Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What No One Told Me

I have a few moments of quiet before Lyla wakes up, so I figured I would try and get something posted. I've been wanting to write this post for a few weeks now because I was completely blindsided by the whole postpartum process.

So here it is...The Things NO ONE tells you:

1. Labor Isn't A Big Deal
I was pretty surprised by this and explained it in more detail in my last post, but I psyched myself out for weeks before Lyla was born and for no good reason. I understand not everyone's experience is the same but my labor experience was extremely positive, thanks in large part to an awesome staff, chilled out music, and drugs. P.S. Get the epidural!!!

2. Post Labor is Way Worse Than Labor (contractions)
Everyone tells you about their labor story...no one talks about post-labor. It took me hours to regain the use of my legs after the epidural wore off and once I could move I felt like a hobbled invalid. All of my muscles hurt from all the intense pushing I had just done and I couldn't stand up straight for about a day. Also, as soon as you start breastfeeding, which is pretty much immediately, you experience the worst contractions you have ever felt. It was ten times worse than any pain I had felt during labor.

3. The Epidural
I had no idea what an epidural really was...sounds dumb right? well in case y'all are like me and think it is just a shot in the back, let me educate you. An epidural is actually a catheter (tube) that is inserted into your spine and pumps medicine continuously into your nervous system.

4. Postpartum Emotional Mind-Fuck
If you have a medicated birth like I did, be prepared for the after effects. You know that feeling when you come down from a three-night alcohol and drug fueled bender? That empty, delirious feeling you have when you watch the sun come up on a Sunday morning and realize you haven't eaten or slept for way longer than is medically recommended? Sure you do...we've all been there at least once. Well..that's precisely how I felt the night after giving birth. When they took Lyla to the nursery and we were trying to get some much-needed sleep, I all of a sudden felt emotionally drained; devoid of all those new-mom love fuzzies I was supposed to be feeling. I became paranoid that I was never going to bond with my baby and that I was slipping into PPD. Of course I wasn't, but it hadn't occurred to me just how many powerful drugs I had been on for the last 12 hours and what coming down from them would feel like. Once I got some sleep and woke up to the cries of my new baby the next morning, all was right again, but I wish I had known what to expect there.

4. Postpartum Bleeding
Nothing can really prepare you for the amount of blood that will be coming out of your vagina for the foreseeable future. Be sure to stock up (and I mean STOCK UP) on maxi pads and granny panties - if unlike me you don't already own several pairs. I had heard that you bleed postpartum. I had even heard that you need pads on hand. What I wasn't prepared for is the giant ball sized clots of blood that will make their way out of your crotch unexpectedly, or that I would feel a gush of liquid every time I stood up. I also was unprepared to bleed consistently for a month....it makes your period look like a breeze!

5. Breastfeeding Is Hard!
I have had a love/hate (but mostly hate) relationship with breastfeeding from the beginning. I am lucky to have not had any problems with supply, and my baby is more than happy to eat exclusively from my massive tatas. However, I'm just going to say it: it fucking sucks. Breastfeeding has to be the biggest bait and switch of the whole baby experience. You expect it to be uncomfortable but the level of pain you experience just trying to feed your child is unparalleled and seems pretty unnatural. I mean, why would it be so damn painful and difficult if this is the way nature intended you to feed your child?! It makes no sense and I wasn't prepared. There were MANY nights in the early weeks where I would almost be brought to tears by the sensation of her little toothless mouth sucking away on my nipple. My toes would curl and I would cry to my husband that there HAS to be a better way. I felt like quitting a lot, but I knew that wasn't an option for me. I had made the decision to breastfeed my baby as long as I physically could and since my milk was producing fine, I had to literally bear the pain until it got easier. The upside? It DOES get easier. Around the 3rd or 4th week it slowly started to get better and now 5 weeks postpartum I don't need to use a nipple shield and it barely hurts anymore.

6. Night Sweats
Now this is one thing I never even heard about before. Every time I fell asleep I woke up in a puddle of sweat. Drenched. Every. Single. Time. Even while napping. I came to find out that this is entirely normal and that it can last for months after giving birth. So not only are you covered in breast milk (from spraying yourself or from being spit up on) but you also sweat like an Olympic wrestler on steroids. Be prepared to change your sheets and your pajamas often.

7. There Is No Normal
So stop asking. The only answer I ever got about my pregnancy, labor, postpartum recovery and newborn care is that "everyone is different" or "every baby is different". You will get through it all the best you can but no one can tell you what to expect or what your experience will be. Some women have really rough pregnancies, with morning sickness the entire time and horrific pain and some women never get nauseous at all. Some women have a baby bump and 15 extra pounds on them in the first trimester and some start showing a month before they give birth. Some babies sleep through the night from birth and others scream bloody murder until they're two years old. It's all relative, it's all an extreme crap shoot so prepare for the worst and hope for the best and you'll most likely fall somewhere in the middle.

So that's my two cents. That is what I have learned as a first-time mom and I keep learning every day. It should be a sign of things to come that I started this post 2 weeks after Lyla was born and I am just now finishing it 5 weeks post birth. There is no more "down time". The house is a mess, I'm exhausted and this will be my big activity for the day....and it's time to feed her again :-)


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

She's Here!! my labor story

It turns out that all that false labor I was experiencing wasn't so useless after all! Lyla June Pontius was born on Friday November 14th, 2014 at 3:05pm and was exactly 8 days early at 38 weeks 6 days.

Matt and I went to bed around 11pm. I had been having trouble sleeping with all the pain and discomfort I had been feeling so I took an ambien to sleep. Matt took one too. I immediately fell asleep and Matt fought the slumber by playing on his Ipad. At 12:30pm I woke up from sleeping because I felt like I was leaking fluid. I turned to Matt and said "I think my water just broke". Considering that we had just been turned away from the hospital that Monday I wanted to be 100% sure before we left for the hospital again. So I put a pad in my underwear and got back in bed. Well, they told us in our prenatal class that it's your water breaking if it soaks a pad in less than an hour and after about 20 minutes and a few more gushes of liquid I was pretty certain this was the real deal. It's called a slow leak when your water breaks higher up in the amniotic sac and leaks out over a period of time (as opposed to the movie version where there is an eruption that comes at once). Anyway, we packed up our gear, which had conveniently been packed for our fake-out trip in Monday and called the doctor who told us to come in right away. Well, we had learned our lesson about rushing off to the hospital so Matt jumped in the shower  to wake himself out of the ambien haze and I got ready (did my makeup, packed my toiletries and got dressed). We then made a peanut butter banana protein smoothie and calmly left for the hospital, still a little skeptical that this was the real thing.

We got to the hospital around 2am and I was immediately checked by the nurse. They tested my cervix for amniotic fluid to make sure I had really broken my water. Well...I had! it was the real deal and we weren't leaving the hospital without a baby. At 3am they started me on Pitocin through my IV becuse my water breaking hadn't started contractions. in less than 30min contractions started and I was surprised that they didn't hurt as bad as they had on Monday (when I technically wasn't in labor). They checked my cervix and I was 3cm so we had a while to wait and they suggested I get some sleep and let them know when I was ready for pain meds. The epidural was still my biggest fear so I wanted to hold off as long as I could. I made a point to use the bathroom in those early morning hours, even managing to poop which was a huge coup because I was also worried about taking a huge dump with five people watching and my legs in the air.

So Matt and I drifted between sleep and awake until 7am when the staff switched over and the new doctor on call came to see us. we were told it could take all day so dilate fully so we were pretty much left on our own for most of the morning, listening to reggae and talking to family. Around 10:30/11am I was offered some IV pain meds that the nurse described as "like drinking a bottle of wine, you will still feel the contractions but you wont care". That sounded right up my alley so off I went to La-La-Land. In all honesty I hated whatever they gave me. There should be a street name for what it was. I felt like I was having a serious acid trip: I was out of touch with reality, I was trying really hard to stay conscious and I had this panic that I was going to forget to breathe and die. My mom got to the hospital around noon when I was 5cm dilated and right when the acid trip was subsiding and I was coming back to reality. I decided now was my moment to get the epidural...I was still kind of out of it from the pain meds and so  didn't feel a thing when they hooked me up to the epidural.

My biggest surprise during this whole labor experience was how happy and calm I was through the whole thing. I felt so at peace the whole day, it was truly an wonderful experience. I owe a lot of that to feeling no pain.

Around 2pm they checked me again and I was 8-9cm. Everyone was pretty shocked because I had progressed really quickly. The doctor said that I would be holding my baby by 3:30pm. She was right!! I got to 10cm really fast and then it was push time. I couldn't feel a thing below my belly button so they put my legs on stirrups and my mom took a leg and Matt took a leg and 7 contractions and about 15 minutes later out she came! The doctor was floored! A first pregnancy usually takes a lot longer, especially the pushing time. Pushing was hard, but I just gave it all I had during the contractions and thankfully she was a small baby.

So at 3:05pm Lyla June Pontius was born. 6lbs 12oz, 19.5" long.

The whole thing took 12 hours and was filled with calm, chill, happy vibes and I felt no pain. I couldn't have asked for a more positive experience.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

38 Weeks: False Labor

This week has been crazy, crazy, crazy. On Monday we went to the doctor for an appointment and I got my membranes sweeped. This is a procedure that helps "ripen" the cervix for labor. Pretty much it can help jump start labor or at least it can help move your cervix along so you go into labor naturally on your own. The doctor checked my cervix and then while she was all up in there, she stuck her fingers through my cervix and separated the amniotic sack from the uterus. Well needless to say, this got things going. It was mildly painful, more uncomfortable than anything but it only lasted a few seconds.

Later in the day I felt very crampy and around 7pm that ended up turning into real contractions. At first they were erratic and I wasn't really sure if they were contractions or what was going on. They felt different than anything I have ever experienced. They continued to get more steady and more and more obvious. They came on like waves, my blood pressure would rise and then i could feel them building in my back/butt and wrapping around my lower abdomen. Once they got to be 5-7 minutes apart for 40-60secs each we called the doctor. We sat at home with me having contractions for a long time. I was certain I was in labor, but alas, I was wrong. Around 2am they trickled out and I went to bed. Since then I have been feeling random contractions very far apart and some mild cramps. Searching the internet has told me this is completely normal after a membrane sweep and I could potentially feel this way for the rest of the time I'm pregnant.

How Far Along: 38 weeks, 4 days
How Long To Go: 1 weeks, 3 days
Weight Gain: .8lbs
Total Weight Gain: 21lbs
Weight: 141lbs
Belly Button: Total outie
Stretch Marks: none
Sleep: Finally started using one of those pregnancy pillows (Matt calls it my candy cane) and I don't know why I waited so long
Best Moment This Week: Hanging with Nicole and Mason!! Dinner at a favorite restaurant with our friends Allison and Morgan Hurley and a girls lunch earlier in the week
Nausea: A little bit randomly
Craving: Sleep
Miss Anything: Don't even remember what its like not being pregnant. I miss that.
Movement: A little decreased movement, but still an active baby.
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: False labor contractions!!!
Wedding Ring: Off for the most part
Looking Forward To: Having this freakin baby!!!
Maternity Clothes: Lucky if I put on clothes at this point
Fruit: Swiss Chard (6.5lb, 19-22 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Don't remember


Monday, November 3, 2014

37 Weeks

How Far Along: 37 weeks, 2 days
How Long To Go: 2 weeks, 5 days
Weight Gain: 3.4lbs
Total Weight Gain: 20.4lbs
Weight: 140.2lbs
Belly Button: Total outie
Stretch Marks: none
Sleep: The extra weight of my baby is making staying in one position difficult so I toss and turn all night.
Best Moment This Week: finding out that my body is preparing to have this baby. Nothing makes the light at the end of the tunnel seem a little closer than finding out you could have the baby at any time from here on out
Nausea: None at all
Craving: Halloween candy! and unfortunately, its around.
Miss Anything: being comfortable
Movement: She wiggles more than kicks. Lots of dragging of body parts. She's probably pretty cramped at this point.
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: Lots of Braxton Hicks contractions...like almost every night, and tons of back pain. My feet are too small for this extra weight, they hurt so bad!
Wedding Ring: Off for the most part. Mostly because I wake up with a little swelling and forget to put it on in the morning.
Looking Forward To: Nicole and Mason are coming to visit on Wednesday night and staying for two nights!! Nicole and I made fast friends during my best friend Katie's wedding. Nicole is her cousin and was her maid of honor and I love her. We are gunna pal around downtown for the day on Thursday, for as long as my pregnant body can handle it. I'm also really excited to get some wise mama advice from her right before this baby comes.
Maternity Clothes: So happy it is spandex season!!!!!
Fruit: Winter Melon (6.5lb, 19-22 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Had a dream that my mucus plug came out when i went to the bathroom during a dinner party with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

P.S. I just came back from the doctor and I am already 2cm dilated and 50% effaced and my mucus plug is gone. Doc said to make sure the car seat is installed (it isn't) and my hospital bags are packed (mostly there)


Thursday, October 30, 2014

36 Week Doctors Appointment

On Tuesday I went to the doctor for my 36 week appointment. This marks the start of weekly doctors appointments, so every Monday I've got to get weighed, measured and poked. I mention the poking because this also starts the weekly cervical checks. I had been hearing about these from the women on my What To Expect App and from their accounts, these things sucked. Some women complained of extreme pain and bleeding afterwards, and others said that it caused them to get Braxton Hicks contractions for the rest of the day. No bueno!

BUT....I was still really excited for the cervical check up because it would tell me if my body and baby had begun to prepare for birth. I am happy to report that I am 1cm dilated and 50% effaced. Which means, to those who didn't know this (like me before I got pregnant) that labor could happen tomorrow...or in three weeks....or a week past my due date. Pretty much, being dilated means not a whole lot at this point and most women begin to dilate within the month before labor. My sister was 2-3cm dilated for three weeks and then went over her due date!! So I'm not holding my breath that anything is about to happen but my doctor seemed pretty confidant that my body will go into labor naturally and not need an induction. YAY.

She did, however, give me some options. I asked her how long she lets patients go past their due date before inducing labor (a very important question because I sure as hell don't want to be waiting until I'm 42 weeks to meet my little one). She reassured me by telling me that she never lets her patients go beyond 41 weeks because "the placenta might start conking out"---her words.

She also gave me the option of scheduling an induction for a day she would be on-call in the labor and delivery unit, either the 19th (3 days before DD) or the 24th (2 days after DD). I have to say it was really REALLY tempting to hear that I could be induced a few days before my due date, especially since everyone tells me that I will be late because its my first pregnancy. However, inductions come with all sorts of other complications, including the increased risk of c-section, as well as a more painful experience (so I've heard). So after talking with Matt, we decided that at our next appointment we will go ahead and plan an induction for the 24th, but hope that things progress naturally before then. This may not be everyone's way to go, but we have a few reasons why we like this idea:
1. both of our lucky numbers is 24....a random piece of trivia we discovered about each other when we first met.
2. she will be born well before Thanksgiving (this year)
3. She will not share a birthday with any of the MANY family and friends we have that have November birthdays
4. If I get to my due date with no baby, at least there will be a light at the end of the tunnel
5. She will be a Sagittarius
6. Our doctor will be able to deliver her for sure....and we love our doctor

So there you have it. Baby girl Pontius will be born by the 25th of November!!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

35 Weeks

How Far Along: 35 weeks, 5 days
How Long To Go: 4 weeks, 2 days
Weight Gain: -.4lbs
Total Weight Gain: 17lbs
Weight: 136.8lbs
Belly Button: Total outie
Stretch Marks: none
Sleep: I was prescribed Ambien 5mg at my last doctors appointment and I am in heaven. I can actually sleep!!
Best Moment This Week: Just finished buying and ordering EVERYTHING we need for the baby's arrival, including ordering my breast pump so I feel a lot more in control and prepared than I did. We also got our stroller for 60% off after a bunch of sales and discounts...a super satisfying moment!
Nausea: None at all
Craving: Pho
Miss Anything: being comfortable
Movement: Her movements feel like drags and they hurt. I described it to Matt as the feeling you get when you're running and you get a cramp in your side.
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: Holy shit these next four weeks are going to drag if I remain in this amount of pain. I've got bad SI joint pain, sciatica, and last night began the carpal tunnel that radiated pain through all the joints on my right side of my body: my hand, fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder and neck all the way to my back, hip, knee and ankle. Today is a bit better, but I'm sure it will get worse later since all my symptoms get worse at night. Also working it's magic today is my debilitating sciatica. I am in bed with my feet up because every step shoots pain up my feet and into my back. This past week I have also started to feel feverish/sick every evening starting around 3pm.
Wedding Ring: Still on! there's a coupe of moments of swelling here and there but it's on for most of the day every day.
Looking Forward To: Getting all the rest of our stuff in the mail from Amazon.com.
Maternity Clothes: Just received my first nursing bra in the mail and I LOVE it already. It's from La Leche League and is meant to sleep in but I might wear it all the time. It's kind of like a v-neck sports bra and is not only super comfy, but it's kind of cute. I plan to see how much bigger my boobs get once my milk comes in adn then order a couple more of these. I also ordered some staples from H&M.com including a new set of pajamas, a pair of maternity black leggings (it's cold now!), a flowy long sleeve top that I should be able to wear and nurse in and still look cute and casual once baby arrives. I JUST discovered the maternity line at H&M and wish I had found it sooner.
Fruit: Canary Melon (5.5lb, 19-22 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Had a dream about preparing for Christmas last night....I think I'm a little ahead of myself lol


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Latest Craving: Olive Oil Cake

I have never been one for overly sweet desserts or intricate baking, so when a client requested this for their final course of a tasting menu I happily obliged. The recipe was simple, and although I wasn't sure what it would ultimately taste like, I knew it was a blank canvas for a truly spectacular dessert. I paired this recipe with a homemade rosemary orange syrup (recipe below) and fresh whipped cream. The end result was a sweet and savory dessert that tasted a lot like an orange Creamcicle (without the artificial aftertaste).

photo by James Ransom

Recipe (adapted from Maialino's)
makes a 9-inch round cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest (about 1 orange)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rye whiskey or Grand Marnier (optional)

*For Rosemary Orange Syrup:  1 to 2 ratio of orange juice to granulated sugar, 1 tsp dried rosemary, pinch red pepper flake. Reduce by 1/2 to a syrupy consistency and cool.

Heat oven to 350F. Oil, butter or spray your 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep. 
In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest, juice and whiskey. Add the dry ingredients. Whisk to combine, but don't over whisk.
Pour batter into your cake pan and bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges and remove cake from cake pan and set on a wire rack to let cool completely (about 2 hours). Serve at room temperature with the orange rosemary syrup and some fresh whipped cream.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Nesting: Baking Edition

So I've got about a month left of pregnancy. I'm bored, I'm anxious, and I am in fear of the unknown.

All of these factors lead to some serious nesting. Nesting is a syndrome that most women experience in different ways and at different times. My nesting has come in different forms, but I first noticed it in the second trimester when I all of a sudden became a clean freak. If you know me well, you know that I am FAR from a clean freak...some would even describe me as messy or dirty. All of a sudden I was doing daily loads of laundry, keeping the bathrooms clean and making the bed daily. Unfortunately, as I eased into the physical exhaustion of the third trimester my nesting has switched gears from cleaning to cooking. For example, as I sit here writing this post, my bathrooms counters and toilets are in desperate need of a cleaning and disinfecting...and what am I about to do? Bake oatmeal cookies.

Pregnancy has turned me into Betty-fuckin-Crocker and I HATED baking before. I am a private chef and would always try and convince my clients to choose an ice cream or cheese plate for dessert because of my serious disdain for the pastry arts. Now, 8 months pregnant, I am whipping up banana breads, cookies and cake recipes for pleasure. This has been the biggest and most noticeable change in my personality since entering the third trimester. My husband loves it by the way. He has always had a sweet tooth and grew up with a mom who just kept tupperware full of homemade fudge and baked goods on the kitchen counter at all times.

So I'm off, to bake cookies...not clean my bathroom like I should. And I can't feel at all bad about it, because as everyone keeps telling me these stress-free days of daytime t.v. watching and leisure baking are numbered. Soon a little squishy tyrant will be calling the shots and running the house and I will be lucky to shower and eat in the same day, let alone bake anything or Clorox a bathroom counter.


Friday, October 17, 2014

34 Weeks

How Far Along: 34 weeks, 6 days
How Long To Go: 5 weeks, 1 days
Weight Gain: .4lbs
Total Weight Gain: 17.4lbs
Weight: 137.2lbs
Belly Button: Total outie
Stretch Marks: none
Sleep: I was prescribed Ambien 5mg at my last doctors appointment and I am in heaven. I can actually sleep!!
Best Moment This Week: My whole weekend. The baby shower with friends and family, my bestie Rachel coming into town and staying with us! I haven't spent that much time with her in years and it was so freaking great.
Nausea: None at all
Craving: nada
Miss Anything: being comfortable
Movement: She is maintaining her amateur gymnast status
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: back pain like nothing I've ever felt! thankfully I have some prenatal massages from my parents to use! I'm also starting to notice some bloating in my face and arms...Matt doesn't see it but I think I can.
Wedding Ring: Had to remove it this morning because it was tight.
Looking Forward To: Hitting the milestone of once-a-week doctors appointments...sounds weird but it means I'm in the home stretch. Also, looking forward to finishing up our registry by getting all the essentials we need and finally cleaning and putting it all away so we are ready to go whenever little girl Pontius wants to make her debut.
Maternity Clothes: The dress in my picture this week isn't a maternity dress but it was on super sale from $80 down to $20 so I couldn't resist. It fit over the bump so I got a medium and will just alter it if I need to once I'm no longer preggo...but I LOVE it! I've come to realize that whatever can fit over the bump is now maternity wear.
Fruit: Pineapple (4.9lb, 19-22 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Dreamed about our daughter last night. Saw her face and her hair was just like Matt's. I also changed her diaper like a champ in my dream, but she has some serious poop going on.


Third Trimester Update: fears, hopes and dreams

I am starting to slack off on doing these bump pictures. Mostly because I'm usually wearing pajamas, with no bra, and a face full of "I woke up like this". Last night however I managed to put on a cute outfit and actually do my hair and makeup because my in-laws were taking my hubby and I out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. You know it's been a while since you've gotten dolled up when your husband can't stop commenting on how pretty you are. He seriously raved about it, which made me realize that he hasn't seen me dressed up and looking sexy in quite some time. Something I hope to remember and do a better job at...even when baby comes (but we'll see lol).

So all four of us went to dinner at this great little Italian place on Sullivan's Island called the Obstinate Daughter. The meal was great and despite some awkwardness, the conversation flowed well and we all had a great time. It didn't hurt that Matt and both his parents probably drank a bottle of wine to the face (while I soberly sipped on my water) Aah in-laws.

So I am entering the phase of pregnancy that everyone dreads....the last month. I've got about five weeks left, give or take some days, and I have hit a weird phase. I am at once, both excited with anticipation and terrified. I feel like there is so much longer to be pregnant, and I also feel like this baby is coming fast! It is so bizarre to be on this knife edge of emotions and be going back and forth multiple times a day.

I am down-to-my-bones terrified of having a baby. I know deep down that I will be a great mom, I've always wanted to be a mom and I already love this little girl so much it makes me cry. What I am terrified of is the unknown, mostly the labor, delivery and aftermath that will ravage my body, mind and emotions. My mom had postpartum depression after she had me and she told me that it can be hereditary. In all honesty there is a history of depression in my family and I am terrified that it will rear its ugly head in me at the moment when I should be experiencing the greatest joy.

Besides the emotional fallout of having a baby, I am definitely scared of the physical act of birthing a human out of my vagina. Like, how exactly is it going to fit? I am well aware of my body and I just cannot wrap my head around the fact that the same lady bits that get a bit sore after some rough sex are going to stretch enough accomodate an entire person....that just seems like some crazy science fiction shit. Then, of course, being big and pregnant every woman wants to tell me their story or their friends story, or their cousins story about how they tore their entire perineum, or the baby had such a big head it broke their tail bone, or any number of other gruesome things that I do not want to be hearing. I still remember being traumatized from watching the birthing video in 8th-grade biology...I DO NOT need to hear about some other woman's emergency c-section...it will NOT make me more prepared, or less anxious. The crazy thing is that almost everyone I've talked to said that the labor wasn't that bad!! That the recovery once you're home, and off the drugs, and taking care of the newborn is the worst. That you bleed for weeks and you're sore, and going pee is like a 30 minute exercise in hospital-grade hygiene. 

And then....there are the baby books. Matt and I decided it was a good idea to read up as much as we can about the first few months of having a baby because we really don't have a clue what to expect. So we bought three very well respected and recommended books and i can summarize all three in a few short words: It's all down hill from here. Yes there is the outpouring of happy hormones and you are all in love with your baby, but physically, you've just lived through the equivalent of breaking all your bones at once while being set on fire...and now, a tiny human is chewing your nipples off. I might be blowing the recovery time way out of proportion, and I do hear those love hormones really do send you into euphoria as soon as you hold your new little miracle...but while I'm over here on the still pregnant side of things, it just sounds awful.

I don't want to sound like I am bitching too hard. I know that being able to get pregnant in and of itself is a miracle and I honestly have had an easy pregnancy and enjoyed the feeling of growing my child...but I wouldn't be me and it wouldn't be honest to say that I am looking forward to every moment of the next six weeks. I've got about a month left of being pregnant and it is starting to suck. There's no way around it. Last night I ended up with such horrific back pain that I needed Matt to lean on in order to walk to the bedroom! I literally felt like I had broken my tail bone or something had gone seriously wrong. The baby is growing so much that the pressure on my ribs feels like I might pop one out of place and the pressure on my lungs is making it hard to breathe and causing my heart to race.

Alright....switching gears. No one needs to read any more bitching from an 8 month pregnant lady who didn't sleep last night. What I want to end this post on is a positive note, so now I will tell you all about everything I am excited for.

First and foremost, I can't wait to meet my daughter. It sounds really corny but I am so unbelievably in love with Matt that I think it is the coolest miracle in the universe that we have come together to make this brand new person that is our two souls combined. She is going to be a part of both of us and the greatest way to celebrate our love. I couldn't be more excited for Matt to be her dad, and for me to be her mom. I can't wait to see what she looks like, what her personality is like, who she is. I can't wait to raise her to love life, and to always look on the sunny side of things. I can't wait to watch her grow and change every day and to see her first moments. not even the big moments. Like, do you remember the first time you tried ice cream? or the first time you saw the ocean? I get to see those first moments in her life, the ones that she wont remember or think of as milestones. I get to watch this glorious little person discover the world!! I get to watch her be curious and excited about everything! I get to read to her at night and start family traditions that she will cherish for a lifetime. Matt and I get to show her what a marriage should be, and she will learn through our example that a happy home is full of music and laughter and silliness and cuddles. We will sing silly songs and teach her how to tie her shoes.

I can't wait for all of it. I am so in awe of it all. It really is the most amazing thing I will ever do with my life, and the most important. If I can live a long life, and have my only accomplishment be that I was a good wife and mother, I will die a happy old woman warm in my bed............like Rose from Titanic (lol).


Thursday, October 9, 2014

33 Weeks

How Far Along: 33 weeks, 5 days
How Long To Go: 6 weeks, 2 days
Weight Gain: 1.8lbs
Total Weight Gain: 17lbs
Weight: 136.8lbs
Belly Button: Total outie
Stretch Marks: none..and starting to think I might be safe
Sleep: I don't think sleep in the third trimester is possible. It takes forever for me to get sleepy, and then when I do my back and hips hurt so bad that I have to move to get comfortable again. It's like the weight of my belly is crushing my bones!
Best Moment This Week: My birthday!!!
Nausea: None at all
Craving: nothing this week
Miss Anything: being comfortable, sleep
Movement: She is doing some crazy full body rolls that are now inching into my rib cage and sternum...kind of painful
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: still going strong with the back pain, leg pain, feet pain and overall feeling like a weeble wobble
Wedding Ring: on
Looking Forward To: my bestie Rachel coming to visit, and our second (co-ed) baby shower on Saturday. Also, I have my last even tomorrow so after this weekend I am officially on maternity leave!
Maternity Clothes: As fall approaches I am not as excited as I usually am for the change in wardrobe...mostly because my bump is enormous and i can't buy cute new fall clothes
Fruit: Honeydew Melon (4.5lb, 19 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Had my first "I'm in labor" dream. Woke up still pregnant...kinda disappointed


My 27th Birthday

I turned 27 this week and that means I am officially in my late 20's.

My birthday weekend was low key, which suited me just fine. I honestly don't have the energy for big crowds or parties anymore. I can't drink, so this was a sober birthday..one of many to come I bet. My birthday fell on a Monday this year so instead of a dinner, we did Sunday brunch at Poogan's Porch downtown with my parents, my sister and her boyfriend, and my great friends Ed and Tess. We ate some delicious food and I received some fabulous gifts. My parents got me two prenatal massages which I desperately need at this point! Carrie got me a very col bangle bracelet, and Tess got me a pedicure and baby some headbands and a pair of white baby Uggs. This baby officially has more pairs of Uggs than I do!

After brunch we went to a biergarten for the 1 o'clock football games and hung out until the Raven's and Giants games were over. My friend from culinary school Chris has a new bakery/bar/lounge opening on East Bay and he invited us to their friends and family party that afternoon. We stopped in to see the place and drink for free. Matt had a few glasses of wine, and I had bacon ice cream...seems about right. After about an hour there, we were both exhausted and sugar high from trying all of Chris's confections, so we went home to crash on the couch with our doggies, and ordered Chinese food. I honestly wouldn't have wanted to spend the night any other way.

Monday, on my actual birthday, Matt worked while I did housework....typical Monday. Monday night was a different story altogether. Two Charleston chefs were doing a one-night-only event called Noodles Without Borders, collaborating Asian street food with traditional Italian cuisine. I could not have planned a better night of food in my wildest dreams. We were the first people in the restaurant and ordered 5 dishes to share. Each one was so unique, such a culinary mind fuck that we were both giddy. Each bite was familiar, exotic and like nothing I had ever had before. The dishes were a true collaboration between the two chefs and I was so insanely happy with the meal I could hardly stand it. I just hope that they do this event again because I will once again be first in line!

Full and glowing in a post-epic meal satisfaction, we got home around 7pm. Did I mention that we were old people and ate at 5:30pm? Anyway, we changed into comfies and posted on the couch for a movie. We rented Chef (very fitting after the night we had) and loved it! And so concluded my birthday. The next day Matt's gift for me arrived in the mail: a brand new Vitamix 7500!!! An essential and oh-so-exciting kitchen toy that we have been talking about purchasing for years. I'm already enjoying it as I sit here drinking a perfectly blended smoothie.

My birthday was great. I got to do my favorite things with my favorite people and I couldn't have asked for more. This next year of my life has so much in store for me already that I can only feel like I am about to embark on a huge new chapter in my life. I am going to become a mom in 6 weeks or so, and my whole life is about to change. I don't know how I got this lucky but I have never been happier in my life than I am married to Matt and growing my daughter. Here's to another great year in the Pontius house!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

32 Weeks

Okay, okay, so I missed last week. I have been fighting my lack of motivation in all things lately, not just blogging. I feel like my first trimester exhaustion has come back with a vengeance and nothing seems quite as good as curling up on the couch with a book and hibernating from the dreary rainy weather we've been having. Luckily I cut back on work for the month of October and have the free time to do so. I have written recently about my sense of guilt at slowing down my work pace and I think I am finally at peace with the decision. Perhaps it took me having another bout of excruciating sciatic pain that rendered me horizontal for hours. During those hours I contemplated how horrific life would have seemed if I had a client to cook for in my compromised state, and now I know that I have made the right decision. I have two more events scheduled already, one this Friday and another on the following Friday, and then I am on full-blown maternity leave. It seems crazy to me that we are here already. Just a few short weeks and I will be packing a hospital bag and preparing our home for the arrival of our daughter. YIKES!

Matt and I finally acknowledged out ignorance on the subject of child-rearing and ordered a couple of books from amazon and signed up for some classes at the hospital. I'll hopefully read and review these books before the baby arrives, or else I will be learning on the job and trying to stay calm. Our biggest priority is getting her on a schedule as quickly as possible. We already have three dogs that have a pretty solid routine...one that runs the household mind you, but that's a whole other story. To save our sanity we will need to at least have a slight handle on our new addition after a few weeks (although this might be wishful thinking).

How Far Along: 32 weeks, 2 days
How Long To Go: 7 weeks, 5 days
Weight Gain: 1.8lbs
Total Weight Gain: 15.2lbs
Weight: 135lbs
Belly Button: Total outie
Stretch Marks: none
Sleep: Getting hard to get comfortable again as my belly gets bigger
Best Moment This Week: Having some friends over for football
Nausea: some slight nausea last night and this morning
Craving: fruit and chocolate
Miss Anything: being comfortable
Movement: her kicks are becoming less often, but her full body movements are increasing...I think she is just a bit more squished in there and so when she moves I can feel huge parts moving. She is also probably getting ready to turn head down
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: OMG back pain!! Sciatic pain to be exact. It is killing me!
Wedding Ring: on
Looking Forward To: My birthday on Monday!!
Maternity Clothes: I'm getting sad looking at all the cute fall clothes that I will not be purchasing this season because I am enormous and don't want to buy the maternity versions.
Fruit: Head of Lettuce (4lb, 19 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Tried really hard to remember my dream from last night but already forgot it...maybe it will come to me later.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Late Post: My Baby Shower!!!

I have slipped into a serious case of the lazies these past two weeks. I have barely enough motivation to do anything and I feel like an exhausted blob. Unfortunately that means I have neglected posting about a lot of exciting goings on, including my incredible baby shower!!

It was about two weeks ago now, when I was 30 weeks.

My mom and sisters hosted it at my moms house and the theme was pink! A girly baby shower luncheon was exactly what I had in mind and they totally delivered. A group of lovely ladies gathered and we ate food and played a few silly games and celebrated baby Pontius! I was so overwhelmed with gifts and love it was so so special. I was especially touched that two of my best girl friends from college traveled from Maryland and New Jersey, respectively, to be there for the special occasion.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

30 Weeks

30 Weeks

How Far Along: 30 weeks, 5 days
How Long To Go: 9 weeks, 2 days
Weight Gain: 2.6lbs
Total Weight Gain: 13.4lbs
Weight: 133.2lbs
Belly Button: Total outie
Stretch Marks: none
Sleep: Getting hard to get comfortable again as my belly gets bigger
Best Moment This Week: My awesome baby shower!!
Nausea: none
Craving: Asian food in all forms
Miss Anything: Not really
Movement: She moves like crazy and is definitely kicking harder
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: Braxton Hicks, back pain, the beginning of a Linea Nigrea is starting to show, heartburn!
Wedding Ring: on
Looking Forward To: Girls night tonight with Tess!
Maternity Clothes: The dress I ordered for the shower didn't work. It was too flowy and made me look bigger than I am
Fruit: Butternut Squash (3.1lb, 17 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Nothing really notable to report.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our Little Girl (sneak peak)

Last week we went to get another one of those 3D ultrasounds and there has been so much going on that I forgot to post any pictures! My bad. Although in my defense I have had a really busy week with work, my baby shower, and to top it all off I've been sick with a cold.

So here are some adorable ultrasound pictures of our daughter-to-be. She is so perfect and beautiful I can't even believe that she's ours. Seeing her little face makes all this more real than it has been and I must admit this week has left me a little dumbfounded. The culmination of seeing her face, having our baby shower, and hanging up clothes in her closet has me reeling with nerves and excitement.

I think she looks like my husband Matt, and he thinks that she looks like me. The ultrasound tech said she has very feminine features and judging by her size now, that she predicts she will be about 6.5-7.5lbs at birth (yay for my lady parts!!). She also already loves her hands because she wouldn't let them away from her face for the ultrasound. This baby is NOT going to be a fan of being swaddled.

Monday, September 8, 2014

29 Weeks

This week was really exciting because we went to the doctor and we went back to See Me 3D (pictures in a separate post) for another ultrasound all on Thursday. The doctors visit couldn't have gone better. We saw a different doctor this time, which was fine because they're pretty boring appointments, and we loved her. She was also very impressed with my charts, saying that both the baby and I are in perfect condition and right on track. She even said that I could teach a class on how to be pregnant. I have to admit, I don't think I've ever been told how good I look more consistently than since I've been pregnant. It's  a real confidence booster, which is definitely needed on the days that I feel like I'm sporting a trucker's beer gut around.

Since we saw our baby girl on that 3D ultrasound she is all I can think about. I can't wait to meet her and I am so in love already.

How Far Along: 29 weeks, 2 days
How Long To Go: 10 weeks, 5 days
Weight Gain: 1.2lbs
Total Weight Gain: 10.8lbs
Weight: 130.6lbs
Belly Button: starting to poke out! I'm getting an outie!
Stretch Marks: none
Sleep: Getting hard to get comfortable again as my belly gets bigger
Best Moment This Week: Seeing our beautiful girl in 3D!
Nausea: none
Craving: Chocolate Milk
Miss Anything: feeling comfortable
Movement: Her kicks are getting harder, and more painful
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: Braxton Hicks, back pain, the beginning of a Linea Nigrea is starting to show.
Wedding Ring: on
Looking Forward To: My baby shower on Saturday!!!!! So excited I can't even stand it!!
Maternity Clothes: Ordered another dress off ASOS.com for the shower, can't wait to wear it
Fruit: Small Cabbage (2.9lb, 17 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Had a dream that Matt was running errands with me and I had to get home to prep for an event. He wouldn't take me home because he wanted to run to Lowe's and I got so mad I slapped his arms. I woke up because I was actually hitting him in my sleep in bed!! LOL


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

28 Weeks: Third Trimester!!!!!!!!!!

 THIRD TRIMESTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How Far Along: 28 weeks, 3 days
How Long To Go: 11 weeks, 4 days
Weight Gain: 2.4lbs
Total Weight Gain: 9.6lbs
Weight: 129.4lbs
Belly Button: flat!
Stretch Marks: none
Sleep: I love and cherish my sleep
Best Moment This Week: Reaching the third trimester!! Getting and putting together our baby's crib!! Going through Matt's old baby stuff and found a journal that his mom kept when she was pregnant. Our pregnancies seem very similar. I think this baby is taking after her daddy. Also, spending some great quality time with our friends at the beach...I love our friends
Nausea: none
Craving: sweets
Miss Anything: I miss knowing my body well...everything is new now
Movement: I think I'm giving birth to a soccer star...or a ninja
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: Braxton Hicks, back pain, the beginning of a Linea Nigrea is starting to show.
Wedding Ring: on
Looking Forward To: Seeing our baby girl in 3D on Thursday!!
Maternity Clothes: I actually fit into a pair of pre-pregnancy shorts over the weekend and couldn't have been more pleased about it!
Fruit: Head of Cauliflower (2.5lb, 16 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Had a sexual dream where I was watching porn and tried to entice my hubby to have sex and his response was: "nah...I'm busy, just take care of yourself" (HAHAHA this would never happen in real life)


Babymoon in Colorado

The idea of a babymoon is pretty simple: take a trip before you enter your third trimester to spend some quality time with your partner before you become parents. We conveniently had a family wedding to attend this past weekend, just a week before I would enter the "no fly" phase of pregnancy. The wedding was of Matt's cousin Chad Gardner to Elizabeth Toohey. I had met them both two years ago at a family reunion and had a great time, so I knew this was going to be a fun wedding.

We arrived in Denver on the Thursday before the wedding. We spent the day exploring the area and took a particular liking to the city of Boulder. We sat outside at a little Italian trattoria and had lunch before Matt treated me to my first ever prenatal massage. I couldn't have felt more spoiled and I might have to make those massages a regular thing. Once my massage was done, we drove back in to Denver.  Matt had a good buddy from college who we spent the night with before heading on our way to Aspen the next day.

The drive was absolutely gorgeous. The weather was cold and cloudy but we welcomed the break from Charleston's sweltering August heat. On our way to Aspen we stopped in Vail to see another city and grabbed a cup of hot apple cider as we walked around. It was the perfect break from the drive, which all-in-all took about 4 hours from Denver. That night was the rehearsal dinner which was held at a local Mexican restaurant. 100 family and friends piled in to drink margaritas and mingle. It was a great opportunity to socialize with Matt's family, but I was so exhausted by the end! The change in altitude really effected me that first night so Matt took me home around 8:30pm and I crashed.

The wedding in Aspen was everything you would think. Matt's cousin and his fiance were married on the top of Aspen Mountain. We rode the gondola up to the summit (where is was 39 degrees) and were given blankets to keep us warm during the outdoor ceremony. Cold weather aside, the ceremony was absolutely gorgeous and went off without a hitch. The view from the top of the mountain was spectacular and the sun even came out at the end!

After the ceremony we all piled into the lodge that had been rented out as the reception venue. We were greeted by waiters carrying trays of wine and champagne. The cocktail hour was stocked with some of my favorite foods including a to-die for charcuterie and cheese selection, mini tomato soups with grilled cheese, burrata on spoons with roasted red peppers, just to name a few of the options. Considering I can't drink, the food was definitely the highlight for me, although the wine that I tasted was also excellent.

Keeping with the great food, the reception definitely boasted the best wedding food I have ever had.Scratch that, the meal at this wedding was one of the better meals I have had in the past few months anywhere! and that's saying a lot! It started with a burrata and tomato salad with arugula and basil and a light balsamic drizzle. Then there was a choice of entree, but Matt and I shared both options which were a pan-seared halibut and a filet Mignon.

I have always been a hater of cake at weddings and this wedding may have just changed my mind completely. Whether or not that has to do with the fact that sugar is all I have now that I can't drink alcohol, this wedding cake was amazing! First there was a dessert course that had three little mini desserts (a chocolate caramel tart, a chocolate coconut mini cupcake, and a fruity mini cheesecake). After we devoured those, the wedding cake came around (no cake cutting ceremony) and it was red velvet with strawberry jam and a cream cheese frosting. It was to die for!!!

We had such a fantastic time in Colorado and it was so wonderful to be able to get to spend some quality time with my hubby before the baby comes. I think it is important to get away together before your life completely changes, but it sure was nice to come home too.