On having a panic-free pregnancy.
Only 9 weeks to go until my due date. I’m in single digits now! So very excited. What once seemed so very far away now seems extremely close. June 13 is going to be here before we know it… And I’m starting to really understand that baby could come even sooner. My friend Jen had Wyatt around 36 weeks! That’s right around the corner.
Here’s what BabyHTP is up to this week: “This week, your baby measures over 16 inches long. He weighs about 3.3 pounds and is heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin.” (Source) When did my little one become so BIG?!
How am I feel this week? Honestly, pretty good! I’ve been sleeping like a rock and getting back into a regular exercise routine (the move disrupted things for a while). I’ve been eating well, too. And I’ve been doing lots of Bradley Method homework – reading my breastfeeding book, practicing all my relaxation techniques, and doing my exercises. I’m starting to feel as prepared as I can be for childbirth; I’m not scared of the pain at all, and I know the Husband feels ready for his role, too.
I’m also in full-on nesting mode. Last night, I washed the few baby clothes that I’ve accumulated, organized what I could of the nursery, and removed the crib from the box (baby steps; pun intended). Hopefully, it will be assembled in a few days’ time. I still don’t have a dresser or glider, but that will be remedied soon. Whoo hoo!
This week, let’s discuss having a panic-free pregnancy.
I’m sure this will come as an OUTRAGEOUS surprise to all of you, but I am rather Type A. Hah. I can’t tell you how many friends and family members have commented, “I cannot believe how calm you’ve been about pregnancy… I thought you would be, um, different.” As in, they thought I would be totally freaked out and controlling, which is a fair assessment given my personality. But I haven’t been! I’ve been really relaxed and laidback about most things.
Things that I have chosen not to stress out over:
Weight gain – Online calculators like this one are helpful for determine whether or not you’re anywhere close to a ‘healthy weight gain’ for pregnancy, but I have been consistently at the top of the graph or beyond my entire pregnancy – i.e. I’m gaining weight ‘faster than I should be.’ While maintaining a healthy weight gain is important for my health and the health of the baby, I’m clearly not going nuts eating ice cream sundaes, soda, and pie every day for every meal. I’m eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, so if my weight is a little higher than it’s ‘supposed’ to be… who cares? My body just doesn’t fit neatly into some chart. I’m not going to stress over it.
No-No Foods and Caffeine – I wrote two posts on this very topic early in my pregnancy – Food Rules and Pregnancy and Giving Up the Java (While Pregnant). While pregnant, you can’t eat soft cheese, you can’t drink coffee, you shouldn’t eat sprouts, you shouldn’t do this or that… or so ‘they’ say. And EVERYONE ‘knows’ these rules and will inform you that you’re breaking one if, God forbid, you order a latte at Starbucks with a visible baby bump (seriously, this happened to me). One of the books that really changed my perspective on these rules was The Panic-Free Pregnancy: An OB-GYN Separates Fact from Fiction on Food, Exercise, Travel, Pets, Coffee, Medications, and Concerns You Have When You Are Expecting, which educated me about the reasoning behind the rules and the odds that the ‘bad things’ will happen to you. Am I going to eat soft cheese that’s been sitting in the sun for five hours? Um, no. But I wouldn’t do that when I wasn’t pregnant, either. I’m not going to freak myself out over every single thing that passes my lips because, quite frankly, the odds of something bad happening are low. To each their own, of course.
Sleeping on My Back or Right Side: When I first heard about this ‘rule,’ I was pretty freaked out. The rule comes from this study, which showed women who sleep on their back or right side have double the risk of a late-term stillbirth. DOUBLE THE RISK?! I lost it! But I let go of the anxiety over sleep position when I realized that the general odds of having a late-term stillbirth was a little over 3 / 1,000. Scary and horrifying, yes. Enough to stress out over every single night when I really need to be relaxing? Not for me. I try to sleep on my left, but if the right side is comfier, then it’s right all the way. Back sleeping is impossible now, anyway!
Other things I choose not to stress out over: flying dozens of times well until the end of my second trimester (radiation!!!); dying my hair a total of two times (chemicals!!!); eating a mix of conventional and organic produce (even more chemicals!!!); exercising (whether ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’); and having sex (samesies).
How did I get to the place of not being panic-stricken all the time? As mentioned, The Panic-Free Pregnancy really helped. Reading the studies behind the ‘rules’ made me realize how blown out of proportion most of them are at the core. When I do feel myself stressing out over small things, I remind myself that the human race has been populating the Earth for bajillions of years; if we were truly so fragile that sleeping on your back while pregnant harmed a high percentage of babies, we’d be screwed. And, ironically, having two early bleeds (check out 3 Things I Wish I Knew at 5 Weeks) also reduced my overall anxiety. Going through the bleed experience reminded me that I’m not in control of everything and – somehow – this allowed me to ‘let go’ of the desire to control.
Now, I realize that my response to pregnancy may have been completely different if I suffered a miscarriage or had difficulty conceiving; I’m not even going to pretend that I kind of know what that hell feels like. And maybe I’d be more panic-stricken under other circumstances or if my personality was different. But… somehow… I got to the place where I’m not panicked over everything that happens, and I wanted to write this post to simply say to other pregnant mommas that it’s okay not to be worried all the time. Worrying all the time doesn’t necessarily make you a better parent. It just makes you a more stressed-out one.
That being said, there are a few things that I do stress out over: walking through the backscatter machines at airport security, my protein intake (very important in Bradley Method world; I actually cried hysterically once when my protein intake for the day was too low), doing my Kegel exercises, my birth plan, and not inhaling toxic fumes when we painted our new place. Not all of these worries ‘make sense’ given my non-worries or are even statistically proven/relevant, but I’ve managed to keep my worries pretty contained. And that makes me one happy pregnant woman, indeed.
Plus, I figure I need to save up my worry energy for when the baby is actually here!
Here’s Week 31 in a nutshell:
Total Weight Gained: Officially hovering at 25 pounds – I thought I was closer to 30 last week, but it must’ve been water weight.
Looking Forward To…: Our maternity photo shoot, which is on April 21, and my baby shower, which is on April 29.
Baby Items Purchased: I bought diapers and wipes! Very important items.
Cravings: Grilled cheese sandwiches.
Workouts: Back in a better rhythm of exercise. I went on a walk, did two days of hard gardening, and attended a spin class.
What things did you choose to worry about while pregnant? What things did you not worry about?