He’s Here, I’m Whole

My stomach is stretched and my body is healing. My makeup, if any, isn’t blended, and I think I’ve officially gone gray. I carry three bags and have no idea what’s in any of them. I’ve traded cheap beer for cheap wine, perfume for spit-up. I eat once a day, and it’s usually while balancing a nursing baby. I cry about the same amount. I’ve always been a good crier.

Once dressed in head-to-toe black, you wouldn’t find a single flower on my underwear, and now my closet is an urban garden. I gave up dedicating a chunk of my day in hopes of capturing a fire selfie, I’m not the first one I look at in a photo anymore. I ask myself “who am I?” more than once a day. I smile a whole lot. Man, this baby got me chucked up! I’m a mama, and I’m the happiest, best version of myself.

Soon, we’ll talk about how he got here, but for now…he’s here, and I’m whole.

Dream On

Pregnancy hormones keep plenty busy over 9 months, responsible for things like headaches, skin issues, and uncontrollable mood swings. Those symptoms were expected, but I made a huge mistake in underestimating their sorcery and ability to hijack my dreams.

A lot of books mention “sexy” dreams as a common occurrence. There’s been nothing “sexy” about my pregnancy dreams, and the only time I woke up sweaty and out of breath was when I just witnessed the father of my child cheating on me (in the dream!).

The Comedy

Although Cristiano Ronaldo made a cameo in one of my hormone-fueled dreams, it was NOT “sexy” by any means. It was wildly confusing. He was my boating instructor.

It’s unclear if I was a bad student, or he was a bad teacher, but we wound up running over multiple small boats with the yacht that was clearly too much for me to handle. Neither of us were phased, and at the end of my lesson, he had something for me. A calculator device that was meant to help me decipher the best times to invest in Gatorade stocks.

I haven’t been on a boat since before I found out I was expecting. I also never invested in any stocks.

The Nightmare

My lovey paid for this one in the morning.

Not only did he cheat on me, he cheated on me IN FRONT OF ME and my bump. He showed no remorse and the female followed me on Instagram shortly after the interaction.

My reaction? I every so calmly broke a mirror and gave him what looked like a paper cut across his stomach.

I refused to talk to him the following morning until he made me a cup of decaf. Once I searched his REAL life followers on social media, the phantom home wrecker’s Insta-handle still fresh in my mind, and came up empty handed, I was ready to get on with my day.

The Tear Jerker

I truly thank the hormones for this one, it’s the only time I’d be able to see my baby and Pop Pop together.

My mom had been holding onto a video monitor that hadn’t been used in “13” years, and wanted to use it for the new baby. Once we focused the monitor on my new babe, we saw my Pop Pop there with him, laughing and dancing.

Simple, and so comforting. I woke up in tears. We lost my Pop Pop when I was 8 and I know he’s been with us since.  This dream helped put a lot of my pregnancy-related anxieties to rest, knowing he would still be watching over us during this new chapter.

What are some of the craziest pregnancy dreams you’ve had? Share in the comments!

Bumpy Road: Pregnancy Travel Guide

Tip #1: Don’t do it.

Juuuuuust kidding! Seriously, traveling while pregnant was a lot easier than I had anticipated. We live 1,500 miles away from our families in New Jersey, and the thought of spending the holidays away from them wasn’t very cheerful at all. Although we already had a flight booked for early January to celebrate our baby shower, we decided to make the trip home for Christmas as well. When we shared our itinerary with others it seemed a little insane, especially during my third trimester, but we were happy to make the trip(s)!

Keep in mind, this is not intended to be medical advice, just a few things that helped keep me comfortable on a 26+ hour drive and a 3.5 hour flight. Of course we got medical clearance, and my OB’s only advice to was to take frequent stops (every 3 hours) to amp up circulation in my legs. I took it a few steps further and am happy to report ZERO swelling and minimal discomfort on both voyages.

Space Jam: Rent a Car

To my pregnant body, our vehicles seemed like clown cars. There was no way I’d feel comfortable riding shot gun with our pup and presents crammed in the backseat with no room for me to push back or recline. If we were going to make this trip, my number one priority was to be as cozy as possible, so we rented an SUV. Nothing over the top, just large enough for me to be able to push the front seat ALL the way back and be able to recline if I wanted. A pet peeve of mine used to be people’s feet resting on the dashboard (can’t tell you why, but I’d gag at the sight) but you better believe my pregnant puppies were stretched out up there. I apologize to the fellow travelers who had to witness this.

Compressed is Best:

Glamorous? No way. Necessary? Hell yes! I am now a HUGE fan of compression socks. They vary in intensity and price, so I went with my gut and grabbed the cheapest pair I could find. “As Seen on TV” means they gotta be good! They were extremely comfortable and I had ZERO swelling on land or in the air. Get yours here.

Hydration Nation:

All day, every day, hydration is a huge pregnancy priority. I made sure to keep a bottle of water nearby and munched on low-salt snacks. Yes, I brought an emergency potty. No, I didn’t have to use it.

I boarded the plane with a liter of water each way and wasn’t shy about asking for sparkling water every time my lovey ordered another whiskey.

Speak up:

I take road trips very seriously and value making “good time.” That went out the window as soon as I stuffed my belly into the front seat. As annoying as it was for me, and the driver, it was important to speak up any time I needed to use the restroom or just stretch out a bit. The doctor suggested we stop every 3 hours, but sometimes baby and I were ready after 45 minutes. Listen to your body!

Work it Out:

Blood clots are a concern during long trips due to poor circulation. Compression socks absolutely help, but I felt even better if I made an effort to move around a bit. I spent a lot of time doing (c)ankle circles, and pointing and flexing my feet to get my blood pumping. As soon as the pilot turned off the “fasten seatbelt” sign, I had absolutely no shame in making that aisle my runway.

Cloud 9:

My pregnancy pillow took the ride with us! I wasn’t exactly sure if it would get much use, but better safe than sorry. At one point during our road trip, the dog and I switched places so I could stretch out in the backseat. My pillow swallowed me like an anaconda and my legs almost immediately fell asleep. I found the front to be the best spot for me, and although it was a tight squeeze, my pillow offered lots of cozy support jammed up there with me.

We all made it in one piece and had the most amazing time with our families. Again, this is not intended to be medical advice, just a few extra steps that made this mama comfortable on the go.

Special thanks to my babe for driving the ENTIRE way, and to my bestie for providing food, shelter and sweet babies to play with at the halfway point.

 

 

Homesick and Hormonal

You know those intimate, candlelit restaurants that have a random guy in the corner playing an acoustic guitar? We went to one a few weeks ago for our anniversary dinner. It would have been perfect, but I burst into tears when the charming musician played “If I Only had a Brain” by the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz.

I understand that I may literally be the only one to react to that song in such a manner, but I was immediately transported back to my kitchen table in Beachwood, New Jersey. My youngest brother and I sat there together singing through laughter in attempts of preparing him for his very first audition. He got a part and hasn’t gotten off the stage since.

A year ago, the love of my life and I decided to move to Austin, Texas. Since being here, I’ve missed roles and auditions, big and small. I also feel like I’m slacking in my own roles as daughter, granddaughter, sister, and friend. I’d hang out with my family on purpose, and now we rely on group texts. I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s way easier to lie about how you’re doing that way. You can’t hear the shakiness in our voices. Not only do I miss my family and friends, I miss myself. I’ve unraveled a little bit, veered way off track, and have been closer to depression than I ever have been.

Back home, by lunchtime I had already talked to thousands of people–for real–and now I find myself in silence more than I’m comfortable with. In addition to changing careers, the social schedule I was accustomed to vanished. My man is the best, most hardworking, man in New Jersey and Austin combined, and having opposite schedules with him has put into perspective how easy it was to take our time together for granted before we moved. Now, we’re lucky if we cross paths in our own apartment.

Missing birthdays and big occasions has not been easy, but nothing could prepare me for what was coming. To share the news that you’re expecting through the phone and not be able to hug the most important people in your life is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. For the past year, I got through stuff like this with a good cry and some whiskey. Chocolate milk can only do so much.

Circling baby sections solo while sending text blasts of all the cutest items just isn’t the same as waddling around the store with your Mom and Grandmother. My friends and I used to talk about being pregnant together, and now we have to settle for #bumpies on Instagram. As my belly grows, we’re watching babies we love learn to walk on FaceTime. No, this isn’t how I thought it would be, but it is. I’m so fortunate to be in love, to have a healthy child on the way, a new city to continue to explore, and to have a family who’s willing to plan a baby shower from 1,500 miles away.

My little family of 3 is so lucky to be loved by so many, near and far. As I prepare for my biggest role ever–Mother–now is the time to step it up and be stronger than I ever have been. Texas gave us our baby, and a wonderful group of friends, but circling back to The Wizard of Oz, there’s really no place like home.