24 Weeks

When I look at the calendar I’m stunned by what I see: Thanksgiving in a couple of days, the opening of ski season and Christmas, then one full month and some until it becomes wholly possible that a new little person–whose kicks can be seen from the outside now– joins us earthside. I love being pregnant. In fact, a few more months than just the handful that remain would suit me just fine… to prepare, to savor the very quiet mornings that I lay in bed feeling those kicks, steadily increasing in strength.

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Time is going too fast. I don’t feel ready (though will I ever?). I love feeling him or her kicking and punching around in there, reminding of the miracle that is pregnancy and birth and womanhood for that matter. Sometimes I still can’t believe this is happening for us. When we hit milestones, whether it be weeks, or development or screenings and such that happen at a certain time, it hits be that I’m no longer an onlooker– reading another woman’s blog or hearing her story–the story is ours to live now.

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We spent the past week and some on our last big road trip, just us two. The morning we left was marked by our town’s first big snow. We (he) braved these winding Montana and Idaho roads, both of us intensely grateful that we’d opted to put on the snow tires after all. We crossed into Washington where the clouds lifted and it was sunny, dry, and warm. We landed in Hood River, OR, where we rested a while and explored the areas “Fruit Loop” an agritourism map of sorts, wandered Hood River, then continued on to Portland. Oh, Portland! You scratched my Philly itch, fed me delicious food, and for that I am forever grateful. That and for spending the day with friends Missy and Don I met while staying in a Buddhist temple atop Mt. Koya on my spring trip to Japan. They, too, are expecting a baby this winter.

From here we drove south, past countless vineyards and orchards, to the northern tip of the Redwoods Forest in California. Sunshine. We camped under the massive trees, eating early, even for us, to beat lights out at 5pm. We lay in our tent and read some nights and sipped coffee in the nearest town during others. We hiked among the soaring redwoods and along the wild beaches. I splashed in the cold Pacific and poured some salt water on my belly–baby’s first introduction to mama’s favorite place. The weather was perfect the whole time. Our journey home was a long one, but we made a pit stop at Crater Lake in central Oregon, a place not served by photos but needing to be witnessed. After one last, cold night camping in Bend, we were back in our bed in Kalispell, Montana, adventured out and ready to start preparing our nest.

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On Body Changes:
There’s no hiding this big ‘ol belly anymore and I love that 98% of the time (other than when I’m looking for something to wear… or camping). It’s round and firm and just tonight I felt a body part of some sort jutting out (a foot?). Generally speaking, the rest of me looks the same, so it’s funny to look at myself face on in the mirror at the gym and see “me” only to turn to my side and see a 6-month pregnant woman. Who is she?
Otherwise, symptoms are minimal and I have such gratitude for that. A few stretch marks dotting my hips that I have to give thanks for considering that means my hips are expanding to accommodate baby. I find myself thinking spread hips, spread!

On Camping While Pregnant:
It is hard. I woke up with aching hips from sleeping on my side (no matter how many layers beneath me). I crept through the forest with my little flashlight to use the bathroom a couple times per night, adrenaline pumping as I navigated the darkest forests I’ve ever been in. Those two things aside, however, it was wonderful… cooking on my little camp stove, relaxing in solitude with my love.  If you want to camp while pregnant I have the following tidbits of advice (you can take or leave):
– Bring a blow up sleeping mat or mattress
– Choose the site next to the bathroom
-Go during your 2nd trimester before your nightly bathroom visits skyrocket in frequency
-Bring lots of pillows and props

On Mantras: 
The idea of having a few mantras in my arsenal for labor (and life, really) sounds good to me. While re-reading my favorite Mindful Birthing book I stumbled upon a part where a woman recognizes the wisdom of no escape. The author reiterates “the only way out is through” So a mantra I can identify with (and easily remember): Out. Through.

 

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