//Momesty Corner / Emotions? Yes, I'm Familiar with Those...

I work a mere 3.5 miles from my home, which gives me the luxury of going home every day for lunch if I so choose. Trust me, I so choose at every chance I get. So a couple of days ago, I'm making the short drive home and out of nowhere, I started to cry. It wasn't a gradual cry, either, but a full-on, ugly cry that caught me completely unaware. Earlier that day, I was listening to one of my current favorite podcasts, "The Longest Shortest Time" and it got me thinking about my own impending delivery.

To be perfectly honest--and that's the point with these posts, right?--I haven't really been all that afraid to give birth. Sure, it's probably me being completely naive, but I've always had the attitude of if I want to do something, I'm just going to do it and that's that. I don't think of things like that in terms of them being a challenge to me, but rather an opportunity to gauge how much I'll need to improve. Totally crazy, right? Probably. Anyway, whenever I would think about the natural, drug-free, vaginal birth I plan to have, I just assume I'm going to power through the pain until it's over. It helps that I have a relatively high pain tolerance, I guess, but most of that thought process is likely due to my being totally nuts.

So why was I crying? Hell if I know. Okay, so some of it was probably due to hormones. But there was another factor contributing to all of this--the element of the uncontrollable. No, I'm not referring to the waterworks (though I suppose that also counts...). I'm talking about the fact that SO many birth plans don't seem to go the way you were hoping. Like I said, I am planning to opt out of drugs (the idea of an epidural literally makes me more squeamish than anything on the entire planet...the thought of a need being inserted into my spine makes me cringe just typing about it) and have a vaginal birth. I don't want the hassle of recovering from a C-section and I certainly want to avoid an episiotomy unless it absolutely can not be avoided (I won't go into what an "episiotomy" is for your sake).

So listening to this podcast, where so many women have gone on and said how different their birthing experience was compared to what they had planned and prepared for for 40ish weeks, made me dwell a lot on that being a very real possibility for me, too. What if I need a C-section? I haven't even read up on those and how the recovery can be managed! What if I really can't handle the pain, regardless of whatever I've tried, and I NEED the epidural? How will I deal with someone coming at my precious spinal cord with a huge needle to perform a procedure that requires total precision?! What if I get an episiotomy and it doesn't heal right? What if the baby aspirates meconium upon birth? What if something ELSE happens to me or the baby and puts one or both of our lives at risk? There are just things I can not anticipate and that--THAT--makes me scared as hell. So I cried.

Then, while eating a piece of pizza on the couch, with said pizza literally being in my mouth, I cried again. It was for about 15 seconds, but still. Now THAT I blame on hormones. My point with all of this is, it's okay to be scared, to cry, to fear the unknown--especially if you're a type-A "planner" like me. There WILL be things that you will never be able to anticipate going into this, and that's okay. The best you can do is relay your wishes to all of the respective people and to trust those in the delivery room with you. Trust that they know what they're doing and that they will do whatever is necessary to help you and/or your baby. And it's always okay to cry, whether you're pregnant or not.

//Our Little Hazelnut

Initially, the hubs and I were not planning on sharing the name we chose for our little girl except for a select group of people--i.e., our immediate families. But as we talked about it, we realized that we were telling others and the point of keeping it a secret was then moot. Being the memory-keeper that I am, I decided to make it "official" by putting together a little photo announcement of the name.

Without further ado...

It has not been lost on me that our child's name will be similar to the name of this blog. "Hazel" is a word that I just love the sound of. There is something soothing about it to me. I actually had never considered it a candidate for a name until my husband and I were discussing it, and then things clicked. So now the blog name has an extra special meaning :)

//Momesty Corner / Either I Don't "Look Pregnant" or People Just Suck

As I mentioned in my previous post, Josh and I took a babymoon to downtown Chicago over the 4th of July weekend. I was so excited to show off my very-obvious-to-me bump, so I packed some dresses that I thought would do a good job emphasizing this new addition to my body. Not that I really needed to do that because I've gotten in the habit of rubbing or touching my belly almost every chance I get now that she is moving a lot more in there. Pretty quickly into our trip, I began to take note of something that, at first, I assumed I was imagining--no one acted as though I were pregnant (aside from my husband, natch). Allow me to clarify...

Whenever we would be walking down the street together, not a single person ever made way for me to pass. Nor did anyone ever give up or offer up their seat to me if I was standing. No one congratulated me or asked me those semi-intrusive questions that strangers love to ask when they find out you're expecting, even when I was engaged in aforementioned belly-stroking. In fact, the only time anyone commented on my expectant nature was when I brought it up (the waitress at Lawry's asked if we were celebrating anything special and I told her we were in town for a babymoon...though there really needs to be a phrase I feel less silly saying out loud to people).

At first, I thought maybe it was all in my head. Then I was convinced that I must just look fat instead of pregnant. Why else would no one bestow upon me those random acts of kind favors that I hear about happening to other pregnant ladies all the time?? I'm not one to play the pregnancy card, but there were definitely times that I would have loved to sit down but all the seats were taken...not a single glance given my way at all.

When I brought this up to my husband, his response was very simple: "People are assholes." Sure, easy enough to say but was that really the case? So I recounted my experiences to other people and their answer to me was virtually the same. So this begs the question of who, exactly, is getting this preferential, expectant mother treatment these days that was touted to me by formerly-pregnant women?

I'm really curious to ask other currently-pregnant or recently-pregnant women about their experiences and see if they encountered similar treatment. In the meantime, I'll keep one hand on my stomach at all times to really drive the point home ;)

//Oh Baby, Baby...

Hello, there! There have been a few baby "developments" since I last posted on this blog, and it's kind of exciting to see my pregnancy progress and approach the end! Today marks my entrance into Week 26 of pregnancy, meaning that I'm nearing the third trimester. That's a little hard for me to believe because I still feel like there is so much to do before our little girl gets here!

//at the Adler Planetarium//

Now that I'm at 26 weeks, she is moving around a lot more regularly and today I was able to actually see her moving from the outside! It was hypnotic and I'm excited to share that with my husband tonight--even though seeing the baby moving like that kind of freaks him out haha. Overall, I feel pretty great and think I look all right for someone who is almost seven months pregnant--it's just the heartburn that's becoming a nuisance. But that's what Pepcid and Tums are for!

//we found these amazing blocks at Galt Baby in Chicago!//

We've already cleared out what will be the nursery, so we still have to take the things off the walls, clear out the closet, steam clean the carpets, and paint to get it ready for furniture and decor. I think once we see the nursery all set up, it's going to feel all too real to us that our daughter will be here soon!

//we're hoping this Marie Curie doll will spark an interest in STEM with our daughter// 
My first baby shower is in about a month. It will be the one my mother-in-law is throwing and while being the center of attention makes me anxious, I'm still looking forward to it. Then, the following week, is the "friend shower" and I'm so excited and thankful for my friend Kim taking on this task! The invites she showed me are beyond adorable (hint: they feature Batman) and the fact that she offered to do this just blows me over. I'm very lucky to have such wonderful, loving friends and I don't take that for granted in the slightest.

//these puppets were at Open Books, where we found some awesome concert posters for the nursery//

At the end of next month I will be getting my maternity photos taken and I've just ordered the dresses for it. I'm stoked to see them in person and since I trust my photographer immensely, I can't wait to see the end product because I know she'll do a gorgeous job. Of course, I'll have to dedicate a blog post to just those photos ;)

//my handsome baby daddy at Grange Burger Hall where we gorged ourselves//

Over 4th of July weekend, hubs and I took a "babymoon" to downtown Chicago for three nights. It was perfection! We spent the weekend indulging at wonderful restaurants and buying up adorable things for the baby. We did our fair share of walking and I had the blisters to prove it, but it was all worth it. That same amazing friend of mine, Kim, volunteered to watch the doggies so Josh and I could lurve on each other all weekend and we are both BEYOND thankful to her for that! It helps that our dogs absolutely love her.

//Chicago, here we come!//

//our hotel was right on the Chicago River//

//Stan's become a go-to almost every day we were downtown...YUM!//

//I found these "digestif candies" at Eataly and just love the packaging (I even saved it to frame later)//

//lemon AND cucumber water at Grange Burger Hall//

//we went to Lawry's our last night in town and I have never eaten that much food before in my life!//

//we stood in line for the Planetarium for over an hour...sort of worth it//

At my most recent OB appointment, they did another ultrasound to try and get some of anatomy scans they couldn't get last time. Naturally, our girl was in essentially the same position as before, so there were still a couple of areas they weren't able to scan. But from what the tech could see, things looked good and that's a wonderful thing to hear. My next appointment will involve the infamous glucose screening. That means I get to drink what amounts to a very sugary, flat soda after fasting all morning, wait an hour, and get my blood drawn to see if my body process glucose in a satisfactory manner. If not, I'll get the privilege to do a longer test--I'd rather avoid that, so I'm hoping my body cooperates. It's still so strange knowing that after my next appointment, I'll be entering the third trimester and seeing my OB every two weeks instead of every four!

//not to be too cheesy, but pregnancy has me feeling sexier than ever...even with the dry, splotchy skin haha//

//taken at Eataly...can you tell I'm in love with this dress?? I'm wearing it right now. Literally//