Thoughts from the First Tri

Trimester, that is. Today marks the official beginning of my second trimester, and I’ve noticed a marked improvement in many of my symptoms already – thank goodness! In honor of this momentous occasion (and because I made the choice to keep it mostly private for the first trimester but kept thinking about how much of this would make a good blog post), I thought I’d write about my experience thus far.

Warning: some of this is TMI.

  • How did you know you were pregnant? This is a question I’ve wanted the answer to since I got on birth control. Being a paranoid person, it never put my mind at ease that pregnancy symptoms are eerily close to PMS. I asked every woman I ever knew who got pregnant and the best answers were vague ones, such as: “I felt like I was coming down with something.” Not very helpful! I had two methods of being able to tell before I ever took a test:
    • I charted my basal body temperature. This is an extremely useful way of trying to conceive, and it’s also a hormone-free method of birth control. I knew that I might be pregnant because my temperature wasn’t falling when it normally did.
    • I’ve always been in touch with my body. When my “PMS” got worse and worse and I felt like I was going to get the world’s worst period (I even had a mega-cramp that woke me in the middle of the night), I knew something was up. For someone who hardly ever has severe or even mild PMS, something felt very off. And for someone who consistently spots before her period, the absence of any blood was peculiar.
  • Can I brag for a second? I ran my first half-marathon this fall – and I was pregnant! I hadn’t taken the test yet, but I knew. And Lord was I tired, and emotional, and felt like death at the end of it, but I did it. Here’s a photo of me crossing the finish line with my invisible passenger:
    Half Marathon 7
    Interesting side note: Runners get weirdly competitive about dumb things. See that Forrest Gump girl behind me in the yellow? At the beginning of the race I decided I didn’t like her for whatever reason and was determined to beat her. After the numerous walking – staggering – breaks I took, I was sure she beat me. Imagine my surprise when several weeks later I downloaded my race photos and saw that I STILL beat her! Pregnant lady 1, Forrest Gump lady 0.
  • It shouldn’t be called morning sickness. At least, not for me. I called it queasiness. It was real, and it was all day and all night. It was hard to find food that would be enjoyable, yet as soon as my stomach emptied, I’d feel miserably sick. All I wanted was junk food. Vegetables? Pfftt. Fruit? No way. Pizza rolls? Yeah! Pepperoni? Fo’ sho’! One of the hardest parts of the first trimester was adjusting my food schedule and intake. Normally I write my meals on a chalkboard and grocery shop each week accordingly. Well, that all went out the window with queasiness and food aversions. Slowly I’m getting back into it.
  • Speaking of going out the window… exercise? Yeah right. Try exercising when your body insists that you go to bed at 6:30pm. One of the ways I knew the first trimester was coming to an end was that I stopped waking up drunk-tired. I’ve even gone on some walks and “runs!” The fatigue was by far the most miserable symptom.
  • You count everything in days and weeks. Each week becomes a countdown to the next week. You are like a child proclaiming he is four-and-three-quarters-years-old. All you want is for each week to roll into the next one and get further into your pregnancy without complications.
  • Vivid dreams are real, and some are really terrible. I had a dream last night that I miscarried and birthed my deceased child into the toilet. I was terrified for the rest of the night and wouldn’t get up to pee in case it really happened.
  • Speaking of being terrified… peeing. Every time you pee, you obsessively check the paper (and your panties) for blood. I’m starting to relax a little on this, but only very little.
  • Lady Gaga should be off limits. Just kidding, Mother Monster! I used to tear up when I listened to Lady Gaga, simply because her music gives me all the feels. Now I sob, tears rolling down my cheeks, and can’t sing along because I’m crying. I just went to the Hallmark store to buy an anniversary card for my husband and nearly started crying in the store because the cards were JUST. SO. TOUCHING. I cried all through The Peanuts Movie when we went to see it. In fact, I started crying before the movie because a preview for The Good Dinosaur came on. Are you sensing a pattern? Me neither. There is no rhyme or reason, just many, many tears.
  • I want my bump! I still weigh in multiple times a week – don’t want to be surprised at the doctor’s office if they scold me for gaining too much weight. And I’m happy to report I’ve only gained between 3-4 pounds, and I’m still wearing my normal clothes (sometimes the fly is unbuttoned, but still wearing ‘em!). But I really want my baby bump. I can’t wait until it pops! I can’t wait to tell people to keep their hands off! I can’t wait to actually look pregnant and not just like I’ve had too many Hot Pockets.

I’m sure there’s more but… pregnancy brain. It’s a real thing. The best advice I’ve heard so far is, “Don’t make any major life decisions when you’re pregnant.” Being pregnant makes you don rose-colored glasses. It’s like drinking after a break-up. Actually, being pregnant is a lot like being miserably hungover. That’s how I’ve described it to several friends now.

Onto the second trimester! Bring on the bump, new energy and a 20-week anatomy scan (for lo, in my small and rural town, doctors prefer to do things the old-fashioned way unless there’s a problem… no 6-week confirmation ultrasounds for me)!

Ode to Muscle Memory

Oh muscle memory, how I love thee!

Before today, the last time I ran was November 7th. Yes, it was a long, guilty month of abstaining from exercise completely. No boot camp, no running, not even a measly walk or two (OK, I did walk once or twice, but it hardly counts).

I woke up this morning with newfound energy. I can do this! I thought, and bravely packed my indoor running gear for a lunchtime jaunt. When lunchtime came and I still wanted to do it, I knew it was time to grab the bull by the horns!

I drove up to the gymnasium, parked and went down the stairs – to find locked doors. I walked down the length of the gym – all locked.

I got in my car and drove back to my office. “Why is the gym locked?” I sweetly asked, phoning the Programs building.

“Huh. It shouldn’t be. I’ll send security over.”

Now you know how determined I was! I wasn’t going to roll over and accept a run-free lunchtime, not this time! I drove back to the gym and shed my boots for sneakers, pulled off my fleece and prepared. I had two rolls of Smarties with which to count my laps, my phone with my trusty running mix, and cleaning staff to cheer me on my way.

Let me preface this by telling you I’ve also had a bad case of [what I think is] metatarsalgia in my left foot. I was afraid running might make it worse but… you don’t know until you try, right?

OK, back to the run. Back in the days of my prime running condition (a term I use loosely), I ran my 400s in this very gym. I figured today’s run would be a variation of 400s: instead of sprinting for 400 meters, I’d just run/jog/whatever, taking a walking lap for recovery in between.

Ah, muscle memory! You did not let me down. I sometimes found myself running three laps instead of two. I felt like I had done this my whole life. Nothing hurt. Even my foot began to feel relatively better!

I made it to 24 Smarties (which is 3 miles) and decided I was done. And decided I could do it again.

Muscle memory, thank you for helping me realize it takes a lot more than a month and some change to keep someone down. Thank you for boosting my confidence. And finally, thank you for the plank, push-ups and glute bridge I was able to do before work this morning. Perhaps I’m back in the saddle!

143 Days

What have I learned in 143 days?

143 days ago, a relationship died. It had been dying for quite some time, but an abrupt death comes as a shock anyway. This relationship was so monumental to me that I have kept track of how long it’s been over by using an app on my phone (hence the exact count of 143 days). Why would I do such a thing? I want to be able to look back and see how much time has passed, how my life has gone on without this person in it.

It’s not easy. 143 days later, it still bothers me, and it bothers me often. I invested a lot into this relationship over the past handful of years. This person probably doesn’t know how much I agonized over our relationship, trying to make it something honest and meaningful. I wanted a relationship with this person so bad. My close friends and loved ones couldn’t understand the hurt I put myself through. It was clear to them that this was a one-sided relationship, but the Aries in me sees something it wants and just goes after it without stopping for breath.

So here I am, 143 days older.

My life is quieter without this person. This person accused me of being dramatic and toxic, but once they extricated themselves from my life, the drama was gone. Things have even seemed a little boring without them around. I should be thankful for that, but life without conflict is sort of dull.

photo-8

Photo from baileymartindale.com

All the advice tells you to “let go,” but they don’t mention how. “Just let go of the past.” “Move forward.” “Don’t get stuck ruminating on things you can’t change.” OK, sure, I get it. Logically, that is. But how? When your mind is on a hamster wheel and can’t get off, what do you do? When past slights are all you can focus on, what do you do to change? I’ve tried self-help books, articles, counseling, journaling, and even writing an epic short story. The only thing that has sort of come close is the downstream vs. upstream mode of thinking (Esther and Jerry Hicks discuss this in their book Ask and It Is Given), but even this is something I struggle with.

Standing up for your rights is paramount. No matter how afraid you are to confront someone, standing up for yourself when your boundaries have been violated is a must. I know someday (who knows, maybe 143 days from today) I will look back on this and feel proud that I demanded respect. And you know what else? You can confront someone who truly loves you without worrying they’ll leave. You’ll only lose the people who already had a problem with you but were too afraid to tell you.

A tiger doesn’t change its stripes. When you watch someone treat other people in their life poorly, it’s only a matter of time until their sights are set on you.

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This sums it up well!

Hurt people hurt people. People in a state of emotional distress often lash out at others, whether it’s overt or covert. It makes it much easier to forgive people when you know they’re reacting out of pain.

Your enemy becomes your biggest fan. This person never acknowledged my blog until our relationship was in its final fireworks display. Suddenly they had to read the things I wrote and wonder if it was about them. It’s too bad they couldn’t have shown more care while we were maintaining a relationship.

That’s about it. I’ll continue to make a conscious effort to let go, but these entries will crop up from time to time, and I’m OK with that. I’m all about being kind to myself, and sometimes that means wallowing for a bit.

Just Writing Something

It was a nice day for a lovely surprise!

I had just walked up to lunch with my colleagues and was settling into my seat, a plate of food in front of me, when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to find Erik standing there – of all people in the world, the last one I expected to see was my husband! He had come to my work to borrow a tool from our mechanic and when he stopped by my office, my coworker sent him up to lunch to find me. We made a space for him at our table and he joined us for lunch (pesto manicotti, chicken parmesan hoagies and tater tots, among other things).

There are a few things I really love about living up here, and there are a few things I don’t enjoy (I really miss suburbia every now and then – my rallying cry is, “If only we had a Walgreens!”). One of the best things about living in a small town is that it’s not unheard of to see your spouse in the middle of the day. Back in Massachusetts, Erik and I were separated by 54 miles during work hours. There was no possibility of having a quick, casual lunch together. And there was absolutely no way to carpool. Being separated by 6 miles is much nicer!

Anyway, it’s the little things in life. Tomorrow we get to go to the Snowball – a luxury I haven’t had since high school! It’s a dinner and dance (with a live band) put on by our chapel here at work, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m spending Saturday writing Christmas cards and going Christmas shopping with my friend Julie. And next weekend will be all about the cookie baking!

Eating, drinking and being merry are things I do year-round, but there’s nothing like the month of December to bring out my cheer. I feel like a big kid whenever this month rolls around. I count down the days until we get our tree. I relish every minute of it. I unpack my Christmas decorations with glee, forgetting just what I have until I see it again. And of course, I spend my time in thrift shops, scoring new-to-me decorative finds that other people have given away.

It doesn’t hurt to live in a town that looks like a snow globe, either.

Just Five Minutes

Staring blankly at a blank screen, struggling to write something – anything! That’s exactly how this blog started in the first place. I just went to lunch and sat with a couple of other writers (not in a creepy way… we happen to have a cafeteria at work) and we were talking about how none of us has been writing lately.

I’m firmly of the mindset that something is better than nothing. It works with exercise (what’s better: five minutes of walking, or zero minutes of walking?). In theory, it could work with writing, too. Write something – anything! Anything is better than nothing. Any slight word, sentence, anecdote, lyric, poem, or rambling can help get you back on the creative train tracks.

The trouble is that I don’t take my own advice. I’m usually the first one to say, “Five minutes of walking (or writing)? What’s the point? It’ll take me longer to get ready to do it than it will to do it!” Then I curl up on the couch with the dog instead and play games on my phone while listening to the TV.

Maybe that’s a New Year’s Resolution to consider for 2016: the five-minute approach. Just giving it a stab for five minutes. And by it I mean anything: that stack of dishes in the sink, the dirty carpet to vacuum, a walk down the street, a phone call with someone I’ve neglected. Maybe five minutes is an OK goal sometimes.

After all, five minutes it better than zero, right?

Thursday Fodder

This poor, poor blog. I’m sorry for ignoring it for so long. I’m hoping to get back into a routine soon.

I read this article on quitting recently and it made me realize it was time to quit my New Year’s resolution of daily planks and push-ups. It was no longer bringing me joy and was making me feel like a failure with each day that ticked by. I made it 40-something weeks, which is wonderful. I was able to hold a plank for 4 minutes, and I can do 13 push-ups in a row. I feel satisfied with that.

It’s been extremely difficult to run or work out at all after my half-marathon. There was an amazing vacation thrown in the mix, but I can’t blame my lack of energy on that. I deserved that week off, damn it! I’ve gone for exactly one run of two miles since my half on October 25th. I can’t seem to drag myself out of bed early in the morning, into the darkness, and into the ear-splitting wind, when there’s no race on my calendar. Running just to… run? I don’t get it.

I’ll seek to find a new balance and a new normal in December. Once visits are over and food has been eaten, I’ll try to get back into it.

I completely forgot about watching American Horror Story last night but when I woke up at 2:30am and couldn’t sleep, something urged me to get up and sit on the couch. “Oh yeah, my show is on!” I thought. I caught it 10 minutes in and marveled to myself, “As much as I love Jessica Lange, the Countess was meant to be played by Lady Gaga. No one else could have done it justice.” Quite frankly, I haven’t missed Jessica Lange this season, and I was broken-hearted that she left. Last night’s episode really gave a dimension to the Countess that I knew was there but had yet to experience. I am, and will remain, a dedicated Little Monster.

I haven’t watched Empire in two weeks, either. I’m missing out on everything!

Last night I had a vivid dream starring the last person to break up with me. I groveled even in my dream… and even in my dream, she was a back-biting bitch. Like, “Fine, I guess I’ll let you back in but I don’t see why I should. Now help me do my chores!”

After my show, I went back to sleep and had part two of the dream, in which she read my blog and left angry voicemails on my phone, saying, “I can’t believe you wrote that about me!” It had something to do with me telling a homeless person my problems – none of which had to do with her.

The universe is telling me that it’s good for my soul not to be involved with this person right now. Logically, I know this to be true; illogically (emotionally), it’s hard to swallow – not untruthful, just hard to swallow.

An Open Letter

… to myself.

Dear derziriff,

There are some things you need to remember. These are things you need to remind yourself of when you’re feeling at your most vulnerable. Open this letter again and again, every time that scar starts to itch again.

  1. All interactions with this person left you drained. I know it sounds impossible now, when you’re caught in the death grip of nostalgia, but it’s true. You never went home feeling rotten after spending time with real friends, and you still don’t; somehow, visits and even phone conversations with this person always made you feel worse.
  2. There were some good times… but they were a long time ago. Don’t forget how long it’s been since you were able to have a normal relationship with this person. Don’t forget that you both became different people. Don’t forget that people grow apart sometimes. And don’t forget that those good times can never be replicated. Too much has happened since.
  3. Time heals all wounds. It may not feel like it when it’s been months and you’re still hurting, but it’s true. It takes a long time to get over being hurt by someone you cared about.
  4. You wanted to reconcile. Don’t ever forget this. Perhaps it’s petty to shrug your shoulders and say, “Well, I wanted to work it out and they didn’t.” But hey, you’re only human: you can be petty sometimes. Being rejected sucks. Remember that you were the bigger person, but it takes two to make a relationship work.
  5. They’re missing out on just as many things as you are. It hurts to know you’re no longer a part of someone’s life, but you have to remember that they’re no longer part of yours, either. They’re missing out, too. You have amazing things to offer, and you have amazing people to share them with. This person is not one of those amazing people, and that was their choice. Try not to mourn the loss of someone who made it clear they don’t want anything to do with you.

Read it again. Let it soak in. Read it until you believe it.

Love,

Me