Laurita Dianita

Reflections and art on the topics of public health, social justice, and love

Week 39

with 5 comments

1.) Prenatal yoga has been such a blessing, so Oscar suggested we honor that by photographing at the Open Space studio; 2.) In honor of what might be the last drawing, I returned to drawing with my right hand this week

This may be my last blog entry for this pregnancy—at least it feels like it will be, but apparently the work of baby and pelvis and cervix getting ready can go on for a good while, so who knows.  At any rate, I feel some pressure to really make it count. But maybe, to take the pressure off myself to write some profound summative reflection, I could treat this (potential) end the way bloggers treat the end of the year by making lists. Multiple lists.

List 1:  Things I did not know about pregnancy going into it (do people not talk about these things or was I just not paying attention?)

1.)  How much more our gums and noses bleed

2.)  That carpal tunnel/tendinitis pain was a pregnancy thing

3.)  How much my breasts would grow

4.)  How incredibly long it feels and how important it is that it is so long a process – how this long period of changes and adjustments and preparation is exactly what we need to get ready for birthing and parenthood

5.)  That my body would find it necessary to protect baby with new blonde hairs all over my belly

6.) How dry my skin would become and therefore how much shea butter I’d go through in order to not itch all the time

7.)  How vulnerable I would feel, especially near the end. And I don’t mean vulnerable in a bad way–more in the Brené Brown way.

8.)  How sensitive I would feel, both emotionally and physically. I knew that my olfactory senses would be heightened, but I didn’t know I would become so sensitive to sound as I have in the last week or two! My mom says it’s to prepare me to hear my baby’s needs.

9.)  What pregnancy brain would be like. It’s not at all what I expected. Most of the time, I feel just as lucid and smart and productive, am still able to give effective presentations and analyze policies and organize my appointments, etc. But sometimes memories simply do not store on the hard drive of my brain. Or I do things like show up a week early (but an hour and a half late) to a party. It totally catches me off guard.

10.)  How annoying it would be for people (especially men and strangers) to use terms like “pop” and “squirt” to describe women’s imminent labor and delivery (though I had been warned about intrusive conversations and touches)

11.)  How insular and quiet I would feel and how much in need of the company and support of other mamas–and my own mama

12.)  The degree to which our country’s and my employer’s failure to adequately support mothers and breast-feeding and healthy parenting through policy would feel overwhelming and enraging and hurtful on a personal level

13.) Just how much I would love pregnancy

14.)  How much time this project would take

[I am curious to know what came as a pregnancy surprise to other people. Pray tell.]

List 2: Things that I have missed during pregnancy

1.)  Beer. Definitely #1 on the list. Especially spiced pumpkin and Christmasy beers. We have some waiting in the fridge downstairs for when I am ready to have them.

2.)  Runny egg yolks. I am going to make myself hella poached and sunny side up eggs post-pregnancy.

3.)  Ice skating

4.)  Skate skiing (I know some people do this while pregnant and that is totally legit, but I don’t trust my balance well enough to do this in my third trimester)

5.)  My colorful pants and skinny jeans

6.)  Free use of my right hand

7.)  Being able to lift my own heavy stuff

Honestly, there’s not much. Pregnancy has been fun.

List 3: Things that I will miss about pregnancy

1.)  Feeling baby move inside of me, kicking at my left side, rolling my belly with his/her knees. Sharing these movements with Oscar and seeing his face light up.

2.)  Knowing that baby’s needs are being met at every moment

3.)  Full(ish) nights of sleep

4.)  Prenatal yoga class at Open Space

5.)  The constant changes in my body that feel exciting and wondrous and not at all embarrassing (not that postpartum body changes will be embarrassing, but that typically, after infancy, our bodies never change quite this quickly unless we are rapidly and unhealthily gaining weight or starving or deteriorating from a disease. It’s a rare opportunity to experience rapid change.)

6.)  Oscar says he will miss my roundness

7.)  Something to talk about with strangers and people I don’t know very well. I like how people come together around pregnancies, especially in the office. (There have been many in our office recently.) These conversations are generally pleasant, with a few exceptions (this could be another list for another day—things not to do in conversation with pregnant women).

8.)  This project: the discipline of weekly art-making in multiple media, working creatively with Oscar and seeing him engineer lighting and scene creation, reflectively writing, the conversations with you all that have arisen from blog posts or photos.

By writing about what I miss or will miss, I don’t dwell on these things to complain. Nostalgia can just be something beautiful to observe and then let go of. Just as I was with pregnancy, I am so excited—even if a little scared—for what is to come afterwards. (Mainly, I am scared about the sleeplessness. I don’t do well with sleeplessness. But I will survive.) Very soon, our lives will dramatically change from one in which we know baby only through the movements inside me and the midwives’ measurements and exams and from in-utero photos of other babies and from people’s eager guesses about baby’s sex, etc.  to one in which baby makes his/her needs known quite loudly, one in which we will be able to smell baby and hold baby and see in the light the same movements that we have been feeling for months.

We are looking forward tremendously to this shift in our lives.

Drawn using a Lennart Nillsen photograph

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January 19th, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Posted in health

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5 Responses to 'Week 39'

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  1. Great lists. I know I have told you, but must say again that I do so enjoy your perspectives on pregnancy.

    So far, I have been struck by two major things that I did not anticipate about (my) pregnancy:

    1. How much I don’t miss beer/wine/booze. Yes, once and a while I miss the ritual of sitting down with a glass of wine (or two!) or sitting at the bar with a microbrew. However, it was something I enjoyed on an almost daily basis. I thought it would be difficult to give up. It wasn’t.

    2. How very vulnerable I feel not being vaccinated for the flu. I have never given it much thought; it’s been the norm since I was a very young adult. I’ve always been healthy and strong enough to fight the flu in the very rare occurrences that I caught it. For me, the risks from vaccination far outweigh the benefits – even in pregnancy. However, being pregnant, I feel that baby and I are so very vulnerable. My office is at a university with students from all over the world coming to small, confined places to learn. Among other precautions, I find myself working from home a lot more than I otherwise would.


    20 Jan 14 at 8:23

  2. Laura – you are the first person I’ve seen do weekly drawings. I really loved those.
    My husband and I never wanted children and after 8-10 yrs together I had my tubes tied. Then our niece went into foster are and we fought the dickens for her and through that process adopted a sibling set of three and then got custody of our niece! So we have four children from the heart.
    Very few things make me wish I had had a baby of our own. But the way you shared your pregnancy, the drawings and sense of honor for the process made me feel like maybe I missed out a little.
    Our youngest came home from the hospital with us at five-days old. So thankful we had the opportunity to adopt a newborn. We were also fortunate to have a relationship with his mom and I was in the delivery room with her when “our” son was born. My middle two kids ponder that I was in the delivery room with the eldest and youngest. I tell them that the beauty of being from the heart is that they were always there we just hadn’t met yet:)
    May your delivery be quick and safe.
    Makes me think of Father Michael’s Yupik wife. Near the end of her pregnancy she would put her head forward and then go through a doorway quickly. When he asked why she said it was a Yupik tradition to help the baby go head first and quickly out. Or something to that effect.

    Tamara Dietrich

    20 Jan 14 at 8:23

  3. Thank you both for your thoughts!

    Tamara, that is beautiful and courageous of you to adopt and although pregnancy is awesome, I am sure that your experience of having four children “from the heart” is rich in ways that I will never know. :)

    Gretchen, I hear you on how relatively easy it is to give up alcohol. I agree too that It has been. I just miss the taste of beer, but it’s not a painful missing. Also, can I please plead with you to please get vaccinated for the flu? You may be strong enough to fight it, but in pregnancy things are different, and I know personally of one woman here locally who had to get an emergency c-section at 34 weeks because she was dying of the flu. And this kind of thing can happen. The risks of the flu in pregnancy are great and statistically speaking the likelihood of anything bad happening as a result of the vaccine is soooooooo low. But, maybe even more important than the flu vaccine, is getting TDap in 3rd trimester to give passive immunity to baby, because there have been so many recent outbreaks of pertussis from unvaccinated people, and we can;t vaccinate newborns against it right away so they are vulnerable for a while. The TDap they are using and recommending for pregnant women is not a live cell vaccine, meaning it has fewer side effects but is less powerful.


    20 Jan 14 at 8:23

  4. I missed the taste of pumpkin beer, too. I should have thought to buy some and keep it for after baby comes too! Ah, well, next fall…

    I have thought a lot about getting vaccinated and what is best for my health and the health of my baby. Unfortunately, I feel like the risks really do outweigh the benefits for me. I have a potentially debilitating neurological autoimmune disorder where attacks on the spinal chord are strongly correlated with vaccinations (this holds true for my personal experience as well as others with this disorder). With the first attack, I was lucky; it took a part of my spinal chord that only brought excruciating pain and numbness, eventually leaving my everyday life only minimally affected with lingering coordination issues, fatigue, and pain. Most people with this condition are not so lucky spend their lives in wheelchairs or, worse, on ventilators. Another attack could occur anywhere on my spine, likely leading to paralysis or worse. It was not an easy choice to make, but I do feel that the risk to my body and to baby from contracting the flu is less than the risk of my body reacting to the vaccine with an attack on my spine. I hope, I hope I’m right.

    After birth, I will vaccinate the baby with the standard series of vaccines. Only if he/she has a strong negative physical reaction (like I did as a baby) will I discontinue the series. 17 1/2 weeks into gestation and I have already had to make some difficult choices regarding my baby’s health. I can only hope I’m doing it right…


    21 Jan 14 at 8:23

  5. Oh, I didn’t know you had an autoimmune disorder. You’re right; that would put you in a really difficult place for decisions. It sounds like you’re making a good choice for yourself and baby. This is why I am so adamant that anybody who doesn’t have autoimmune disorders etc. does get vaccinated so that people who cannot get vaccines are protected. I imagine that you are doing everything in your power to stay healthy and that your baby will benefit tremendously from it. I have been so fortunate to not get sick – not even a cold – during this pregnancy. I think getting adequate sleep every night has been helpful for that.


    22 Jan 14 at 8:23

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