’t think we need to worry about my lack of weight gain, for Egghead has clearly found what he needs to be a very, very big boy. The ultrasound tech renamed him Bruiser.

Honestly, this was a great experience. We had a recently graduated high school student with dreams of becoming an x-ray or ultrasound tech observing, so our tech narrated everything from the measurements of Egghead’s cerebellum to her discussion of the cord, the amniotic fluid levels (which are very good), and more. It was so educational, and it didn’t hurt that the u/s tech was sassy as can be.

Along with measuring Egghead, she took a look at my fibroids, and I got to see the things that have caused me so much angst. One is way up at the top of my uterus, and another is closer to the bottom but off to one side. That one is the big one, the one that was measuring 7cm. Since then it has shrunk to 6.5cm, and it is nowhere near my cervix or the baby’s head. She showed me the nice clear area all around the cervix, and our son’s head nearby. She didn’t see anything blocking his exit, and nor did we.

I can hardly begin to relate just how relieved I am.

I have been preparing myself for the worst since we learned of these fibroids. I have had so much anxiety that somehow any dreams I ever had of anything resembling the birth I wanted were shot. Now, I feel the weight of all of that fear lifted, and I feel free to prepare myself for the hard work of labor and delivery. I’m firmly aware that things can still go wrong, but I’ve got hope that they won’t, hope that I may get a little slice of that birth I wanted after all. I think I’m going to be delivering a nearly ten pound baby boy vaginally, and I couldn’t be happier.

She gave us a couple of additional photos. In one, she wanted to show the student Egghead’s penis, but he was only willing to show his scrotum (complete with two testicles). I had asked J what she would do if we suddenly found out our boy was a girl, so after relating that story to the tech, she printed us this:

StillABoy34weeks

And, finally, she did get Egghead to cooperate and show us a profile. J and I noticed he appears to be pursing his lips–that or the child has a giant overbite. Either way, he’s our beautiful Egghead:

Profile34weeks

And last, so that you can get the big picture, here’s my 34w5d belly shot:

34w5d

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show and tell

A couple of weeks ago, we arrived home to find a package at or door, and in our package was this our pay it forward craft from Olive! Below is the stunning mobile we found in the package:

IMG_2485

It has taken us a bit of time to put it up because we have been working on finding Egghead’s space in our nursery/office, but today, I was able to hang it up, and it’s so beautiful and perfect! Eventually, it will move to the other side of the room and hang over the crib, but for now, it gets to hang by the window. The birds are all hand-sewn with the most wonderful fabrics. We love staring at it, so we know our boy will too. Here it is silhouetted against the curtains we made last year (which will remain in our funky little nursery as well):

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We are both so impressed with Olive’s creativity and skill and are delighted to have such a lovely piece of art for our baby’s room. Thank you so much, Olive!

This week has also marked 24 weeks, and as I mentioned on the last post, six months! I can hardly believe that we are this far along already. Time is racing by. In just a month, we’re headed north to Humboldt for our first baby shower. I’ll have my glucose screening soon, and we’ll tour the hospital and sign up for birth classes before long too. Unbelievable. To show just how much I’ve grown, my six week belly shot is below

6weeks

Six Weeks

Followed by today’s photo:

 

Twenty-four Weeks

Twenty-four Weeks

I wore this shirt most of the day, and my wife was amused because my belly kept poking out. I just had to see how it fit. I don’t know why I’m still so surprised when my non-maternity clothes are too small, but I do find it amusing.

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Filed under belly, craftiness, gifts

belly shots and body image

I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to share belly shots openly. I have been taking them all along, as evidenced on the Egghead page, but I couldn’t seem to post them.

I have to be honest: as a plus-sized woman, I had some rather vain moments worrying about what my pregnant shape would be, thinking I’d never escape that B-shaped belly or thinking I would simply never look pregnant, just fatter. I have battled weight issues most of my life, and while I had lost a bit of weight in recent years to make myself healthier for pregnancy, I’m still a plus-sized girl.

Pregnancy brings up all kinds of unusual body image issues, but oddly enough, I kind of like my pregnant body. I like my belly and its definite C shape. Somehow, I feel like I got lucky, and I guess I did since I like my shape, but it saddens me that in my mind there was just one pregnant ideal because there isn’t. Pregnant bodies are beautiful; they simply are.

Still, I hate that body image issues can follow one into this sacred time. I get so angry with msyelf for hating the enormity of my breasts or for too closely critiquing my arms or thighs, and yet I still do it. J recently took a photo of me fresh out of the shower, and I nearly cried looking at it. All I could see was this large naked woman, and all she saw was an embodiment of a fertility goddess. I didn’t see a pregnant woman at all, and I wanted that photo gone. I saved it though because there is some beauty in it. I often have to do this: I have to stop myself from erasing images that show me who I am, what I look like because it isn’t healthy, and I know this. I don’t want to pass these sorts of behaviors on to my children, but just as important, I don’t want to continue harboring these occasional feelings of self-loathing simply because I don’t fit some “ideal” of what a woman, pregnant or otherwise, should look like.

It should come as no surprise that I’m oddly proud that I haven’t gained any weight during my pregnancy. In fact, I have lost two pounds. This has not been intentional; it just seems to be how my body handles pregnancy. What I am more proud of, though, is that my old food issues haven’t been issues at all. I generally eat what I want to eat and when I want to eat. The key is that I eat real foods, healthy foods all the time. I have an occasional ice cream indulgence, and we had some evil kettle chips in our house last week (something we indulge in maybe three times a year), but otherwise, I am eating very well (and exercising regularly), and am just amazed that my body is taking in these nutrients, feeding my baby, growing my belly and breasts–while at the same time shrinking my ass. I find myself marveling at this body that is so familiar in some ways and so unfamiliar in others. This same body I have battled with for years is now a body I love, and I’m looking forward to the changes it will undergo in the next few months.

Following the birth of our son, I’m sure to encounter a whole new set of challenges and revelations involving body image, but I’m looking forward to it. For me, pregnancy feels like a fresh start on this body and my feelings about it; I just hope to keep this up.

And without further ado,  here are my 22-week belly shots (also posted on the Egghead page):

22 weeks

IMG_2423

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belly love

As my belly expands, I’m definitely starting to experience a good deal of belly love. I always assumed I’d be sort of a “hands off!” pregnant woman, but now that I’m pregnant (and really showing), I have to admit that I’m enjoying allowing others to touch my belly.

Lately, when we sleep, my wife has her hand on my belly for about half of the night. It feels so comforting, and the three of us are intimately connected in those moments. This past week, she has put me to sleep on more than one occasion just rubbing  my belly. Then I’m awakened by a sharp jab from Egghead who has woken up from the attention from his Mama. This brings me endless joy.

My cat Cleo, who at the beginning of this pregnancy was my protector, now needs her nightly dose of belly. She used to crawl up on me, but now she seems to know that she can’t, so she lays on my leg, rubbing my belly with her head like she’s found some catnip.

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 It’s fantastic. Every night after doing this for half an hour or so, though, she jumps down abruptly as though she has suddenly figured something out. It’s strange, but quite amusing.

J and I find ourselves inviting people to touch my belly. She’ll say to people, “You can touch it!” And they will. I’m glad she acts as my gatekeeper–or belly keeper, if you will. So far these are friends, but even a waitress engaged in the belly love recently, and oddly enough, I didn’t mind at all.

For some reason, now that I’m pregnant, I feel open about it. Yes, I do feel protective of our little boy, but at the same time, I know how special a pregnant belly feels; I know how I’ve always felt blessed to be allowed to touch my friends’ pregnant bellies. I suppose I want to share that with those who want to share it. Now, I’m not going around forcing unsuspecting strangers to fondle my midsection–that would be all kinds of bizarre–but I can’t not share this with those who want to be a part of it. It feels good that somehow I’m able to be this open when I can typically be a rather guarded person. All of these pats and rubs feel a little bit like blessings for our son, and we will take all of the blessings we can get.

And the belly love continues from the inside. As our boy grows (wow, it still feels really strange and wonderful to write “boy”), he is kicking and jabbing and moving so much more. This past week, I have enjoyed many moments of just sitting and feeling him move. Yesterday, I think he had hiccups, and it made me giggle.

I guess what I’m saying is that through all of this, I am finally really enjoying this pregnancy. I’m letting go of much of the overwhelming fear that accompanied me through each of the first few months, and I’m settling in. It feels really good.

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Filed under belly, Egghead, sharing, the P word

belly talk

Yesterday, J and I had the loveliest of days. We went to our favorite local barbecue place (yep, I’m back on the meat), which is situated above a lovely babbling creek and surrounded in oak trees (in fact, just across the creek is one of our favorite walking trails). We spent a lot of time just reveling in the day, the spring, the new sort of love we’re sharing.  Of course, a beautiful day and a lovely location such as this prompted photographs as well.
I have been promising belly shots for some time, but before now, I haven’t had much to show. Granted, I had a belly, but that belly was created by the consumption of really good wine and exceptionally good cheese over the past year of living in wine country. It really didn’t have much to do with Egghead. Until last week, that is. It seems that last week, I developed an honest-to-goodness baby bump.
bump
bump

This is a fairly padded bump, so at times I look about a month ahead of where I really am, but that’s okay. Strangers have been giving me that “Is she or isn’t she?” look, but people who know me are quite impressed at my sudden bumpiness. Believe it or not, they think I actually look pregnant.

 
Honestly, most days I’m still in denial. I know I’m pregnant, but it doesn’t seem real, and when I look at myself from the front, I barely see it, but then I put on a shirt that fit me just a month ago, and it rides up to expose my belly, and I realize I’m actually growing–this isn’t just some freakish weight gain (in fact, I’m still at my pre-pregnancy weight). I can’t explain why it is so hard to fully accept or grasp, but when I see pictures of myself, I guess it’s a bit harder to deny that I’m really pregnant. 
 

T at almost 17 weeks

 
So I’m coming to accept it, beginning to realize that this ever-changing belly is really mine and that it isn’t getting harder because I’m somehow unwittingly doing pilates in my sleep. Nope, there’s a real, live Egghead in there, and s/he is growing! Tomorrow is seventeen weeks. Seventeen! We’re almost half-way there. I’m a little stunned.
 
 

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