Big Buddha Belly

I went to the doctor on last Monday. I was called back and asked to step on the scale. The nurse slid over the weights – past 120 – 125 – 130, she finally stopped on 131. I had gained a total of 16 pounds. I looked at her and asked, “Is that good?” (They usually tell me how good I am doing.) She gave a crinkled up kind of face and said it was okay. I then was taken back to the examining room where the midwife, Stacey listenened to the baby’s heartbeat and measured the height of the fundus. I measured 26 weeks which was exactly what the doctor predicted about 18 weeks ago. I asked Stacey if my weight gain was okay. She responded by telling me that sometimes people who are small gain a little more weight. I took all this to mean, that my gradual weight gain was maybe not so great.

We went to the countertop store yesterday to get an estimate on replacing our kitchen countertops and the minute I walked in the receptionist said, “You have got to be hot.” She seemed to really feel sorry for me. Then she said, “You must be close to delivering.” I explained that I still had 3 whole more months to go. She then wanted to know if I was sure I wasn’t having twins. I told her, “No, just one.”

Last week, when I went for lunch in Conway, the hostess at Applebee’s questioned me about how far along I was. When I told her 26 weeks, she stopped and yelled, “You are going to be HUGE!”

The week before that, when we were headed home from New York, the girl in security stopped me and asked me how far along I was. I told her about 6 months. She then asked if I was going to get any bigger. I said, “I’m pretty sure I will.” She told me that I looked like I was big enough already.

Just last night I was talking to my friend Rhonda who gained around 60 pounds when she was pregnant with her son, Jeffrey. I was hoping to get some reassurance in the weight gain arena. I knew her pregnancy was very similar to mine. She didn’t get sick. She is very small framed, she had a boy. I told her that I had gained 16 pounds. She said that by 6 months she had only gained around 5 pounds. It was the 3 months afterward that she gained 55 pounds. Oh my gosh!!!!! Not very reassuring.

So, my stomach is now encroaching on my rib space. In order to breathe effectively, I either have to be standing up, sitting in a very reclined position, or laying down. I wake up every morning with sore ribs. I am not real certain what is going to take place over the next 3 months, but I am almost positive that I am going to grow exponentially. I can’t imagine what kind of comments I will be getting from people around mid-October. Maybe people will just feel lots of compassion for me and want to help, let me go first in line, carry my groceries to the car or up the stairs…I think I am just going to use all the hugeness to my advantage.

Food Nostalgia

I attended a shower today for a girl that goes to my church. Somewhere in the conversation, she began talking about cravings. She explained that she had been craving things from her childhood – gross things that she hadn’t eaten since growing up.

It reminded me that I had been doing the same thing and here I thought I was such a unique case.

I think I realized I was having childhood food cravings during my first trimester when I drove past Oliver’s in Conway one morning and decided that the very next day, I would not drive by there without stopping for a fried bologna sandwich with mayonnaise on white bread. I loved fried bologna sandwiches when I was a child, even a teenager (though I wouldn’t admit it then), but I had not had one in oh…about 15 years. Not long after that, at least once a week I craved something from my mother’s kitchen for dinner. Things like chicken bog or beef roast – all of those childhood comfort foods that make you feel like eating and going to lay on the couch to let it all digest.

I have even craved things like Chef Boy R Dee spaghetti and meatballs as well as beans and franks. How gross can you get? The clincher was when I went to Wal-mart, walked down the frozen food aisle and spied Totino’s pizzas. I think you can actually buy those at two for a dollar. That should say alot about the quality of ingredients right there. I am not big on buying frozen foods simply because of preservatives and flavor, but on that particular day, I was not leaving Wal-mart without a couple of hamburger Totino’s pizzas. I got up to the cash register and after the guy told me I looked like Martina McBride, he said, “I don’t think I have ever eaten a Totino’s hamburger pizza.” I replied, “I haven’t eaten one in about 15 years, but I will be eating one today.” I got home, cooked it, and ate it. It was all gross and delightful at the same time. For the 15 minutes it took for me to eat it, I was a child again, sitting in my mama’s kitchen.

So, I don’t really know if there is some horomonal thing that goes on when you are pregnant that causes you to revert back to eating things from your childhood or if it’s just a longing for something nostalgic. At any rate, I am glad to know that I am not alone in my disgusting food adventures.

Davis Goes to New York

First, let me say that visiting New York City when you are 6 going on 7 months pregnant may not be the wisest decision to make. Going in the middle of July while the city is experiencing the hottest weather of the year is doubly an unwise decision. As hot as it was above ground, descending the steps to the subway system was like taking a stairway to Hades. I have never sweat so much in my life. I did not perspire – I sweat. I later read in one of my magazines that you sweat more when you are pregnant. Go figure.

When we first arrived in New York, our cabbie drove us from JFK to our hotel. It was about 8 am and the traffic was incredible. I have never seen such skillful driving in my entire life. Even though traffic stopped numerous times, our cab never stopped. After reaching the hotel and obtaining a map, we headed out on foot to explore the city. Tracy and Paul were the map keepers, because I couldn’t read a map if my life depended on it. We began our exploration by trying to find St. Patrick’s Catherdral. On the map, it apparently looked like a hop and a skip from the hotel. In reality, it was what seemed to me, an endless number of blocks away. After walking about 10 large blocks or so in the now 90 degree heat, I had had enough. I was getting more and more irritable and ready to just sit right down on some of the most unclean sidewalks I have ever seen in my life. Just as I was about to throw a tantrum, I noticed the sign for the Museum of Modern Art, so I made an executive decision that we were going there. I love art museums, but I think this time it was more about the air conditioning and benches that would await me inside. Paul and Obea opted to continue the trek to St. Patrick’s while we visited the museum. The art inside was maginificent. We saw works by Picasso, Monet, Pollock, Rothko, etc, etc. But ahhh, the air conditioning – I cannot praise it enough. Before concluding our museum tour, we ventured outside into the sculpture garden where there stood a statue of a pregnant goat. I love goats so I had to have my picture taken with this one. We show a striking resemblance I think.

We did other things that day like visit Rockefeller Center and buy subway passes. We finally went back to the hotel and took a much needed nap before going to dinner at this small Italian restaurant called Serafina’s. They had some of the best pasta I have ever eaten in my entire life. The restaurant was noisy and the tables were on top of each other. I imagine this is what it must be like in Italy. After dinner, we hiked several blocks to get to Serendipity. This is the little restaurant that was featured in the movie Serendipity. After waiting for one hour and a half, we were seated at a table upstairs where we ordered unreasonably priced desserts. I had their signature Frozen Hot Chocolate. It comes with two straws for sharing. I drank out of both straws at once so I could share mine with Davis. The desserts made us perfectly giddy.

Day 2 is sort of a blur, because we began using our subway passes and I think I just became delirious as we descended the stairs to the pit, took trains across town, and climbed steps into places that were just HOT, HOT, HOT. I think we may have visited Time Square, Chinatown, Little Italy, and SoHo very briefly. I did find the markets in Chinatown captivating and repulsive at the same time. The fresh fish, shrimp and other things that were unidentifiable were fascinating, but the smell eventually became too much to bare. We ate lunch at this little Chinese restaurant located under the sidewalk – Wo Hop. They had great egg rolls. That evening, we ventured into Greenwich Village where Orpheum Theater is located. I knew this burrough of New York was going to be different. It was what I would call a town that caters to the hippie population. In all of New York, I never smelled the scent of body odor as acutely as I did in this neighborhood. Right beside the theater was a shop dedicated to selling drug paraphenalia. There was nothing else in the shop – just utensils used for smoking various forms of illegal substances. At Orpheum Theater we saw Stomp. It’s this show where the actors don’t speak, they simply tell a story through sounds made with sweeping brooms, clapping, finger snapping, and banging on various found objects. The show was very entertaining and I am not really sure how, I am guessing it was all the rhythm and the cool air, I began to get very sleepy and nod off. I told the others about this over dinner, and they could not imagine how anyone could sleep through a show like that. I guess pregnancy has its advantages. We ate dinner, though it was so bad, I am not even going to go into my rant about that. All I will say is that if you ever are in Greenwich Village, do NOT eat at Poetessa.

That night, it finally rained, and the temperature dropped, thank heavens. The next day Tracy and I visited the Natural History Museum and ate Indian food at Diwan with one of Tracy’s clients who lives in the area. The food there was superb. Spicy and full of all the smells and flavors of a traditional Indian feast. I will certainly be craving that same food in the days to come. That night we ate a high class all you can eat Brazillian Steak House called Churrascaria Platforma. It was featured on Food Network as one of the best places to eat meat. The way it worked was they give you a coaster which is green on one side and red on the other. As long as the coaster is flipped to red, the infinite meat supply just bypasses you and goes onto the next table. But, the instant you turn it to green, the meat feast begins. There had to be dozens of waiters meandering through the dining room with swords full of meat. One guy would come over and offer top sirloin. He would carve as much as you wanted and you would retrieve it from the sword with your own dainty silver set of tongs. Minutes later another waiter would appear with roast chicken. Then, prime rib, sausage, and even chicken hearts. When Tracy was ready for his meat course, he dramatically flipped his coaster to green and yelled, “I summon the meat!” I think Tracy ate about 6 chicken hearts. We overheard the table beside us talking about the wonderfulness of the lamb, but we had not been offered any lamb. We questioned our head waiter and he said, “Of course we have lamb!” He then summoned another waiter and demanded, “Get them some lamb!” In seconds, voila! lamb appeared. There were other side dishes brought to the table like mashed potatoes, crispy green beans, onion rings, fried bananas, and rice. But, that’s not all, there was an entire bar located in the center of the restaurant that offered items such as calamari salad, sushi, various pasta salads, steamed shrimp, wonderful green rice, and the most amazing couscous I have ever eaten. I am going to email the restaurant, inform them that I am pregnant and that I must have the recipe for the couscous, because I NEED IT!!!! Let me just say that this restaurant is not for the faint of heart. The food and the stab to the wallet are overwhelming yet memorable. We went back to the hotel in a stupor.

Last day in New York and there was still so much to see. We finally decided we would take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and to Ellis Island. This was actually one of my favorite sights. I inadvertently wore a green dress almost the same shade as the one donned by Lady Liberty herself. Along with Tracy’s recently purchased Lady Liberty crown, I was a dead ringer for her double. Ellis Island was really interesting. I am reading a book about a family who immigrates to the United States from Italy in the 1940’s, so going to Ellis Island brought my book to life. Before we went, I read in some pamphlets to allot about 4 hours to visit the 2 attractions. I thought that was absurd, but 4 hours later we were just getting in line to board the boat and head back to the mainland.

Finally, it was time to return to JFK and head for home. Usually when we go on vacation, I mourn a little on the last day. I long to stay in a world with no responsibilities, no time schedules, no cooking, cleaning, etc. But, I welcomed the end of this trip. I could not wait to board the plane that would bring me back to my third floor home. We ended up getting home at around 6AM because our flight was delayed and we actually landed in Charlotte at 1AM then had to drive the 4 hours from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach. When we turned into Azalea Lakes, I think Davis lept in my womb. I told Tracy that Davis didn’t love New York City. Maybe when he’s older and can walk on his own he’ll be able to appreciate it more.

Building a Nest

I had never heard of nesting in relation to human beings until about a year ago when a girl I knew was pregnant. She said she was nesting. I wondered what in the world she was talking about. I envisioned her sitting in the middle of a pile of hay somewhere making a bed for her baby. Weird, weird, weird. She explained that she was only focused on readying the house for her knew arrival. All her concentration was centered around cleaning, painting, and organizing.

Just last week, I went into organization mode. That is very unusual for me. I am not the organized half of our union. Let me give you an example of just how disorganized I really am. Just before Tracy and I got married, we were going through my room trying to purge when Tracy discovered my filing system. It was positioned neatly at the end of my bed with a quiet lovely piece of fabric draped across it. As far as anyone was concerned, it was a table of sorts. However, upon removing the piece of cloth one would find that it wasn’t a table at all, it was a vaccuum cleaner box. Well, I could hide it from Tracy no longer…I had to let him see what was inside the box. He opened it and found that instead of using my filing cabinet and folders to manage my credit card statements, bank statements, car payment receipts, old birthday cards, etc. I was just throwing them all into the vaccuum cleaner box, neatly closing it and placing the quiet lovely piece of fabric back on top of it. Instant table. Tracy pleaded with me to have this worked out before we said “I do.” So, I think this well illustrates that I am really good at giving the outward appearance of organization, but deep down, everything is a mess.

Anyway, back to last week. I knew something had gone awry when I began cleaning out closets, neatly folding clothes in my chest of drawers, buying shelves to organize shoes (I even put the shelves together), and just basically running through the house like a machine. The nesting conversation that I had with my friend about a year ago popped into my head. I decided to go online and look up nesting, just so I could fully understand what was happening to me. Here is just a piece of what I found out…

Around the fifth month of pregnancy, the “nesting” instinct can set in. This is an uncontrollable urge to clean one’s house brought on by a desire to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world. Nesting brings about some unique and seemingly irrational behaviors in pregnant women and all of them experience it differently.

Pay close attention to that last sentence and the words “irrational behavior.” For me, having an intense desire to clean and organize closets is irrational. That’s why closets have doors, you throw things in and close those doors – the appearance of organization but without all the effort. Not only have I had an insatiable urge to organize closets, but I have also decided that next week, I am going to organize and clean the entire kitchen. That means going through the junk drawer, the utensil drawer, and even that drawer that I never really open (not sure what’s in there). I have also informed Tracy of all the colors that I would like the house to be repainted in – blue for the living room, khaki and taupe for the nursery, khaki for the kitchen. I am going to create an oasis – serenity is the goal. Not only that, but I would like to have new kitchen countertops and a new dining room table. Whew! I don’t know how all this is going to end. Tracy wants me to hurry up and get all this done, he’s in heaven. He loves organization. I think he’s afraid that if I don’t keep working, I will lose my momentum.

It definitely appears that here I am in the middle of the nesting phase of pregnancy. Hopefully, I can stay focused and get my nest comfortably finished before our baby bird arrives.

Duo + One Makes Three

In a week and a half we leave for New York City!!!! NEW YORK CITY??? Yep, that’s right.

Tracy has been to the Big Apple before, but I never have. I cannot wait to experience the city lights, the culinary extravaganza, and just the excitement of being in a new place. Whenever we visit a new locale, I find that I always want to move there. I don’t know what it is, but there is this draw to pack our belongings into the Civic and start anew. This even happens sometimes on Sundays when I visit my dad in Loris. It doesn’t really matter if it’s the city or the country. Depending upon where we are, I characterize myself as a city girl or a country girl. Maybe it’s an identity crisis.

Speaking of crisis…I was suddenly hit the other day with a flood of emotions. I think I have handeled the whole pregnancy surprise with grace. I have been excited beyond belief, have not been sick, have not stopped doing the things I have always done, have not been an evil, dramatic pregnant lady, and have not let my emotions get the best of me. I dare say that I have even loved being pregnant and thought about just staying pregnant for the rest of my 30’s. But for some reason, the other day, I realized that I was over halfway through my pregnancy and that soon there would be a new little boy added to our family.

I was running around the house trying to get everything cleaned up before Jeff and Rhonda came over for dinner when all of a sudden reality hit. Tracy and I will never be alone again. I have said this on previous occasions, but never has it impacted me like it did on this occasion. Then I started thinking – we’ll never be able to just go on vacation again without worrying about our child. Next it was, oh my goodness if I choose to be a stay at home mom, who will I be. I never realized pre-pregnancy how much of my identity was tied to my job. As a matter of fact, I have complained for 8 years about my job and the stress that it creates, but looking back, I must admit there are aspects of my job that I absolutely love. Then I thought about how we would never be able to just rush out of the house. We’d have to dress the baby, feed the baby, pack the diaper bag, etc., etc. Finally, to top it all off, my mom’s death happened on July 2nd – 3 years ago. Dates don’t usually make me get emotional – I am not even bothered on Mother’s Day – It’s usually random days that get me. But, on this particular day, it hit me that my mom would not know her grandson, nor would Davis know her. So, I think I cried the entire time that I was cleaning the house. Just when it would stop, I’d have another thought and bam – the flood would begin again.

I’ve read tons of pregnancy articles about how it’s a good thing that we have nine months to get adjusted to the idea of a baby. That’s so true. Tracy and I have spent the last 8 married years and 4 before that just having each other. I guess I have been looking at that as a disadvantage. How could we possibly know how to live with another person added to the duo? But, how lucky for Davis that he is going to have parents who are best friends and know so much about each other. Despite all the emotions and worries, I am really looking forward to being a mommy and to Tracy being a daddy. What an awesome adventure we’re going to have.