Friday, May 6, 2011

On Pregnancy

15 week ultrasound--giving us a "thumbs up!"

In approximately five months, we will be welcoming a new little Clark into our family! Jim and I are thrilled, and Lilly has no idea what is happening, although she loves pointing to my stomach and saying hi to the baby. Just when you think she’s starting to understand what is going on, she’ll point to Jim’s stomach and say, “Daddy’s baby,” and then to her own and say, “Lilly’s baby.” So while she likes to talk about the baby (what doesn’t she like to talk about?) she doesn’t
really understand there’s a baby on the way.
Today is the first day, since we found out I was pregnant back in January, that I feel like I can really breathe. And relax. And just enjoy being pregnant. The past few months have been like a roller coaster ride, full of excitement and anticipation, and then worry and nervousness. I’ve had moments where I’ve been overjoyed, and then minutes later found myself immersed in a world of “what ifs.”
Losing a baby at any point during a pregnancy is not easy. When that point happens almost half way through a pregnancy, it takes its toll. It has tested me mentally. For the first 18 weeks of this pregnancy, I kept thinking back to last time. I wouldn’t let myself get excited. As much as I wanted to be, I kept reminding myself that I made it this far last time thinking everything was great, only to find out that it wasn’t. I wouldn’t let Jim tell Lilly about the baby--I didn’t want her pointing to my stomach just yet. We only told family and close friends. Even going out to tutor at night, I didn’t say anything to my families, despite the fact that my expanding waistline was becoming pretty apparent. I knew that none of them would ask me about it. It has been a difficult few months for me, because I am not a negative person, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t put the past behind me.
I’m officially past that point now. Yesterday marked the turning point for me. We had our anatomy ultrasound, and even though this baby has been monitored more closely all along, it took yesterday’s appointment to put my mind at ease. We got to see our little one, and as far as the doctors could see, he or she is perfect. We don’t have to see a high risk doctor any more, and I get to be me again. Of course, I’ll feel 100% okay when the baby is born, but for now, I’m back to myself--just with a little bit of a rounder stomach than usual.
I have been hoping that this day would come, because I loved being pregnant with Lilly. I loved everything about my pregnancy. I loved how I felt; I loved my stomach (even as it grew beyond what I physically thought was possible). I loved feeling Lilly kick and move around and hiccup. I even loved my labor, and how I was able to have the natural childbirth experience that I had hoped for--with Jim’s help (and a quick hair cut), of course. Well, on second thought, I won’t say I loved all of my labor, but I will say that the second time around, I hope everything goes the same way it did with Lil.
So, I’m happy to say that today, I love being pregnant again. I didn’t love the nausea that accompanied this pregnancy (does that mean it’s a boy this time?!) but I love all the “firsts” that take place, and that I still have to look forward to this time. That first moment when you find out that you’re pregnant is an unforgettable feeling. It’s surreal; I will never get sick of that moment and that feeling; of telling Jim and seeing his face light up in disbelief. The first kick, which I felt a few weeks ago, but have yet to feel consistently. The first baby hiccup. The first person who stops me and says, “whoa, must be coming any day now, right?” to which I get to reply that I’ve still got months to go. I heard that with Lilly in January, and she wasn’t born until April.
I love the bizarreness of how pregnancy affects my tastes. Everything is so extreme. With Lilly, I couldn’t stand basil. We had to get rid of our basil plants because the smell of them as I walked into the kitchen made me sick. I went off coffee altogether--one of my favorite pastimes just vanished because all of a sudden, I couldn’t stomach coffee any more. I loved tea, however, and African Rooibos tea became my new favorite drink. I went through a huge Chinese food phase, which I think Jim enjoyed more than I did. My sense of smell was heightened. Actually, I think that heightened is an understatement. I could smell a glass of wine on the other side of the restaurant. When Jim came home from the office, I would always tell him what he smelled like--something different every day. Finally, Jim asked me if I could stop updating him on his smells, so unless it was extremely apparent, I kept that running commentary to myself.
This time, it’s different. I like basil. I didn’t like coffee for the first 15 weeks or so. I started drinking tea, but stopped liking that shortly after I started. I switched to hot water with lemon, which started to upset my stomach, so finally, the only hot beverage I was drinking was plain hot water. Thankfully, I like coffee again, which means that I get to have my iced coffees this summer! Maybe not in the quantity that I would like, but I don’t have to forego them altogether. Hot water just wasn’t cutting it. I don’t have any strong food aversions, but I do have some pretty strong preferences. Just ask Jim. When we’re deciding what to have for dinner, some meals sound amazing (namely anything that includes pasta or pizza), and some sound disgusting (usually any meal of substance). Early on in my pregnancy, Jim told me that he was pretty sure we’d had every pizza in a 5 mile radius of our house during the past two weeks, and I couldn’t argue with him. I’ve cut back on the pizza and have started to want normal meals again, but as Jim says, it’s always fun to see what I come home from the grocery store with. One day, it was a Costco size bag of pistachios. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had pistachios, but that was all I wanted, so I bought a never ending bag and as a result, Lilly has learned to love, “sistachios”. Other spur of the moment purchases have included marshmallows, animal crackers, cadbury creme eggs, kettle cooked potato chips, dried mangoes...the list goes on and on and gets more random with each addition. Our cabinets are full of these things, because I tend to like them for a day or two, and then never want to see them again. Ahhhhh, the rational mind of a pregnant woman. Luckily, I have the perfect husband for this phase of pregnancy. Jim loves the food phases (although I’m pretty sure he’s sick of pizza). He finishes off whatever strange purchases I bring into the house while hypothesizing what my next food item of choice will be.
I love working out when I’m pregnant. It’s an entirely different feeling than the one I am accustomed to. I’m not training for a race or to fit into smaller clothes. It’s not at all competitive. I’m working out to feel good about myself. I think that staying in shape helped my labor and recovery with Lil and am continuing to do whatever workouts I enjoy during this pregnancy. Sometimes it’s a swim or using the elliptical. Sometimes it’s a workout on my trainer. Sometimes, it’s just a nice walk with Lilly. And sometimes, it’s an extra hour of sleep in the morning instead. I enjoy just listening to my body and figuring out what will make me feel good each day. And with the workouts come some of the best naps. Pregnancy naps are amazing! Early on, when I was exhausted for no reason in the middle of the day, Lilly and I would take 3 hours naps at the same time. And now that the exhaustion has passed, I see how the day is going and if I feel like having a nap, I have learned to leave everything else. I can clean, do laundry, cook dinner...all those productive things...while Lilly is awake. I cannot sleep while she is awake. So I’ve been taking advantage of this quiet time in the middle of every day.
I’m 19 weeks pregnant now, almost half way. I’m excited and relieved. I’ve returned to my positive self. I’ve stopped asking myself all the “what ifs.” I’m happy again and am going to let myself enjoy the next 5 months. I loved them with Lilly and I’m ready to love being pregnant again.

8 weeks

12 weeks...the baby and me!

Yesterday's pictures! The little foot and hand above are amazing. And a full profile below. They estimated that the baby currently weighs 8 oz :)

Happy Easter! Lilly decorated my stomach with Easter egg stickers!


  1. You look WONDERFUL, and so does Baby Clark!! I am so SO happy for you :) Congratulations!!
    xoxo Christine

  2. ahh congratulations!! i have to tell you, it always gives me a smile when i see a new entry of yours pop up on my google reader. i have really enjoyed reading your write beautifully and our families and little girls are so similar, that i relate to so much of it. madelyn is a couple months behind lilly but i see so many similarities in their chatty and silly personalities :) i was so sad to read about your earlier loss, i can't even imagine going through that, so this is truly fantastic news. i hope you continue to feel well and that lilly enjoys the summer of having you two to herself before she becomes a big sister. we really should try to get together this summer, we would totally take a road trip to CT, it would be so fun! :) anyway congrats again and enjoy your mothers day! - kelly

  3. Yay yay yay! Such wonderful news! Congratulations! I felt like I was reading about you describing my second pregnancy. It has been so different, I was convinced it was a boy. I was wrong! When are you actually due? I guess you're only a few weeks behind me. I want our little ones to meet one day!
    Best wishes! Marisa