36 weeks and feeling (mostly) great

Well hello there!

Today I hit the big mark–36 weeks! One month to go (give or take a few weeks). This past month has been really amazing as the little lady starts to push out more and more, giving me a feeling of her elbows/knees and butt, but also one of the harder months of pregnancy as far a self-esteem. This is a post that touches on some real feelings I’ve had (negative) so if you can’t read about a pregnant lady’s honest feelings about pregnancy right now, skip this one.

Most of my pregnancy has been absolutely amazing. I never really had morning sickness, I felt great, and everyone was constantly telling me how tiny I was and how I didn’t even look pregnant besides my belly. I still feel pretty great most days. Well, around 33 weeks my body began storing a hefty amount of (the word I found on the internet…) “maternal fat stores”. These “stores” have been heavily concentrated in my butt and thighs and have been compounding weekly. I’ve never really had body image issues in the past and have always been very confident (except for my hormonal acne which made infertility even more fun to go through, but that’s a different story). Then, a few weeks ago, I looked in the mirror at the gym while in my swimming suit and felt disgusted. I hated the way I looked. I loved my belly, but was worrying that I was getting too “fat” and would never be able to be confident at the beach again. I know I moved to Minnesota this year so won’t be hitting too many beaches, but it still bothered me. A good friend told me that is where we save food for our children in case of famine. So if there is a famine, you can all come to my house for dinner 🙂 I’m trying to be proud of my body no matter what so here is a pic—not of my tushy—because there are some things that should just be left off the internet. I still think I look good from the side when my hiney is clothed, so we’ll just avoid pictures from behind until I get my Hiedi Klum butt back (wishful thinking…never had one to begin with…)

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There it is…the bare belly selfie in the bathroom mirror!

 

My appetite has increased greatly this month and I seriously think about food 24/7. I have lost all will power at this point (something I used to have a lot of ever since I went “sugar free” in 2013). I just had 2 brownies with ice cream and am desperately wanting more. I’m thinking about pulling a can of whipped cream I just threw away from Thanksgiving out of the trash since we are now out of ice cream (ok. confession–I did pull the can out and squirted a bit on my last brownie) (another confession- in the time it took me to write this I ate the equivalent of another brownie in small slivers). I know that weight gain is normal and I know that it can be concentrated in that area, but it’s still just hard to deal with. I feel guilty about eating poorly, and that just makes me want to eat more sweets!

My husband, the usual saint, asks me every time I complain about my excess side baggage “Do you have a healthy baby?”. And then when I respond with some variation of “yes, I think so”, he very nicely but firmly tells me to shut it. People still tell me I look tiny, but that’s because I wear baggy maternity scrubs to work. I still secretly compare myself to other people who are as pregnant as me (I’m smaller than her–yes! / I’m bigger than her–am I too fat?). I even google “36 weeks pregnant” and compare my body to all the variations under the sun that you can find.

I know the world’s tiniest violin is playing “My heart bleeds for you”, I am just having a hard time getting used to being up nearly 30 lbs when my baby only weighs 6… I’m hoping my boobs account for a large percentage of that weight.

But other than that, the new onset of nausea/diarrhea this week, inability to roll over in bed, and the acne I’ve developed on my behind, everything is peachy and we are waiting for our little girl to make her appearance!

xTally

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Resolve to Know More

So I’m guessing a lot of people’s readers will be full of blogs with this title, but I thought, hey, why not join in the fun?  It’s National Infertility Awareness Week and I thought I would capture the theme of this year by writing a letter to myself before we started this messed-up journey with all the things I wish I knew then.

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Dear Tally,

I know you are so excited that you and Will have decided to have a baby, but let me tell you, it’s not as easy as the world makes it out to be. I know since a lot of your friends have recently told you they got pregnant on the first month, you thought it would happen right away, but that’s not what God has planned for you.

Your life has been easy up until now, you’ve not suffered much, and you’ve accomplished everything you’ve tried by working hard and having a little luck. Well my dear, God has chosen you to be the 1 in 8 couples that struggle to get pregnant, so get ready to have your world rocked.

Don’t start planning how you’re going to decorate a nursery and pinning maternity clothes on Pinterest. Don’t stop buying new clothes because you think you’ll be too big to wear them soon, or keep clothes in your closet that clearly don’t fit or that you don’t like because they’d be good to hide anything when you first start to show. Wear what makes you look good now, because you won’t always feel good.

Jealousy is going to be a big part of your life for the next 18 months. You need to get a grip on it now and maintain that tight grip. Pray and meditate on the fact that God has a plan for you and nothing you do or don’t do will make it change. It will be hard for you to see so many friends announce pregnancies and have babies while you continue to wait. Some of your best friends will get pregnant easily and you will be happy for them, and smile, but when you get to your car, you will sob, and that’s ok.

Just get off Facebook now. It’s a waste of time and you’ll feel a lot better when you aren’t constantly being reminded of what other people have that you don’t. You won’t miss it.

You should make an appointment with your doctor when you feel like things aren’t right. I know they say you should wait one year, but you will know something is wrong with your cycles and hormones, so don’t be afraid to step out and speak up. Others may try to tell you to relax and not worry, but you know your body well and you know in your gut something isn’t right. And when you meet with the doctor, write down your questions and make sure you ask them. When you are in the room you will be very nervous and end up being a passive participant in your first few appointments because you are intimidated by the process and your lack of knowledge. Speak up when you don’t understand something your doctor says.

Oh and that acne that you got when you were in college and went off the pill for a few months, that was child’s play compared to what you are going to get. Be prepared for it to last for a while and start your preventative scar treatments now. Use your Traumeel cream and a gentle face cleanser, that’s it. No harsh chemicals and expensive products are going to work, so don’t waste your time, money and sensitive skin on them. You’re going to feel ugly and unfeminine. Just know that your husband loves you for you, not for your appearance and don’t call yourself ugly in front of him–he will get angry. Wear makeup even when you don’t feel like it, trust me, you just feel better and more like yourself when you do.

You are going to be so nervous to go to your first pray for babies night at church, but after 6 months of actively trying you will already feel sad, lonely, and frustrated, so it’s worth it to start connecting to people now. Be brave and own your story. Yes, some others have been trying for a lot longer, and you feel stupid for feeling how you do after only 6 months when they’ve been trying for 5 years, but I bet they wish they started going to those groups earlier.

When you start to tell people about your story, you’ll find out there are so many more out there just like you. You are not the only one who cries during diaper commercials or gets excited when you have egg white-like stuff coming out of your hooha. You’ll be afraid to tell people you know, some will have an amazing reaction you didn’t expect (like Will’s brother) and others will disappoint you with their reactions. You’ll start blogging and find there is a great community of support and understanding from people all over the world going down the same path. You won’t be ready to tell everyone you know or broadcast it on social media, and that’s ok. You will someday.

This is going to be hard on Will too, but it will manifest in a different way. You might get frustrated with him sometimes, but be kind to him. He is a gentle soul and that’s why you picked him to be your life partner and father to your future children.

Most of all Tally, I want you to remember that you are loved and cherished by God. He has not forsaken you and He will make you a mother. It may be different from how you imagined it, but it will be amazing. Your story is not finished yet. I can’t tell you how long you’ll have to wait to be called “mommy” but I know when you hear those words for the first time, you will look back at all the money and time spent on this journey and be thankful.

Love,

me

Check out these links to learn more:

The Little Things

Over the past few days I’ve been hyper-aware of pregnancies and things that go along with it in my pity party for one. I don’t know if anyone else out there has felt this way before but I feel like in my crazy head everything pregnant women do is a condescending reminder that I’m not good enough to be among them. WARNING: I fully understand that the pregnant women and society have no intention of doing this, it is just evidence to the crazy world that exists in my head.

1. Eating for 2- I have a friend who is pregnant who we always teased because she never ate much and basically pushed food around her plate. Well now, obviously she is trying to eat more. When I’m at her house for prolonged periods of time she will go into the kitchen and make herself a little healthy snack, or have a second helping of whatever we ate for a meal, which she normally would never do. I know she’s just eating, but to me, she’s saying “I’m eating for 2 because I’m pregnant, you’re not, so you don’t get to eat for 2”. I don’t know why, but I get so irritated when I see her eating her “pregnancy snacks”.

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2. Radio Ads- There is one radio ad that plays here about storing cord blood. It plays several times per day and I always hear it a couple time per week depending on how often I’m in the car. The ad has soft lullaby music in the background and a gentle mother-ease voice that says “You’re pregnant! This is the best news in the world…you have an amazing journey in front of you..” Then goes on to tell parents to think ahead and save cord blood for the future. It’s just the opening line that makes me want to throw up. In my crazy head the ad is saying “being pregnant is  be the best thing in the world for a woman to do. But you’re not good enough to get to experience that…”

3. Pregnancy clothes- All the pregnant women around town are dressed in such cute ways, accentuating their bumps. I feel like they’re all saying “look at me, I have a cute belly and you don’t”. I just have this little pudge that I could pretend was a bump if I wore the right clothes?

4. Church seats- We go to the 9am service at church. There are always a lot of kids at the service. There is a naturally segregated seat section where parents sit because it is closest to the door to take them to children’s church and to be found if meltdowns happen. We used to sit over there because our friends sat over there. Lately, I can’t do it, so we sit on the other side of the church. That is where couples without kids, singles or “other” tend to sit, we feel safe over there. There is an infertility group at my church and I notice a lot of them sit there as well. Last week when we went to our usual place, there were 3 pregnant women sitting all around me, some with children already, one with like a 6 month old! With the week I’ve had? Come on! Do you really have to invade our child-free section and gloat about how glowing you are and the miracle growing inside you? Of course then it’s hard to pay attention at church when you have the one thing in your life standing between between you and God, literally standing between you and the speaker? Maybe we need to switch services…

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Note: This is actually a photo of our church and where we sit!

Again, I know these people/things aren’t actually doing anything on purpose and I’m being irrational. I am just feeling crummy lately and when I am sad about something, I’m over-sensitive, (and I know it), but I just don’t care. So maybe now that I’ve got all the little things that bother me down on paper, they won’t bother me anymore?? Maybe? It’s worth a shot.

Blessings,

Tally

Body Image part II: Finding my Self-Worth

I’ve always thought that I was a pretty attractive person. I’m no Sophia Vergara, but I’m not bad! I knew when people looked at me and “checked me out”. This is not meant to be bragging, just to illustrate that emotional toll infertility and hormone problems can take on a previously confident person. Now when someone looks at me for a prolonged period of time, I know its because they’re staring at my skin and probably thinking to themselves “oh that girl could be pretty if she had better skin” or feeling pity for me. My confidence is crushed. I constantly am putting myself down to my husband and I cry almost daily. Small things others say make me completely melt down. Hearing someone with great skin complain about a small pimple. Or that time someone commented on how pretty one of my friends is. Later that night I sobbed thinking that no one is ever going to say that about me anymore. Infertility has really changed my self-perception and self-worth.I know that I should fix my gaze upwards, but it’s hard.

We’ve all felt the jealousy of when others get pregnant easily, and now I have the double doozy of always seeing people who are pregnant and/or pretty and I just see what I could have been and what I want so much.

I just wanted to put this out there  in hopes that others who might also feel ugly, fat, useless, unfeminine, [insert your word here] can know that you’re not alone and there is at least one other person who is feeling the same way.  I love my husband who always tells me I’m beautiful, even when I don’t believe him. I am trying to turn to scripture to comfort me in my current situation. This verse makes me feel better knowing that God cherishes my heart, not my beauty. 

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

1 Peter 3:3-4

I want to do my best to keep this in mind when I’m feeling down about myself. Full disclosure: this will be hard. I find it easier to turn to cookie dough instead. I guess that’s what this is all about–finding my way and learning to trust the Lord. Any prayers for me to accept this and see my true beauty are appreciated!! 

xoTally

Body Image Part I: My Physical Effects of Wacky Hormones

One of the biggest changes I’ve felt since not being on birth control has been changes in my skin. Many of you out there may have experienced other hormone-related physical changes (weight gain, hair growth…) since coming off BCP, but my cross to bear has been pervasive acne. Now this isn’t what some people refer to as “acne” when they get a few blemishes and think the world is going to end. This is serious, cystic, painful acne all over cheeks, chin and even lips. I’d had “acne” in the past, but I always sought out medical treatment (retin-a, antibiotics, other oral drugs I don’t even remember…) when it “blew up”, but this time, when trying to conceive, there have been no options.

For a while I tried treating it with my own home remedies to balance my hormones/clear acne. I completely cut added sugar out of my diet for 10 weeks (am still only having limited); I took apple cider vinegar every day; I took maca powder; I did the “oil cleanse” for 8 weeks…nothing was working! I kept getting horrible pimples and with very fair and sensitive skin, I ended up getting really bad scars. WARNING: These are never before seen photos–I’m quite embarrassed about my skin and rarely let anyone see my true skin! Only my family and a few close friends have seen me without makeup in the past year. I even wear concealer to the beach! On the right is obviously me now, with the scarring. I wasn’t thinking about taking close up pictures of my skin before I had trouble with it, so this is the best I have for a “before” picture showing the same cheek. Can you imagine going from this to that along with the shame/frustration of infertility?

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I have been seeing a naturopath for fertility, so when I mentioned to her how much the acne bothered me, she offered Traumeel and cutis compositum tablets to help with inflammation from within. Around that same time, I also started using a “Mia” face brush and “Fresh” brand cleanser. It was expensive, but I liked the way it felt.  After 8 weeks on the supplements and new, gentle face wash my acne had gotten a bit better. I then transitioned from oral medications to Traumeel cream that I applied twice per day as it was a lot cheaper than all the oral meds. I couldn’t afford the expensive face wash, so I transitioned to Neutrogena Ultra Gentle  face wash. My skin has been fairly break-out free for a little over a month, but the scars are still ever present, reminding me every time I look in the mirror that I have hormone problems and can’t get pregnant. All in all, my skin has been bad for almost a year now (the acne didn’t start until I’d been off the pill for several months). I’m now starting to investigate what I can do to help lighten the scars until I’m able to do laser surgery (after I’m done have kids, or when we stop trying for good).

So there is the background of my physical change since my wacky hormones have taken over my body. Stay tuned for the next installment of how these physical changes affected my self-esteem and emotions.

I am really scared to publish the post because of the pictures, but I guess you have to be BRAVE! So here goes noth….