Strawberries, Acid-Mouth, and the Second Tri

Well the interwebz told me that I am officially in the second trimester. It is amazing how quick you forget this shit between babies. We have a lemon-sized human in there…and by we, I mean me…because if we had one together, that would be strange….I barely know you.

Time seems to be barreling forward although I still haven’t broken through the first trimester fog. I was literally on a countdown. I would tell myself ‘just get to 12 weeks and all will be better’….’just get to 13..’…’just get to 14…’

Things are definitely getting easier, but slowly! So so soooo slowly. Go figure that I am into the idea of instant gratification….who isn’t really though? The nausea still rears it’s ugly head in the evenings and I am still tired beyond all get out. I don’t actually know if that is how you use that phrase, I just like it.

You’re crazy beyond all get out… what Natalie?….I don’t know, I just use weird phrases that don’t necessarily make sense, but aren’t they fun?

With Jack I dealt with my nausea by consuming boxes…and I literally mean boxes, of clementines. I think at the end of my pregnancy I calculated that, all on my own, I went through at least 5 – 5lb boxes of clementines. This doesn’t factor in the clementines I encountered elsewhere in the world. No one’s clementines were safe from my addiction. Clementines, Baked Potatoes, and Chocolate Malts….that was it. Nothing weird like I remember fearing. I am going to eat pickles with chocolate cake!

This time, the only real cravings I have had is for strawberries…..delicious delicious strawberries. I had the best strawberries on the planet when we went camping with my dad up in Leadville a few weeks ago. I seriously groaned with pleasure as I ate them….I am not sure what it was about those particular strawberries, but an equal has not been found…..not that I will give up trying. I will never give up! NEVER!!!!

The only other difference of note is this weird mouth sitch I have going on. It is like acid-mouth meets you-just-ate-something-gross-that-won’t-go-away mouth. I definitely would have remembered this experience because it is pretty much all the time. And super awkward because does my mouth actually smell, or is it just in my brain? I sure hope this goes away soon because it is definitely infringing on my eating enjoyment. Food just doesn’t taste right or good…unless we are talking Leadville strawberries obviously.

My midwife gave me this food log and a list of things pregnant women should be sure to eat every day. We did this last time, but last time eating wasn’t as much of a problem for me for some reason. I looked at the first item on the list “you should drink a minimum of 4 glasses of milk a day”…..I couldn’t even get past that. I worry she is going to be really lecturey about the food log this go-round.

But I have a week and a half to try to get in a routine of things I should be eating…..and I think she will cut me some slack since I haven’t fully conquered the i-don’t-want-to-eat-anything phase of pregnancy.

I do have a big batch of Kale ready to be harvested and I got a recipe from my dad’s wife for this cashew kale sauce-y thing that she puts over wheat toast…..that’s all healthy and shit. So if I go make some of that and put it on my food log maybe I will win! Hopefully it tastes right…..also you should all know in advance, like I do already, Andy will laugh at me for making it. I’ve accepted it, you should too.


A Toddler View

The new adventures with this pregnancy are those that really just failed to occur to me before this point. The nausea is the same, the sleepiness is the same, etc….but what is different is I have a new little partner-in-crime (P.I.C. because we’re gansta…..okay I am the furthest thing from gansta that there is).

I never thought about what a second pregnancy would be like with a toddler. You just think of these isolated pregnancies like pristine little deserted islands in the middle of the ocean. But they aren’t isolated…they are a continuation. And you have to see them differently, otherwise you might worry your second baby is missing out on what the first one got – you’re undivided attention.

I remember laying on the couch for hours on end rubbing my belly and just imagining what life would become. This time life is happening, there is not time to lay and wonder. I was so eager to document every single little feeling, thought, change, etc. This time I am like ‘oh hey, eventually I should think about taking a weekly belly pic’. I am trying not to hold myself to too high a standard. I knew baby v 2.0 would be a different experience. So let’s embrace what is happening and celebrate it, rather than worry about what I am not doing this time, etc.

Anyway, as so many things in parenting go, I am winging the whole “toddler involvement” thing. Our first midwife appointment was just over a week ago. Even when I dropped Jack at daycare that morning, I had not decided if I should go pick him up before the appointment or wait until after the appointment….I just wasn’t sure. The appointment was during his normal daycare naptime, so there was a risk of keeping him up and causing an epic, appointment-disrupting, meltdown….but then I wanted him to be there too….to see what was happening. To get used to the idea of people talking about his brother/sister and engaging him in the process.

As a compromise, I decided it was worth the tantrum risk and had Andy go pick Jack up shortly after the midwife arrived. This gave us a few minutes to catch up and look at cycle dates and histories (I sincerely feel bad for my midwife, I couldn’t just be an easy patient who had consistent cycle lengths the last 2 or more cycles….oh well, it’s like olden times up in this bitch), but then Jack came home and was able to observe her taking my blood pressure and my pulse and listen for the heartbeat.

He was super shy. He stood across the living room and just watched with big doe eyes. I tried to get him to come over and sit on my lap, but he just wasn’t sure about what was going on.

Karen hasn’t seen him since he was just over a year. So of course he wasn’t going to respond to “Jack this is the lady who delivered you” and like run into her arms or anything. But I was happy with how he dealt with it over all. He never did want to come closer, but when she found the heartbeat (Man, was that a beautiful tiny sound) and we said “Jack do you hear the baby’s heartbeat?”, he nodded and pointed and said “baby’s heartbeat”.

After about 20 minutes he settled in and started showing Karen his personality. Giggling and dancing and showing off for her. Still keeping a good distance away, but warming up for sure. I thought it was a huge success and it warmed my heart to have him there.

A week later I scheduled a 12w ultrasound, and again, I wasn’t sure what I should do. Andy had a crazy work week, just insane really, and I decided it was more important he get some good rest than come with me to the u/s. But then going alone?….that just didn’t feel right….but then could I take Jack on my own?

Obviously I knew he wouldn’t remember it, but just growing up knowing he was there would be cool. The risks of course were that I was going to be laying on a table occupied: would he sit still? Would he be scared of what was happening?

Again I didn’t make the call until the day of, as I was driving home I figured ‘what the hell, if I don’t take him I will wonder if I should have’. So I picked him up and off we went. You already know the nap/poo story from before the appointment. And of course when we arrived at the office, he was still asleep. So I had to wake him up. Which resulted in some sadness.

But once he woke up more, we went inside and SCORE, on the reception desk was a giant basket of dumdums. He was sold. After 3 suckers, the doctor came out to get us. He was a very sweet old man and tried to talk to Jack. Jack was having none of it. He was shying back and getting fussy. We assured him that we were there to take a look at mommy’s tummy and not do anything to him. We went back to the exam room and he was still very clingy and worried. I set him in a chair next to the table and kept reassuring him that it was okay and we were just going to take a look at mommy’s tummy.

photo 1

The fast moving object is a sucker.

 The first 10 minutes we couldn’t get him to look at the screen to see the baby. He was just quietly sitting in the chair staring at me and then the doctor and then me, but not looking at the screen at all.

The baby was facing downward (and moving up a storm!), so we couldn’t see the nasal bone. The doctor had me get up and go to the bathroom to see if maybe that would flip him/her over. So I took Jack to the bathroom with me and he started to warm up to the office. He wanted to wash his hands and throw the paper towels away, etc.

When we got back into the office I said ‘okay we’re going to find the baby’s nose’. And from that point on he would babble, but always come back to “going to find the baby’s nose?”. It was really cute. We turned his chair a little more so he could better see the screen and this time he was much more engaged. He sat and stared and then pointed and said ‘baby’s nose’. It really was so cute.

After we found the nasal bone he was so excited ‘baby’s nose’…’saw baby’s nose’. My heart swelled to the size of Jupiter and I was so happy that I had brought him. As we sat and waited he kept tell me all the things we saw: baby’s legs, baby’s hands, baby’s nose, etc.

photo 3Here he is showing you where a nose can be found, in case you were confused.

I am so glad I brought him with me. I am definitely digging this whole involving the toddler business though. Which makes me wonder more about the birth. When I thought about it previously, it made sense that Jack should go stay at grandma and grandpa’s while I labored. I am not so much worried about him being scared or anything, but rather just that I will want to focus inward and not want to feel bad about ignoring him.

Pickles’ mom, the old hippie who birthed both her boys at home, told me that during her second birth her oldest was being so sweet and loving and petting her arm. But she was in a place where she didn’t want anyone touching her so she ended up, through gritted teeth, telling her husband to “please get him away from me”. I don’t want that to happen obviously. So it made more sense to not have him home during the birth…but now…I don’t know. Now I am undecided. Huh, well a decision for another day.

photo 2

Nerdy selfie!

Dear Amateur Photographer

I don’t consider myself a good photographer…I don’t think of myself as a photographer at all, instead I think of myself as a person with a camera who sometimes gets lucky and actually captures what I wanted too. But recently we’ve run into a phenomenom –  the amateur “photographer”. Here is an open letter:

Dear Amateur Photographer,

Listen, it’s great that you bought a camera…and no I don’t care what brand or model number or whatever the fuck it is. I don’t want to talk mega pixels or features with you. And I especially don’t want to talk after-market components. That’s great that you have 4 lenses that each cost more than a month’s worth of groceries and that you are weighing the benefits of which speedlite you want to buy….guess what? All that shit doesn’t change the fact that I don’t want to see the picture of your dog with his slobbery yellow tennis ball…and no, I don’t think it is a good picture.

Hey I get it, everyone starts at the bottom, but rather than embracing that fact, you are making me watch as you scroll through 200 pictures of people I don’t know, sitting around talking….why did you take these pictures again?….also why are you showing me them?….also I want some vodka. I think I will like your pictures more if I have some vodka first.

Just so we’re clear, please know in advance that I do not want a framed 8 x 10 of one of your pictures as my Christmas present. Let’s just agree that neither of us will send the other an actual printed copy of a photograph we think is great unless the other person has specifically requested said picture. And believe me, when I see something I want, I will ask for it. But if you are hearing me say…”’mmmm yeah, neat….yeah hmm….” – and similar phrases, it is because there is no polite way of saying “I’m bored and don’t want to see anymore of these, thanks”.

I am sure in time, with all your new equipment, and those classes you are taking at the camera store, and most importantly with practice that involves deleting the shit that doesn’t turn out well, you will eventually get to a point where you take some decent pictures….again, still no guarantee that I will ever want any of them. So let’s just shop this charade. Please stop making me look at your pictures….please.

And Thanks!


Making the Tough Calls

There I was at a crossroad, what was I going to do? In the backseat was my toddler, who had moments before gently nodded off, in the front seat me….pretty certain of pooping my pants…..I found myself thinking: what’s more important?

I had an appointment in an hour and a half and I was too far from home to make a round trip. So the options were limited. I pulled into the parking garage under IKEA.

let’s give it a minute – I thought to myself. perhaps it will subside

I parked in a dark spot rolled the windows down and willed my nether regions to cooperate. When it became apparent the problem wasn’t going away, I made the call. I rolled up the windows, gently lifted Jack out of his car seat, and slowly walked towards the elevators. He snuggled down on my shoulder without stirring.

I made it to the family restroom with Jack still sweetly asleep. I locked the door and made the second biggest decision of the day: can I do this one armed?

Turns out, when you decide to wear a pair of pregnancy jeans because you didn’t catch up on laundry, negotiating a bathroom one-handed is possible….plus you know there are people who only have one arm for the reals. So I knew it could be done.

I sat there patting Jack’s back and doing my business – I wish there was someone here to take a picture of this…this is amazing

I finished up. Slithered my undies and pants back in place. Double-checked all was in order in the mirror. One-handed washed each hand and walked out. I considered walking through IKEA while I was there, partially because I felt bad for just using the restroom and leaving, but also partially because IKEA is fun. But figured I didn’t want to wear myself out, plus I had to get my drink on (first ultrasound update coming soon). I returned to the car and slipped Jack back in his seat, his little head fell to the side and he continued in his dream world. Wow, I thought, this is an amazing story that must be told!

The Choice is Clear…yet Unclear

I finally decided on one of the harder aspects of this pregnancy, paying for maternity leave. Most days it would just be easier if we had an uber-rich uncle who gave us bags of money….like those cartoon bags with the dollar sign on them.

Those are silly when you think about it. The money is all disorganized in there….not that if you got a bag of money, you couldn’t bring yourself to take the time to carefully stack and organize the contents….I am just saying. All money should come in metal suitcases. That’s the classy way.

Turns out we do have an uber-rich uncle. But he doesn’t give away bags of money. He did give us bags of toys for Jack recently though… we have more toys. Yaaayy. It was really sweet of them, but my living room floor is now filled with tiny cars and motorcycles that I am certain are out to get me.

Anyway, so in lieu of a bag of money, I had to figure out how we’d be paying for maternity leave. Last time I eeeeeked by with saved up personal leave, vacation time and the 4 weeks of 60% pay through my firm. I distinctly remember fretting over that tiny benefit and being like ‘Damn it America!’. But I think first pregnancies are the time to be up in arms about the injustices of the world.

Second pregnancies seem to be the time where you say ‘eh, it is the way it is, so let’s make it work’.

This time there is no bank of personal leave and vacation. There is no 4 weeks of 60% pay. But you know what? It’s fine. I am fortunate to say that with some budget crunching and tightening of the belt, I figured out how to put away a little stash every paycheck. And I am getting savvy in my old age. I can’t just move it into our normal savings account. The one you see every time you open up your online banking website or when you put your card in the ATM. Nope, you have to hide that shit from yourself.

If you see it you will be like ‘oooo! I could get new ___ if I just took an itsy bitsy bit of it’.

Nope. Andy and I are our own worst money enemies. Thus hide that shit away. So far the plan is working. I check that account every few weeks or so, just to be able to say ‘yay it’s working!’

It’s not one of those instant gratification things…I wish that it was. It is going to take the rest of these 28 weeks to even get to the point where we can say ‘okay I think if we’re careful we can get through this’. It’s looking like it won’t be a full 12 weeks off. I wish I knew for sure it could be, but I am hoping to be able to take 9. That’s the goal. The little boost this week was a nice surprise and made me excited.

Money is tough yo. I can safely say it has been one of those things that constantly comes up in our lives since we got married. I am not sure if it’s because we are getting older (yeah this is probably why), whether we are getting a little more wiggle room (nope – I think we had the most wiggle room at the beginning), or whether we have just dealt with this stuff for so long that makes it a bit easier.

I remember our first few “money issue” moments. I remember having trouble breathing when I thought about it. How would we make this work? Would we squeak through?…Obviously we did.

The big decision this time in getting to the goal was ‘what could wait?’. I have some pretty hefty student loans. I have diligently paid them for the last 5 years, watching excitedly at the balance reducing at a painfully slow rate.

When I looked at our budget, at what was truly left over if we stopped being so free with our finances and it wasn’t very much. At first I pondered: what would it look like if I only took off 5 weeks? Could I live with that?….no….Alright what can get chopped?

The student loan payments were the only answer. Waffling with it for about a month, I finally chatted with my ladies about it. I just couldn’t fathom the idea of taking even a few months off from payments, but then could I really miss that extra time with the baby? Finally I decided to take the plunge. I applied for a deferment on the bigger loan. I figured I could compromise and still keep going on the little one, but the bigger one would get me that much more time.

Sure I could defer them all….I could and who knows maybe in another month I will decide to, but for now I needed to take “lessening my responsibility” baby steps. Ease into it. It is a painful thought knowing that even a few months off from paying will mean our future will be tight for that much longer. It’s not like I have a date written down in my calendar for when it is all over…..the day when it all truly becomes worth it. But I know it isn’t far out on the horizon….I know eventually it will come and with it….more freedom.

So freedom is a little further away. That’s okay. I know when that little bald head is snuggled closely under my nose and I am drinking in the perfection, I will forget all about this silly teeny tiny little hurdle.

Silly Wabbit

Oh dudes, I would tell you “next time I do this..” but there isn’t going to be a next time. It was beyond silly for me to make myself so nervous and sick about telling my boss. The fact that it took me as long as it did this week is nothing short of a comedy skit.

I had my midwife appointment on Friday and currently my estimated due date is January 27th, which put me at 12 weeks on Monday. So over the weekend when I realized I was just barely going to be 12 weeks this week, why rush into telling him? It could wait. Then at Monday’s manager’s meeting he announced he was going on vacation for two weeks after this week….shit! Waiting until 13 weeks is one thing, but 16 weeks and that’s probably pushing it….so I guess this week it is.

Tuesday a co-worker came to my desk and said ‘you are wanted downstairs in the yellow room’. My stomach dropped. Oh shit, what did I do?…but wait…why would they have Eric come get me if I did something wrong?. So I nervously went downstairs and both of the partners were sitting at the table. Fuck….or Yay? One of the two.

Turns out it was a quarterly bonus. Which is awesome and amazing and is going straight into my maternity leave fund (a couple more quarterly bonuses and the maternity benefits I left behind at my old firm will be a moot point, but let’s not count our chickens and what not). As I am sitting there listening to my boss tell me how I’ve helped make the firm a success and do well these last few months in my head I was thinking: this would be the time Natalie…they are both right here…they are telling you how you’ve contributed to the firm….do it….do it…wait wait…no don’t ruin it….what if they take the check right back?….no best not to do it now.

So I didn’t. I walked back out of there with a big smile on my face to go summon the next person on the list and thought…crap that probably was the best time. Oh well. I had an 8am meeting scheduled with my boss today to go over our big project. So we sat down and I said something that wowed him during that meeting, he was like ‘that’s a great catch, let’s call the owner’. As we were on the phone with the owner I thought: now….now is the time….now! Do it now.

When we got off the call he was like ‘we have that conference call in 30 minutes, I am going to try to wrap up these minutes beforehand and get them out’. So I told him I would come back later. Damn!

So then later rolls around and he asks me a question I don’t know the answer too off the top of my head. It throws me off because I am trying to tell him something completely non-project related…obviously…so then I am like ‘I am not too sure about that’. Then he is like ‘you really need to stay on top of this, look at our contract and yada yada’…..Damn it…now I look super bad…you can’t tell him now.

So I walked away thinking Should have done it Tuesday….now look what you did! I gathered my senses over the next couple of hours. Figured out the answer and spoke to the appropriate people so when I finally did get to the “okay now’s the time” point I walked over and was able to say ‘here’s the answer to the question earlier, see everything is fine, nothing is slipping through the cracks’. He seemed to be happy and amenable, so as I watched him turn his attention back to his computer screen I almost decided to walk away, but then I was like ‘so I have some news…’. He turned and his eyes said Oh Shit!

So I put up my hands ‘It’s good news!…I am expecting’. And his face lightened and he said ‘Oh that’s great! Congratulations!’. Then I felt the need to add ‘it isn’t until late January/first of February, so it should all work out with this project’….”*pshaw* Oh don’t worry about that…that is great. It is good to have two at home”. And then I joked ‘yeah so they can fight, hahah’. And I walked away.

Then I kicked myself for being as silly and worried as I was. Dumb. Thank you all for your encouragement and reassurances. You’re right. If he had any reaction besides that, then this wouldn’t be the place for me anyway.

Where’s my courage?

So I’ve been making myself ill the last few weeks and I know it is ridiculous. I wanted to wait until my 12 week appointment to tell anyone at work…namely my boss, but pretty much anyone. It is a pretty young crowd here. So the ladies that I sometimes have lunch with are not only not married, but nowhere near the baby-making phase of their lives. It just isn’t the group you share that news with and ask for advice on how to approach your boss….I guess that is the weird part of being one of the mentor’s in the firm as opposed to the mentees…..mentee is a silly word.

I guess in a year I will be able to advise them on getting pregnant and going on maternity leave….man it sort of sucks to pave the way though doesn’t it?

The one person I can talk to and ask about this sort of thing is Jane. I love Jane and I seriously have almost told her a zillion times, but of course the problem has been proximity to others. Open office plans are great until you want to have a secret conversation….doh. Saying ‘hey Jane can we talk downstairs in the conference room’ seems a bit obvious.

Anyway, mainly it is the thought of telling my boss that is giving me nerves of glass. Leave it to me to get knocked up the first cycle after starting with the new acupuncturist and within the first 4 months of starting a new job. I distinctly remember saying ‘let’s get going now because it will probably take 3 cycles to regulate’… numero uno. Apparently tell no one of your grand ideas of plans.

The nerves really set in when I spoke with a girlfriend from my old job. When I told her my due date she was like ‘oh will you qualify for FMLA if you haven’t been there for 12 months’…..oh shitballs….turns out I have no idea what they will say. It is really all up to them at that point. There is a parental leave clause in my handbook that says it is at the discretion of the partner as far as time off allowance goes. That seems to apply if I haven’t been here a full year and officially qualify for FMLA.

Nuggetv2 is due 7 days before my official one year anniversary…..I may be the only woman in the history of the world who is hoping for an at least 7 day late baby….10 would be better, just to get well past that line.

I am not sure what I was thinking guys. I certainly wasn’t calculating right and I should have held off another two months before starting acu again….but here we are. Obviously PLEASE don’t get me wrong. I am so grateful to be here in this predicament. To be whorishly knocked-up again and only worried about paying bills during my time away from work and this, hopefully, tiny hurdle of exposing my faux pas of getting pregnant before you’ve been at a new job for a year. Whoopsie daisies. I am trying not to let the extreme negative thoughts of ‘they might find it’s a perfect opportunity to let you go at that point’ inside…but they are there. It certainly could happen, but let’s all hope it won’t.

I’ve been waffling between denial that I need to tell anyone for a bit longer and running through speeches in my head. Jane and I are walking to a meeting together on Wednesday, so I am hoping that will be our time to chat and discuss. She has been here 7 years and is the only female to have had a child while at the firm. She also knows our boss better than anyone and seems to always have the best advice on approaching him. So I hope after Wednesday I will have my plan of attack nailed down.

The good news is, January still feels like forever away. Hopefully he will feel that way too. And I already have something in my draft brain speech that points out I plan to be here for a really long time and I hope he realizes how dedicated I am to the future of the firm and all that good stuff….something along those lines. We’ll see. Something I did stumble upon that was really helpful today was this. I know my teeny silly hurdle is nothing compared to the things he is talking about, but reading this did help.

Friday is my 12 week appointment. So….that makes next week the big week for revealing. The good news is I am not really showing and I seem to be able to accomplish being nauseated and tired without anyone blinking an eye. I have half a mind to wait a bit longer, but….I know it needs to happen sooner rather than later. Then I can spend the next 6 months showing him how dedicated and awesome I will continue to be despite being knocked up.