This post was originally written August 22, when I was just shy of 7 weeks pregnant.
Man, this first trimester fatigue is no joke. I spend all day fighting to stay awake and despairing about my office’s lack of a scheduled nap time. Last night I could easily have gone to bed at 7:30 if I didn’t feel this ridiculous mental block against doing so. I managed to stay up until 9, but was irritable and grumpy the whole time.
Also, I’m hungry all the time. Until I start eating, of course, at which point every bite is a gamble. Will I enjoy it? How many bites before the inevitable bite in which I get half-way through chewing and then suddenly the food in my mouth transforms to something so mushy and disgusting that it will take every ounce of my willpower to finish chewing and swallow, fighting my gag reflex the entire time? And with that fateful bite, my meal is over. I’m really looking forward to getting to the point where all food is amazing and I can eat whatever I damn well please because it’s delicious and I’m pregnant so there.
At my first official prenatal appointment on Tuesday, the nurse was going over medical history, past pregnancy stuff, etc., and we got to the question about how long I was in labor when Alexander was born. When I told her my labor was only five-and-a-half hours, she was stunned, to say the least. Then she emphatically told me that, at the end of this pregnancy, if I feel like I might be in labor, “Don’t call, don’t wait, just get to the hospital before that baby falls out!” One of many reasons I’m glad I switched doctors: this one delivers at the hospital just down the road from my house, rather than way across town. (Also, I assume that by expecting another quick labor, I’m pretty much guaranteeing I’ll be in labor for a minimum of 30 hours this time around.)
NOTE: This post was originally written in early August, in the days right after I found out I was pregnant. It’s possible there’s some over-sharing going on here, so menfolk and others who aren’t interested in reading some of the more “delicate” details may want to avert their eyes for the first couple paragraphs.
Friday, August 2
Less than a week after my positive HPT, and the this pregnancy is already trending toward rollercoaster. (Trending toward. Not actually rollercoaster-y. Just not 100% smooth sailing.) I had some spotting Sunday and Monday, so naturally assumed I was not pregnant. But then the spotting stopped, so I took an HPT on a whim Tuesday morning, and got a very faint positive result. Even a faint positive is a positive, and I was, of course, overjoyed.
Later that day, the spotting started again, and stopped just as suddenly. In a matter of hours I went from “It worked! I’m pregnant!” to “Well, so much for that.” to “Maybe? Possibly?” I called the doctor and told them what was up, and they told me to come in Friday to confirm the pregnancy.
The next few days proceed normally. On Wednesday I have a weird appetite thing happen where I’d be starving, eat a few bites, then immediately lose all interest in eating. One hour later, starving again. Repeat at one-hour intervals throughout the day. Since it hasn’t happened again, I’m chalking it up to nerves and not pregnancy-related appetite weirdness. I spent the rest of the week feeling good, confident, etc. Took another HPT Thursday just to be sure, and boy was it nice to see the word “Pregnant” bright and clear on the digital display.
Today (Friday), I went to the doc and, of course, the pee test there was negative. Apparently the doctor’s tests, as the nurse assured me, are a lot less sensitive than the home versions. (I’m sorry, but: What the hell?? Wouldn’t you assume the tests at the doctor’s office would be more advanced and sensitive than the ones you can buy off the shelf at the local drug store? Totally crazy.) Anyway, the nurse told me not to think much of it (it’s still early — I’m only 4 weeks), but she also mentioned the slight possibility that it could indicate a very early miscarriage, which is a word you never want to hear brought up, no matter how slight the chances. She sent me for blood work, and now I’m waiting for those results. I would love it if they were positive so I could carry on not fretting and start looking forward to the 6-week ultrasound. If they don’t call back this afternoon, I won’t hear anything until Monday. I may have to buy a couple more HPTs to get through the weekend, if that’s the case. Just to be sure.
Monday, August 5
Okay, things aren’t as rollercoaster-y as I made them out to be on Friday. I was feeling a bit over-dramatic when I wrote that. (Weird, right? Stupid pregnancy hormones.) I didn’t buy any more HPTs, despite the fact that I’m still waiting, somewhat impatiently, on lab results. Based on, well, everything else, though, it seems pretty clear that the crappy pee test at the doc’s office is just a big fat liar. Yesterday we took my first belly photo and welcomed frozen mozzarella sticks back into our lives (good news: I haven’t forgotten the secret formula for baking them to perfection). It’s official: I’m pregnant.
It’s still too early for much of anything to be going on symptom-wise, but I get the impression it’s going to be another fun ride with my over-sensitive pregnancy gag reflex. At lunch today, I was enjoying some leftover asparagus, and in the middle of chewing a bite, it took a dramatic turn from “Delicious!” to “This tastes exactly like the elephant enclosure at the zoo smells.” You know, grassy, but…worse. Digested grass…mixed with elephant odor. THAT smell. And it was in my mouth. And, just like that, I was finished eating lunch. Even thinking about it right now is making me feel a little hork-y.
I would love to have another puke-free pregnancy this time around (we’re going to ignore that one time I puked last time because I was in labor at the time and therefore practically no longer pregnant), but only time will tell.
But, seriously, the lab can call back with my results any time now. I’d like to get that 6-week appointment scheduled.
Later: The lab called. My blood work came back with a positive pregnancy result but very low HCG levels. (The nurse stressed that they were “Very very low” more than once, which was super reassuring to hear, let me tell you.) I’m going back for more blood work this afternoon to make sure levels are doubling as they should be, and we’ll have results tomorrow.
On the one hand, it’d sure be nice to just get a straightforward “Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Everything’s great!” call from the doc. On the other hand, I’m glad they’re being cautious and keeping a close eye on things, just to be sure.
Related: I’m relieved that, if this has to happen, it’s happening with my 2nd pregnancy when I’m more laid back about the whole thing. If this had happened last time, I think I’d be freaking out in a pretty big way right now. Instead, I’m pretty confident everything’s fine, and I’m doing well just going with the flow. Odds are, everything’s great. And if not, well, I’ll deal with that, but not until I have to. Worrying about it now won’t change it; I’d much rather just enjoy myself for now.
I would love it, though, if after today’s blood work I can avoid going back to the doctor until my next regularly scheduled appointment.
Tuesday, August 6
My HCG levels, which were supposed to double, nearly tripled. The nurse who called gave me a very enthusiastic: “Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Everything looks great!” I have my first OB appointments scheduled for a couple weeks from now. Things are good.
NOTE: I had no idea when I originally wrote this how much those rollercoaster-type days in the first week would set the tone for the rest of my first trimester. More on that later. (Spoiler alert: Everything’s fine.)
One evening in early June, we took Alexander to the park and watched two brothers, close in age, playing together. They were having a great time, and it was pretty obvious they were the best of friends.
Later that night, while we sipped gin and tonic by the firepit, I asked Tim “When should we start thinking about having another kid?” We talked about the pros (baby!) and cons (I just got done losing the baby weight from Alexander; am I prepared to go through all the post-birth recovery and weight loss again? We’ll probably never sleep again; kids are expensive; no guarantees that the next one will be as easy as Alexander), and speculated about how nice it would be for Alexander to have a chance at a built-in best friend like those two brothers at the park. Over the course of about 20 minutes, we went from “Yeah, we want another kid…someday…” to “Let’s throw away the birth control right now!”
Which is basically how we got where we are today. I’m 13 weeks pregnant, due April 12. Alexander’s going to be a big brother. We’re going to have two (TWO!) kids.
We have occasional moments of “Holy crap, what are we getting ourselves into?” But mostly we’re beyond thrilled.
And also, we’re probably never going to sleep again.
Note: I’ve been drafting posts about all the craziness of this pregnancy over the past few months, so watch for those to be published over the coming weeks.
Alexander is two today. On the one hand, I can hardly believe it’s already his second birthday, but on the other hand, I’m so excited to see what fun new adventures this year will bring.
Over the past few months, Alexander’s gone from speaking in a series of one-word questions to rattling off nearly complete sentences. Groups of 5-6 words will come tumbling out of his mouth, and, more often than not, they even make sense. He love reading books, playing with stickers, spinning in circles until he falls down and announces “Fall down go boom!” and watching the most terrible mid-90s show about construction equipment. (“Watch Dump Trucks?” Every. Single. Day.)
He’s growing up into a full-on kid in a lot of ways, but every now and then I get a glimpse of the baby/toddler lingering in him. When he runs, he bends his arms at the elbow and sticks his hands out to the sides like little toddler chicken wings to keep him balanced. He’s good at going to sleep on his own (just this morning he woke up around 4:30 — probably to celebrate the exact moment he turned two — and I didn’t even have to go in his room to lay him back down; I just used the speaker on the monitor to tell him to lay down and go back to sleep, and he did it. It was amazing.) but he still likes to be rocked in my lap for a few minutes before naps and bedtime. Those bedtime snuggles remain one of the best parts of my day.
He’s a cautious, thoughtful little guy. We took him to the zoo last weekend, and he enjoyed looking at the animals, but he very seriously told us upon seeing each new animal, “Elephant not bite you,” “Hippo not bite you,” etc. I don’t know where he got it into his head that we should be concerned about the animals biting us, but it sure was thoughtful of him to reassure us about the lack of danger. And while he likes to climb and throw himself off couches and give his parents all sorts of heart attacks at home, I wouldn’t say he’s a daredevil. Put Alexander in an unfamiliar situation, and it quickly becomes clear that he inherited Mom and Dad’s shyness. He likes to hang back and assess a situation fully before venturing very far away from us, and even then it takes him a good long time to really get comfortable. I don’t really mind that he likes to stick close to us; it’s nice not having to constantly worry about where he is or what trouble he’s getting into.
Most of all, Alexander is just the sweetest little guy. He loves to give hugs and kisses, and he has a lot of sympathy when he sees someone is upset. He’s almost always very gentle with people and animals, and, much as he loves to run around the house like a crazy two-year-old, he’s also content to spend twenty minutes sitting in my lap with his cheek nuzzled up to mine while we read books together. I can’t believe how lucky we got with this one. He really is the best.
I said it two years ago, and I’ll say it again: He’s perfect. He’s so, so perfect.
Five years ago, the lovely and fashionable RA started this thing called Mission: Put Together (M:PT). The goal was simple: Every day for a month (usually May), participants would strive to be Put Together (PT) in how they dressed. Not only that, but they would photograph their PT outfits and post them to the M:PT photo pool, a place where participants could enjoy and be inspired by one another’s PT looks. RA has documented the evolution of M:PT over the years over at her blog; what we’re here to discuss today is how M:PT has aided in the evolution of my own personal style.
Back when M:PT started, my style was simple, basic, and–let’s be honest–a little boring. My standard uniform was solid-colored tees (short or long sleeved) and jeans, khakis, or shorts. My shoe preference was limited to a few pairs of flip flops and my old, oxford-style red shoes that I’d had since college. It was nothing exciting, nothing fancy, but it was comfortable. And, more importantly, it was easy. I didn’t have to think much about what to wear each day, beyond choosing what color shirt to wear and making sure that if I chose a red shirt, I did not also choose khaki pants, lest I look like a Target employee. Things like patterns and textures fell firmly under the category of “Froof.” And I did not do Froof.
M:PT May 2, 2008 — A typical five-years-ago outfit: Plain purple tee, jeans, trusty old red shoes. The fact that I wore a necklace made it feel PT.
When I joined M:PT that first year, I had no idea how much it would influence my style in the years to come. M:PT has had a hugely positive effect on my style, and on my life in general. I’ve connected with wonderful people, and the contents of my closet have improved in a big way. Slowly but surely, I pushed myself to try things outside of my comfort zone, both when shopping and trying new combinations with pieces I already owned.
I remember one pivotal moment from that first year. I was at Target, tasked with finding a simple white T-shirt. I stood in front of the T-shirt display with two options in my hands: One, a plain white v-neck (the safe option), and the other, a still fairly simple v-neck with a touch of added Froof in the form of a gathered neckline and sleeves. As I stood there debating which shirt to buy, I thought about M:PT and how I’d learned that sometimes a little bit of embellishment on a top could actually be cute. So I left the safe option behind and bought the Froofy tee. The next day, I wore it to work over a pink cami. Froof and layering. This was a big step for me.
That was the first of many M:PT-inspired purchases. These days, that shirt is one of the plainer pieces in my closet. In the years that followed, I continued to try new things and strived to use some of the staples in my wardrobe in new and exciting ways. But for the most part, I still played it pretty safe. I’d comment on people’s cute outfits and say “That cardigan is super cute, but I just can’t do cardigans.” Or “Flats aren’t for me, but that pair looks really cute on you!”All the while, I was slowly being won over by adorable shoes and accessories that managed to pull together otherwise plain outfits.
The previous two years’ M:PTs have happened when I was pregnant (2011) and still carrying a lot of extra baby weight (2012), so I was really forced to get creative with my limited outfit choices. While it was more of a challenge, I think it ultimately helped give me that last little push out of my comfort zone.
Some of my more PT outfits over the years, from left to right:
Spring 2008: “Froofy” brown top with blue cami, both M:PT-inspired purchases; safe khaki capris and flip flops
Fall 2008: Classic and safe white button down, purple cami, and brown pants; M:PT-inspired purple heels.
2011: Striped maternity tee with cami and M:PT-approved blazer (I posted photos of the outfit with and without the blazer, and my fellow M:PTers encouraged me to wear the blazer); Classic jeans
2011: Stiriped maternity tee paired with blue necklace (I was seldom brave enough to pair bright colors pre-M:PT); Cork wedges with jeans (also never would have happened pre-M:PT — it would have been flip flops all summer long)
2012: Cardigan! Worn by the former Captain of the Anti-Cardigan Team! Pink nursing top. Big, shiny necklace! Heels with jeans! Basically none of this outfit would have happened before M:PT.
These days, whenever I shop, I shop with M:PT in mind. I deliberately seek out and try on things I might have passed up in the pre-M:PT days, just in case they turn out to be cute (spoiler: they often are). Stripes! Bright colors! Ruffles! (a/k/a the Froofiest of the Froof!) And yes…even cardigans and (gasp!) flats.
During this year’s M:PT, Heidi mentioned one day “I got the chevron skirt instead of the solid one, and it has made all the difference.” Statements like this apply to so many of the wardrobe purchases I’ve made since M:PT began. While last year I lamented during Pattern Week that I had hardly any patterned items in my closet, this year my closet seemed to be overflowing with adorable patterns, and I struggled to choose which of my favorite patterned tops/skirts/cardigans to wear.
While I feel confident in my style now more than ever, I’m still learning so much, and my style continues to evolve as I push myself to be more adventurous. This year, I mixed patterns. I layered accessories. I wore fabulously bright shoes. During Color Week, I learned that more colors go together than I think, and I don’t need to stick to neutrals to guarantee versatility. I made a solemn vow that week that the next cardigan I buy will be a bright color.
(It wasn’t all successful — there were definitely one or two days when I wasn’t thrilled with my outfit. But that’s bound to happen whenever you try new things. Probably 27 or 28 days out of the 31, I was really happy with the outfits I put together. And 31 out of 31 days, I was encouraged by the supportive comments from all the other incredible M:PT participants.)
One of my favorite things about M:PT is being inspired by others throughout the month and putting new ideas into practice along the way. At the end of Color Week, when so many were pairing teal and coral, I used a birthday gift card to pick up a fabulous patterned coral top and a chunky teal beaded necklace to go with it. It’s not a combination I ever would have thought of pre-M:PT, but it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. Plus, that necklace goes with everything. (Who’d have thought I’d ever say that about a non-neutral item?)
(Somewhat-related aside: During that same shopping trip, I hemmed and hawed over some adorable flats that came in either a neutral beige color or a coral-and-pink print. The store didn’t have my size in either color, so I found the shoes online and debated which color to order. I made up my mind, placed the order, and promptly moved on with life. The next day, I was daydreaming about the patterned flats and had a panicked moment of “OMG did I stupidly order the boring neutral shoes?” I had serious regret at the realization that I had probably gotten trigger shy and hadn’t ordered the fun patterned shoes. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when I checked my confirmation e-mail and saw the line item for “coral patterned flats.” M:PT-influenced shopping at its best, you guys.)
A coworker complimented me on my bold color combination the day I wore a purple and orange wrap dress with my new teal beaded necklace (I told you it goes with everything). She said she’s usually too timid to pair bright colors like that, but it was working really well on me. Role reversal, much? Here I am, the person so used to saying “I love that on you, but I’m not sure I could pull it off,” and now someone’s saying it to me? As a sincere compliment? I have to admit, it’s kind of fun to realize that some of my more adventurous choices are paying off.
Before the last week of M:PT this year, in which the challenge was to Put It All Together: combine all four fashion elements (color, pattern, texture, shine) into every outfit, I worried aloud to RA about how I was possibly going to achieve that level of PT-ness for a full week. She assured me that it’d be easier than I thought, and sure enough, she was right! I managed to combine all four elements almost effortlessly that week, which is a great testament to how far the contents of my closet have come as a direct result of my participation in M:PT.
M:PT is incredible. It’s so much fun to try new things, make old shirts feel new with the addition of a fun accessory, and encourage others to do the same along the way. It’s such a kind, supportive community of gorgeous women who just want to take a month to band together and Fight the Frump. Every single woman who participates is quick to offer compliments, and every last comment in the photo pool is positive and encouraging. RA recently referred to M:PT as “this inspiring, supportive, non-snarky circle of the Internet,” and I couldn’t agree more. It’s a pretty great little group she’s created.
When RA first started M:PT, the goal was to dress confidently and feel good about yourself. M:PT has definitely helped me reach that goal. To me, being PT is about being adventurous with my clothing choices. It’s about feeling good in my clothes, enjoying the fact that my closet is full of options I love, and spending the day feeling confident with my personal style. The day I first started drafting this post, I was wearing skinny jeans. Not just skinny jeans, though, oh no. Cranberry skinny jeans. (Or, as I prefer to call them: Cranberry! Skinny! Jeans!) Who ever thought we’d see the day?
Some of my favorite looks from M:PT 2013, 100% of which I would have considered Too Froofy in my pre-M:PT days
From left to right:
Cranberry! Skinny! Jeans!, Teal striped top, grey flats
Black twist-front top, polka-dot cami, denim capris, fabulous coral patterned flats
Patterned wrap dress, teal eyelet cami, teal necklace worn as bracelet, cork wedges
Cranberry! Skinny! Jeans!, White striped cardigan, tee with ruffled neck, grey flats
Patterned skirt, tucked-in top, teal necklace, patent grey heels, toddler photo-bomb
Striped dress w/ blazer, big shiny necklace, espadrilles