36 Weeks And Counting Down

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I can’t believe I’m finally at this point….week 36!

This last trimester has definitely felt the longest.  Whereas the second trimester flashed by like nobody’s business, these last two months have been crawling at snail speed.  Or maybe it’s just me that’s been moving at snail speed?  Transitioning from lying down to sitting has been quite the struggle.  And I swear it takes me five full minutes to put on my socks and shoes.  My darling dog is looking behind his should to slow down so I can catch up with him during our walks.  The three times I managed to get to the gym swimming pool this past month I end up wading around rather than try for an cardio-aerobic session.

It’s really not so bad that time is slowing down.  I have been enjoying my no-rush days with my hubby and the husky.  We have been spending long leisurely weekends together, going to the beach, indulging in eating out at pizzerias, taco shops, and dessert parlors, enjoying a lot of quiet time together as a couple.

I have noticed myself really wanting to retreat from the outside world.  I’m not very excited about phone calls right now or even leaving the house for the grocery store.  And definitely not eager to go to work (thank goodness, I have only a few more days of work!). I am definitely ready for a spiritual hibernation right now, which means lots of quiet moments of meditation, stretching and internal preparation to become a mother.

Last night, I finally had my first dream about my baby.  In this dream, I was in a white room.  I was laboring on a bed with white sheets.  My labor seemed so effortless and felt very relaxed.  I remember reaching down to feel her head as she was crowning.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was.  I put her on my chest and then remembered that I still had to wait for my placenta to be expelled.  Sure enough it came out on its own.  I had a beautiful little moment with the baby and put her in her crib to sleep.

Still doing a lot of visualizations, positive affirmations, relaxation exercises, Spinning Baby exercises (to get baby in a good position), watching natural birth videos, getting educated about potential complications, preparing for how to avoid them, preparing fur child for human child.  100% ready to meet baby girl and welcome her into our family.

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What it feels like for a tiny Asian lady to carry a nearly grown baby in her stomach

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After having such an energetic and comfortable second trimester, I am surprised by the level of exhaustion and change I’ve been experiencing in my last trimester.  Once I hit 27 weeks, I saw my energy slowly wane and suddenly tank like nobody’s business.  I went from going to the gym 2-3 times a week to exercise on the stationary bike and swim to only having enough energy for my short and slow morning and afternoon walks with my dog. My husband is back to cooking most nights because I just don’t have the physical energy or motivation to cook a proper meal after coming home from work.  Thankfully, I still have enough energy to do some housework and preparation in the baby room.

I normally can operate on 7-8 hours of sleep, but now if I don’t get 9 hours or more, I feel very drained during the day.  The pain I’ve been having on my right hip has been easing in the last few weeks, but weirdly enough, a new symptom I’ve been experiencing is slight numbness in my right leg.  I’m guessing there’s something going on with my circulation there.  Bending at the waist is the most difficult thing to do when you’re only five feet tall and your center is rounded up like a bowling bowl. I wish I could teach my dog to put my socks on for me!

I have been successfully gaining 1-1.5 pounds a week in the last two months.  Apparently, I’m at the stage when baby is about at her maximum length but packing on the cheeky baby fat.  Thankfully I’m one of the people where most of my added weight has gone directly to my belly.  My legs are getting quite a workout from carrying the extra weight.

As challenging as I’m making these last few months sound, I don’t think I have it too bad compared to the average woman’s third trimester.  I am still mobile and have proven that if I really did want to go back to the gym, it’s possible…it’s just a matter of whether or not I want to exercise right now.  My food cravings have stabilized (though I still enjoy regular servings of ice cream). My memory is bad, but at least I have enough brainpower to still do my job competently. I’ve been spending a lot of time practicing my visualization exercises, meditation, and yoga.  It’s been easier to go into a quiet internal space these last few weeks, which is a good indicator for my planning of a relaxed, meditative labor.

Reality is settling in.  In only a couple of weeks, I will be waking up in the mornings (and several times in the evening) to not only my husband and my doggy, but a newborn human in my room!  It sounds a little insane.  We have no idea who she is or who she will be, but we are very excited to meet her and to help her grow up. I hope that she takes after her parents’ calm, low-key temperament.  I hope she is blessed with health and gets stronger everyday. I hope she makes us first-time parents feel confident and at ease in raising her. I hope she and our fur child will love each other as siblings.

And I’m writing this on a Sunday night and it’s 8:15pm. Yes, this means good night for exhausted Hippie Asian Mom!

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Reflection: Finding Happiness in 7 Years

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In the same way that I’m picky about my cream puffs, I’m super picky about what books I’m willing to invest my time in reading. I’m one of those people who will compulsively borrow ten library books, keep them for six weeks, but will have only read a paragraph from each one to determine that “the writing is just not my taste”. The thought of reading a badly written book even for five minutes feels like getting a tooth pulled out with rusty pliers.

But it’s the last month of my pregnancy right now, and all I can manage to enjoy after work is sitting on the couch with a bowl of ice cream. My left brain tells me to douse myself with fresh knowledge while baby is in her ultra-growing phase and mommy is her ultra-lazy phase.  So I head into the library next to IKEA and spend about an hour cherry-picking the last books I will read in a very long time (I’m assuming most new mothers don’t have the leisure or energy to finish a book).

After combing up and down the aisles, I finally made a choice. Interestingly, for someone who doesn’t typically read books a second time, I decided to revisit Caroline Myss’ Sacred Contracts, a spiritual book about realizing our life purpose. This was a book that I read about seven years ago during my ripe 20’s when I was having a hard time figuring out where my life was going.  I honestly do not remember if I derived much from this book back then, but something told me that it was time for me to pick it up again.

During my early 20s, I read a lot of Buddhist literature and spiritual self-help books to help navigate my life decisions. I was one of those crazily unrealistic perfectionist who had an impossibly high expectation of what I should have achieved by age 22. I wanted to be a world-changer, a leader, a noted activist in the environmental and animal rights movement.  I wanted to be one of those young people on the front page of the news for my worldly accomplishments.  I didn’t realize at that time that my dreams for what I wanted to be and my emotional growth and leadership skills were not in sync.  I wanted to be someone that I was not ready to become yet.  I still had a lot of growing and learning to do, but I couldn’t see through my impatience and self-criticism to realize or accept that.

As a wise person might predict, no matter how many self-help texts I read or spiritual teachers I consulted, I would reap no benefit if I could not see the truth of my state of my life. The books, spiritual groups, and classes only intensified the self-critic in me that said I was not good enough and that I wasn’t doing enough.

Amazingly, less than ten years later, I go back to reading this book with what feels like a new set of eyes. It’s only been a handful of years, but I feel like I’ve gone through hell and back to find a place of peace, acceptance, and, yes, happiness. I left a field of work that I thought I would work in for the rest of my life to attend graduate school, which turned out to be like a three year long therapy session. I left an old relationship when I met a man who I knew instantly was going to be my life partner.  I got engaged, married, and pregnant.  I held a number of very challenging jobs which tested me in ways that I never expected.  I grieved through the loss of several grandparents and my beloved canine.  I learned to be okay that there would be people who would never like or approve of me no matter how hard I tried.  I moved away from the college town that I loved back to my home town to live with my family.  I learned to forgive my parents for things I wish they would’ve done for me as a child and to accept them for who they are now.  Each life change and challenge had a purpose–I realize that now.

The intent of this short post is not to reflect on the book (I’m only on the third chapter!) or to boast about my life.  I merely wanted to express the possibility that a lot can change in a small period of time if one is willing to take the challenge to face their fears, to accept their flaws, to risk their heart in new relationships, to make big life changes and to take big leaps of faith. I am so blessed to become a mother at a point in life when I feel physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy and to raise a child with an equally healthy partner.  I am eager to have a child who can further my growth in my new life as a mother.

 

 

 

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