19 weeks. Which means I’m having a large heirloom tomato.

19 weeks. Mirror selfie.
19 weeks. Mirror selfie.

Dear sisters,

It’s hard to believe, but I am almost halfway through this pregnancy. I am trying so hard to relish every moment, because this may be the last time I’m pregnant. I want to remember this feeling of my body swelling and rounding. I don’t want to forget feeling the first few movements, like a little fish flipping low in my belly.

I actually like being pregnant. It’s funny, when people find out that I’m pregnant, their first question is usually, “how are you feeling?” And it seems they are almost disappointed when I say, good, wonderful, great actually! I am a lucky pregnant woman. Pregnancy feels fine. I am in that golden period between the first and third trimesters. The nausea is over, and most of the fatigue, and the constant hunger. I can actually go a few hours between meals without searching desperately for food. So far, my belly is small and doesn’t slow me down too much. I am starting to have some aches and pains, under my ribs and in my pelvis, as everything stretches and grows to accomodate the growing baby. I try to breathe deep, and rub the areas that hurt, and think of how miraculous my body is to be able to build new life. I try to think of my heart and soul and mind growing and stretching, too, in preparation to be a mother again.

I keep trying to remember being pregnant with Miriam, and I guess it’s because it was 5 years ago, but I don’t remember too much! It was also a wonderfully uneventful pregnancy. I was pregnant during the winter in Alaska. I wore a lot of big sweaters. This time, I am having to find a summer wardrobe. I have some non-maternity stretchy skirts that are working out well, and I’m loving the sandals and loose, comfortable clothing that I get to wear. Maybe in August I’ll be miserable, but so far being pregnant in the summer isn’t too bad. I do miss alcohol more this time around. Between having Miriam and now, we have become a more alcohol-friendly household. I like wine with meals, and the occasional gin and tonic or other fancy cocktail. So I’m consoling myself with ginger beer and San Pellegrino, and occasionally sneaking a sip of Krestia’s wine. As far as food cravings go, I have been eating a lot of grapefruit, and I have a hard time restraining myself around bags of chips, so I try to stay away. Someone brought a bag of dill pickle chips to work a few weeks ago and wow, I could.not.stop.eating.them.

Our cat seems to enjoy snuggling on my lap more and more, and lately she has taken to kneading my belly! It’s a strange behavior that kittens sometimes do, and I suppose I should take it as a compliment, because they do it to their mothers to get the milk out. Sadie jumps up on my lap and pushes rhythmically on my belly with her paws for a minute or two, then curls up and falls asleep. Sometimes she puts her head and paws on my belly when she’s sleeping. It’s pretty adorable.

selfie with Sadie

I am starting to contemplate the big life changes ahead. Sometimes Miriam will be out playing with friends, and I’ll be at home alone and think to myself, wow, having only one kid is really nice, because when that one kid is occupied I get free time! It feels like I get a little glimpse of my child-free life back. And in a few months I will have my arms full again, and a little person who needs me all the time. It will be a big change. My nights, which have been blissfully uninterrupted for a few years now, will be sleepless again. That part is probably the hardest for me. I do love my sleep. I have also been thinking a lot about child care, and how soon to go back to work full time, and how I can continue breastfeeding, working and mothering the way I want to. It’s a lot to think about. I feel pretty good about my work environment. I know my boss and co-workers will be so supportive. Still, I have a caseload, and I have to think about the burden I place on everyone when I’m gone for 12 weeks. Speaking of maternity leave, and being a working parent, I was so encouraged to hear this on npr a few days ago! I actually broke into a cheer in the kitchen when I heard President Obama say,” There’s only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us. And that is not the list you want to be on by your lonesome. It’s time to change that.” Hooray, he’s paying attention!

There’s some other things that are weighing on my mind more and more. We need a bigger house. Also. We have to come up with a name. Martha, what names go well with Miriam? 🙂

Speaking of Miriam. A few days ago we were at the neighbors’ house and she tried to lift up my shirt to show everyone my belly. I had to tell her, not in front of everyone! They can see my belly just fine with my shirt over it. She has taken to telling people, “My mom’s belly is going to be as big as a watermelon!” So far she seems happy and excited. She has been an only child for 5 years, though, so when the baby gets here I know there will be the inevitable sibling rivalry. I am hoping that she is old enough to be helpful and to enjoy having a real life baby doll in her house.

Miriam took this
Miriam took this

I am glad that this pregnancy is happening when I’m closer to family. I like having you around to watch me grow and touch my belly. I’m excited for Esther’s wedding in August, when we will all be together. By then the baby will be the size of a scallion! Oh, little baby vegetable garden, how you grow. I’m looking forward to watching you all be the wonderful aunties that you are for another little niece or nephew.

Much love,

Rachel

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6 thoughts on “19 weeks. Which means I’m having a large heirloom tomato.

  1. Oh babyness, how I love thee! I just had an epiphany as I was talking to Kevin about going home next week. I was so happy you guys would be around July 2nd and then I got even happier because I’ll see you pregnant! I don’t know if I ever really saw you pregnant when you were in Alaska! It was my junior year of college, did you come home for Christmas? If not, I might have been oblivious. It is a pretty big and wondrous change, but I bet Miriam will be a mostly happy older sister :-).

  2. This makes me feel all full and satisfied, Rach. I really enjoy your writing. I am excited for your little one and to have you all closer. I’ve always liked great grandma’s Meta (Metta?), but two M names in a family might be too much, huh? And “meta” is used so much these days that it might not work well as a name anymore.

  3. Jewel, you are right, we did not come home for Christmas while I was pregnant. That was the year we went to Hawaii. Martha and Janna got to see me 7 months pregnant with Miriam.
    Janna, we talked about Metta as a possibility before we settled on Miriam. I like it, but you are right, the word “meta” is used a lot in the vernacular these days, so we likely won’t use it. Krestia and I haven’t really had a big name discussion yet but we’ll get into it soon, after we find out if we’re having a boy or girl.

  4. I always felt a little annoyed the first time around when I was pregnant and people asked me how I was feeling. I kept thinking, I feel great!! But with Era I was sick for the first three months and then I was more sympathetic, and I do notice myself asking other pregnant women that question now 🙂

    NAMES! I’m so excited to see what you name this one, as I absolutely adore Miriam’s name.I love the combination of her timeless biblical first name and her bird middle name. I think you should go with something equally awesome for the middle name of this one. Maybe something Alaska related? I love the idea of Orion as a middle name for a boy or girl.

    I remember you liking Ethan and Elias for a boy. They make me think of Calvin and Simon. For a girl, Miriam makes me think of other classic names that don’t have great variability in popularity over time. I love Caroline, Vivian, or Jane. My favorite name suggestion website is nymbler.com – enter names you like and you get suggestions!

    1. ALSO: I craved citrus, especially lemon, when pregnant with Archer. I don’t remember any specific cravings with Era. I loved reading your post – it makes me sad I’m not there to experience this pregnancy, can’t wait to see you in six-ish weeks!

    2. Thank you for the suggestions! We like Jane, actually…but yeah, it’s going to be hard to come up with something as good as Miriam’s name–I feel like we really did a good job with that.

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