7 Weeks Pregnant: Nausea

August 3 – August 9: 7 Weeks 0 Days – 7 Weeks 6 Days.

I love teaching yoga, but I had been so relentlessly nauseated that by week eight that I was just counting down the classes until Richard and I left on Wednesday for our road trip to Vancouver, Canada to visit my family. The teaching itself wasn’t so bad—the light movement and warmth actually relieved many of my symptoms—but having to put on real clothes and leave my apartment where I could nap and snack whenever I wanted to was arduous when I was feeling so uncomfortable.

Foxy and I used to go on long adventures every day. Now, my walks around Bernal Heights Park consist mostly of me resting on park benches. It drives me nuts when people say, "Isn't it a little early in pregnancy for you to be feeling so tired?" No. Evidently it's not.

Foxy and I used to go on long adventures every day. Now, my walks around Bernal Heights Park consist mostly of me resting on park benches. It drives me nuts when people say, “Isn’t it a little early in pregnancy for you to be feeling so tired?” No. Evidently it’s not.

I think nausea is my body’s way of preparing me psychologically for a baby. Just as a baby communicates it’s diverse needs in one way—crying—my body now speaks primarily in nausea. Hunger—nausea. Overly full—nausea. Exerted too hard—nausea. Too sedentary—nausea. Thirsty—nausea. Too hot—nausea. Too cold—nausea. Sleepy—nausea. Before I was pregnant, I could get up, take my dog Foxy on a 45-minute walk on Bernal Hill, and teach a yoga class—all before breakfast. During the walk and the yoga class my body may have whispered to me that I should have eaten sooner, and maybe by the time I finally grabbed a protein pack from Starbucks my body’s tone would have risen from whispering to sternly chastising. The nausea augments my body’s whispering to yelling. If I take Foxy out on even her 5-minute pee-walk before eating my morning apple or boiled egg, my body revolts. I wish I could say that I use my refined yoga skills to listen and respond to the subtle cues from my body, but the cues are so blatant and intrusive that it really doesn’t take honed senses or self-discipline to modify my lifestyle. It’s a necessity.

Informed by the booklet my doctor gave me and my friend, Jacqueline’s, blog I found that eating frequently helped attenuate my queasiness. For the first time in my life I started getting up for midnight snacks when my body woke me up with nausea. You’re not supposed to gain too much weight in the first trimester (yet another thing for pregnant women to stress about), so I broke up my meals into smaller sub meals (like a hobbit, I’ve got second breakfast and elevensies), ate more slowly, and got an arsenal of naturally low-calorie snacks. On our road trip to Vancouver, I munched on a steady stream of popcorn, grapes, and carrots. Luckily, I don’t get motion sickness, so the car ride didn’t bother me.

In Oregon, Richard and I went on a twenty or thirty minute hike to check out the sand dunes. I’ve been a fitness fanatic since I was fifteen, and normally I’m the one with stamina and Richard is the one telling me to stop trying to have a conversation with him while we’re hiking up a hill. This time I was the one huffing and puffing along, complaining that my shoes were full of sand, and stopping for frequent water breaks. I had the fleeting (and pretentious) thought, This must be how normal people all the time. The effort of the hike was totally worth the play time we had on the dunes though.

I insisted we continue to drive up the scenic route along the coast, even though it would add a couple hours to our trip. Then with Richard behind the wheel, the pregnant-lady fatigue set in and I fell asleep for most of it.

17 Weeks Pregnant: Big Feelings

October 13 – October 19: 17 Weeks 0 Days – 17 Weeks 6 Days.

I may have freaked out this week.

A few years ago I took a yoga training with Hala Khouri about teaching at-risk youth. She explained kids’ emotions in a way that stuck with me: kids have big feelings. When little Jimmy drops his ice cream on the ground, his emotional response is not the same as an adult’s. We may dismiss him: “Don’t get so upset. It’s just ice cream;” but for him, it’s a death in the family, an amputated limb, the rapture and he was left behind. In order to hold space for little Jimmy to process this experience, we must acknowledge that what he’s feeling is enormous. A more compassionate response might be, “I understand that it’s hard to lose something. It’s okay to feel upset.”

I don’t know if it’s the yoga or just my personality, but I usually have the opposite of big feelings. Rage and jealousy are rare for me, I can’t be bothered with grudges that last more than a couple hours, and I’d describe my experience of excitement more as joyful anticipation. Pregnancy put an amplifier on all that.

In my first trimester I was introduced to pregnancy crying. I’m okay with shedding some tears and all, but, just like little Jimmy who dropped his ice cream, once I start crying I can’t stop! On top of that, it escalates: sniffling progresses to sobbing, sobbing progresses to wailing, and when I was at the height of my nausea, wailing progressed puking. That equanimous part of my psyche that stands back to observe my experience understands that my reaction is way out-of-proportion to whatever the trigger was, but instead of doing anything about it she stares on in helpless disbelief and mutters, “WTF.”

This week wasn’t my first freak out: early on in pregnancy, I got mad at some movers for having too long a truck (our apartment building had two large parking garages, and they either had to block one garage door or the other). When I confronted them I wasn’t trying to leave the building, I was just upset on principle. Maybe this reaction would be normal for people with a more confrontational disposition, but I wouldn’t usually expend energy and circulate a bunch of stress hormones over a problem that would most likely solve itself. Sure enough, after moving the truck back and forth several times to let tenants in and out, the movers separated the cab from the trailer to accommodate both garage doors. What happened this week had less of an external me-telling-people-off component, but the internal emotional experience was immense.

Patio before and after

I replaced my patios wood mulch gardens with black Mexican pebbles.

When we were looking for our new home, the intention was to find The House. You know, the one you pour blood, sweat, and tears into making your own, raise your kids in, and retire in. The house we bought and now live in has plentiful outdoor space, and my first blood, sweat, and tears project is to zen-ify the front patio.

Last Saturday I picked up my fourth and final 200-300 lb load of black Mexican pebbles, which Richard diligently loaded and unloaded for me (my low back hasn’t been tolerating heavy lifting well). As soon as I poured the first bag into the garden, I knew something was wrong—they didn’t match the other rocks. I dug them out of the garden and put them back in the bag. A couple days later, Richard loaded the rocks back into the car for me, and I took them back to landscaping store first thing in the morning to suggest that my pebbles may have been mismarked. After examining the rocks through the dusty bag I’d packing-taped shut, the man at the landscape store kindly insisted that the stones were black, but offered to exchange the bags for different ones anyway if I really wanted to. “No, it’s okay,” I sighed, feeling kind of silly, “I must have overreacted.”

Mismatched stones

I poured water over the stones compare their colors. The stones on the left are the ones in the rest of the garden, the ones on the right are the last batch. (See, they -are- different!)

I took the bags home (where Richard had to unload them yet again), and immediately dumped all six 50-lb bags into the garden. And then I really overreacted. The new rocks definitely did not match the others. The old rocks were exclusively shades of gray, the new rocks included shades of green and orange. Overwhelmed, I ran back inside the house and took a couple deep breaths, then went back outside hoping to have a fresh perspective. I kid you not, when I saw those motley stones my life literally flashed before my eyes: I saw 5 years, 30 years, 50 years into the future, how every time I stepped out into my patio for the rest of my life I would cringe at the sight of the rocks. I put my hand over my mouth and ran back inside.

I repeated this melodramatic (but very real to me, at the time) sequence several times, each round featuring a different train of thought tragically crashing in an explosion of big feelings and sending me running back into the house near tears:

Maybe it was just the lighting… Oh God no, they’re so different. Why do they only have men working at the landscaping store?? Men are much more prone color blindess!

They look like rainbow-colored aquarium pebbles! My patio is lined with giant aquarium pebbles. I can’t even…

The colorful rocks aren’t so bad. I can just mix them in with the others so the garden looks more uniform. Then I looked at the side of the patio that was completed to my vision. No! Green and orange accents were not what I had in mind. These rocks are a bastardization of my vision. I hate them and I can’t even handle looking at them! But they’re already all in the garden. What am I going to do??

By the time Richard told me it was time for me to drive him to his bus stop I was beside myself, fanning a hand next to my temple like a swooning southern belle. While driving, I tearfully redirected my frustration toward myself, “Why didn’t I trust my intuition? I knew those rocks weren’t right, but I didn’t exchange them even though the guy said I could. Why didn’t I trust myself enough to just exchange them! I was right there, it would’ve taken less than ten minutes.” I don’t think I was actually expecting an answer, but I got one anyway. Richard said plainly, “Because you don’t like asking for help, and you didn’t want to make those guys unload and reload the rocks for you.” In that moment, that didn’t make me feel better and didn’t stop me from continuing to lament (I think Richard was pretty glad when he got to get out of the car), but wow, how accurate.

In retrospect, that clear statement from my husband, my mirror, was invaluably informative. I was willing to completely disregard my knowledge and intuition to avoid inconveniencing someone, even if the result would be life-shattering (or at least feel that way for an hour). I will have to reverse that habit before attempting a natural birth in a hospital setting where medical interventions may be offered as often for your health as for convenience, comfort, and liability reasons. From everything I’ve read and learned, natural birth is all about intuition and self-trust; one of my affirmation is: my body knows exactly what to do.

By the time I got home I’d calmed down and started focusing on the solution rather than the problem. I went to work digging the rocks out of the garden and repackaging them. I put my low back out of commission for the rest of the day by lugging one of the bags down to the landscaping store and exchanging it for a bag of black Mexican pebbles that beautifully matched the rest of my garden. The next day Richard obligingly loaded the rest of the offensive rocks back into the car and then unloaded the ones I exchanged them for. I tried not to feel guilty about asking him for help.

My patio

Here’s how to patio looks now. Looking forward to adding more plants!

My matching rocks were all in place or the housewarming party on Saturday and I even had time to put in some more potted plants. My vision is coming together! As for the big feelings: I’m continuing to take them in stride, allowing myself to laugh about them in retrospect, and trying to remember to thank my husband for being so incredibly supportive.

Succulent cupcakes

Succulent cupcakes for the housewarming party to match the plants in the patio.

ps – If you’re interested in making the succulent cupackes, I used this tutorial.

16 Weeks Pregnant: So When Do I Get That Baby Bump?

October 6 – October 12 : 16 Weeks 0 Days – 16 Weeks 6 Days.

I’ve put on seven or eight pounds during pregnancy, which is apparently right on track for a healthy, normal-weight pregnancy. However, the voluptuousness seems to have gone everywhere except my belly. I’ve now got the voluminous breasts I’ve always dreamed of having (not complaining) and curvy thighs that can bust through cargo pants (I’ll post that story soon), but still not much of a baby bump to speak of. I got this hilarious maternity shirt, and wore it out this week only to be met with confused glances:

I Ate A Seed

Funny Maternity Shirt from DJammarMaternity on Etsy. I’ll grow into it!

Throughout pregnancy, the most common comment I’ve gotten has been, “Oh, I can’t even tell you’re pregnant!” In the first trimester, this was lovely. I would respond, “Check back in a few weeks. My belly is supposed to pop around week 12!” During that time, suggestions that I didn’t look pregnant were preferable to the less common alternative: “Oh yeah, I thought you’d gained weight, but I didn’t want to say anything.”

Now at the end of my sixteenth week, my belly still hasn’t really popped, and my perspective has shifted. Pregnancy is hard work, and I want something to show for it! Today, I got one of those rare remarks from someone I’d just met: “Oh, I thought you might be pregnant, but I didn’t want to say anything until you mentioned it.” It was all I could do to keep from gushing, “Really? You noticed?? Yay!”

To put it all in perspective, when I express my bump-impatience to women who have been pregnant before, they reminisce, “I remember thinking the same thing in my second trimester. Then by the middle of the third trimester I was so big that I wished I could go back!” And there it is. At every stage of pregnancy there’s something I could choose to be insecure, obsessed, or discontented about. I could also choose to focus on all the things to be contented and joyful about (i.e. the yogic practice of santosa). I have a healthy body, a healthy baby, a supportive partner, tons of resources at my fingertips, and live in an area where I can choose how to move through pregnancy and give birth. Letting my vanity overshadow all of that amazingness would be wasteful. I listen to a recording of 150+ “Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations” for my Hypnobabies course every day, and I will add one more to my repertoire: “My baby knows how and when to create a bump and I will be patient.

Besides if I eat a several bowls of soup and drink the glasses upon glasses of water I’m supposed to be drinking daily, it pushes by belly out far enough to get a pretty convincing bump shot:

Week 16

My book baby, my fur baby, and my baby baby.

2 Weeks Pregnant: Conception

June 29 – July 5 : 2 Weeks 0 Days – 2 Weeks 6 Days.


We conceived while in the process of closing on our new home. So many changes at once!

Since most women ovulate two weeks after their last period started, at conception we are considered two weeks pregnant (regardless of when an individual woman’s last period actually occurred). Counting back from the estimate of the baby’s age we got via an ultrasound at week ten, we must have conceived around June 29th or 30th, which was a stressful week. My husband and I had spent three months looking for a house, and were elated when a bid we made was accepted on June 25th. However, the competitive two-week closing period we’d committed to had us on edge. If anything was delayed we might have lost the house and our deposit, so we were at the beck and call of our lender, escrow company, and real estate agent to sign, date and wire on command.

The plan was to stop not-trying to get pregnant once we officially closed on the house on July 10th. I guess our stress and excitement about maybe, probably, almost having a new home manifested as us not not trying a little early. I always had a nagging feeling that I would have a hard time conceiving and that it would take a long time, so it blindsided me when I found out I was pregnant less than two weeks after successfully closing on our house. If you’re thinking of starting to try, know that it really can go either way—be ready accept, embrace, and run with anything!